Friday, August 26, 2011


After a storm, DH discovered that the bees had abandoned their hive. He cut down the supporting branch and let the boys have a closer look.
The boys spent some time examining the structure and taking a whiff at its sweet honey fragrance. The comb was paper thin and was an amazing piece of engineering with such precision and elegance.

It was rather sticky to the touch but no honey oozed out

Planetarium Negara

We had hours to while away before DH's meeting ended. So after the rather memorable Bird Park escapade, we headed for the National Planetarium.
We had been reading up on astronomy and the moment Han walked in, he pointed at a poster and shouted "Look, Orion's belt!"

The kids' favourite spot, the anti-gravity room. The floor sloped, so standing still without holding to the sides was difficult.
Sliding out of the anti-gravity room.

Han is inside the sleeping bag

Lots of exhibits to manipulate. If only they were set at kids height or place blocks to stand on.
I had to carry Ean so that he could see what it was that he was doing.
A nice place to playact.

Observation deck for a view of KL.

Our very last visit to a Bird Park..Ever!

The kids had just stepped into the free-flight aviary and were happily retrieving the capsule of bird feed from the dispenser when a big pelican jumped onto the low wall next to Fai, opened its beak wide and had half of Fai's head in its beak.
It happened in a split second. The bird let go immediately.
It was a terrifying experience and Fai wanted out. He said he would only look at another bird if it were on tv or in a cage And absolutely NO more bird parks.
A day later, Fai made a sketch of a rather gruesome device

Here it is made out of Lego.
When the wheels are rotated, the hammer falls and pelican gets squashed.

A homeschooling parent recounted an incident that he encountered a few years back, also with a pelican. He said a huge pelican with its wings spread out wide, blocked his family's path. As they circled around it, the bird continued to eyeball them. Such a territorial bird.
So visitors to the Bird Park, beware of the pelican!

Releasing turtle hatchlings at Padang Kemunting Turtle Management Centre

This event was organised by the Malaysian Nature Society, MNS for its members FOC. Just sign up and be there.
We had time to browse through the exhibits in the centre.
The many species of turtles that come ashore to the beaches in Malaysia.
Grandma and Han taking a look at a turtle with a transmitter
A sample size of 10 hatchlings are weighed and length measured with a vernier caliper.

We were then led to the beach to watch 20 hatchlings being released. We were instructed to refrain from shining and taking flash photography so as to not confuse the hatchlings. The hatchlings went towards the light and swam off into the sea. Hatchlings tend to go towards well lit areas and many have wandered onto roads confused by streetlights.
The rest of the hatchlings would be released on different stretches of the beach.

While the rest of the group were in the seminar room getting a briefing on turtles in Malaysia, DH had an informative chat with a local, Pak, who worked for the Fisheries Dept. and WWF.
The locals find selling turtle eggs to resorts along Pengkalan Balak lucrative and had made efforts to retrieve and save the eggs difficult and dangerous - his fishing boat was torched once and there was an attempt to burn the centre down and staff have been threatened by the locals.

Also he said that if it were not for the efforts of WWF, the turtles in Pengkalan Balak would have been long gone.
Pak would collect the eggs and record the number of eggs and tag on the mother. He is paid according to the number of eggs collected.
Turtles lay their eggs from April to September.
The highest number he had on record was in June.
Each time a turtle lays about a hundred eggs each time it comes ashore and would come again in consecutive nights until it lays about 600 hundred eggs in total.

Pak went on to warn about the beach saying that certain spots are 'unclean'. He pointed to a dark area that was partially lit by a street light. Saying that swimmers can drown barely 5 feet from the shore. He says that whenever a crocodile is spotted, that is an indication that a death could occur soon. There are certain areas along the beach that he would never trespass. Eerie.

We went for a quick bite down the road. Halfway through our meal of ikan bakar, the man at the barbecue pit ran to our table saying a turtle had been spotted. He told us to leave our food and have a look. The kids weren't the least bit interested. Too engrossed in their nasi goreng.
Turtle news travel fast along this stretch, no wonder Pak has a tough time beating the locals to the eggs.

Tornado in a bottle and Water absorption @PSN

3 experiments were in store for us.
The apparatus we would be using.
All 3 experiments can be conducted at home as all the materials are readily available.
Ean squirting water into a petri dish
Fold paper along the dotted lines
To get a square
Place the folded paper into the water and observe how the paper unfolds as water is absorbed.
Bend at midsection but do not break the toothpicks

Arrange the toothpicks as above. Place 3 drops of water into the centre using a dropper.
Fill a canister with water. Do not fill to the brim, allow some space for a few squirts of dish washing liquid.
Add in a few drops of food colouring.
We were given blue colouring. Cover the canister.
Shake and swirl the bottle. Observe the tornado. If the tornado is not visible, add in more detergent.
We had a bonus experiment.
The kids got to see a rubber glove expand using baking soda and vinegar

5 teaspoons of baking soda, a few squirts of vinegar, tie up the end of the glove quickly and Ean had himself a balloon :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beach with the boys

The beach at low tide
Our fire didn't catch and we were out of newspaper. Fai and I figured it was because we needed some dried Casuarina needles as a fire starter, so we walked to another stretch of beach that was lined with Casuarina trees.
When we got back, Han had the fire going. We could hardly believe it.
Han showing how he ignited the fire.
"Flame ON!" while doing his best Human Torch pose.
The first thing he does when he gets to the beach is hunt for suitable sticks for weapons.
Nothing like a fire by the beach.
Ean with his cup of hermit crabs
DH found a marine snails's egg pods that were attached to a scallop shell and had washed ashore.
Roasting sweet corn for a teatime snack
Han showing off his moves and bow technique
This one is his bamboo pole Kungfu
Check out the way he gazes into a pool of water, scoops a palm out and scatters the water around him. I asked him why he did that. He said " That is an offering for my Master!"

The Farrier

While waiting for the farrier to begin, we watched Uncle Nazlan who was back from training for the upcoming Endurance Race - a 120km race that begins at 7pm and lasts till 2am.
The horse was panting hard and sweaty. It was instantly cooled down with scoops of water
Firing up the horseshoes
The farrier shaping a horseshoe.
A closer look at the forge.
The horseshoe was still very hot as it placed onto the horse's hoof to check its fit. It sizzled and gave off lots of smoke but the horse barely flinched.
Shoeing is done every 3 to 4 weeks as the hooves will outgrow the horseshoe and cause it to be ill-fitted.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Grooming KC

Markings on KC.
JY told me that no matter what colour the horse is, after being branded, its hair coat will turn white.
KC could not be ridden that day as one of his horseshoe fell off.
Check out the difference between its two back hooves.
A closer look at the hoof with a missing horseshoe
We walked to KC's stable and found him lazing around.

A groom led KC to the cleaning area and tied him to the post with this interesting loop knot. He later showed JY how to tie it. Rather simple actually but JY said hers resembles a pretzel rather than a chain.
Since KC couldn't be ridden, JY decided to groom him.
Looks like a bad case of dandruff
She started off with this
and moved on to these two brushes.
While getting groomed, KC nibbled on the wooden post.
KC bending down so that JY can reach the top of its head
JY was having a tough time with KC's mane and tail as it was wiry and got tangled as she combed
After asking for help, JY was handed ShowSheen - a hair polish for its mane and tail. Keeps your horse clean for a week.
Spray a little ShowSheen and combing is a breeze
JY untangling the tail. she intends to braid it the next time.

After an hour of grooming, KC is walked back to its stable.