“Food is a source of wealth, whereas food production is a source of misery. Those who produce food, will never have wealth, they only have misery”……. Tagore
I came across this classic from Rabindranath Tagore a couple of months ago & cannot help thinking that even after 100 years of Tagore saying this…….this is so true even now.
Too much analysis can lead to paralysis…….isn’t it ? So, let’s get back to whats been happening on the farm, Its been a long time since i got down to write or even bother to put my thoughts on paper. Somehow the days just go by, in a week 3-4 days one is on the farm, then a couple of days back in the city again everything goes by in a haze.
After we harvested all our Wheat, Sunflower, Chickpeas & Turmeric, i got down to preparation of the fields once again for the Turmeric planting. The funda this year has been not to call in any additional labour for the turmeric. The turmeric we grow is worth about 5k INR, which means that we ourselves should work on the soil prep for turmeric… isn’t it? I am trying to apply this same logic for our rice. If the rice we grow is worth 30k INR, then we shouldn’t spend more than 10k INR on labour. It is really going to be a tough ask, especially with my dodgy lower back & another reason been that i do not want to hear my phone ring from my sister, it will certainly be bad news……..our dad isn’t keeping well.
After doing the soil preparation (i.e : mineral matter preparation) for the turmeric i got down to carrying basket full loads of dry leaves (organic matter) to mulch the fields. We also have a lot of dry grass which is uncut. Cutting it manually is bloody expensive & an impossible affair. For the kind of farming which we do, we depend on a lot of bio-mass. Even after bringing in all the dry leaves, we are falling short of mulching material. So we decided in investing in a grass cutting machine, I borrowed from Keshav his Honda Brush cutter for a couple of days to see how it works…….Well, it did its work, however it was very uncomfortable & heavy. Partner, as is her wont did some quick research & she suggested we go for STIHL, so i went & had a look. They were simply a world apart & without blinking an eye we invested in the “FS 120” model……..its been working like a dream & i’m happy that from now on we will be able to use all the bio-mass available in the farm to the optimum.
May 1st (apart from been Mayday) is also an important day for us, this year we completed 4 years on this land & the STIHL brush cutter is like a nice gift to our land to mark the anniversary; a gift by which we will try & ensure that our land will always be under a cover of organic material.
When i look at photographs of 4 years back…….well, given the sweltering heat that we’ve been subjected to this year, now our land actually looks much, much greener than what it was. This was how barren it was…
Unfortunately on the down side , now the river doesn’t have a single drop of water, whereas on May 2010 it did have lots of water. The first time when we went to see this land, children were frolicking & fishing in the river. This was how it was in May 2010…….& now…….. there isn’t a drop !!
When we were using the river water in the last 3 years we had made check-dams, then water did remain. Now that we have our own well, we are not using the river water, so we didn’t make any check-dams……
However even without any check-dams so much water was there in the river in May 2010 & why is it that there isn’t a drop of water now?
The answer is very simple : This winter for the very first time, in the village down stream many farmers grew wheat on flood irrigation, using water from the river.
With many people growing Wheat the only plus was that all the cattle was kept under check till everyone’s wheat was harvested. The moment that deed was done, the cattle was free to roam around & even the dumbest of the cattle would be able to find the green banana leaves on our land & moreover our fields had still Onions growing & they were doing really, really well. After a tiring morning’s work & good lunch one looks forward to a quick snooze……. then dogs bark…. shit maan, cattle is inside, jump out from the hammock, pick stones, sling shots & take 100 mtr sprints to chase them off……..They come in the night also, it’s really frustrating.
Finally we managed to harvest the onions……now they still come to eat the banana’s & bamboo……If we think our natural thorny fence is good enough…. then we are fools.
Peace, love & some fencing ideas…