Sibu ‘Old MacDonald’ had a farm, E-I-E-I-O (Travelogue Day 9)

A banded woodpecker paying the Ling family a visit.

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By D’Drift Team

SRI AMAN, Oct 19: Old MacDonald in the popular children’s song may have had a farm with pigs, ducks, horses, sheep, cows, and turkeys, but 54-year-old Ling from Sibu owns a farm paradise of his own which, amongst others, managed to attract nesting woodpeckers and cuckoos.

A banded woodpecker pair has just completed its fourth breed in one of the areca palms (‘pokok pinang’) in Ling’s backyard orchard located at Ulu Sungai Merah.


The avian couple had coincidentally dropped by the cul-de-sac terrace house one day a few years back and decided to settle down after finding the place undisturbed.

It usually takes about three weeks for a mated pair of woodpeckers to build a nest where eggs are laid and incubated for 7 to 10 days.

The same hole is rarely used by the same bird for reproduction again, but often other holes are bored in the same tree.

Visible holes on the trunk of the areca palm.

Other than woodpeckers, the cuckoos found one of Ling’s avocado trees to be an ideal spot for nesting too. A week ago, a nest was made in one of Ling’s avocado trees and now there are two cuckoo fledgelings in it.

Ling, who has lived there for 27 years with his wife and family, said he and the animals have gotten so used to each other. He even considers them as friends living under the same roof.

He said the birds somehow felt safer living with him rather than out in the wild and risking their eggs and offspring being eaten by their predators.

A cuckoo nest seen up in an avocado plant.
Inside the nest are two cuckoo baby birds.

It doesn’t stop here. There are also hummingbirds and crows that are drawn towards some of Ling’s crops and flowers.

Aside from being a bird haven, his small plantation of papaya trees, coconut trees, banana trees, ‘kweni’ trees, crystal longan trees, cempedak trees, pineapple plants, yam plants, chillies, and green vegetables not only provide fresh fruits and veggies on the table, but also generates supplement income.

For example the crystal longan trees, he said, would bear fruits at least one season each year.

“Between June and July, I can harvest bags of them which I’ll sell to the local market. I can earn RM200 to RM300 for each harvest.”

He has a 25-year-old mango (‘kweni’) tree in front of his house which died from a termite infestation last year , whereby the remaining trunk now serves as a vertical orchid garden.

Prior to its demise, the tree would yield at least two big harvests each year where one ‘kweni’ fruit could be sold for up to RM12 depending on size.

‘Kweni’ tree trunk now a vertical orchid garden.

Being the resourceful man that he is, Ling has also fashioned several custom-made structures and equipment which can be seen around his home, especially a truly unique letterbox made from an aircon gas tank!

Another notable structure is the shaded car porch specially built for his car beside the old ‘kweni’ tree which reflect just how creative and ingenious he is.

Enthusiastic, passionate, and devoted to taking great care of his home which houses many more members including a cat, a dog, four Betta fighting fish, Ling said Sibu is “the best place in the world”.

“It (Sibu) is my hometown, and no place is better than home,” Ling told D’Drift Team when interviewed this morning.

Too shy to have his picture taken, he said he would prefer to be addressed as just Ling.

Custom-made letter box from vehicle aircon gas tank.
Ling’s shaded car porch.

 

Gloomy journey to quiet Pusa town without ‘ikan terubuk’

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.

D’Drift trio wants to play.

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.

D’Drift Team’s two-and-a-half-hour journey from Sibu to Pusa starting 8.45am today was gloomy, chilly, and wet. This was the first rainy road trip we have ever experienced since Day 1 of our 10-day trip.

There was a half-an-hour delay to our original schedule due to heavy rain and slow traffic along the Sibu-Sarikei Road, but the day brightened up toward the end of our journey as we approached our first stop for the day—Pusa.

Now is not the season for ‘ikan terubuk’. When we arrived in Pusa at about 11.30am, the only ‘ikan terubuk’ we could find was the welcoming statue right in front of the small town, which was also famous for its palm sugar (‘gula apong’).

Symbolic ‘ikan terubuk’ statue of Pusa.

The small town was really quiet today, most likely due to it being a public holiday in conjunction with Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, but in contrast, Kampung Pusa was bustling with activity as many people had returned to their hometown for a long weekend.

Along the already narrow Kampung Pusa Road, our pickup had to squeeze past rows of parked cars on both sides, passing by houses, shops and little coffeeshops.

One thing that we found interesting there was the local folks’ love for orchids. Most of the houses we saw were decorated with orchid plants while there were lanes named after orchids (‘orkid’), lilies (‘teratai’), and lime plants (‘kasturi’).

Narrow passage through Kampung Pusa.
One of many houses at Kampung Pusa with an orchid garden.

 

Mid-Layar Resting Centre’s kindy-style washroom

It was almost like entering the toilet of a kindergarten at the Mid-Layar Rest Stop in Betong where there were not one, but dozens of signs put up to remind visitors to flush the toilets, wash their hands, keep clean, and save water.

It was a surreal experience to say the least as throughout the ‘toilet tour’, we stopped in our tracks several times to read the eye-catching posters of instructions.

Not at all like the usual toilet hygiene and rules posters, these were hilarious, down-to-earth, and direct. Never did we expect wanted signs to be displayed in search of litter culprits!

We sincerely do hope the extra lengths the management took to keep the washrooms clean are being effective.

Toilet payment sign certain to draw chuckles from visitors.
Pay upon entry, free upon exit.
Warning signs about littering in the toilets.

Leaving the Betong rest house after a short stop, we travelled further South and finally reached Sri Aman at 3pm.

We will be spending the night at a local hotel here before our final day of travel, back to Kuching tomorrow. So, Sri Aman will be the very last stop for this year’s D’Drift.

We’ll leave the venture around Sri Aman for tomorrow. For now, we shall end the travelogue. — Dayakdaily

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