Monday, July 26, 2010


Last weekend, I visited the farm again, slept in my treehouse and got a really long and peaceful sleep, from 9pm to 5:30am, 8 ½ hours of peaceful and deep sleep. Prior to that, I was so tired I also slept from 5-7pm, until Nong Endring woke me up for dinner. Our viand then was one of our free-range chicken who tend to free range a lot, they do not go back to their chicken house in the evening anymore. Either they will be stolen by other people, or some wild animals, especially monitor lizard (“bayawak”) will get them.

Here’s the front view of the mini-dam that we started building a few months ago. As of July 11 this year, 3 layers of stones.

And this is the front view last weekend, July 25, we started building the 4th layer.

Top view, as of July 11. New layer of dried leaves brought down by a small flood the previous weeks deposited at the back of the stones.

Top view, as of July 25. More stones added at the back, more weight, more stability, in case huge and strong flash floods will come in the next few weeks.

Back view, late June this year.

Back view, last July 25. The 3rd layer of stones at the back has been covered by dried leaves already.

This is the gully that we hope will be covered by soil and organic matter brought down by rainwater and flash flood in the coming months and years. Several cubic meters of loosened soil from the higher elevations are expected to be impounded here.

This will be our first experiment at impounding eroded soil and organic matter brought down by flash flood. I personally chose this site because the volume of flash flood here is not so big, unlike in other waterways in the farm.

A wider view of the mini dam plus the stairway going up to my treehouse.

More updates and photos in the coming weeks and months.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stone terraces, part 2

The main purpose of building stone terraces is to trap organic matter (like dried leaves and branches) and loose soil so that they will not be easily eroded by heavy rains and flash flood. In the process, (a) a new layer soil will be created and (b) the area is beautified.

This is a short terrace, about 1 foot high. Front view, bigger stones are visible.

And the back view. These are smaller stones. Soon they will become invisible when they are covered by organic matter.

Some dried branches are put at the back.

A few weeks later, dried leaves are added at the back.

Below are the terraces I constructed in our house in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.

The lower layer was built more than a year ago. The upper layer was built about 3 months ago.

The 3 layers of terraces are shown here. The flowers’ roots should benefit from the decaying organic matter below the soil surface.

The stairs. My older sister who takes care of the flowers was very happy with the terraces I built for them. My mother who is already old and sickly enjoys watching the flowers.

My treehouse, July 2010

My treehouse is now more than 6 years old. It was built around December 2003 and was finished around March 2004. It is all-wood, 2-storeys high, slatted bamboo floor, originally cogon roof (now galvanized iron), and perched on a live mahogany tree.

The advantage of putting your house on a live tree is that the main “post” does not age or being attacked by termites; on the contrary, the main “post” gets stronger through time as the tree becomes bigger.

One disadvantage is that the tree is getting bigger and taller, and new branches are sprouting up inside the house.

And on the roof, new branches are rising too. These new branches + rising tree require regular repair on the roof, once every 2-3 years at least. That’s one reason why after 5 or 6 years, the original cogon roof has to be replaced by galvanized iron. The termites also do not stop from attacking and eating the cogon roof. They seem to "smell" the roof several feet below, from the base of the house.

And below, here’s how new the new “skin” of the tree would try to swallow a 3 x 8 inches wood.

One view of my treehouse, from the base up. The first floor of the house is not rising, the tree is getting bigger, and it causes some mis-alignment on the floor. The second floor is rising by perhaps 1/2 to 3/4 inch per year. But the roof is rising by about 2-4 inches a year.

Another view from the opposite side.

Side view, with the toilet, covered by slabs.

Farther view and the surrounding trees.

I’m proud of my treehouse. The only house I truly own. I sleep there once every 2 or 3 months.