Thursday, September 24, 2009

A day at the Farms....

When our Muslim friends are celebrating Hari Raya Puasa, I was asked to organize a trip to the Singapore countryside. It was a one day Lim Chu Kang Farm Tour which started 9am in the morning and finished around 4.30pm. The participants are devotees and friends from the temple. The sun was shinning brightly when 36 of us boarded the bus. We had Rinpoche with us which was a blessing.

Our first stop was a Chicken Farm. We are city folks. Many do not know how big time egg farming is like. Here we saw chicken farms. We realized that there are some myth about eating 1 quail egg is = to a chicken egg in term of cholesterol. So now we know it is 50 quail eggs = 1 chicken egg. We also know that white chicken laid white shell egg and colored chicken laid brown shell egg. The latest trend is green shell egg which is not found in Singapore yet.

We moved off to a frog farm. All the devotees in the bus decided to do ‘Soujin’ which is animals’ liberations. So we collected S$339.00. How can we buy so many frogs and where can we release it? So finally we bought 40 frogs and all fishes. This is the first time all the ‘aunties’ realized how to tell a male frog from a female frog. Do you know?

After collecting the frogs and fishes, we decided that we will release the fishes and the frogs separately. To our surprise, on our way, at a remote turn, we found a Lotus Pond. Hurray!, it was a blessing. Rinpoche led us to do a prayer before setting them free. These unexpected liberations brought lots of joy to the devotees.

The next stop is Bollywood. Not the Indian Bollywood but a farm. Singapore do not have enough land to do any organic farming, therefore these are farms using natural fertilizers for their plants. It was here, at Bollywood’s natural pond that we released the frogs. Again Rinpoche led the prayers and after that every devotees picked up a frog and release it. This was a first time for many who never touch a big frog before. So happily we waved goodbye to the frogs.

The up and down the bus was a tiring affair. We landed in Farm Mart for lunch. As its name, it is a farm mart with shops selling products from Lim Chu Kang Farms. So all the ‘aunties’ happily shopped till they drop.

We also stopped by a Farm market. There are vegetables and fruits i.e. Dragon fruits, passion fruits, water jambu and greens. With a S$5.00, you can buy so many types of vegetables.

The next stop is a mushroom and wheatgrass farm. We ate wheatgrass ice-cream. The aunties bought Black fungus and White fungus. They bought mushrooms but there are two products here that I find it a novelty – The Rosella and The Cactus. Both have medicinal values. To me, Rosella is Ribena. I like it as a drink. Just add 5 Rosella Buds and a slice of dried orange skin with hot water, you will immediately get the smell. A good drink to have when it is chilled.

I have never imagined that Cactus can be eaten. Here is one. I bought it and make soup with it. You can smell the fragrance when it is boiling. It is simple to make. Take a Cactus pad, cut off all the thorns, wash the skin and cut them into slices. Add it into a slow cooker with honey dates and chicken (skinned or ‘unskinned’). Try it. Make sure you eat the correct Cactus that is in the picture. However in the desserts, nomads squeezed water from the plant to quench thirst, so I believe this plant will not kill.

It was a happy and fulfilling day. The day started beautifully and ended with everyone tired, happy and plenty to bring home. Of course we tired Rinpoche too.

May this happiness be radiated to all Beings. As we rejoiced in a good day, may everyone have a good day too.

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