Just another day in Paradise

As you may have guessed by now, I did not shoot the borehole.  I doubt very much shooting it would have made a difference.  Besides, I did not have another one.  So, I worked to get it fixed instead. My poor farm manager looked like he was headed for a full-on cardiac arrest given the stress this was giving him. I told him to ignore the borehole and find other things to do or he would surely die of stress.  Once the borehole was fixed, we limped along with its mediocre water production.

In the process of getting it back on track, I lost 25% of my bird’s eye chili crop and close to 50% of everything else.  That’s what happens in semi-arid Kenya, with 31 degrees Celsius heat at 7.30 a.m.  We counted our losses, we re-grouped, watered the surviving crops and kept moving.  In the middle of all this, we harvested our first crop of bird’s eye chili.  I was so proud! One thing I’ve learnt about farming is this. If you stop for one day, just one day, you lose close to 6 months of sheer hard work.  This is a game of acquiring and sustaining momentum.

The first harvest was a great way to test our drying shed and see if we got the construction design correct or we were just mucking around.  We seem to have done this one right, considering the chilis took 48 hours to dry to the required moisture content.

Another piece of good news is that the maize (corn) is ripe. My farm hands are now enjoying snacks of boiled maize.  This is completely unseasonal, but then again, who am I to complain about gifts?  The sunflowers are fully harvested and so are the green grams and beans.  I can’t believe we are actually planning the next planting season.  The rains are alleged to be starting on 25th of March.  Here’s my other lesson – nothing about farming is ever on schedule.   We prepare for the rains to come on 25th, knowing full well they will show up whenever they are good and ready.

Did I tell you the puppies died? All four of them!  What happened you ask?  A quack vet doctor who probably injected them with water instead of the required parvo-virus vaccine. Sometimes I wonder why things have to die on this farm for others to thrive.  Why can’t they all just agree to live? Anyway, Mama puppies (Max) spends her days all droopy and mourning her babies.  I actually apologized to her for not taking better care of her pups!  I don’t know if she understood me, but I now have a qualified vet on call.

We still have not hatched a full batch of 64 chicks.  I guess the science of figuring out whether an egg is fertilized or not is still rather tricky for us.  The plus side is we seem to have stabilized at 30 chicks per batch from the incubator.  Not too shabby.  We will nail this down to a science in due course. Once in a while on the farm, you get to sit for ten minutes without anything dying, being chased or trying to run away.  I had one of those moments recently, and I just sat.  Listening to the birds complain about the heat, listening to the cicadas complain about the absence of rain, listening to the wind rustle the leaves and whisper millennia worth of secrets that I can’t interpret, listening to the bees buzz around the acacia flowers as they collect their days’ worth of pollen, listening to the sound of nature!  I was at peace.  Just another day in paradise. 


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