Sunday, March 29, 2009

Things are starting to grow...rain everyday

Well, things have finally really started coming up, including corn,radish, pea, butter bean, soyabean, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, garlic, flowers- gladius, sunflower, marigold, lupine, and lily. We have also made boxes for more flowers, and even more boxes for radish transplants, carrot, and turnip. I seeded beets the other day, but they haven't sprouted. My onions are in 25 cell flats and have sprouted nicely. Perhaps they will be ready to TP in a few weeks. My TFI club has met for the second time, and they constructed a bean dome, similar to the previous one, but made from small saplings rather than bamboo. On our next meeting we will hopefully be heading to a nursery just down the road in Pangthang. I will be going there today in the pouring rain to scout it out, and let them know I am planning a field trip there. I am re-reading Thoreau's Walden now. What a masterpiece full of introspection and points to ponder on. Another great book I have read recently are The Inheritance of Loss- Kiran Desai (takes place in Kalimpong, and winner of Man Booker Prize 2006. I have been reading and playing a lot of guitar, as I have nothing but free time when I go home to Arithang alone week after week. Please enjoy the pictures below! All the best! Ben

Monday, March 9, 2009

Seeds to plant, but water is scarce...

I have started planting my seeds now- corn, beans, garlic, pumpkin, squash, gourd, cucumber, flowers...the only problem is that there is currently a water crisis, both in Gangtok, and up here in Pangthang. Though maybe completely unrelated- the past 4 days in Gangtok there have been queues of people waiting up to 2 hours to fill a bucket from the back of a truck. The old cast iron pipes were burst due to an avalanche. They are being replace, but it takes time- up to 5 or 6 days. I havent been able to bathe since it started! The water issue at school is due to a mix of it being the dry season, and water pipe issues stemming from Gurung's place. I am working on acquiring the greenhouse material, albeit slowly. I now have a club of 7 great students. We will be meeting every other Saturday. On our first meeting the boys helped Sherap finish the corn fence. Next time we will be building a bean dome like the one in the picture. The kids are really excited and actively engaging in the work, so it makes me happy. Other than that things are going smoothly, I haven't gotten intestinal problems yet- touch wood. Below I will put pictures of what the terraces are looking like now!

Skilled workers making a drainage system- preventing soil erosion during the monsoon


Bean dome

Bamboo ties, all decomposable

The farm

Corn rows

some squash and pumpkin hills