For some reason or other April 30th, 1st of May have always been dates that have tested me. Now after a year of full-time farming i look at myself & ask do i actually think, work, look, speak like a farmer…. unfortunately the answer is NO.

The challenge for the next year will be how to make the NO into a YES.

I seek solace with Rumi, when he says :

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Many people have come & gone in the last one year, many ask me “have you broken even,  in one year you should ‘ve made about 2 lakhs….”

I just look through them.  Little do they know the one fact in my life i.e  i am person with no respect for currency notes , sometimes i look at money & think isn’t this another piece of paper.  Seriously, sometimes i cannot understand the difference between a 10 rupee note & a 1000 rupee note. Money makes me uncomfortable, which also means i am very meticulous about my accounts. Since i’ve never had money & have never gone after it, i am quite comfortable without it as long as there is enough food growing on the farm. To add to the irony i’ve a crazy partner who married me 20 yrs back knowing fully well that this guy is a complete nut case, nomad. (Thanx dear, for putting up with me…..)

Plus there is a belief which is strong in me which says it’s just today which matters, i do not even think of tomorrow, tomorrow is a mere speculation, actually there is no tomorrow in my life, it’s just today & it’s just this moment which matters…….

Whereas experienced farmers will have a look at the work& say…“this will take a lifetime, as long as you do what you believe in… it should work out ok in about a couple of  years !

Some comforting thoughts & i really believe that after two more monsoons many things will fall into place by itself.  Its been a great month as far as work is concerned. Rice fields have been leveled and bunds with stone work have been created so that when  water flows down from the hill behind the rice field we can control the entry & exit points for water. There will be a continuous flow of oxygenated water, no unnecessary flooding in the fields & I hope when the water flows down into the river it will be again crystal clear. Our top soil will remain on our land.

Major planting has been on in the form of turmeric & yams, creating raised beds, planting & mulching. I was telling partner the other day i’ve done all the basics right, not sought any short cuts……

……1. Soil fertility can be raised to the highest levels by techniques that increase the percentage of soil organic matter, by rotating crops and livestock, and by maintaining soil minerals through using natural inputs

2.The plant vigour resulting from doing #1 correctly renders plants resistant to pests and diseases.

3.The plant quality resulting from doing #1 correctly provides the most nutritious possible food….

now we just hope for the best….

Each day & each night  for the last one year on the land has given so much happiness,  each day is like a new book, something new is learned, something else is unlearned. “though i miss the playful banter & company of my son & the (re) assuring presence of partner.

I also realise a lot of people in & around the village are curious about what i am doing since my methods  look so distinct. Unfortunately all of them have adopted  the orthodoxy of chemical agriculture & it looks like they find themselves up against a Galileo. It will be interesting to see who recants. Taking Prakash & Vimal along with me on this journey has  been  a challenge. Many a times he tries his luck with me re. using some element of industrial farming……. i just look through him or sometimes ask…. why do you think farmers in Vidarbha or in Gujarat have committed suicide. I ask him to give me one valid reason and I constantly pose a few questions to them & that also becomes questions for me also.

Mulching is a huge issue. For me it’s so natural to do it, but for them…. it’s a strange practice. Hopefully by October they will see the health of our soil & will agree with these practices. But they have been great otherwise, some serious quality time investments have been put in for them & i hope they will see that the aim of a biologically based agriculture is to cultivate ease and order rather than battle futilely against disease and disorder.

Sometimes i tell them my vision is this…..Subsoil and topsoil, plowed fields and green pastures, prairies and forests, valleys and mountains, sea and sky are all crisply represented. There are creatures large and small, birds and fishes, bacteria and fungi, predator and prey and the dynamic balances between them. You can also see farmers interacting harmoniously with that living world…….

I am not good at talking, infact i am useless, so i hope silent work will carry out my message for them,  a recent video by Mustafa Desamangalam was very apt.

………

Eurasian Blackbird has a beautiful call & these are first photographs of it from the land….

When we saw the land for the first time last April, there were just puddles of water, we check dammed the water in October, now its just one more month to go for the rains, it will be great if the water remains….

The nights are really pleasant on the land & the proof of it can be seen in the morning when one see these dew kissed leaves & those crystal clear dew drops. Almost make one feel like just kneeling down & tasting it with one’s own mouth !!

Have never been able photograph the Barking deer or even the mouse deer. They vanish into thin air in a jiffy, though they leave a bit of nutritious manure behind. The call of the barking deer is really stunning, no wonder it’s called the barking deer! Been seeing some really cute rabbits also in the night (and their pooh in the day), the torch-light glare stuns them for a while before they disappear….

I leave with this beautiful picture of the Passion fruit tendrils reaching out to the moon.

Adios !

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