My Backyard Garden

I can’t believe almost half a year flew by and my last post was in April, which means I have missed posting in May. My only excuse is working, most companies are now working toward going lean.  Our company is working toward that, which means cross-training employees in another job function and cutting back employees. Regardless of what is my excuse I know I have to find balance in what I do. I don’t think I’m alone facing this situation, a lot of people like myself are having a hard time finding balance in their work-lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work, and those remaining employees have to put in more hours than they expected. Even though I haven’t done much posting, I still find time to garden and my backyard gardening is coming alone. I know I can’t control my work situation, but I sure can control life and living.

My sister gave me her water lily plants last month, and it has several blooms in my pound so far and hers hasn’t bloomed any yet. This tells me that my pound environment is healthy.

I planted several Jalapeno peppers this year, I still have frozen chili peppers from last year and since I didn’t have much space I only have enough room for the Jalapenos.

The pickling cucumbers are climbing the A-frame trellis.

I planted several cherry tomato plants.

I’ve been joying eating freshly picked salad.

Freshly picked radishes are great with salad also.

My Kirfir lime tree grew new leaves, this one was given to me by Bo’s mom over 15 years ago.

My lemon grass are not growing fast enough, if I ate 2-3 stalks per week there wouldn’t be any left by the end of the month. I ended up buying some this week.

The Thai basils are not as pretty this year, it has been very dry in our area and perhaps not getting enough water since they are planted toward the back of the garden.

I don’t have much luck with the parsley, and seeing this much coming up is a sight for me.

I think my mints have mutated since the leaves are fuzzy looking and it doesn’t smell as minty.

My sister gave me a pot of her mint and it’s time to replace the old with the new.

Did you know that the Poinsettia is a tropical plant? I planted one last year but forgot to take it inside in late Fall and it didn’t survive the Winter months. I hope to remember this year, I want to see how big it will get.

I planted some snow peas, this photo below was taken last week.

This is what they look like today, with a little help they were able to climb the trellis.

They have beautiful white flowers.

And the snow pea pods are ready to harvest, I expect to get a steady snow pea pods through the Summer and Fall.


The quails are happy in the backyard.

We get an average of 4-5 eggs per day and they are great with salad.

Bo hatched two more quails, this is the reason why we need to buy a farm.

Camping Weekend

This was our first camping trip this year, the weather is cool during the day and cold at night.

My dad didn’t particular care for this lot since it sits on the hill, but Easter weekend was packed and we’re fortunate to get any spot at all. I told him it’s a good exercise, not sure if he bought it.

It’s early AM and most campers were still asleep.

It bugs me to see people taking picture of flowers, and the focus was on the dirt background.  I can assure you this is not my intention at all, I shot this with a wide angle lens and this is the best I could do.

This is much better.


I have been wanting to try long exposure shot of the water falls and never had the opportunity. It’s odd how I’m seeing this spot differently, I must have walked past this water falls at least 20 times in the past years, but never thought to shoot long exposure shot here until now. I’m glad I did, the cascades of the water falls look so much calmer and nicer.

I didn’t have my tripod with me, and used the bridge railing instead.  I think it did a good job.

Our meal was simple, I made spicy papaya salad (Tum Mak Houng) and my sister made grilled chicken.

We did lots of walking and hiking.

You either love camping or hate camping, but I think Lee hasn’t decide.

As for me it’s the life, it’s definitely a happy trail.

Photos behind the scene of Tuff-N-Lite Showdown of the Unbeatables

Showdown of the Unbeatables on National Geographic Channel features the very best American Companies competing with their prized products for performance grades.Tuff-N-Lite is a division of Supreme Corporation that manufactures patented life saving cut, slash, and abrasion-resistant safety clothing went up against an Ohio-based company Cold Jet, a manufacturer of ice blasting technology. When I was asked to photograph behind the scene for Tuff-N-Lite last October when NatGeo came to film in Conover, North Carolina I was thrilled beyond belief. I also shot behind the scene video and didn’t have time to edit the video yet.

The cut and slash test was filmed in the morning of October 10, 2013 at Supreme Corporation.

This Keel Jacket used in a cut and slash test below is a cut level 4 and 5 on the ASTM-1790 scale, so the Mashadi knife is no match for the Tuff-N-Lite garment. If you watched the show you will see that the Mashadi knife couldn’t cut through the jacket fabric, David Nerman slashed the Keel Jacket several times and no compromise at all.

The Glass Guillotine test was next.

It’s nice to see a Mark II being used as one of the filming cameras.

We had a surprised visit flying above during the Glass Guillotine test, I think the helicopter was checking the power lines.

This was also a cut and slash test, the Tuff-N-Lite garments worn in Glass Industry have saved lives and the Glass Guillotine test mimics real life situation.  This dummy was carried away without a single scratch.

All Tuff-N-Lite products are created with Supreme Corporation’s innovative composite yarns at their manufacturing facility in Conover, North Carolina.

The abrasion test was done the next morning at the Hickory Motor Speedway.

The Tuff-N-Lite truck dragged the two dummies, one wearing street clothing, and the other wearing the tuff-N-Lite garments for 1/3 of a mile at 60 MPH.

The result is unbelievable, below are photos that I photographed of the NatGeo Showdown of the Unbeatables TV show.

And seeing it in person is unbelievable.

The showdown first aired on National Geographic Channels on April 11, 2014. If you missed the show it will air again Saturday April 19 at 1 AM ET, and Friday April 25 at 4 PM ET. I photographed these photos below from the TV show.

Tuff-N-Lite was asked to make their cut, slash, and abrasion resistant fabric for the Showdown. From left to right, David Nerman, Matt Kolmes, and Bill Bowling.

A piano was hoisted into the air, and the ropes were being protected by the Tuff-N-Lite fabric. The photo below is from NatGeo, source.

Cold-Jet has a cool technology, they can remove and cut through almost anything.

The challenge was to cut the ropes behind the Tuff-N-Lite fabric, this should be an easy job for Cold Jet if the fabric is a hard surface and since it is not, they have met their match.

Within the first minute this was all the damage that Cold Jet could do to the Tuff-N-Lite fabric, you can barely see the tiny hole.

After Tuff-N-Lite had won, the producer allowed Cold Jet to continue cutting the Tuff-N-Lite fabric. Cold Jet had to fill 2 loads of dry ice and after 15 minutes of cutting they were able to cut the first rope. If you watched the show, you would get the impression that Cold Jet was able to cut through this much in 1 minute, but in reality it was 15 minutes of cutting.

I am not surprised that Tuff-N-Lite won, Supreme Corporation is a leader in innovation in textile, yarn and protective apparel products and the company is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. I am extremely proud of what we do at Supreme Corporation.

It looks like Cold Jet got frustrated and went straight to the ropes above the Tuff-N-Lite fabric.

Down came the piano, and congratulation to the Tuff-N-Lite team.