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Apr 23, 2010

Logging - Who Benefits? Part III

Today's Star:

 

One Citizen, One Tree:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/4/23/nati...

 

Council to plant a tree for every child born in Perak

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/4/23/nati...

 

And lovely Sabah, home to Maliau, and what's left of the Orang Utan race:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/4/23/nation/6113557&sec=nation

 

Today Near The Farm:

 

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Politicians please take note of the absurdity of the situation.

 

Malaysians, please take note we are paying for all these tree planting. They are not for free. 

 

Someone is cutting down 50 to 100 year old trees, clearing huge tracts of CO2 absorbing forests, destroying huge water catchment areas and laughing all the way to the bank.  You know who these people are!  (If you don't, FIND OUT!)

 

And we end up paying to plant trees, to pay for water pipelines from distant places, to pay for higher water rates, to pay for storms and flash floods, to pay for cooling as our cities become hotter.  It is just not right.

 

This is what you can do for Earth Day:

 

Start by knowing who these tree cutters are! Here's a partial list.

 

And when they donate money for schools, reject their donation. 

 

When they contribute to local houses of worship, return their money. 

 

When they come with an entourage to open some park or building, or to plant a tree (yes, they have!) show your back to them. 

 

When they give a lecture as a public figure or an opinion leader if you like, please throw your slippers at them! :) 

 

Malaysians get your values right! These are not people to be emulated or honoured or respected.

10:51 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: logging, timber

Apr 13, 2010

Organic Farming - Oasis For Birds

An organic farm is like an oasis to birds.  At our farm we have counted close to 50 species.  Foreign workers at our farm comment that there's no longer any necessity to keep them in cages as they are all around us and we don't even have to feed or water them! That's a valuable lesson they will take back with them after they finish their contract with us.

And the birds lost most of their fear for humans.  They will nest anywhere; next to the kitchen, on pillars, inside a comb of bananas, or like the photos here, on a dragon fruit plant in broad daylight in plain view of passer-bys and vehicles :

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Right next to a ripened dragon fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

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A couple of hatchlings in a meticulously weaved cup with tidy, even rim. 

The bird that made this cup is the Pied Fantail or Rhipidura Javanica Longicauda.

 

 

In our farm, they have grown used to being in close proximity to humans,  but remain wild as nobody in the farm is allowed to feed the birds.

 

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The Pied Fantail is distinguished from other Fantails by pale underparts with a contrasting blackish breast-band. 

When annoyed, it gives a chit, cheet sound to distract you from its nest. 

It lays a clutch of 2 eggs and is common throughout South East Asia.

 

 

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Mum's back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Close up (click on picture) of the Pied Fantail.  Note the breast-band, and the barely noticeable white eye-brow. 

 

 

 

 

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Here's why they are named Fantail (click on pic for close-up).

 

Apr 11, 2010

Useful Plants At The Farm - Red Ginger

Red Ginger (zingiber officinale var rubrum) has a sharper taste and is more aromatic than normal ginger.  Though cultivated, it can also be found growing wild in the jungles.

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If you are a lover of the taste and aroma of ginger in cooking, then the red ginger is something you must try.

Here's red ginger in apple cider vinegar.  The red color seeps into the vinegar and is preserved by the acid.  Fresh red ginger exposed to light will fade within hours.

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The red ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and is especially effective for those with chronic inflammatory problems such as arthritis, carpal tunnel, etc.  Drinking just a finger on alternate days will do wonders for your aches and pains. Here's a study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20136450

At the farm it is part of a very important tonic which we feed to the chickens when they are doing poorly.  The ginger also has strong anti-bacterial activity.

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The red ginger is very effective in bringing down high blood pressure.  Take two thumbs, blend with some sugar and then heat it up to just below boiling point for a minute or two.  Sieve, and then sip slowly like a tea. Relax, after an hour measure your BP.  You will be surprised! 

Note that to 'cure' HBP, a holistic approach must be taken.  We are not advocating red ginger as a 'cure' for HBP. It should be part of a total approach and you should consult your health-care provider before embarking on any alternative medical treatment. 

Mar 25, 2010

Caviar of the East - Pavlovian Imprinting

The chicks are now 30 days old and have opened their eyes.  Time for some imprinting to prevent them from joining some wild flock in a couple of weeks time when they start to fly.
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Part of our second batch of about 30 chicks. 
We have fine-tuned the brooding temperature, food and other variables for the hatchlings.  This second batch looks like heading for a 90% survival rate. The industry standard is 30 to 50%. 

Mar 20, 2010

Grassfed Cabrito

We are budgetting about RM30,000 to complete this plan to produce about one ton of 100% grassfed, certified organic cabrito per year.  Targetted wholesale price for one kg of cabrito meat will be RM80.00 but will be selling on a per carcass basis.  We may consider butchering at a later date and if we do that, the average pricing will be higher.  The meat will be certified and will have lab tests to prove high omega 3 content with a guaranteed ratio of 4:1 or better for the crucial omega 6 : omega 3 ratio.
Click on the pic for a larger image.
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Cost of the goat house comes to RM5.00 per sq ft.  The rest of the budget goes to fencing. The layout is not ideal of course but reflects the lay of the land and the fact that we are not 'touching' the land by way of leveling etc.  We work within the contraints of the landform which adds to the cost a little.
The rotation every 3 days is to avoid the need to constantly deworm in our humid climate and also to allow the land to recover faster as the land is planted with mature fruit trees.  The food for the goats will come mainly from the napia that we are growing seperately and then harvesting them to feed to the goats.
Of course it is not as easy as what have been outlined here.  Cultural practices will have to be implemented to ensure goat health, reasonable weight-gain and low mortality.
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Progress as at April 16.  Another two weeks, the goats will be in their new home.
(Click for larger view).

Mar 19, 2010

Thank You Encik Mukthar

Thank you Encik Mukthar for the kind invitation to your son's wedding.

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I am so sorry I can't make it but I am so glad for you that you and your family have found happiness and peace.

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May God protect your family now and always.

And God's Blessings for the newly weds.

11:43 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: malay weddings

Feb 26, 2010

Caviar of the East - Building the Population

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.

secondbatchWeb1.JPGEggs dated and where there are pin holes and fissures due to mishandling, nail polish is applied.

 

 

 

 

 

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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).

 

  

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In the brooder at 35 celcius.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hand feeding starts 8 hours after hatching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Update:

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Feathering after 14 days

 

 

 

 

 

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Feathering after 21 days

Jan 29, 2010

Captain (Rtd) Zaman aka Eudrillus and Mardi Officers came visiting

Captain (Rtd) Zaman aka Eudrillus made a surprise visit with some officers from Mardi.

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Captain Zaman with the crew-cut seeping coconut water and Zul and others from Mardi.

 

 

 

 

 

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Captain Zaman asked about the keyhole raised beds.  Well, here they are and they keep on expanding....

 

 

 

 

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And what is organic fruit farming without weaver ants or kerangga.  Here, they are used to get  rid of termites infesting a tree.

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And our latest project, designing a proper home for stingless bees of which now, we have discovered, we have four species in the farm.

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Temporary home.  The bees made this sail-like canvas to protect themselves from ants.

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This is the design we are working on now as a permanent home for the bees; design from Utrecht University, Tobago.

 

  

Jan 10, 2010

Useful Plants At The Farm- Curcuma Mangga

Curcuma mangga is also known as white turmeric.  It tastes like a mango, hence the name 'mangga'. 

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The rhizome with skin and without.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Researchers have found anti-tumour activities from extracts of the rhizomes.  On a personal basis, we have found it to have strong anti-inflammatory effect and we have incorporated it into our diet on a regular basis, either as a ulam or salad, or as a drink.

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The plant can reach about 5 feet high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Close up of the leaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At the farm, we gather the soil around the roots and rhizome and make a foliar spray to combat fungal  infections on plants.

 

Take one part soil, one part molasses, and 4 parts water and aerate vigorously for 10  hours. 

 

 

Use twice a week on plants with signs of fungal attacks.

 

Jan 04, 2010

Stingless Bees

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.

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These are the size of gnats and produce a dark colored very sweet honey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Below are red colored stingless bees which are the size of flies.  They produce copious amounts of propolis.

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The bees quickly seal up the entrance of the box with propolis.

 

 

 

 

 

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The transferred bees are quickly acclimatising themselves to their new homes; coconut shells.

 

 

 

 

 

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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