Ridding the whole day prospecting for land

February 12, 2015

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I must have ridden perhaps 60 miles….or maybe it’s 80. It’s hard to say. I’ve been on the saddle the whole day.

Trapped a small fowl for lunch hardly a full stomach meal. But it will have to do. That’s how life is in the field – have been touching base with the older farmers to find out more about the history of the land. Need to go back at least a good fifty years. This is a very important stage in assessing the potential of a land that for some incomprehensible reason even professional farmers omit. One must know the history of the land as a problem associated with growing any crop is that once the land has been devoted to agriculture for a single species, soil fertility diminishes greatly. Knowing the history of the land allows the professional to undertake cost calculations on the expected yield along with the projected expenditure required to revivify the nutrients in the soil.

Not all types of land are suitable for the strain of oil palm that I have designated to grow – the variety that I will be cultivating this time will be the experimental African E-26, it’s a hardy strain characterized by short fronds and especially resilient to drought and tropical disease. I need to be accurate in my assessment. A soil test is good – but nothing beats historical and primary data.

It’s never easy to approach the villagers. Most of them are wary of strangers and often they are mistrustful. But now and then…not very often, one does come across kindred souls who go all the way to beacon out the murk. Nonetheless one should still be mindful and keep a distance – as accidents involving matrimony and unrequited love can occur with remarkable ease in these parts. Danger lurks everywhere in the endless labyrinth of the plantation trail – especially when a farmer innocently offers free board and dinner for the night to the unassuming traveller. That’s really kampung code for – might you be interested in considering a marriage with my two metric ton internal beauty worlds famous village Bo Lang Ai daughter. I will even throw in a few acres of flat land, a second hand tractor and a cow to sweeten the deal. I’ve kena this a few times before – and since these kampung dinners usually involves the whole village with lashing of kampung moonshine called ‘tuak’ or ‘samsu’ where the alcohol content (due to zero quality control since it’s homemade) can range anywhere between the manageable 15% to the heady 50% proof – anything can happen by the sixth course lah……anything lah!

So these days whenever I get an invitation to stay the night I usually make teeth sucking sounds, excuse myself to take a leak and ride off as fast as I can into the sunset. These days to complicate matters with Photoshop nothing can be trusted. Not even photographs. So it’s best that I don’t complicate my already complicated life.

As I said, I had many narrow escapes…even have the birdshot scars to prove it…so Dowan lah!

I am just so tired. Dead beat tired. Low bat tired. Limbs feel like jello tired. Butt feels sore. I need to rest for a while before I make the long trip back. I still have a bar of snickers that I’ve been saving up for the return trip. That should keep me perky on the saddle.

It’s been a good day. A very productive day. I am spent, but happy.

Mission accomplished!

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