Wet and staying dry!
The wet season has moved the dry season out for a few months. Everything changes rapidly as the rains bring new growth and a reboot to the typhoon ravaged forests and farms.
I’m riding my Chinese trail bike to town. The road is in terrible shape. Heavy rains have washed away all the sand and soil on the roads leaving a sea of large stones. It takes intense concentration to negotiate the eroded tracks and a simple 30-minute trip to town can leave me feeling exhausted once I return.
In town there is a funeral almost every day. It seems the change of seasons is too much for some of the older people living here. Their time is up it seems. There are also lots of motorcycle accidents so a few young people get creamed on the wet roads. More funerals!
The deceased loved one’s picture is usually on a poster at the front of the funeral parade moving slowly from the church in town to the graveyard. I always check to make sure it’s not my picture because then that would be weird and I’d be in the twilight zone or something!
Poverty claims more lives than most people imagine if you measure the side effects. When I examine local motorcycles they have bald tires, no front brake and maybe a bit left on the back brake. With little or no money, maintenance rarely happens so these bikes are death traps, literally. That doesn’t stop the young dudes from speeding and yahooing around this area.
Sometimes I’m flying down the main highway on my trusty mechanical steed watching for stray dogs and drunken drivers. Suddenly on the side of the road I see two guys setting up a brand new pink coffin on its display stand as I speed past…Ohoh! Maybe I take it as a sign to slow down.
At our filed school farm I’m dealing with the wet season with a shovel and hoe. Firstly it’s a former rice farm so all the terraces have turned into soft cloying mud. I break the bunds and dig trenches to drain the water ponding on the rice beds. The PH is also very acid. Sitting water causes anaerobic conditions, which acidify the soils. Draining the bunds is critical to changing the soils.
We obtain 3 ducks to use to make liquid fertilizer. I dig them a pond and get the volunteers to make a rock edge so the sides don’t cave in. It start with 3 ducks but a few days later, a whole gang of them move in with ours. Free ducks! Snails are breeding up in the moist conditions. And they will eventually do some damage to our plants. Thankfully, the duck squad nail them in only 10 days. I can’t find any now. Yay!
We have Steve and Amanda Grist here at present helping with the fieldwork. We also have a new intern called JJ who just happens to look like Jesus. His Spanish looks and black beard give him the appearance of JC. I have to laugh when JJ is working out in the rice paddy and people ride past and point…”Look! Its Jesus!”
Maybe Perma-Jesus is a good idea!
The volunteers always build a needed component of our farm design. The Grist’s and JJ build us a new seedling-raising house. The heavy rains destroy anything we plant unless it’s an advanced seedling. The seedling house uses large bamboo troughs as seedling trays and has a plastic roof to shield the plants from the monsoonal rains.
The recent PDC course tested our newly built infrastructure to the max. Thankfully it all held together, including the pit toilet. We are now focusing on the infrastructure needed for the Permaculture Aid Certificate course to be held in October. A 4 bay compost toilet will be our next construction project. We will also build an indoor/outdoor classroom.
To make this happen I must now change roles to become the fundraiser. Its a big deal, climbing out of the mud into good clothes and knocking on doors.Ill head out in 2 weeks to Manila to visit a list of allies. I need their help to raise funds for this project. After the green hills of Marblud Manila will be a shock to my system, I’m sure. In the meantime we will keep planting veges and digging drains!