Thursday, September 20, 2007

putting up a cadjan roof

I am putting up a kitchen in Hingurakgoda as we have been cooking on the open all this time. It was a family effort or neighborly effort in the task.

There was Gamini, Sudath and Amila from my side, there was Balasooriya, Rohitha and Rajah as neighbors and there were Chuti Nangi and her mother and her father Wije from accross the river all helping to put the roof.

some of the wildlife one comes accross

During my last weeks in Polonnaruwa I had the opportunity to see a baby Rock Squirrel and a Tortoise, (kiri ibba) See above

Saturday, September 8, 2007

tsunami threshing my paddy

On wednesday night the Tsunami as the threshing machine is known came to thresh my paddy.See photos of the separation of the paddy stalks into hay and paddy.

construction of open air kitchen

Hitherto for a whole year we have been cooking in the open in a camp fire style and feel it is time we have somewhere proper to cook. So we are currently making our kitchen which will also be dining room in cadjan open to all four sides, and on one side make a covered space for a future hand tractor and trailer and to store firewood. The above are my staff assisting in making it out of scraps we have gathered from old chicken cages on the farm. The cadjan I bought from my neighbours who make and sell them from coconut palms woven at 9 rupees a pair. I need 250 to cover my kitchen roof. Just hope the roof does not go up in flames!!!

prawns in my river as well as other fish

On this visit I was treated to 6 large prawns caught right outside my cabin by Gamini see photos, including the cooked one. They are 800/- each at the lagoon restaurant in Colombo and free for me and I bet my natural and fresh ones taste a lot better too. The other fish are best eated fried. So that is how I get my protein from the bounty in the river.

White deer

I just returned at midnight last night on my own from Polonnaruwa, driving in the heavy rain for more than half the way from the time I left and got to Godagama in 4 hours 30 minutes.I was up at 4 to empty the cab of its contents, namely 200kg of rice the last of my last harvest white nadu variety, boll wee from the latest harvest to feed the free range chickens, rice bran for the cows, mangoes and oranges from my trees and murunga, a vegetable from a neighbours tree. Not much variety this time. I filled the cab with 500 king coconuts and drove on my own to Colombo, 250 for the Golf club and the balance to other traders on the way and in Colombo. I left at 7.30 am and finished the job by 10. First time I had attempted this on my own, seemed to manage without straining my limbs, just buckets of sweat.

I was at the Kaudulla National Park on Thursday and saw the baby white deer, an albino no doubt still being fed cows milk. They will probably send it to the Dehiwela zoo where it will be an object of facination. One wonders what the future holds in store for an animal made famous for an abnormality at birth!!

As a postscript I must note that this poor fellow on being transferred to the Dehiwela Zoo kdied shortly thereafter due to a instestinal disease possibly due to contaminated milk given to it. I am sure if he was kept at Kaudulla he would have had a better chance of survival. I was told yesterday, the 18th October 2007, by my friend at the park that he saw a whole herd of white deer with his own eyes so I believe there are a whole lot of them and the deer is not alone.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Today's journal September 3rd 2007

I have ahd a miserable two weeks, with the weather playing a significant part in the downturn of the business.

First the wet weather put paid to King Coconut sales as here in Sri Lanka people do not like to drink it saying it is too cooling in wet weather. Then the excessive rain led to many of my banana plants falling and many were in flower and with bunches. Then I did not have even one Papaya to bring as the rain has not permitted any fruit in over a hundred trees to mature, so I cannot cut until the fruit is mature. The coconut climber did not like to climb the trees saying they were too slippery to pluck the coconuts. Thia led to a significant fall in my sales with the golf club my main customer for king coconuts not buying any today. Today's sales in Colombo have therefore fallen to a pretty low 8,000 and with 3,000 to fill up the tank of diesel to go to Polonnaruwa tonight its a tight squeeze.

Yet the line of people who come to me daily to borrow money thinking I am one of the world's richest does not subside. What is it that people see in me, a chap who has not bought a stich of clothing in 3 years to give that air!!! of being full of it!!!

Come on some wise aleck send me a comment that will put a smile on my face. I have had bad luck getting on line as the only time I can is when I get to my sisters in Colombo to deliver produce to her. Each time her DSL line is down and today it is painfully slow.

I leave shortly for the farm in Godagama and leave from there around 9pm to Polonnaruwa till Friday. So till then and more great stories from there, keep the lines open.

A new sideline

In order to make ends meet, I have rented out two empty cages on the farm to a person who wants to raise chickens and sell them on the buy back scheme. My rent will be Rs 15,000 per batch that is about once every two months.

The first batch namely of 5,000 day old chicks came on Saturday the 1st of September, and here are some of the pictures.

My monthly accounts

Some of you are interested to know how I survive in this exercise considering I have no resources other than this enterprise to make ends meet.

Well this is the factual state of the August 2007 accounts: In SL rupees (113Rs to US$1)

Income Sale of King Coconuts 57,000
Coconuts 35,000
Rice 30,000
Bananas 25,000
Milk 10,000
Other(inc farm shop) 83,000


Expenses Purchases for shop 72,000
King coconuts bought in 10,700
Tree climber fees King&coco 7,000
Wages and EPF ETF 10 staff 80,000
Staff meals in Polonnaruwa 12,000
Lease payment Tata Cab 16,700
Diesel for month 16,900
Maintenance of Vehicle 8,000
Electricity Bills 8,400
Mobile Phone bill staff 2,000
Mobile phone Purchase 5,000
Kaudulla Jeep Hire family trip4,000
Photos printed 2,000
Kerosene for water pump 2,300
Purchases to finish Ratmale 6,000
Purchases for Hingurakgoda 7,500
Purchases for Godagama Farm 5,000
Threshing Fee for paddy 4,000
Paddy cutting labor Polonnar 9,000
Speeding ticket(66kph 60zone) 550
Personal toiletries 500
Magazine 250
Cab hire to Pettah HSZ permit 200

Total Expenditure paid out for August 280,000

Loss for the month before amortizations 40,000

Note I really survived on nothing for food etc. and did not pay my mobile phone bill. When I am in Godagama I eat what the land provides and drink cows milk and king coconuts to make up any nutritional deficiency. In Polonnaruwa I share a morsel of the food that is prepared by the boys there along with Amila who goes with me on my weekly trip to Hingurakgoda and Ratmale in the Polonnaruwa district. Thats what is called a miracle!!!! This is my expenses and my whole enterprise income and expenditure. This account is all cash in and cash out.Its that simple.

A new birth on the farm

One of the cows gave birth to a female calf in the early hours of Sunday morning the 2nd of September. Here are some pics of the less than day old drinking mother's milk.