Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rainy September and int'l climate meetings

We're past 3 weeks of September now, and I think I counted only about 5 or 6 days that there was no rain this month. Lately it's hot in the morning, then very cloudy if not raining in the afternoon. The past 2 days and today, the sky was always cloudy. It rained for about 7 hours yesterday, stopped in late evening, and the rains are back this morning.

My friend from Hanoi said it was sunny there last week. Maybe the rain clouds in the Philippines came from evaporated water from Vietnam. :-)

The climate bureaucrats and "negotiators" from many countries, they should be enjoying the frequent travels and perks. Too many internatinoal climate meetings. They just finished their meeting in Bonn, Germany last month. This week, they met in UN, NY office. Next week, they will meet again in Bangkok. Next month or November, they will meet again in Spain. And in December, they will have a big meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The current deep solar minimum, the deepest in a century, can possibly result in a repeat of the Dalton Minimum global cooling that happened 2 centuries ago. Thus, instead of preparing for drought, we should prepare for lots of flooding. Those in the temperate regions, they should prepare for long winters, short summer -- it actually happened in the US and Canada this year, even in south america like argentina.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rainy September

There were just too much rains this month in the Philippines.

From September 1 to 13, Sunday, mostly cloudy days; it rained almost everyday except for 2 days.

Last Monday it was half-cloudy, half sunny.
Last Tuesday, it was sunny the whole day, at times zero clouds.
Yesterday, the clouds and rains were back, there were street flooding again.
Today, Thursday, sunny in the morning. Thin clouds appeared in early afternoon. Now as I write this, there is a heavy downpour, though it does not seem to last long.

It seemed that the sky would be sunny only for sunlight to get evaporation, to accummulate thick rain clouds again. Then dump the rains anytime, anyday.

I remember last August 2003. While a severe heatwave killed more than 35,000 in Europe, we had 7 days and 7 nights straight of almost non-stop rains in the Philippines. Several dozen people died because of landslides, drowning from bloating rivers, and diseases. Some because of hunger perhaps. There is nothing to eat when almost everything is flooded. I remember that month very well because I was preparing to go to Sweden for a 7-weeks seminar on "Sustainable agriculture in an environmental perspective" from September to mid-October that year.

I visited our farm last Saturday. I learned that many rice farmers have already harvested their farms for the first crop, they were happy with the early onset of the rains. But too much rains can be a problem for the farmers too. After harvesting, they cannot dry their rice as most of rice farmers in the Philippines depend on solar drying. If the harvested rice don't get dried for long, it blackens and the quality and taste is adversely affected.

Meanwhile, I believe in the Sun-climate link theory. Deep solar minimum, very little or zero sunspots, meaning weak solar magnetic field, allow the entry of plenty of galactic cosmic rays that reach the Earth as the solar wind is weak to drive them away. These cosmic rays help form the aerosols that become the seeds in cloud formation. More clouds, less sunlight to reach the Earth surface, more rains, there is global cooling.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Around my treehouse

Around my treehouse are either trees and rice or grass, depending on the season. Here’s one view – rice in the front, trees on both sides and on the back.

A view from my house, ricefield during the rainy season. Our caretaker plants 2 crops per year. The vacant portion is where the cows would sometimes rest and sleep in the evening.

During summer and dry season, the land is left on fallow to “rest”, the cows eat the rice straw and whatever grasses that will grow.

On one side of my house are thick branches of different trees, mostly mahogany but there are a few fruit trees (a tree each of avocado, rambutan, jackfruit, calamansi, etc.). These fruit trees though do not bear good fruits because they don’t get enough sunlight as the mahogany trees are tall and get most of the sunlight.

On another side near my treehouse is our outdoor dining table. It also has cogon roof. The roof suffers as the mahogany trees become bigger and taller, after the rain, the cogon don’t get dry immediately as sunlight is blocked by the tall trees.

Organic chicken

We re-started our organic chicken just a few months ago. We have about 17 chicken for now, mostly female. None so far are laying eggs regularly, should be the rainy season, and there are no “palay” (unhusked rice) to eat yet.

A few years ago, we experimented it, the chicken were free roaming, there were plenty of them already, nearly a hundred perhaps. But there are several enemies for the free-roaming chicken.

One, our dogs. When the dogs are eating, the chicken would come in to eat the scattered food, which makes the dogs angry, some of the chicken have broken legs or broken wings, etc.

Two, the wild animals – monitor lizard (“bayawak”), wild cat (“musang”), even hawks flying more frequently above the farm since they could see plenty of hapless chicken below. And possibly some snakes that prey on the smaller chicken.

Three, thieves that are passing by, they chanced upon the roaming chicken, hit the chicken when no one is looking, carry and steal the injured chicken in their sacks or bag.

In addition, some of the chicken who were terrified or shocked being chased by the dogs or people passing by, learned not to come back to their resting place in the evening, they found other places to spend the night several meters away. Later on we did not know where they went.

So this time, we are building an enclosed area for them.

The lower fence is made of small, native bamboo (“bulo”), about 2 to 3 feet high. Then used fish nets up to the roof. The roof is made of cogon. All native materials except the fish nets.

We have one evening caretaker, Fernando. He works making charcoal in our farm, removing low-lying branches, extra branches, fallen trees and branches. That's mainly his day time job. He's very industrious. He would visit his family in the barrio by late afternoon and go back to the farm by evening.

In the evening, he either rests, or hunt fish and wild frogs in the nearby creek using electrical current. This will be his viand in the farm, the extra he will bring to his family.

Stuck in the farm

Monday last week, I brought some materials to the farm, drove my pick-up, tagged along my wife and daughter. The trip was fine, cloudy skies but no rain, we reached our caretakers’ house in the barrio, still a few kilometers from the farm.

We went to the farm, the dirtroad in the neighboring farm was a bit slippery because it rained the previous day. Going down a bit to our farm, it indeed looked slippery plus the sky was getting darker, but I thought we’ll just drop a few heavy materials – used wood, galvanized iron, etc. for our organic chicken farm – so I went ahead. It was big mistake. A very big mistake, in fact.

As soon as we unloaded the heavy materials, rainshowers started falling, the dirtroad up was more slippery then I thought. In short, my pick-up got stuck in the mud!

Our 2 caretakers were there to help, but their muscle or body weight (to add weight to the rear wheel as my pick-up isn’t 4wd, just 2 rear wheels moving. They called upon 2 other men nearby, 4 men – and still not enough. By then, the showers became a downpour.

After more than an hour of vain attempts, they called in more men from the barrio. After more than an hour, 5 other men came, they brought 4 steel platforms where the rear wheels can “step” on. It now looks a bit like “people power” to push my pick-up up on a slippery road.

Were they strong enough? Or were they heavy enough if they stand at the back of the pick-up to add more weight for the rear wheels to work?

NO to both questions. Really terrible. We got stuck around 11:30am, we didn’t have lunch, now it’s past 2pm, and about 4 of the 9 men there have not taken their lunch too. That means they have less energy to push or pull the pick-up.

They gathered sand from about 300 meters away to cover the slippery soil. Gathered small stones, etc., all for naught.

It was past 5pm we were still stuck. Two men already left. I said only one option left: go backwards, dare the muddy road back, get the men at the back of the pick-up, get some momentum and brave the slippery ascent. One, two, three attempts, unsuccessful. On the 4th attempt, the pick-up was able to go up! Hurray!!!

But it was only hurdle no. 1. There’s hurdle no. 2, a slippery part on a steep ascent in the neighboring farm. There’s a “pug-pug” or barrio truck nearby (its engine sound is like pug-pug-pug-pug…, hence the term). They also have a long rope, we hoped that the pug-pug can pull my pick-up. But it too was cannot ascend as it’s not a 4wd.

So the men pushed again the pug-pug up. Talking about a supposed solution that can become part of the problem itself.

The men again gathered small stones and gravel to cover the muddy part. Again, I reversed and moved backward to get some momentum, have some men rode at the back of the pick-up, then floored the accelerator on a 1st gear. Got stuck again in the middle, the other men push the pick-up, slowly but surely, until it finally got out of the mud and low-lying area!

It was around 5:45pm when we finally got out of the farm, or we’ve been stuck there for more than 6 hours. Some of the men suffered minor scratches from flying gravel or small stones as the rear wheels were burning the tires.

My daughter has been staying inside the pick-up for most of the 6+ hours because it was muddy to walk around, and there were still scattered rainshowers.

What a bad experience! My extra money, I gave away to the men who endured hunger, the rains, mud and some flying small stones.

On a positive note, I saw and experienced again how the guys in the barrio would help. Especially for us who have to travel back to Manila, 4 hours away from the barrio.

The food that was supposed to be our lunch at 12 noon became our dinner at past 6pm. What an experience again in the farm with my old but reliable, 12+ years old pick-up.

Monday, June 01, 2009

My treehouse, May 2009

My treehouse is now surrounded by tall and thick mahogany trees and a few fruit trees. When we were building my treehouse more 5 ½ years ago, those trees were still young, though they were planted about 10 or 12 years ago. Now that the trees are tall and thick, sunlight can hardly penetrate in some parts of the wooded area, it gets dark even in the afternoon. What is dangerous is that mosquitoes tend to abound, these insects like dark and shaded areas, they don’t like direct exposure to sunlight.

And to think that those mahogany trees lost many of their branches just 12 months ago in a strong typhoon, local name “Cosme”. That typhoon also toppled and killed at least 3 mahogany trees near the house, good that it was structurally strong, it did not tilt when one tree fell on it. The removed trees gave some open space for sunlight near my house.

Notice the top of the mahogany tree where my house is perched. That picture was taken nearly 3 weeks ago. Now the leaves on that same spot are thick. The roof was just repaired 3 months ago.

The roof

The original roof of my treehouse is cogon. It was neatly made, as shown in this picture. After 5 years, some of the roof were attacked by the termites. The mahogany leaves from the top of the tree that fall on the roof, plus rainfall, make the leaves-covered roof always damp and wet, and some termites that managed to go up were nibbling the cogon and wood.

Later it was leaking bad, we have to replace the cogon roof with galvanized iron in one side of the roof. Problem solved.

Cogon roof will work best if there is no tree top above it that endlessly produces fallen leaves, that partly covers the roof from direct sunlight. Here now is the new roof – galvanized iron on the right, and cogon on the left.

Notice young branches sprouting up.

The next problem will be the forever-rising tree top that is pushing up the roof trusses.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Silica mining in Brgy Laguit Padilla, Bugallon, Pangasinan

I was informed by our caretaker that the mining company of Mr. Versoza, Northern Mining I think, is planning to resume their silica quarring and mining activity in the barangay soon. Two weekends ago, a representative from their company, along with the barangay officials, called for a meeting the owners and/or caretakers of private lands where their bulldozers and heavy trucks will pass by.

I texted Brgy. Captain Palma last May 20, about 9am, to ask what is the update of such plan since the company of Mr. Versoza has not talked to the owners of the farm, Atty. Millora. Kapitan Palma texted back saying that they have not given their endorsement yet, the permit will require MOA by the barangay and approval by the municipal council. I thanked Kapitan Palma for such update, and informed him that I will blog this activity since I have a number of friends here in the country and abroad, who are engaged in farming and environmental activities, and they read my blog.

Kapitan Palma replied back and assured me that before they will give their endorsement, there should be proper consultation and permission by the affected parties (especially private farms), that no one will complain later.

Bringing whatever adverse results to the land and the communities to local media can also be one option. The local radio and tv network in Dagupan City are willing to cover such expose when they are properly informed.

One of the conditionalities for granting mining permit is that the mining company will later cover the mined site with soil and plant trees there. I think this is a very loose condition. Tree planting is very easy, it requires only half day or one day activity, including picture taking and picnic. But the newly planted tree seedlings can die the next week if not properly monitored, weeded and irrigated, and replacement planting is done for those seedlings that died.

I doubt that the mining permit will require "tree growing" and not just "tree planting". The former is the more appropriate activity; otherwise, all those hundreds or thousands of tree seedlings that were planted can all die within a few weeks or months after the planting activity. Vines and grasses alone can choke and deprive the newly planted seedlings of space, sunlight and soil minerals.

Commercial piggery

Commercial piggery, at least the medium-sized one as pictured here, produce really big animals, on average twice the size of the native pigs of same age. Feeding for the commercial variety like landrace is quite intensive. After about 120 days, the animals attain at least 80 or 90 kilos, and they are sold. The price per kilo live weight is higher if the pigs are 80 kilos or heavier, compared to those that are lighter.

A swine farmer preferably needs to have his own rice milling facility in order to cut feed cost. Because if he will buy the rice bran to mix with feed concentrate (assuming he does this and not buy packed feeds), the price is high, from P6 per kilo and higher, depending on the season. Rice harvest season, the price is low.

One feedback I have heard about commercial piggery is that the animals are very delicate and have little resistance when diseases strike them. A case is in the province of Pangasinan. Swine flu -- the flu affecting the pigs, and not the disease that affects humans -- has killed many pigs in the province. People have also stopped buying pork, so the swine farmers are losing money.

Organic and native pigs grow slow but they have strong resistance against diseases. They are also cheap to maintain as they eat practically all sorts of vegetables and fruits. And they fetch a higher price per kilo compared to the commercial pig varieties. But I haven't seen or heard much of swine farmers using the native varieties for commercial operation. Could be the longer time for the pigs to grow big, hence longer waiting/harvest period.

Bananas, camote tops for organic pigs

I visited our farm more than a week ago. Our caretaker has planted more bananas around the new hut where our backyard organic piggery is situated. These pigs eat various types of raw vegetables and fruits. They eat banana fruits, banana leaves, sweet potato ("camote") fruit and leaves, rice bran, etc.

Our caretaker, also our wedding godfather, Ninong Endring, is very industrious. With the early onset of the rainy season that started middle of April last month, he plants at least a dozen new banana saplings every week, depending on how frequent the rains are. He also expanded the sweet potato field. He also plants other vegetables -- eggplant, stringbeans, chili, etc.

Here, our pigs eat camote tops. They like this vegetable especially when freshly harvested.

We already started our organic poultry. I forgot to take a picture of the chickens' new house. It has cogon roof, the fence is the native bamboo variety "bulo", and used fish nets above so they won't escape flying out. We feed them fine corn, rice bran, some vegetables, and they also find some crawling insects on the ground.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A year without summer

About two centuries ago, during the "Dalton Minimum", there were nearly 30 years of global cooling, world temperature dropped by around 2 Celsius from their normal levels. And there was one year of almost full year of snow in the temperate zone, and lots of rains in the tropics. That was called "a year without summer". There was massive crop failure, resulting in mass hunger in a number of countries. Crops and vegetables cannot withstand prolonged cold season, they wilt, they die.

This year in the Philippines and many other countries, there is an obvious change in climate. Before it was "global warming" literature all around. This does not look consistent with current weather development. Summer months are March to May. But it was often cloudy with occassional rains in many parts of the country from March to April. The almost daily rains phenomenon started especially in mid-April up to this week, the 1st week of May. Many people, including me, bring an umbrella almost daily because the rains can come anytime. It can be sunny in the morning and suddenly turn cloudy by noon or afternoon, or evening.

The 5th typhoon of the year, locally named "Emong" has already entered the country's area of responsibility today. Tomorrow it is forcast to make landfall in Pangasinan, a province north of Manila. This will be among the few typhoons that come from the South China Sea and exiting towards the Pacific Ocean. Normally it's the reverse. And having 5 typhoons in early May is too many, considering that regular rainy season starts in June, and the peak of typhoon season is August-September. Also, average number of typhoons that visit the Philippines is 20 per year. What would this mean, we will have 25 or more typhoons this year? That should be too much.

Some climate scientiss who are skeptical of the dominant "global warming" prediction by the IPCC and other scientists, environmental NGOs, etc. are predicting that the planet is approaching the "Dalton Minimum" this year and the coming years. Up to the next 30 years.

The current weather pattern is bad for tourism and farmers for dry crops. Tomatoes, water melon, peanuts, corn, other summer crops suffer low output this year because of the early onset of the rains. But current weather is good news for rice farmers. They can plant early and harvest early.

Of course communities have to grapple with prolonged rainy season and its sometimes undesirable results -- flash floods, landslides.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Farm lands, California

April 29, 2009

I took the Amtrak train from Sacramento to Emeryville, SF. I sat on the upper deck, so the view is better and wider. Thus, I was able to see a number of northern California’s farm lands and rural areas, something that I won’t see clearly if I am riding a car.

Like most farms in rich countries, the farms there are wide and flat, I did not see a farm on rolling hills, except pasture land for cows. One will not also see a person walking or working on the farm without any tractor or machinery. Unlike in most farms in the Philippines and other poorer countries where manual labor is predominant.

The irrigation canals are also wide, so big volume of water can be transported to several farms. There is an open space between the gully of the canal and the planted areas, at least 2 meters I guess. I think this is a government regulation to keep this area open. Also an allowance for tractors and farm machineries to make a U-turn.

From a distance, near Suisun-Fairfield station, I saw a wind farm, several dozens of wind mills for energy generation.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Global cooling period

It's now April and the sky above Metro Manila and surrounding provinces is dark and cloudy. The government's weather bureau says there is a shallow low pressure area (SLPA) south-west of Manila, and there is a cold front affecting the north-eastern part of the country.

Low pressure area and cold front, in late March and early April! These months are typically hot, noontime temperature would normally hit 36 Celsius.

Today is the 9th (or more) straight days of cloudy skies over Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, sometimes the entire archipelago. Noontime temperature is only 32 to 33 Celsius. Over the past 9 days, it rained at least 5x, some are short rains (10 minutes or less), some are longer (an hour or more). There was even street flooding in our neighborhood several nights ago.

I do not know if the same weather pattern is experienced in other neighboring countries in east Asia, I will have to ask my friends in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. But current weather in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces is definitely "abnormal", abnormally wet and cold. I don't remember having this kind of weather in the past 10 years or more.

The astrophysicists and other scientists who presented papers at the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC) that I attended in NY last March 8-10, said "global warming is over", the peak of warming period was 1998, and all other world temperature was lower after 1998. The lack of solar activities (solar irradiance, sunspots, etc.) would mean global cooling, and they predict the cooling for the next 30 years.

If current trend of Philippine climate is any indicator as I am not a scientist to fully support or challenge the claims of the scientists that I have heard, then I am inclined to believe that global cooling is indeed upon us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Denuded mountains

Degraded, if not denuded, mountains are a reality in many provinces in the Philippines. The traditional "culprit" and whipping boy -- the commercial loggers -- is exagerrated, if not absent. The main culprit are the people themselves, rich and poor, who invade the forest like fishermen invade the seas, to harvest whatever standing tree, big or small, catches their attention. Although in most rural and midland to upland areas, it's the poor that really abuse the forest, especially the public forest land. The usual "tragedy of the commons" where a resource is owned by everyone and no one in particular (through the government).

These degraded and partly denuded mountains are those of Bugallon and Labrador, Pangasinan province. When illegal loggers attack, they do it in droves and huge number, and they do it 7 days a week, cutting trees for firewood, charcoal, wood and lumber, for household posts, etc.

The government as "administrator" of the public forest land is very inefficient and lazy in preserving and conserving the public forest. When there are high profile calamities like several dozens people killed by landslides and flashfloods, there is strict "enforcement" of anti-logging, anti-transport of forest products. When there is no high profile calamity, the guards are out.

But more than guarding the highways and municipal roads, the real work is up in the mountains -- how to control the hundreds, if not thousands, of illegal poachers and loggers. The government environment offices, whether national or local government, are hardly visible.

Organic piggery

We (I and our 2 farm caretakers) resumed our backyard organic piggery project in the farm. The first time we did it was about 4 years ago. We used landrace pig variety, those white and long pigs. We fed them "kangkong" or water spinach ("lpomea aquatica"), rice bran, ipil-ipil ("leucaena glauca"), sweet potato leaves and stems, etc.

It looked fine at the initial stage as the piglets were growidng ok. But after sometime, we had difficulty looking for kangkong, and the price of rice bran rose, and it was difficult for buyers to come to our farm during the rainy season as the roads can get muddy and very slippgery.

In short, the project did not prosper. I lost some money there.

Last year, I decided to resume the project. This time, using the native pigs variety (black and hairy, short and smaller than the landrace variety). In addition, we planted bananas as additional feeds for the pigs. And more importantly, we put the pig cage in an open area, so they get lots of sunlight. Our earlier cage was in a place with plenty of tall trees, so sunlight could hardly penetrate. The animals did not have enough energy from the sun to grow stronger and taller.

This year, one female gave birth to 5 piglets. They are a healthy bunch of small little pigs! One died though, not due to sickness, but he was the biggest of the 5, the most animated, he dug the soil under the cage to get out. He managed to get out, but one of our dogs (we have 6 there) who has a "cannibalistic" instinct found him and killed him.

The 4 remaining piglets are growing healthy. If things would turn out fine, we hope to be able to expand our organic piggery in the coming years.

New stone terraces

The May 2008 super-typhoon caused landslides in many hilly areas. Among those damaged was the stone terraces in front of my treehouse. Hence, the need to remove the eroded soil and transfer it to other areas, then reconstruct the terraces.

The main advantage of using stone terraces is that it is easy to construct and re-construct them should the need arises. What is important is the supply of plentiful stones where the terraces will be constructed. In our case, the main source of the stones is the creek about 30 to 40 meters away.

The eroded soil also produce brown stones, small and big alike, that have been buried under the soil for many years.

Stone terraces serve 2 main purposes. (1) to minimize or control soil erosion, and (2) for beautification of the place. It may not be as neat as cemented structures as there are lots of rock protrusions, but overall, well-arranged stone terraces are neat and cool.

My treehouse, March 2009

We built my treehouse in early 2004. So it's now 5 years old. It had withstood several super-strong typhoons, the most recent was the typhoon last May 2008 where about one-fourth of our mango trees were felled and/or killed. And these are 40+, 60+ years old mango trees!

A portion of the cogon roof has been destroyed by termites and rainwater. This is the area under the canopy of the live mahogany tree where the house is anchored. The falling leaves, absence of enough sunlight to dry rain-soked cogon roof, made the roof decay much faster. Since the above condition will not change as the tree will continue growing thicker leaves, we will change the roof under the thick leaves with galvanized iron. The side of the roof that is not covered by the thick leaves will keep its cogon roof.

The absence of walls allow the wind to pass through my treehouse, making it more flexible and withstand strong winds.

The toilet, previously it has slatted bamboo wall. We replaced it with slabs of fallen trees. The above-mentioned typhoon last year felled not only mango trees, it also felled plenty of forest tree species. Some of which have been buried by thick level of soil and sand brought down by the cascading flash flood.

Our farm caretaker's rice paddy beside the treehouse is growing well. So one picture here -- ricefield, a treehouse, and the surrounding trees.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Provincial environment office allowing mining

My understanding of Philippine environmental laws is that for mining and quarrying, the company, big or small, must first get a barangay permit (issued by the village or barangay captain) after conducting public consultation, then get a municipal or city clearance (issued by the Mayor), then up to the provincial permit (issued by the Provincial environment officer).

But there was a mining company in western Pangasinan, Northwest Mining, who did not secure a barangay or municipal permits, but was nonetheless granted a "small-scale mining permit" to quarry by the Provincial environment and natural resources office.

The site of their quarrying was in Barangay Laguit Padilla, Bugallon, Pangasinan. I do not know how "small scale mining" is defined, but the company has 2 heavy equipment -- a bulldozer and a back hoe -- plus several 10-wheeler trucks carrying soil with silica deposits.

There were ecological damage in the quarry area, of course. Like loosening the soil, making flat area become depressed area with the huge volume of soil and earth materials that have been removed.

After a few months of operation, until about January or early February this year, the company has stopped mining.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Climate change for a colder climate?

It’s now 1st week of March, it’s hot on most days in Metro Manila and nearby provinces but on some days, like yesterday and today, cloudy skies and cool wind prevail, with some drizzle. Summer has officially arrived last week, as announced by the Philippines’ weather bureau, PAG-ASA.

I read in the news today that the south and north-east of the US is slam-dunked by a snow storm. I’m flying to New York this Friday, I checked yahoo weather, the minimum today is -14 celsius! Hope it won’t be as bad when I arrive there in 5 days.

Incidentally, the event I am attending there is the International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC), March 8-10, sponsored by the Heartland Institute.

Aside from the very bad forest fire in southern Australia last month due to very hot climate there (but there was heavy rains and flooding in northern Australia at the same time), many parts of Planet Earth has been experiencing a generally cold weather, with notoriously bad winter in many parts of Europe and north America. The repeated occurrence of a “cold front” in the Philippines and other tropical countries is also notable.

Are we entering a climate change for a global cooling, not global warming? I remember it was really hot in 2007, and it was during those period where the IPCC report came out, there were plenty of global meetings initiated by the UN. The meeting in Bali where around 15,000 politicians, showbiz celebrities, environmental NGOs, media, and many other people swooped down on Bali, Indonesia, created huge carbon footprints as most participants came from thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My treehouse in the farm

Whenever I go to our farm on the western side of Pangasinan province, resting in my treehouse is always a relaxing moment. Fresh air. very quiet, except when our 6 dogs would start barking together whenever they notice other people passing by, or at night, when a big branch of a tree falls down.

My treehouse is 2-storeys, all wood, slatted bamboo floor, cogon roof, no walls except the toilet, and is perched on a live and big mahogany tree. The tree is growing every year, and my treehouse is rising by about 1.5 inch a year on the 2nd floor, and about 3-4 inches a year on the roof. So, since it was built in early 2004, it's now 5 years old, and the roof trusses (?) are heavily misaligned. We have to repair the roof every 3 years or so.

The pictures here were taken sometime in late 2005.

(1) my treehouse from a distance. The trees that surround it are now much bigger.

(2) the stone terraces beside my treehouse. Now those terraces have been altered as move soil deposit have been added.

(3) my swimming pool then from a creek, we put huge rocks to impound the water. Since it's on a water path, and the creek becomes a wild river during the rainy and typhoon season, it's gone now. My dog here is a white labrador, his name was Michael. Michael disappeared abou 3 years ago. We didn't chain him, he was free to move around anytime and anywhere. Maybe he was stolen.

More pictures later of my current treehouse.