(2) A row of five areca nut trees in my compound.
But, I think I’m the only one who can claim to have 'blood ties' with these 5 'arecas'! I’m the one who grew these trees, and looked after them until they began fruiting. And I'm still the care taker, until today. All my children are no longer staying with me now, conveniently forgetting these lovely plants that they are supposed to own and nurture!
It was unfortunate that I had to chop down one recently (otherwise I’d have 7 altogether) because its fronds had been bothering our TV reception.
(4) Parts of the areca nut tree cut down recently.
Why did I grow the areca nut trees in my compound?
It's just because I wanted to have some ‘traditional’ trees around me, those that people in the past used to plant within the compound of their kings' palaces, and those that my kampung people used to grow around their houses, as ornaments, and for certain pragmatic reasons.
By the way, I also have other kinds of palm trees growing in my house compound (pics below).
(5) Other kinds of plam trees that I grow. Do you know their names?
And my front neighbour too grows the areca trees around his house (pic below). One of them is the pretty and expensive bottle palm.
(6) My neighbour's palm trees. Which one is the bottle palm? Can you recognize two other types of palm trees here?
Now, a bit about 'life with the areca nut trees', in those days .....
I can still remember how my late mother haphazardly planted the areca palm seedlings on our tiny coconut land. That was not done to give a face-lift to the area! The trees were grown for practical reasons. Mature trees were felled when necessary, and new seedlings would be planted in their place.
We’d use the areca tree stem (batang pinang) for making planks for the kitchen washing area. The stem could also be split into much smaller pieces of 'rods' (mengkawan). The mengkawan, normally about 1.5 meters long, was used as the main 'frame' or ‘bone’ for making the nipah thatch (atap nipah). Along the 'bone', nipah palm leaves would be ‘folded’, covering the entire length of the 'bone' itself, and then 'sewn', using finely split bemban skin.
(8) Pinang muda kering and the areca fruits.
(9) The areca fruit husk and a whole areca kernel.
Why did I say that the areca nut trees also gave us some fun time in those days? Here's why.
Can you see my excited grandaughter refuelling her canoe, calling her grandpa Temuk to pull the canoe for her (!), and pulling the canoe herself to transport grandpa's sandals to who knows where? Her excitement reminded me the great moments that my friends and I used to have, playing the 'pulled canoe' around the village which seemed borderless to us.
(10) A new upih and sampan tarik in action!
May I end this posting with a verse of Malay pantun .......
Sayang meranti pinang sebatang
Lebar upihnya jatuh ke mana
Orang dinanti tak kunjung datang
Khabarkan siapa, kubawa ke sana!