My Weekend in Photos

Here’s what I did last weekend:

1. Helped my wife cooked tuyo (dried fish) in our outdoor grill.

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2. Chased a deer during one of my morning runs.

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3. Scavenged for bargain art item in the streets downtown (Des Moines Art Festival was this weekend).

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4. Got lost among the corn (visited a friend’s farm).

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5. And lastly, summoned my indigenous spirit or maybe my hidden pyromaniac nature and did a fire dance.

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(*all photos were taken by me with an iPhone, except the last photo which was taken by our friend)

Harvest Time

This morning I went for a long run, in preparation for the half-marathon that I would be participating in. The event would be in 2 weeks.

My long runs have been getting longer, and sometimes it can be tedious and boring. Maybe I should play Pokemon Go while I run to make it more exciting, and capture those fleeting critters.

I did not capture a Pokemon, but I captured these photos while I was running:

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Yes, it is harvest time in this part of the world I’m living in. The fields are golden brown, the days are getting shorter, and the wind is getting colder.

In this particular field, they were harvesting corn.

Why are they harvesting corn? Because they sow corn! Shouldn’t it be that way, we harvest what we sow?

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Maybe some cynics out there may disagree with me, for I know we are living in a world where so much injustice abound. People seems to reap what they did not sow, or have been harvesting in fields that are not theirs.

In my home country, we even have a proverb for that: Ako ang nagtanim, ako ang nagbayo, ako ang nagsaing, pero iba ang kumain.

Loosely translated, it says, I was the one who planted, I pounded, and I cooked, but somebody else ate it.

Yet I still believe in justice.

Lady Justice may seems to be blindfolded (I don’t know why it is portrayed that way) to the unjustness and repression happening all around us. And I’m not blind to that. But I know it as a fact that in the end, justice will be served.

That day of reckoning will come to all of us, when we will harvest what we sow.

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(*photos taken with an iPhone)

Mysterious Weed

After being away for a few weeks, we came home and was pleasantly surprised that our garden was still in full bloom. We had lots of rain this summer, plus we asked our friend to water our plants if needed, while we were gone.

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Not just the flowers, but the vegetables as well were blossoming, like the tomatoes and the pepper.

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But besides the flowers and vegetables, the weeds have also grown tall. There are areas that the weeds are crowding the other plants, that it even started to look like a weed garden. No, I’m not talking about the illegal “weed.”

When we looked closely to a patch of our garden with overgrown weeds, a peculiar plant was among them. We thought it was just a tall weed, but it wasn’t.

It was corn!

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It’s kind of puzzling how those corn plants got there, for we definitely did not plant them.

We know that a corn field is not too far away, could the wind blew some seeds when the farmers were planting their crop? Or maybe a bird drop a corn kennel there? Or maybe the chipmunks? Or could it be the leprechaun that planted them? Who knows?

After clearing the weeds, we decided to keep the corn and not pull them out. After all, they have ears of corn on them already.

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Maybe next year, we’ll plant corn in our garden on purpose. This is Iowa anyway, the corn center of the entire USA, and perhaps the whole world.

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Not too long from now, we’ll be harvesting our own corn. Unless the leprechaun (lepre-corn?) get to them first.

 

Watching Cornfields Grow

There’s an English idiom that says “like watching grass grow,” which means something that is slow and boring. But that exactly what I did here.

Part of my morning running route is passing by a vast cornfield. And I chronicled its slow evolution during the whole growing season with these photos below – from a few days after being planted, to right before harvest.

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Early May

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Late May

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Early June

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Late June

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July

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August

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September

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October

Not everything in life is fast and exciting though. Sometimes life can be mundane. And there are things that needed time to develop and mature. We cannot hurry nor rush them. We just have to be patient and watch as they evolve in their own time.

I’m not just talking about growing grass or corn.

(*all photos taken with an iPhone)

Cornick, Balut, and Butong Pakwan

We Filipinos have some odd foods. The “adidas” or chicken feet, the bagoong or fermented fish, and the infamous balut or duck’s embryo, to name a few. Outside the Philippines, these foods can be met with much disdain with the mere mention of them. If you don’t believe me, just let a foreigner sniff the bagoong and watch their expression as their face crumpled like a paper.

During the recent International Food Festival held at downtown Des Moines, where one can sample foods from different booths from different cultures and nationalities, the Filipino association had its own stall. One of the served food is billed as “chocolate soup” among other Pinoy foods. People were interested to try the “chocolate” dish until they learned that it was dinuguan or pork blood stew, and that made some of them blush.

However we have other peculiar Pinoy foods that are less detestable to the non-Filipino people. In fact, these certain foods can even be palatable and downright appealing even to the uninitiated. The puto (rice cake), the pastillas (milk candies), and the lumpia (egg rolls), are examples of these.

When we invite our non-Filipino friends for a gathering, they were always hoping that my wife will serve her home-made lumpia, which is the best in town. (Of course I am biased!) They really crave for the lumpia, that I think they’re more excited to see the lumpia than seeing us.

During our last visit to the Philippines, we brought back here some more unique Filipino foods – cornick (fried corn) and butong pakwan (watermelon seeds).

We were in Vigan to visit family for the holidays and we bought several bags of the original Ilocos cornick to take home. It is quite ironic that we brought more corn products here to Iowa from somewhere else, when Iowa is already overflowing with corn. If you don’t know it yet, Iowa is the number one producer of corn in the US, and perhaps the whole world. Maybe I should start my own cornick business here.

When we pass through Pampanga, we were invited by my wife’s family friend. We were served a very delicious homecook Kapamapangan meal of “pindang damulag” (“tocino-like” carabao meat), Pampangueno’s version of daing na bangus (fried milkfish), and fresh carabao’s milk. Besides the sumptuous lunch, we were also given several packs of “Paning’s Butong Pakwan,” which is their family business.

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my cornick from Ilocos and butong pakwan from Pampanga

When we came back here in Iowa, we had some non-Filipino friends came over in our house. We offered the cornick for them to sample. Even though we are in the midst of the sea of cornfields, they have not tasted this kind of corn snack. It was a hit, as they liked its garlicky taste.

Then we brought out the butong pakwan for them to taste as well. But before we can even show them how to eat it, somebody already took a handful and directly munch it. “Hmmmm chewy!” was her comment.

Fighting not to laugh so not to embarrass her, I politely demonstrated how we eat the butong pakwan, by cracking it open and getting out the pulp. She looked at me with a grin and discreetly spewed out the chewed seeds.

Perhaps next time I’ll serve the balut and show them how it is eaten. But I should dim all the lights in the house first. The less they see what they are nibbling the better. Isn’t that the reason why balut is sold at night and eaten in the dark?