Sunday, February 07, 2016

Creekside stone barriers

This area used to be the old road going up to other parts of the farm in Bugallon, Pangasinan. The series of huge flash floods, strong typhoons in recent years have altered the terrain of this road and the creek near it. Nong Endring hopes to convert this into an expanded rice field. All photos below taken last January 24, 2016.

We gathered dried leaves and branches and used them as filling materials. When the regular rice planting season starts this coming June, rice can be planted in this area.

A big and strong termite mound was demolished and flattened. The flattened soil can be used later as additional filling materials.

These are the stone barriers we erected. The creek on the left side, about 7-10 meters away, and the new or future rice field on the right. When flash floods come -- they occur several times a year -- the stones will help protect the new ricefield from strong current and deposits of different things.

Opposite view, creekside on the right, future ricefield on the left. This is not high or strong enough of course, this needs further reinforcement. Meaning more stones, but the initial barrier is already there.

The creek where we got the stones. There is also a need to deepen this by removing the bigger and medium size stones, so that water level will become lower during the rainy season.

When I go back there, we will add more stones to the barriers. Make them higher and stronger.

My treehouse is 12 years old

My treehouse is now 12 years old. Time flies.
It was well-built, hugging a big and live mahogany tree, so it has survived some  of the strongest typhoons that passed by the area.

I took this photo last January 24, 2016.

Succeeding photos were taken last December 2015.
The 2nd floor. During the rainy season, this trunk of mahogany tree produces lots of new branches and leaves, yes, in the middle of the house.

No bed, yes. No one sleeps there, our caretaker goes home in the afternoon after feeding our dogs who watch the area 24/7. When I was still unmarried, I would go and sleep here every 2-3 weeks.

This part of the roof needs repair every year, or every 2 years at least. Why, because the trunk goes taller and bigger.

Part of the stair handle, gobbled by a branch.

 Opposite side, same spot.

A brace of the roof, the base has been swallowed by the trunk.

A pillar of the 2nd floor, photo taken from the 1st floor. This pillar is about 3 x 8 inches and it is slowly swallowed by the trunk.

Nong Endring sitting near the toilet.

Braces for the 1st floor, photo taken from the base. Their base also swallowed by the trunk.

Two more braces.

View from the 2nd floor.

Thank you treehouse, for the gift of shelter and shade. I still feel relaxed and rejuvenated whenever I visit you. And thank you, Mr. Mahogany, for hosting my treehouse all these years.

See also:
My Treehouse, May 2012, July 17, 2012
My Treehouse, August 2013, August 21, 2013

Treehouse, Versions 2002 vs. 2014, April 23, 2014

My Treehouse is 11 Years Old, February 10, 2015

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Alexa ranking

I have eight blogs, four in and another four in Five of them have global ranks in There are perhaps hundreds of millions of blogs and websites worldwide, both in English and in other languages, many of these don't have any global rank.

(1) this blog is about agro-forest farming.
(2) is my main economics and political blog.
(3) is about trade and investments in Asia, related topics.
(4) is about travel and tourism plus my notes about my two girls.
(5) is about conferences of the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia.

My three other blogs which have no global rank in yet are the following:

(6), about energy and electricity issues in the Philippines and other Asian economies, plus some postings on energy policies in Europe and the US.
(7), about intellectual property (IP) issues in Asia, other countries outside the continent.
(8), some rotary notes about our club and RI District 3830.

Thank you, readers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Terraces at mahogany area, Part 2

These photos were taken last October 31, 2015. I only manage to upload and write about them today. This is the area between the mahogany trees and the rice field. Before the clearing...

And about 2 hours after. These 2 young boys helped us. They move and work fast. They are happy to work for about 4-5 hours with snacks and lunch, and a fee.

The uprooted and cut grasses, vines, leaves are deposited as filling materials at the back of the stone terraces.

Another round of clearing last December 19, 2015. The decomposed organic matter at the back of the stone terraces easily shrink in size.

Not far from this area is a stock of wood not good for lumber, to be used for charcoal making.

See also:
Terraces at Mahogany Area, March 10, 2015
Terraces, Part 11, October 22, 2014
Terraces Below the Treehouse, May 23, 2015
Mini-dam terraces, August 02, 2015

Creek and ricefield, Part 2

After typhoon Koppu (local name "Lando") fell down so many trees and caused heavy flash flooding in October 2015, the irrigation canal going to Nong Endring's rice field was covered by a thick layer of mud and sand. So Nong Endring painstakingly and patiently cleared all those things that blocked the canal.

These photos taken December 19, 2015.

It's back to irrigating the rice field. Nong Endring standing with our dog from Makati, Shiver. Shiver is now staying at Danny's house in the barrio near the farm.

An improvised water impounding system -- cogon, covered by sack with sand, covered by a layer of stones and sand.

The water enters here, with improvised barrier so that dried leaves from the creek won't enter the irrigation canal and contribute to silt and mud.

Many of these young trees beside the canal just grew on their own, never planted by us.

Nong Endring has expanded the rice field as more water can now enter the field.

Further down, a small natural pond, about 2 1/2 feet deepest part. This is where I submerge and relax my body for a few minutes before going back to Manila.

See also:
My swimming pool in the farm, 2005, June 10, 2011

Creek, canal and irrigation, September 05, 2011
Relaxing in the creek, January 05, 2013

The creek and the rice field, October 13, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Typhoon Koppu ("Lando") destruction in the farm

Typhoon Koppu, known locally as "Lando" that hit northern Luzon two weeks ago, severely affected the provinces of Aurora, Cagayan, the Ilocos and Cordillera provinces. But it also caused damages in nearby provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, and Central Luzon provinces.

In our farm in Bugallon, western side of Pangasinan, our caretaker said there were 2D/2N of non-stop rains plus very strong winds. The creek in the farm turned into rampaging river for 2 days too, eroding both sides of  the creek and cascaded huge volume of sand, rocks and stones downstream. Below, the way going to my treehouse, left side of the creek.

Right side of the creek. At least one tall mahogany tree was knocked down.

Huge volume of sand was deposited by the flash flood in this side. To the right of the sweet potato or "camote" was a rice plot.

The water used to flow in an inverted L shape. Previous floods and the last one deposited more soil and rocks there, the water now goes relatively straight.

This part has become deeper. Vehicles could cross this part of the creek before, now it is no longer possible.

Luckily, not a single tree around my treehouse fell. But they were battered by the strong  winds.

 This gmelina tree's roots were eroded by the flood, it fell down.

Luckily, only one sheet of the roof of my treehouse was blown away by the wind.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The creek and the rice field

The creek in the farm is among its most important asset. Its winding path can irrigate many areas of the farm for water-dependent crops like rice. Photos below taken last September 26, 2015, my last visit there. In this photo, my treehouse is about 30 meters away, left side of this spot.

Nong Endring Paragas, our caretaker, cleared this area of the creek so he can plant some camote (sweet potato), a crawling plant which is good in controlling grasses and cogons.

The rice field on the left and the creek on the right.

The newly-established camote, few weeks old.

The creek irrigates this rice field which Nong Endring has been tilling for more than three decades now. He plants and harvests twice a year. Harvest though is not big as there are many natural enemies there -- maya birds, rats, snails, etc. This field has no neighboring rice fields, so those pests' attention is not diverted elsewhere, only this area.

But Nong Endring keeps planting rice, partly to keep it clean and beautiful; otherwise, grasses and cogons will easily invade this area, and it will look ugly. My treehouse in the background, surrounded by mostly mahogany trees in the back and on its two sides, and the rice field in the front.

The ricefield viewed from the 2nd floor of my treehouse. I am greatly relaxed when I'm in the farm, even if I stretch my arms and muscles working on anything there. And especially after taking lunch at the treehouse, just resting my sleepy and tired body for half hour or less.

View on the right side of my treehouse.

Nong Endring expanding the rice field as the creek is shifting its path. That area where Nong Endring is standing on used to be the creek. After several years of flash flood, the water deposited eroded rocks, stones and soil here while it has shifted path on the right side.

Nature has its own work on natural landscaping and re-landscaping.

See also:
My swimming pool in the farm, 2005, June 10, 2011

Creek, canal and irrigation, September 05, 2011
Relaxing in the creek, January 05, 2013