Mirror beach is back!


A huge typhoon several years ago altered the land contour, and turned this beach into a pebble beach. Beautiful but not that easy to enjoy. The sand is now back and at low tide we can run on the beach again! Enjoy


Found a pair of emerald coloured beetles greeting me at the door this morning. The baby flew away before I could take a picture. Now I finally understood why people would be inspired to make jewellery of these gorgeous beetles.


Poor bird

It’s been a while since I spotted Taiwan Barbet in our farm. Found one this morning. The good news is that they are obviously still around. The bad news is that it’s dead. Not sure what happened to it.



Prairie or lawn?

Visiting Changbin on a mentoring project, we had lunch at this location. A sturdy hut with corrugated iron roof, surrounded by manicured lawn. It’s so much better than dining in the typical road side restaurant.

As we were leaving, right behind this hut is a gorgeous prairie of wild grass, reminds me of Piet Oudolf’s landscaping design. P asked the locals “which is more beautiful?” For them the manicured lawn is beautiful while the prairie is wild and unattractive.

Living in Taitung, I noticed the vast amount of weedkiller used in the country side, as it is the cheapest and least labour intensive way to keep nature from taking over. We engaged people to 打草 but it’s getting harder to find people willing to do the manual labour. We need a creative solution for human to live with nature, be gentle to the earth while preserving indigenous biodiversity.

P.S. My friend Shu Yuan, a landscape architect, pointed out that the plants in my pictures are not indigenous vegetation.

Pangolin Rescue 穿山甲

This morning, we found this poor little thing, clutching the pipe trying not to drown. Don’t know how long it’s been in the water. We have a reservoir storing water for irrigation at the edge of our land. It’s about 10m x 10m and 2m deep.

While Ping and I tried to figure out who to ask for help, our friend Bilhas already jumped into the water, without any thought to how he will get out of the reservoir.

The pangolin was fearful and would not let go. Bill had to pry his tail loose and grabbed it by the tail.

In my ignorant state, I was afraid to touch or hold it. Now I learned a few facts about this little known mammal.

1. It doesn’t have teeth, so doesn’t bite.

2. The claws might look big but they are not for attacking. In fact, pangolins don’t have the ability to attack, it can only defend by curling into a ball, using its tough scales as protective shield.

This morning’s rescue effort made me read up on pangolins. We know about trafficking of elephant and rhino tusks but I didn’t know about the pangolins. This is what I found from NatGeo #rachelnuwer article on pangolins. They are the world’s only scaled mammal, and that conspicuous distinction has contributed to their status as the world’s most trafficked mammal. Poachers target pangolins throughout Asia and Africa primarily for their scales, which are used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Research indicates that hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of pangolins are killed each year.

But according to a new report in Conservation Science and Practice, scales aren’t the only reason people covet the scaly anteaters—and Asia hasn’t always been the only center of demand for them. Before 2000, the United States was a major importer of pangolin skins, which were used to make exotic leather cowboy boots, belts, and wallets.

Since 2017, all eight pangolin species have been banned from international trade. Of the eight extant species, four occur in sub-Saharan Africa and four inhabit parts of Asia. The ones found in Taiwan are wild Formosan pangolins (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla), a subspecies of Chinese pangolins.

Taiwan from 1950 until the early 1970s, pangolins were rounded up in the tens of thousands annually for both domestic and international leather markets, which eventually caused a population crash. A hunting ban on the species came into effect in 1973, and this started to make a difference to wild pangolin populations across the island. To top it off, the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1989 seems to have largely crushed the trade.

While the Chinese pangolin is in steep decline throughout its range from Nepal all the way across through Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and of course China, the population in Taiwan is growing.

This is the rescue hero Bill Liu, who’s gentle touch finally broke through the pangolin’s guard and allowed itself to be pried away from the pipe.


2019/11/2 update

Since this post, TW Reporter also wrote a series on Pangolin and its’ illegal global trade. The best news is that Taiwan’s name has moved from the bad list to the conservative list.


The hazard of beekeeping

On our daily walk to check on the bees, one got too close to Ping, The bee unfortunately didn’t survive the encounter but succeeded in leaving its stinger inside Ping’s temple.

The stinger removed, antiseptic cream applied. But the next day, Ping woke up with a swollen eye lid. The toxin seemed to have travelled down to his eye lid.

Caterpillar dermatitis 毛毛蟲皮膚炎

The itch started on the inside elbow of my right arm. I thought it was a mosquito bite and didn’t pay much attention. The next day, the itch spreads to the entire lower arm. My arm was covered in rashes and fortunately no blisters.

Must be an allergic reaction. Medication? Food? Mites? Nothing I could do except applying antihistamine cream with steroid to reduce the itch and inflammation.
This is probably caterpillar dermatitis. I must have touched or brushed against poisonous caterpillar in the edible garden, or under a tree. I live in nature and there are trees everywhere. 
Now I know why long sleeves are recommended when in the wild.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 7



1. 急診內科醫生說是毛蟲造成的皮膚炎,自己會好,可以吃抗組織胺的藥。原則上不要洗太熱的水,會癢的話可以冰敷,盡量不要抓。有些人的過敏反應,並不會在當下就產生,而是在一、兩天後。


毛毛蟲身上的「毛」,含有毒素。裡面有組織胺(histamine)、組織胺釋放素(histamine liberators)、血清素(serotonin)及蛋白酶(protease)等化學物質。若毛毛蟲直接掉在人的衣服或皮膚上,或是這些「毛」隨著風,飄落在人的衣著上或皮膚上時,會直接刺激皮膚皮膚(irritation)或間接的誘發皮膚的過敏反應(allergy)。這兩種作用,都會誘發毛毛蟲皮膚炎。主要分佈的位置為脖子、腋下、四肢內側、腰部及足部。