Something In The Air ...

On my last mountain bike ride I perchance stopped by to inspect the ever expanding cassava processing fields near where we live.  The whole scene was just so representative of this time of year.  Dusty dull and almost devoid of color, flat and featureless with a sickly sweet aroma reminiscent of the sugar mills of my youth in Hawaii.  There is this interesting Zen garden like thing going on in the raked fields I was attracted to but had difficulty capturing in image.

This year for some reason there has been an exponential expansion in both the size and number of these drying areas.  My understanding is that the bottom has dropped out of the cassava market so perhaps it is due to over production.  It is apparently a low maintenance crop so therein lies the attraction perhaps.  I am no expert on cassava so can’t really go into more detail nor would I care to.

Our immediate neighbors seem to prefer pumpkins.  Since our area only produces one rice crop per year, villagers are sacrificing a section of their rice fields to dig ponds as a water source to grow pumpkins during the dry season.  We took advantage of a rash of pond digging recently to fill in our front rice field with 600 dump trucks of reasonably priced dirt.  We have no immediate plans for the area but now we can do something other than plant rice, as it should no longer flood.

We are also working on a new pump and sprinkler system for our garden, utilizing water from our pond rather than the village water supply we are currently using.  Seemed like the right thing to do.  We started building the house nearly five years ago but the projects continue in a never ending stream.  Just when one is expecting a break in activity something else comes along.

Last year we were lucky with early unseasonable rains and a late cold spell in March.  The result being people were unable to burn as much as they would have liked.  People do love to burn around here.  We are currently suffering pollution levels even worse than the year we built the house.  With so much rain and so much growth last year there is just that much more to burn this year.  Mother Nature has conspired against us as well with unfavorable conditions for dispersing the smoke or quenching the fires.  The other night our nearby hills looked like a volcano with ribbons of fire dripping down the slopes.  Now the smoke is so bad you can barely make out where the mountains should be.

Even with particle counts and dangerously unhealthy levels our neighbors continue to burn daily.  I see it as one of those situations where you beat you head against a wall trying in vain to change an entire nation or you make adjustments to your own life.  For now I spend as much time as possible indoors with the air conditioning on.  I am hoping that soon the rains will come and usher in a more pleasant time of year.  Until then I am neglecting both the Trek and the Ninja while keeping my walks with Cookie short.