Mar 19, 2010
Feb 26, 2010
Building up the critical mass naturally takes time. We decided to speed things up a little by incubating eggs and acclimatising them to the micro-climate at our farm from hatchlings.
Eggs dated and where there are pin holes and fissures due to mishandling, nail polish is applied.
Hatching out in a mere 16 days, not 20 + days as recorded in most books. Almost failed as knowing the incubation period is critical to a successful hatch. However daily observation and experience permitted us to have a successful hatch inspite of misinformation from books and various blogs (one blog recommended an incubation temperature of 40 celcius. That will most likely 'cook' the embryo).
In the brooder at 35 celcius.
Hand feeding starts 8 hours after hatching.
Feathering after 14 days
Feathering after 21 days
Jan 04, 2010
We failed with the Italian bees. They seem to invite mites and worse, they all fall prey to various birds, especially the swifts.
We are now keeping local honey bees. However, they are more aggressive and the stings are very painful.
Now, we have found stingless bees in the farm in many places and are now trying to domesticate them. There are at least three species that we have seen so far, producing a very rich aromatic honey.
These are the size of gnats and produce a dark colored very sweet honey.
Below are red colored stingless bees which are the size of flies. They produce copious amounts of propolis.
The bees quickly seal up the entrance of the box with propolis.
The transferred bees are quickly acclimatising themselves to their new homes; coconut shells.
These bees are ideal for urban homes. They are stingless and produce better quality honey than the commercial honey that we have become used to.
Click on the pics for close-ups
Nov 28, 2009
A goat was sacrified for Raya Korban yesterday at the farm; in commemoration of Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to the will of God.
Muslims at the farm from Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh participated. Pak Cik Razaly, the farm manager, presided.
The chosen animal was strong, healthy and one of the best in the herd.
It was treated with great respect; gently led rather than pulled or pushed.
Care was taken that it was not stressed, the knife was hidden from its eyes, and it was gently blind-folded and made to face the kiblah.
Recently I saw a program on Astro of an organic farm in the UK where the intention of the owner was to bring urbanites to his farm to experience 'real' life, including the butchering of animals for food as opposed to buying them off the shelf in sanitary packs.
There was a scene where a stunner was used on the cockerel that they were intending to butcher. I could clearly see the suffering and pain the cockerel went through as it was being stunned.
It must be painful and traumatic to be stunned to unconsciousness!
Here, in the farm, I could see very clearly that the animal felt little if any pain at all. In fact a research done by Wilhem Schulze, a professor in veterinary medicine, in 1978 indicates that ritual slaughtering of animals may be more humane than modern methods.
I am impressed with the respect that was accorded the animal yesterday, and for this fact alone, in my opinion, we should not participate in modern commercialised meat production as a consumer.
Nov 09, 2009
We entered into an area of the forest where no human have entered before (or at least, not for a long, long while). The 'feel' is different. There was no sense of 'fear' from the jungle. We felt 'protected', and being 'embraced' and one feels a reluctance to leave. There were no mosquitoes, no disturbances. Only the quiet peace of a 100 million year old rain forest.
The forest that we entered looking for a water source for our farm:
We reached the area after following a series of newly discovered small waterfalls rising over 100 meters. We named the falls 'Air Terjun Wahyu / Wahyu Falls' after Ali Wahyudi our Indonesian Technical Adviser who first discovered the falls.
How long ago was it when the first hominid appeared? 8 million years?
Is it not possible for another intelligence, another 'awareness' to have developed in our rain forests over the 150 million years of its existence ?
I must go back to the peace of the rain forest ....
Nov 05, 2009
On 30th Oct we switched on the sounds on a permanent basis. Today, we noticed the droppings of at least 10 pairs of newly weds. This must surely break all records for the time it takes for the walit to take up home in a man-made structure.
The walit in a farm like DQ provides a useful function in keeping the insect population low. We first noticed the walit when we were scratching our heads as to why our honey bees just keep on disappearing. Then we put two and two together.
Completed walit house plus garden.
Nov 02, 2009
What a lovely mimosa (click on pics to enlarge).
The seeds with a single wing.
The distinctive mimosa leaves.
Oct 31, 2009
There are warriors in my midst; fighting thankless battles on our behalf.
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Oct 28, 2009
Today we had our first trial run calling the walit.
Completed walit house.
We switched on the 'bazooka' tweeter for the first time. It's that dark outline jutting up on the roof, in the picture. It has a range of 1 km.
And the walit came after just 5 minutes ! We counted easily a hundred! They dove down and around the house and some went in on investigatory flights.
Now we wait for some newly wed couples to make our house their home.
Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture came today to audit the farm on its organic compliance. Water and plant samples were taken and records were carefully checked. The auditors even asked after the welfare of the workers.
Puan Nurul Al Hana and Tengku Azman, auditors from the Ministry having a cup of mulberry leaf tea after the audit.