1. The big news is that partner & son have moved to Pune. For the past three years, I have been commuting over 1,500 kms  every few weeks to develop this place. Now that my dear ones are close by, we are all itching to get the finishing touches done to our cottage so that we can make it into a happy living space. But unfortunately the “so called” finishing touches are taking longer than the basic building took.

2. We have Magic (& his 3 month old companion Mia is going to join us in a few days time). A fence around our cottage is critical so that our hounds don’t have to be tied up. It may act as a deterrent for them to run off and chase and hunt our neighbours chicks and goats.

magic

3. A chicken coop…. our chicks have increased in numbers & we plan to have a stock of 100 -120 soon.  Our chicken tractors are not enough now. The chicks now need to remain in a designated area & stop messing around with all my carefully placed mulch.

4.  Stone work or concrete ring around our open well. This is going to be the most expensive construction. ‘Am still in the process of talking to people who do this job and hope to find a reliable person to do this.

In all this frenzy of construction, farming has taken a back seat. Hopefully by the month of March, i will be in a position to throw off my shirt & pick up my farming tools & get back to working on the soil again.

In fact the only farming activity that is taking place right now is the lopping of trees to collect material for burning in preparation for the rice nursery (raab). It also means that I have discarded last year’s experiment of direct seeded rice, it just did not work (more of that later).

With the trees lopped & pruned, we get to spot these raptors quite easily. Here is a majestic looking Crested Serpent Eagle who allowed me to get very close to it ……

crested serpent eagle

and a Kestrel

kestrel

There was a bit of an unexpected surprise

One day the agricultural department people came marching into our farm & told me that they want to make “swales” in our land. This is the first one they are going to do in the area & like the check dam they want to do a ‘state of the art’ stuff so that other farmers in the area will get convinced. With a large scale plantation of bamboo & other forest trees planned before the rains…. “overlapping Fish scale swales” (i.e : if they happen) will be the best thing for us. I first heard of it at a friend’s place in Sirsi & it has been on my mind but somehow there have been other priorities in the last two years to pursue it.

The fact of the matter is that this year Maharashtra is going to be hit by one of the worst droughts in recent memory. Already a ban on flood irrigation is on the anvil. That’s one of the reasons why the agriculture department has been forced to wake up…(may be late by a mere 40 years or so i would say !!)

Peace, love ….& no more surprises for now !

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