Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hoping for mango harvest next year

We have almost zero mango harvest the past 6 or 7 years because of the continuing pests, "kurikong manga". These are invisible microorganisms that come and attack the fruits from young age (less than nail/kuko size) up to about 2 months old. Once the pests attack, there is almost 90-100% crop failure. The past groups of sprayers all lost money.

Another group of mango sprayers have come, sharing now is 70-30 for the sprayers-mango owners. Gone are the 60-40 sharing because of the huge risks and high costs involved. I took these photos last September 24 when I visited the farm. This out-of-place cogon grew on one dead branch of the mango tree, funny.

The trees are somehow well-rested because they have not produced huge mangos for several years, although they produced lots of flowers and small fruits at the early stage before the kurikong manga wiped out the fruits.

The sprayers have cleared some of the mango trees. They have several workers + grass cutters. This work our farm caretaker Nong Endring cannot do anymore because he's already old but he still goes to the farm daily.

More newly-cleared areas. Not only that fire hazards from dry cogon and other grasses, vines are removed, air can also easily pass through below the tree.

One of the big trees in the farm. This is nearly 100 years old. Some branches are already dead, no leaves but the other branches have the potential to produce more fruits.

Some wild or naturally-regenerating trees near the mango area. Molave, karael, fire tree, etc.

The sprayers are using calcium nitrate for flower induction or inducing mango flowers to come out. The usual chemical for flower induction used by many sprayers is potassium nitrate (KNO3). I don't know the advantages and disadvantages of one from the other. They are in the business of mango spraying, they know better than me.

This brand can be used not only for mangos but also for bananas, corn, eggplants, etc. as seen in the white sack.

The sprayers won't be using pesticides and insecticides when the young fruits come out. They will wrap each fruit at young age (less than nail/kuko size) so that the kurikong manga cannot penetrate the fruits on a large scale. There will still be crop damage for sure, but minimal. Very labor intensive but will also greatly reduce the expenses for spraying pesticides and insecticides.

More updates when I go back to the farm late this month.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New mini-dam

Another small project in the farm. Blocking a mini creek with lots of rocks and stones. Reduce flash flood during heavy rains, control erosion, have a mini waterfalls later.

Back/rear view. Lots of medium size and smaller stones as the main blocking force vs rampaging flash floods during heavy rains. About 1 meter thick at the base.

Top view.

Before adding a layer at the back. Our two dogs having a stroll.

About 10 meters before this structure, same canal, a bigger and taller mini-dam. 

See, New and thick rock barrier, January 09, 2017.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

My treehouse is 13 years old

My current treehouse was built March 2004 or 13 years ago. It undergoes repairs from time to time because the live mahogany tree where it is perched is growing bigger and taller. Back view of the house.

Photos taken last weekend, March 04.


Photos of the treehouse below were taken some 2-5 months ago. View from the creek....

View from the other side.

Original treehouse, very basic, was built in September 2002. I liked the experience of sleeping in the treehouse, I dismantled the old, smaller house and built the bigger, 2-storey house. With our caretakers and extra workers. Famous artist Clifford Espinosa helped me design the house, though not all specifications were followed due to limited funds.

Rice field in front of the treehouse.

The rice field seen from the 2nd floor of the house.


The scenes change depending on the season of the year -- planting, growing, harvesting, on fallow, etc.

The trees to the left and right sides of the treehouse. Photos taken last weekend, March 04.


Further at the back of the treehouse. Lots of small and medium-size mahogany trees.

See also: 
Treehouse, Versions 2002 vs. 2014, April 24, 2014
My Treehouse is 11 Years Old, February 10, 2015
Fields of Gold, Harvested, March 02, 2015
My treehouse is 12 years old, February 07, 2016

Our dogs in the farm, part 2

Among my "perks" in visiting the farm in Bugallon, Pangasinan is to see my dogs. Below from left: Shiver, Scaredy and Cold. Shiver and Cold were sisters, my 2 girls gave those names to them when they were still in Makati when they were still puppies. Cold went back to the farm first, Shiver stayed because the girls asked to have at least one dog in the house. Then I brought another puppy to the house in Makati, their younger brother which the girls named Scaredy. I brought back Shiver and Scaredy together to the farm.

Well, not really in the farm but at Danny's house in the barangay proper, somewhere lowland than the farm. When I arrive from Manila, these three dogs plus another dog which is also their sister but stayed at Danny's house as a puppy, they go wild, barking loudly and happily. Such very loyal and friendly creatures.

When it's time to go to the farm, the three dogs would quickly hop onto Danny's tricycle, they enjoy the ride going to the farm.

Then there are two other dogs that are "stay in" at the farm, they guard the place 24/7, they are "wild dogs" there who are tame only to Danny and Nong Endring because they feed the dogs daily. Sometimes they allow me to pat them very lightly.

Upon arriving at the farm, I give the three dogs a bath at the creek. I'm the only one who can give them a bath.

The farm is a bit wide so there are some wild animals like small or arm-size snakes. These crawlers are scared of dogs, so it is safe to walk along tall grasses or trees with plenty of vines or fallen dried leaves on the ground, the dogs clear the road for me and our caretakers.

I just love these very loyal pets.

See also:
Our dogs in the farm, July 17, 2007 
Our Dog Gives Her Milk to Kittens, July 08, 2014

Hoping for mango harvest this year

It has been about five years of almost zero mango harvest in the farm because of that "kurikong manga" problem. All those five years, the guys (different groups) who sprayed the mango trees lost money.

About late-December 2016, another group came to spray several mango trees for flower induction, the flowers came out, became very small fruits, then the insects came again. The guys tried to save the young fruits but after several attempts killing the invisible insects, they gave up. Another investment lost.

Last end-January, they sprayed the other trees, so far the result looks good, see the healthy mango flowers that came out.


They notice that the kurikong manga thrive during the cold season. Since this is already March and the weather becomes warmer, they hope that the insects will fade. I am hoping too.


Ripe mangos are expensive now, retail price at least P80/kilo for the smaller ones, the bigger fruits are priced at P100 to P150/kilo. Danny and Nong Endring are manually clearing the surroundings of mango trees to prevent the annual grass fires -- should they occur near the farm -- from reaching the mango area.


Again, I do not own this farm, I only help manage it, part time like once a month visit. I like walking in the farm, wide space, accompanied by our 5 dogs (2 stay-in at the treehouse area, 3 at Danny's house).

Monday, January 09, 2017

Mango trees prepared for flower induction

After about five years of little or zero mango harvest because of the new pest "kurikong manga" (cecid fly), we hope to have some harvest this year. A sprayer has come along, they will get 70% of the harvest, the farm owner/s will get 30%. Fair sharing because it is very labor-intensive and costly to spray mangos.

They started spraying for flower induction in some areas that have been cleared, about two weeks ago. Another batch of mango trees to be sprayed this week perhaps as more trees are cleared of tall and thick cogons, other grasses and vines.

I took these photos of the farm last Saturday.

About four men worked here, using the mechanical grass cutter and manual cutting with "tabas".

They burn the grasses around 6am when it is not hot nor windy, the fire can easily be controlled. Late morning, more windy and the fire may spread beyond control.

No mango flowers yet, the flowers come out some three weeks after spraying the flower induction.

Here's one mango tree surrounded by wild trees, tall grasses and vines. These must be cut and removed before spraying can be done.