Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"so much more" includes...

as briefly mentioned earlier in 3 days at pR, so much more covers...

1. baby steps on the yanmar mini-excavator...

2. lopping off a thin part of my forefinger in a mis-aligned lemon cutting exercise and disinfecting and coagulating the wound with a wonderful local herb...

3. gathering much valuable cow urine from the beautiful cows at pR...

and the beauty of them all (which is a work in progress) - the water flow system design - the virtuous water cycle of pR.
1. water gets pumped by the windmill into the holding tanks.
2. the overflow will be spread out across the vegetable growing areas. the water will flow under the vegetable beds rather than over them.
3. the excess from this will recharge the swales, which will recharge the ground water.
4. through all this water flowing, there will be minimum evaporation-loss because of massive mulch cover.

Friday, January 22, 2010

first 3 days at point return

just back from an intensive/exhaustive (note - not exhausting)/invigorating/enriching 3 days at point return.

1. started making friends with the cows that are hosted at pR.
2. started the process of making another banana circle (also endearingly called kannamma (கண்ணம்மா). details will follow.
3. started to understand the power of swales for storing water. such a majestic topographical design.

and so much more.

thinking of starting a new section at Fun, yeah?
what say readers...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

haiti - torn asunder

the population of haiti is approx 9.7 million.
nearly 100,000 people are feared to have died from the massive earthquake of Jan 12.
thats 1% of the population eliminated in a few seconds (and another 3-4% rendered homeless and destitute, it is devastating).
like banda aceh from dec 2004 (5 years later, banda aceh seems to have moved on).

and when the affected include decision makers, then chaos is inevitable...

Friday, January 15, 2010

pottering around at home

since our move has been a bit delayed, we decided to potter around our home gardens.
why not get some green work going around the house? why not, indeed.

amazingly, my mom loves to prowl for hours in the garden. and more amazingly, my father-in-law is a born-again gardener.
with them around, we want to make our urban homes also move away from a dependence on the the market.

1. made a broom from coconut leaves.

a new broom costs Rs 20. fairly reasonable ROI :-)

2. mulched beans saplings

3. prepared amrut jal and preparing amrut mitti (approx 15 sq ft bed). it will take another 1.5 months to get ready.

4. prepared raised bed for tomatoes transplanting which we have sheet mulched.
first dig up 6 inches of the soil (the topmost 1" is topsoil and it has been saved for amrut mitti)...

added compost, cow-dung, soil and sand and mixed it up...

the bed had been raised to an approx height of 9"...

mulched with a carboard carton (which was from the packing that moved from mumbai to madras)...and you can make out the 3 holes on the left side which have the transplanted tomato saplings (we rushed this part, the recommended sapling size is almost 6")...

all in all, a fairly productive 2 weeks around the garden.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

honey drenched trip

we spent 3 days at sengottai and it was memorable.
the beauty of the place left me in little doubt on kerala's claim as God's own country.
the village we went to was around 6 kms westwards towards the kerala border and at the foot of the western ghats. spellbinding natural beauty.
it was certainly more kerala than tamilnadu in its geography.

and one of the key moments was honey drenched.
to see a hive at extreme close up and to eat the honey fresh of the comb was ultra-sweet!
bees do sting, but we were a bit lucky. we did not even realise (the bee-box looks like a harmless post box until we got a closer dekko. by then the honey and curiosity had lulled our normally sharp senses :-)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

on a short trip

we are off to sengottai (in tamil it means red fort).
it is close to the TN-Kerala border in southern TN.

we will stay with an old friend, who has been farming for the last 3 years.

will be like a trial run of sorts. will be nicely out of the reach of all technologies except phones :-)

more when we are back.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

salaam bombay

i never got around to being graceful to the city of my youth as i left its boundaries.
i came in june 1998 and left on jan 2010. from age 24 years to age 35 years.
the most energetic part of my life was spent in the in the city which perhaps will be more home than any other city in the world.

its importance in my life is fairly obvious considering that it is the most common tag in my over 500 posts.
73 posts tagged bombay scores over all the other major themes covered here.

a few top items of the city that i am thankful for:
1. fully understanding the importance of public transport...example
2. making me to be a secular thinker...example
3. sharpening my bird's eye viewing ability....example
4. start my journey in understanding linguistics...example
5. making an experimenter out of me..example

salaam bombay/mumbai/bambai. it will be top in my list of heroes.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

poison in our food

one of the hidden or low-level reasons for the move is the growing realisation of how we are slowly and knowingly poisoning our bodies and poisoning the generations to come.

while it is fairly clear that the whole reason for running behind money/good job, etc is to be healthy along with being wealthy, the actions we take to ensure our health baffles me.

the only study i can lay my hands on is the CSE study on pesticide contamination of our foodstuff which followed their pesticola story.
there are other estimates and theories - which simply (and correctly) expand based on the deleterious health outcomes that we are seeing.

and these are over and above the very open and obvious food adulteration problem.

i think it is time that we stop hiding behind the 'there-is-no-choice'.
there are many answers...
1. buy organic
2. grow some vegetables in your home
3. increase awareness
4. buy only seasonal fruits/vegetables
5. say no to imported items
6. become a farmer

cold freezes northern hemisphere

the comments on the weather from the earlier post today took me around checking world weather - another of my pet muses.

US freezing
UK freezing
China in deep freeze
Korea - record snowfall
Cold wave in North India
Flash floods in Brazil

and of course - the oddest of them all - pleasant weather in chennai.

about time - netas under IT scanner

TOI reports that the IT dept has decided to scrutinise the poll affidavits of the candidates of the recent Lok Sabha polls as against their annual filings for income tax declarations.

about time. the extraordinary wealth that they are accumulating is obviously at our expense.

the recent mah state elections was analysed by Mah Election Watch - 200 crorepatis!!

association of democratic reforms (ADR India) is a must-follow election watchdog.
read their report on the MPs in the current Lok Sabha.

but since the chor and police are bhai-bhai, where do you think this investigation will go?