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Coolatai grass is a long leaved summer active perennial grass that produces short rhizomes that form dense tussocks.Being drought tolerant,it has the ability to rapidly respond to rain, producing new culms from the tussock base and flowering in a matter of weeks. It is well adapted to fire, with tussocks surviving hot burns. Coolatai grass will readily invade disturbed areas such as roadsides and pastures, forming monocultures and out-competing most other species.
It also has the ability to invade relatively pristine remnant native vegetation, making it a significant threat to the conservation of these areas. In one research in Australia, it has been observed that Coolatai grass invasion results in significant drecreases in native plant diversity and biomass. Coolatai grass presents a dilemma in that it is able to invade relatively undisturbed natural ecosystems, yet can be a resilient productive pasture species if managed correctly. Coolatai grass is also highly tolerant of most herbicides making control on a large scale difficult, particularly where the treatment cost will exceed the productive value of the land. On the other hand, studies have shown that with significant management inputs where Coolatai grass is kept short, it can be a highly productive pasture and meet the feed requirement of dry stock.Both these characteristics give the species the ability to quickly flower and set seed when environmental conditions are favourable.
Research on the viability of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) passing through cattle shows that around 12% of seed consumed remains viable. Therefore it would be reasonable to assume that some Coolatai grass seed will survive the digestive track of cattle. It is tolerant of most commonly used herbicides and suppression of growth is the most likely outcome.
Moving over to Oman, been observing a lot of times trucks plying the roadways with loads of cube-shaped green or beige colored objects.Then comes the wide open fields with water sprinklers watering not trees nor flowers but of all living things … grasses.This are in fact weeds that are cared for by farmhands that finds its way to the market or livestock farms. At today’s going rate, one bundle of coolatai grass in the market will sell for 3.5 USD in Oman. I refer to a common variety of grass that are so very often fed to livestock…Coolatai grass or Hyparrhenia Hirta as its scientific name stands.They are known known to have originated from Africa but has found its way to many other parts of the world and will grow on a range of soils though, it is most active on light to medium textured soils and will grow and increase on heavy clay soils if not waterlogged.Of noteworthy is a study made in South Africa and the Middle East that indicate their propensity on growing very fast on slopes that face the sun. It is cold tolerant and and can be seen growing from sea level to 1500 m altitude, however in South Africa Coolatai grass is found up to 2400 m above sea level.
Cattles,Goats & Camels : They have come a long way.Grass is good for them.
Having taken her turn to take a close up view of the tomb of prophet Job, my wife’s fascination and life story of Job as written in the Holy Bible, made this long trip to Salalah from Muscat by road travel lasting 12 hours all the more memorable. Here in this photo, as all other female visitors,the scarf requirement is a sign of respect to the place.
What’s the History of Job’s Tomb?Interesting historical facts on Prophet Job Location: Salalah, a windy, cold city in time of summer during the neo assyrian era 700 BC brings us back to the life of Job the prophet who had his faith tested to the limits.He died and later was buried here. As to how anyone would like to know where they can find this very intriguing place, the city of Salalah, located in the south of Oman is the answer. It is beautifully situated between coconut plantations and banana groves, extending along a coast with pristine beaches. It is here, amidst the breath-taking scenery, where Job’s Tomb can be found, nestled in the mountains. After a 40-minute drive through winding roads and picturesque valleys, the grave of the prophet is located in a small house near a mosque.
A faith that stood out thru the test of time in Job.
Job was the hero of the biblical Book of Job. As recounted in the Bible, Job was a man of such great devotion to the extent that Satan was allowed by God to test his faith.When Job’s children were killed, and his possessions destroyed and all that was left in him was a dying body that was afflicted with plague from head to toe, Job never expressed anger at God nor questioned his undying devotion. And as a reward for his steadfastness, God gave him even more possessions than he had previously had. Job died in style- an extremely wealthy man, with many camels and children. Job’s tomb in Salalah is where this biblical hero, revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians worldwide, is said to have been laid to rest.Inside the tomb is a long mound covered reverently with brightly coloured cloths. Another noticeable adornment is a chart listing the names of various prophets. An open air enclosure near the tomb has prayer rugs scattered on the ground for pilgrims.
We kept coming back for the motorcycle and camel rides in Batinah from time to time not minding too much on the long stretches of green fields along the way. This time we did not miss the chance to visit them. Our kind and unassuming Omani host offered the entourage a refreshing visit in his vegetable and goat farm. We found out vegetables and fruits are planted and [harvested] in great quantities in this part of Oman so that makes them not really dependent on vegetables from major exporters. Oil-rich Oman seems intent on becoming vegetable-rich as well, though it pales in comparison to figures achieved by vegetable-growing countries in Asia or North America. I later discovered that a considerable chunk of food crops in Oman is cultivated on the coastal region of Batinah plain, which extends north-westwards from the north of Muscat region to the rim of the United Arab Emirates.To name some, they are tomatoes, pumpkins, mangoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and an assortment of select fruits, like dates which have greatly increased over the last few years.
This blog under the category of plants and wildlife documents 4 vegetable plantations that we have visited namely okra, stringbeans, eggplant and cabbage. These products find its way to almost all the supermarkets and retailers in Oman.
Okra comes packed with glutathione, a protein molecule that is naturally produced in the body and is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body guard against the harmful effects of germs and bacteria that cause cancers and other diseases. It helps to improve liver, heart and lung functions and boost the immune system.
Okra has made a name in ancient times, with its beginnings in Egypt where it is cultivated before the time of Queen Cleopatra. Then it became popular to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade. The shortage of coffee beans in WWII gave rise to okra seed’s prominence as a very good substitute. This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra’s popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.
The world’s most beautiful women in ancient times, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra according to historical accounts.The world’s most productive land of okra in a rural area in Kami, Kochi Prefecture , Japan, is known popularly for how the young and old all look very healthy. When asked about their secret in having good health in that area, they graciously answer “okra”.
Okra is also reported to be beneficial to those suffering from diabetes as it helps to stabilize the blood sugar. Some people who claimed to have their diabetes cured or their condition greatly improved with the daily consumption of water that has been soaked with okra.
The other side of weeds.
So you think you know what a weed is? Did you ever think “why” you have weeds? Did you ever think about positive values and functions that weeds might provide? There are many wildlife uses for weeds, including hosting more insects than you see or can imagine.Many wild mammals feed on weeds. There are more good insects than bad in gardens, many being predators of the bad, or serving as food for birds. Small parasitic insects, also serving as biological controls for bad ones, feed on the nectar of many weed flowers. Some weeds host the larvae of butterflies, such as the monarch larvae on milkweeds. We all have seen bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies feeding on flower nectar of many weeds. Especially important to these are the late season wildflowers, when not much else is in flower, such as goldenrod and aster.
Farmworkers in almost all the veggie fields are tended to by Bangali laborers like this stringbean fields we visited. Green beans (string beans) have been, in recent studies shown to have impressive antioxidant capacity.Research comparing the overall antioxidant capacity of green beans to other foods in the pea and bean families has found green beans to come out on top.For one, it’s also a valuable source of silicon for bone health and healthy formation of connective tissues in the body.
Cabbage contains enormous anti-ageing compounds like beta carotene and Vitamin C. These compounds repair the damaged cells of the skin and give healthy and shiny skin protecting against the ageing of the skin.
Although iron is essential for many biological process in the body, excess accumulation of it is not beneficial and causes certain harmful effects in the body. Increased accumulation of iron causes rise in the production of free radicals in the body and is associated with high risk of heart disease and cancer.Therefore,studies have taught us that it is necessary to remove the excess iron to reduce the free radical production which can be done by nasunin, a phytonutrient present in eggplant.
Prior to the discovery of oil in the 1960s, the agricultural sector was vital in the Omani economy. The principal agricultural area is found along the Batinah coast, in the northeast between Muscat and Diba al-Hisn. Oman is famed for producing very high quality agricultural goods and the highest quality products are usually exported to the neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.To this day, agriculture remains to be one of Oman’s main non-oil exports.
Deep in the south of the Philippines, one of the places that stands out in the tourist world is a pear-shaped island which boasts of white beaches, rich diving sites, waterfalls, hot and cold springs. It is non other than Camiguin Island. One nice sight identified with Camiguin Island is the Sunken Cemetery which marks the swept remains of the island’s rested locals. A long history of volcanic eruptions starting 1827 onwards resulted in so many deaths among the island’s inhabitants causing the ground to sink under the sea. Mt. Vulcan’s wrath virtually erased the old capital which was founded during the Spanish Occupation, along with its cemetery which has come to be known as the Sunken Cemetery. In the following years, the sunken land and the gravestones are easily visible by the naked eye when the tide is low. However, in 1948 until 1953, Mount Vulcan erupted again, sinking the whole area deeper, to around twenty feet. In 1982, a large cross was built on the solidified lava to mark the site that became the graves of the ancestors of the Camiguin people.Today, Camiguin is an interesting diving destination although diving is “officially” not allowed. Divers claim that the underwater cemetery is eerily beautiful as the tombstones are now covered with colorful corals.
Access route to this diving site: Manila to Cagayan de Oro by plane,then to Balingoan by bus, then to Camiguin Island by ferryboat.
On the northerly section of Luzon Island in the Philippines is a place called Sagada, Mountain Province which is the site of one of the most frequented tourist spots in the Philippines. Only 149 Km from Baguio travel would take about 5 hours due to some rugged stretches of the road but once you are in Sagada, it is a breathtaking place. People who are looking for peace of mind or would want to meditate or have a spiritual experience go to Sagada. In the Sagada region, the ancient funeral norm of hanging coffins from mountain cliffs is still being practiced by some minority groups. The purpose of suspending the casket from the mountain rocks is to bring the deceased closer to heaven.In ancient times, the coffins were made from carved and hollowed-out wood. They are ‘hung’ into place through the use of projecting beams.
Is the Philippines positioned to go a notch higher as a hot beach-holiday destination?The Philippines’ heavenly islands and white sand beaches are among the newest destinations to watch for in 2013 according to American travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller. Fact is, it occupies the # 2 spot in the Top Ten Destinations for 2013.Pls. click on the mag’s website (www.cntraveller.com)
“Top 10 hot destinations that will be big news for travelers in 2013.”
1.Brazil 2.Philippines 3.The Netherlands’ city of Amsterdam 4. Africa 5. Galapagos Islands 6. Kashmir 7.Mayan Riviera 8.New Zealand 9.Panama and 10.Oman….so there you go! Dare pack up now to these places?
Condé Nast’s Laura Fowler wrote in her article that “the Philippines may still not be the most obvious beach destination but it soon will be.” The writer also compared the country’s more than 7,000 islands to the islands of Maldives: “Sorry, Maldives… We love you, but we’ve got a new flame.”
Must-see places according to the article are Bicol, where travelers can swim with the huge but gentle whale sharks in Donsol,Sorsogon and go surfing in Rizal Beach(pictured) or enjoy the pristine waters of Caramoan Island (pictured); Siargao in Surigao del Norte (Mindanao), a stunning little known island perfect for deep-sea fishing; Palawan, “palm-fringed white-powder beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, natural lagoons for wild swimming all of it protected by UNESCO.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
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