Water – The Elixir of Life
The first question which is shot at us when we say we live on a farm is “What do you grow and how well do you do commercially ?”. Most people are not quite happy with our answer or at least that is what we interpret from their facial reactions that follow 😛
Our answer is “We just have a vegetable garden to grow vegetables for our own consumption and quite a few tree saplings that we planted.” Why have we not done more???
One of the reasons is we decided to go slow, spend at least a year observing the natural elements, climate and soil.
Next the universal challenge did not spare us either, we do face water scarcity during the hot summer months. I know you would be surprised considering that we should be getting both the SW and NE monsoons, but our geographical location kind of makes it tricky to retain water, it just percolates deep down or washes off.
Last year SW monsoons completely failed, making things a bit more challenging.
The challenges being that
- the only source of water for us currently is our panchayat water supply, which gets quite unstable during summers. Right now we get the supply once in two days which could get worse as the mercury rises. We just stock up in our water tanks.
- Our land has quite a slope so carrying water to higher levels and watering the plants is quite draining. It is heart breaking to see the saplings struggle in the heat and at times dry up 🙁
- The altitude and nature of our land is such that ponds and wells dug will not retain water. We have heavy monsoons but the water just washes off or percolates through the ground. If the latter happens I will be happy but the first one strips our land of top soil.
The other day when Little S and I were walking checking each tree saplings we planted, he said “Amma, a life of a farmer is so hard, isn’t it?”
I said ” Yes kanna, but if there are no farmers there is no food. Its critical to learn to grow food , isn’t it?”
Little S ” Very true Amma, we have to learn it” and he ran off to play.
We watched a very short video later about how people struggle for clean drinking water. We silently watched and sat with the sadness.I noticed that since then Little S makes sure he closes the taps really well after every use to ensure that water does not drip.
Lessons for a lifetime which only Life can teach effectively. Little S and V have also been watching our projects for better Rain water harvesting on the land and try to pitch in wherever possible in their own ways.
Now what exactly are we trying to do?
- We have planned for and are working towards two ponds to collect rain water run offs with UV resistant Liners ( we had plans for gleying, wallowing buffaloes, trying clay plastering but nothings seems practically and financially possible now to experiment :)) Our plants need water 🙂 asap
- We have installed gutters on roofs which will direct rainwater to a tank
- My hubby Vicknes and I are working on a Do-It-Yourself Drip irrigation project for all our plants and trees
- Thanks to our friend Dev who reminded us that Bill Mollison says swales might not be a good option for lands with greater slope, as they carry the risk of landslides. We are exploring other rain water recharging options, will keep you updated as we proceed with them.
It has been a very enriching and amazing experience researching, exploring and implementing ideas. There is a saying
“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine”
Without water there is no life, still so many of us take it for granted. The water tables are running critically low in most states of our country. A private study says India might run out of water by 2025. Pretty scary ! I just wish we all wake up to this emergency and do our share of harvesting rain and recharging our aquifers.
Anyway other than the Water Project, we do spend quite a lot of time working on our little vegetable garden. We have been experimenting with different raised beds-spirals, hugelkultur, sheet mulching, no dig beds etc. Will have to wait and watch for the benefits each one of them offer to blog in detail about them.
Some pictures of our humble garden, I dont have pictures of the whole farm or garden right now. The black tubes are our DIY drip irrigation system.
Enjoy this gorgeous sunset ( it was definitely manifolds better to watch it in real) ….See you all in the next blog post. Until then this is Koki signing off