The B.A.B.L.I BLOG

Welcome to our “BLOG”:
The web-log of our rural-action project (where we publish periodic reports and curious happenings at the project), read on – feel free to comment…

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Summer Visitor…??

Oriental Honey Buzzard

Oriental Honey Buzzard [Pernis ptilorbynchus]
PHOTO: Courtesy Sumit Sen

Looks like we have a rather exotic ‘guest’ at BABLI Farm, for the next couple of months!

A pair of Oriental Honey Buzzards [Pernis ptilorbynchus], know as “Mou-Baaj” in Baangla, have been visiting us every morning, around the same time, and perching on a particular tree, everyday, for an hour or so!

That, along with a few ‘testing the waters’ twigs laid across the branches where the female is perching, suggests that they might be considering one of the tall bows of a Gulmohar tree, near the ‘barbecue area’, as their NESTING SPOT for this summer!

Here’s a peek at what the bird looks like…

[Since we don’t have a telephoto lens for our old camera, the image is taken off the web: Photo-credit & copyright Sumit Sen @ speciesguide.delhibird.net]

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New Skin for Old Ceremony!

Reception: BABLI

The New Reception at BABLI
PHOTO: Courtesy Joydeep Chowdhury, a BABLI guest

The new ‘Reception’ at BABLI!!!

Finally, after a protracted period of planning and logistics-management, we have almost finished renovating our age-old ‘gol-ghor‘, transforming it into a reception/ front-office-cum-display-centre for the things we produce!

The original domed-structure, right as you enter the project, which everyone called the ‘gol ghor‘, was under-used, as a space for people to sit and chat – since there was hardly any protection from the elements, very few people actually utilised it.

Now, as you can see in the photograph, we have closed off the openings that were there all around the radial, and we’ve also fitted a wash-room to the structure.

So, guests arriving before the scheduled Check-In time can now rest in peace!

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Rain… at last!!!

BABLI pond

First drop of rain into the BABLI pond

Phew!!!

Finally, the first, and much too long awaited, pre-monsoon shower got to us!

Yesterday evening, after much windy ado, which threatened to blow away the gathering clouds, we had a healthy, hour-long downpour!

This rain, during the last few days of the month of JoistTho, is what kick-starts the paddy-planting process… and, of course, saves lives after the scorching couple of months!

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White Heat!!!

White Bougainvillea

White Bougainvillea along the BABLI front-wall

Blaze!!!

It has been climbing to the worst-half of the forties pretty consistently, this past week – today the mid-day temperature was 48 degrees Celsius, in the shade!

And, as if to complement the white heat that has been butchering the living world around, the bougainvillea tree in front of our canteen, just inside the front wall, has been ablaze with white flowers!

Nature, she is so excruciatingly beautiful, even in her worst form!

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SHORT Spring and BLAZING Summer…

Contrary to our early worries about a washed-out winter damaging the potato that had been sowed in the fields, the crop actually turned out to be quite substantial.

This was probably due to the fact that the winter weather quickly reverted back to its customary dryness and lingered on well into the latter half of February.

However, the potato harvest, as well as other seasonal vegetables, like aubergine (brinjal) and green-chilly, were severely damaged, none the less – thanks to a magnum hoard of wild Langurs, who made our farm their winter-abode!

Grey Langur

Grey Lengur
(Semnopithecus entellus)
Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia


These Langurs, commonly known as Hanuman-Langur or Grey-Langur, live off the adjoining jungles, or whatever little is left of it anyway.
However, this year the general floral cycles of the region have undergone strange anomalies… the customary Palash (Flame-of-the-Forest), which is a traditional spring-flower of the region, completely failed to bloom during the Holi festival; thereby denying the Shantiniketan bibis their ritualistic pleasure of desecrating the beautiful blossoms for the sake of the famous Basanta-Utsav floral ornaments!
Similarly, the mango trees have also gone completely flowerless – there isn’t a single tree in the region that can boast of the fresh-green, voluminous clutches of baby mangoes, which are a usual sight by this time of the year!

So, the Lengurs, with so little food available in the forest, decided to make our potato-orchard their central dining table…
In the one-month period which the potatoes need to come of age, the hoards of monkeys managed to polish off the central and best part of the field – plants… leaves… and potatoes alike – that too, in spite of our regular vigil, fire-crackers, catapult-and-bow-and-arrow threats and a helluva lot of tiresome chasing!

And the saddest part is that this year we had actually been able to prevent the usual epidemic of fungal infestation that is very common for potato and aubergine crops, thanks to our Neem-water therapy.
So much so, that notwithstanding the severe loss to the overall yield, we managed to harvest almost 60 % of our usual bulk, just from the fringes of the plantation, which had been spared the wrath of the monkeys!

Winter, as in the whole of the state of West Bengal, was an uncharacteristically long and bitter affair – Spring came and went even before one could take note of its customary grandeur in Birbhum – Summer is already here with a big, raucous bang!

Looking forward to the blistering heat and mind-boggling temperatures – the severe droughts and the catastrophic storms…

Cheers – to the myth called global-warming!!!

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DANK Winter!

Well, even though the winter started-off very cold, the global-warming anomaly made sure that we did not miss out on surprises!
It’s been raining all night, these past few days – and the thick cloud-cover is refusing to leave us. The days have been dank, grey and ominous – the potato crop is at serious risk of major damage now!

Cheers! To the ‘non-existent’ phenomenon called global-warming!!!

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COLD winter!

The much-awaited winter is FINALLY with us… but this time it is way too cold – evening temperatures are going down as low as 4-5 degrees Celsius already!

Welcome to global warming, friends!

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