28 May 2014

La Rue to the booksale. Postcards from the vacation. by Jo (age 8+)

Earlier this year, we decided to brave traffic to attend the Big Bad Wolf Box Sale. Oh it was exciting scouring through thousands of books looking for ones we may like. Among the books we picked up was LaRue Across America: Postcards From the Vacation (LaRue Books) by Mark Teague.

Jo was tickled by the story, and loved its so much, she became inspired to write her own story, but based on the same character, La Rue the dog. However, artistic person she is, she only works when inspired, and didn't complete the story when "steam" ran out. Here's her story three quarters done. No mum's input at all, thus grammar/spelling mistakes all intact.
As pics are not so clear, I've retyped what she's written, exactly as it is, mistakes and all.
  Warning...grammar nazis, and English teachers might squirm at her spelling and grammar errors.

(notice her best seller stamp, given  to herself!)
Page 1

"Cooking diaster has miss millians?
Larue brings cat to booksale  ______________________________
This week miss millians had more worst splats everywhere! Ovens burned, smoke filled the air, cakes were black, dough hung from the ceiling, the floor was a sweet pool of milk. She fainted and landed on her favourite soft fresh homade italian bread. her body envoloped in bread crumbs, milk honey, oats, and dough. fireman extinguish the fire. her neighbour offers to help her two stranded cats, miss millias accepts and thanks her neibour but the neibours dog with the cats won't get along...so well?? Will they??

Page 2 
(Notice how dog is nice, but really feels like flinging the cat!)

Page 3

Dear Mrs. Millians                 July 10
We have boarded a ferry leaving from Penang. The cats made me take care of them! I complained to miss martha about them so she went to talk to them. she came back telling me that the cats claimed they were seasick! I served them orange juice    they shouted "I said cherry not orange!!" they made me so frustrated.      _________________________________
your frustrated neighbour
p.s did you feed them breakfast? they keep asking for food!

Page 4

Dear Miss Millians                    July 11
Your cats are real annoying. we went to the reef to scubardive, when we were on the boat your cat called me Ikebanana and began to fill my ears with loud english poetry.
now I know why you let us take care of the cats. I didn't know they eat fish so rudely.
Your sincere neighbour   [picture]<--dead fish
p.s. if you ack quickly no books will be harmed.

 Page 5

Dear miss millians    we are now in ipoh    we went to a fancy chickenrice shop. The cats said they would not eat chicken rice so they brought in their cat food, when my chicken rice came the cats at once said give me some! I tried to reason with them but they insisted and begged and finally complained to miss martha. I was forced to give them each some. They asking for more and more and I haven't got one single bite yet until there was one tiny chicken and a little bit of rice, they shouted at once Mine!
What a nuisanse.
honestly Ike.
p.s. hurry the booksale is coming closer!

Page 6
Dear Miss millans
We are on the way to the booksale
(to bad you did not pick them up on time) I can't wait a few more days to the booksale! (of course without the cats no offence)
the plain scenenery is making my mood sour, so I played the guitar. one of the cats reached out to grab it and his paw got scratched by a string      next thing I new I was outside apologising. when we started to drive again and the city came into view, people bustled everywhere.
Truly your neighbour
Ike    [picture]<-swallows feather
p.s. Sure your not coming? p.p.s or send them in mail?

Page 7

Dear miss millans
We are getting closer to the booksale. I started of my day with a big breakfast    
while I was crunching on a bone, miss marthe ask me  to do something hard      when I could not do it she scolded me
she hurt my feelings badly she called me a dumb, lazy dog!
(bad way to start the day) I did not know miss martha changes so much when the cats are around. I tried to turn the signoard to make her go back to Penang and drop the two rascals off but she caught me red pawed!
hurt Ike
p.s or I'll mail myself at the next post office.

Page 8

dear miss millians
Your cats have been cutting holes in my carseat, and tearing holes too! So I quickly grabbed a sack of Molly's mud and poured it onto the middle carseat, that did the job but I was cleaning one minute after that. we were getting closer, the signboard said 30 more km! You should train your cats!
Ike      [picture]----stamps
p.s do you have enough money to pay for tears?

Page 9

dear miss millians
your cats have been very noisy             they are always yelling
I've tried complaining to miss martha about them instead she said my whistleling was noisy! our chairs kept on turning around in the car because of the lever.
truly yours
p.s you should teach your cats to sing instead of fight


Jo worked on this further and completed the story. She typed the whole book (I helped her sometimes), she redid some of the pictures, and then we took it for binding, and she sold about 30 books at a little book sale/exchange fair.

.To be continued----------------------
@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2014


15 May 2014

Rocky Shore Tour - Merambong Island, Johor

Two years ago, we signed up with SOS (Save Our Seahorses) for their Seahorse tagging trip.  It was an absolutely unforgettable trip in every way, one of our most memorable.

Recently Jo expressed interest in studying marine biology. We read up several books and came across seahorses. That sparked off memories of our trip, and we decided to join SOS again on a trip, this time to the Merambong island for their Rocky Shore tour.

2nd May2014- We gathered at the SOS meeting point at 6am for a short briefing before departing from the jetty. Reason for going early, I read, is to go during the low spring tide that makes the place accessible for just a few hours. We got to see really beautiful sunrise, and the island was certainly breathtaking in every way.

Pulau Merambong is a pretty small island, yet we took a few hours to explore because we stopped very often to study the amazing variety of marine life there. Otherwise, I think a half hour run would do it. What we found fascinating about the island was the island's mangroves, sandy beaches, and rocky beaches with terraced edges, covered with moss. You have to be there to see the beauty of it all!

About the island, quote from Wikipedia "The area Pulau Merambong is located within the single largest seagrass bed in the country. The bed extents from the island right up to the estuary of Pulai River in Johor.[1] Dugongs and seahorses which feed on seagrass made their home in the nearby coral reefs."  Well, sadly, there have not been recent sightings of dugong there, and sightings of seahorses around this island is now rare. There's a major development/land reclamation project going on nearby, right ON the seagrass bed, in the middle of the ocean, which would further destroy marine life in that area.  :( (Uncontrolled Development (Lim Kit Siang)

Thus, before further destruction happens, I'd highly recommend a trip to the island to marvel at its diverse marine life. Furthermore, all proceeds will help fund SOS in their fight to preserve marine life and the ecosystem there. Their main, urgent project currently is to  relocate seahorses to a nearby bed, in hope for their survival and protection from the land reclamation project.

Sunrise at the jetty.

We went out on a speedboat, and as we glanced towards Singapore, we saw the sun slowly peeking out, in bright streaks of red and orange. Above, the black clouds threatened to rain, but held back because of us. ;)

Arrival at Merambong island. Kids were first to jump off the boat. Lots of seagrass (different species too!), seaweed and marine life already where the boat was parked.

First thing, my kiddo found was a peanut worm. Well, I never knew about it, now I do. :)

Beautiful peacock anemones everywhere, in different shades of colours.

A little one came along with us this time, and here she is hand in hand with Nel, while Jo and friend have found something interesting.

This flower crab went into protective mode when it saw us. Not only did it put up its claws, it also tried jumping to pinch at us.

How lovely that despite the black clouds, there was no rain, but instead a rainbow!

Zoanthids everwhere in shades of brown, green and black. Touch them and they squirt or close. However, they are a kind of anemone, so I wouldn't recommend touching them, as anemones can cause allergic reaction in some people.

Zoanthids again.
We were fascinated by the iridescent colours of shells. We had to adhere to one rule though, "Take NOTHING back from the island" as shells will slowly dissolve, releasing calcium carbonate back into the ocean, so we were told by Adam Lim, who's taken over the leadership role at SOS.  (Also found this article about why we shouldn't collect shells.)

Sand-sifting starfish. Found this interesting info online "Sand-sifting Stars have a rather interesting reproduction behaviour - males re often found stacked on top of the females, and the pairing may last for up to 2 months before the eggs and sperm are released into the water. The reproductive organs do not meet, and hence this behaviour is termed "pseudocopulation" - in other words, "fake sex". This behaviour apparently increases the chance of fertilisation though."

Approaching the rocky shore, covered in soft moss.
Beautiful terraced ridges with bright green moss. Kids tried avoiding stepping on moss and aimed for the rocky bits. Can be slippery so take caution.

Close up of carpet anemone, seen here out of water because of low tide.

A tube worm.Children found these beautiful and fascinating. They pop back in when touched, or when a shadow is cast over it.

The hubs, searching for interesting life,

Lots of sponges here.

There were many tide pools, and we found one of this. Sadly I didn't hear what this beautiful "cup" is called.

A fluorescent brain coral. We were told that this would look spectacular at night with the right light.

The younger grabbed a sea cucumber too tightly and it of course vomited its sticky guts out onto the kiddo's palm. (Note---we all borrowed shoes from SOS, if your team is huge you'd have to bring your own, as they have a limited number of pairs. Wearing the right pair of shoes is important to avoid getting cut by sharp shells and oysters, and also so that your shoes won't go floating away or get stucked in mud!)

Crossing the terraced rocks with Adam as our guide.

This is where I thought was the most beautiful spot on the island.A very beautiful view indeed!

We were told that with a really sharp eye, one might spot an octopus between the rocks. I don't know how the kids did it, but they spotted a teeny weeny one, amongst the hundreds of tide pools. This one clung on and refused to swim off.

Biscuit Sea Star

Yeah....so... if you're in the area, visiting Lego Land, or on way to Singapore, sign up with Save our Seahorses  to go on one of their trips. They are just 10 minutes from Lego Land. We did go to the seagrass bed again to look for seahorses, that will be a different post. But seeing how fast the land reclamation is going on, I'd say, GO quickly, before it's all destroyed.  :(   

Quote Adam Lim, Project leader of SOS "Merambong island is still there and untouched (*for now). The one that got destroyed is Merambong seagrass shoal (almost everyone mixed them up) As for the status of Merambong, SOS is currently considering its position and we may have to cease all activities beyond September (*unconfirmed)."

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2014

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