Sunday, July 15, 2018

Jon Jandai - Guru of Natural Living

Came across Jon Jandai who is the founder of self reliance centre Pun Pun in Thailand and thought it will be useful to introduce him here. They run a self reliance centre where a group of people live and do organic farming, earth building, home schooling for kids etc. 

According to him life is really easy and fun, man need not work this hard to make a living. He left his job in Bangok and started to cultivate rice and with 2 months work he had enough rice to eat and with less than 1 hour work per day he has enough vegetables to eat. He alone can make a earthen it is such an interesting story....

More details of him can be seen from the following videos/links.  - TED talk - Interview - Interview by Gajanand Agarwal - Keynote - Jon Jandai in Bangalore

Sunday, July 8, 2018

An amazing couple - Asha and Hari, Kannur,Kerala

Hari and Asha from Kannur, Kerala lives in a mud house in tune with nature. Their 900 square feet house completed in 2011 and costed 3 lakhs, out of which 2.5 lakhs were spent on labor charges and 50,000 rupees for the materials. They don't have fan or fridge and uses a traditional method for preserving foods.They eat only when they feel hungry and they are mostly self sufficient with rice and vegetables from their farm. Monthly expenses are 5000 rupees.

Some other links

Planting calendar (Njattuvela Calendar)

In Kerala, there is a planting calendar called Njattuvela Calendar which says the best time for starting each specific crop.

Farm in rainy season - 2018

This year rain has been very good. Coconut trees are slowly recovering. Some photos...

Elephant foot yam...

Pureria Javanica - in some places it is becoming a nuisance, since it climbs every where

Taro - in front of the farm house. These places were prepared in summer, now this same place can be reused again and again and residual fertility becomes added advantage for the next crop.

Lot of young trees in between coconut trees, some of them were cut, but not cleaned

'Koorkka'  in Malayalam, it is a root crop, very tasty one. One type of spinach - Sambar Cheera.

Finally well has some water.

Another type of spinach.

Chilly plants...

Bamboo planted my friend - late Dr.Rajesh

This year, putting sunhemp throughout the farm.

A huge honey bee nest, after couple of days, they just disappeared.

Little guard

Sunhemp growing around newly planted coconut plant

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Turmeric, Taro - 2018

Had some turmeric seeds from last harvest, since there was good summer rain, started planting them. 14 raised beds were planted, these beds were made 3 years back, after that no new beds were made, just maintaining them. While harvesting some extra care is provided so that beds are not completely disturbed, that saves lot of effort later. 

Started with cutting the grass in the raised bed, then grass on the boundary is cut and put back on the beds, along with this some new soil also gets added. Collected dried leaves from the road, and then made small pits and put some cowdung and leaves and then turmeric was planted.

In two beds, pits were not made, rather just 2-3 handfuls of dried cowdung was put and then turmeric seeds were put, then applied dried leaves. But on these beds, I first removed the mulch and then cut the new grass, some were pulled out also, after planting, mulch was applied back. If these beds yield reasonably well, then next time onwards, complete planting can be done like this which saves lot of effort.

I have a new helping hand, his name is Sivan, since he works with me, the whole thing becomes much more easier. 

No-till bed

Small pits made for planting


Planted Taro also in a similar way

Since beds were mulched earlier, there was not much grass, but removed a few existing one so that crops starts nicely. May be weeding will be necessary in every 2 weeks till the crops are established. Planning to sow green gram in one or two fields just to see if the cover crop takes care of the weeds.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rescue of a kingfisher baby bird

 Open well is completely dry now, and birds nest on the wall where there are holes. I can see some snake skins also in the well. Couple of days I saw a kingfisher baby bird in the open well. It has completely developed feathers and was crying once in a while and its sibling was heard from a hole, but could not see it. I checked 4-5 times, in between work and never saw their parents feeding them. It looks like this one was trying to fly from the nest and fell into the well. I thought their parents will take care of them, but didn't see them when I was watching. I had one ripe papaya and cut it into 2 halves and threw it to the well, thought if it is hungry, it will feed on that, but it looks like it was not yet trained, so didn't see him feeding on papaya.

After 2 days when I visited, that was already dead !!! Felt sad about that, and now I could see the other sibling was in the well too. When I visited after an hour, it could not be seen, but later found that it is going back to its nest and tries to fly and ends up in the well. Wanted to rescue it, since other one had died, thought, this may also have the same fate. I had a nice rope and initially thought, putting a basket and try to catch it with that. But that was not easy task.

During lunch time, thought of putting some glyrecedia sticks on the rope with some branches, so it can slowly come out of the well. Tied two long sticks and then tied it to the rope and lowered it down, and later added one more so that it can easily come out. I kept visiting him in every 30 minutes and could see him sitting near the stick. After some time, I could see him sitting on the stick and felt quite happy that he is using it. By the time, I was about to leave, he finally made it to the top of the well. I could see his parents also making some sound, after some time he had vanished to the woods and I was a happy man.

Deep inside blue spot can be on the bucket and two papaya halves 

He liked my glyrecedia ladder, sitting next to it 

Finally he is seen on the wall of the well, he can be barely seen between the plants, didn't want to go very near and take photo, since he may be embarassed and fall into the well again, he is first time seeing the world !!!!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Aruvakkari - A traditional rice variety

While looking for the right variety for no-till farming, a friend called Gireesh from Pallassana, Palakka suggested Aruvakkari rice. This is a traditional variety and comes under Palakkadan Matta category. Medium duration around 120 days, and grows tall - close to 5 feet or so.

As per the NBPGR database, there is a variety called 'Aruvakkali' , is it same as Aruvakkari? Not sure, please see the link

Also there is a variety called 'Erumakkari' in Kerala Agriculture University paper 

Whether both these are same, again not sure. The variety 'Erumakkari' was referred by an old farmer lady when I met her some time back, according to her it used to give good yield.

Anyway, I will be trying this one in 2018 monsoon season.