AuthorTopic: Spring in the Tropical Rainforest  (Read 611 times)


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Spring in the Tropical Rainforest
« on: July 18, 2017, 04:22:33 AM »

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on July 18, 2017

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Lovely morning this morning – this would be called Spring, if we had one.  I did promise you photos of the Spear Project, this is a spear not for throwing but for holding as a defence against charging pigs, technically a pyke. 6 foot long and with a very sharp tip on it, held in place with a Tec screw through the metal blade, and with cordage for a binding.  You could drip a gum resin onto the binding to fix it permanently, but as the blade might easily break (Pakistani steel is not the best) I didn't do that.

OK.  What to do next on a bright spring morning?  Have a look at all the things growing in tubs. 

Aloe vera plus 3 plantlets and tumeric

Oh look the Aloe Vera has hatched some babies!  When they are really happy they produce pale yellow flowers rather like a lupin, but when they are neglected they reproduce by plantlets that grow on the fleshy leaf margins, and then drop off. I should set up some more tubs and transplant them.  But first we need some nice soil …

Time to rake up some leaves and make some more compost, especially after seeing this TEDx talk,

Leaves I have a LOT of, and just doing round the chicken pens yields enough to fill my compost bin.  The only thing he doesn't mention specifically in his talk is that before a tree drops its leaves, it withdraws the nitrogen out of them and it moves elsewhere by osmosis.  So leaves are lacking a bit of Nitrogen for the perfect C:N ratio of 30:1. And once the leaves are on the ground, the rain will wash the soluble nitrates out of it and away. So it helps to sprinkle some aged, crumbled chook manure in the mix to boost the N of NPK.

Only 8 more acres to go!

BEWARE angry spiders when lifting the lid.

The leaves are always already breaking down so are primed with all the bacteria you need to start the next batch.  Under the leaf layer is a fine black tilth, which is crumbly when at the right dryness, but needs some sand in it to survive slumping after downpours.  Without it, it turns into a solid brick that repels water due to the wax residue from the leaves' protection from the rain. That's why rainforest soils can't stand being cleared.

Tip for LD (the yard maintenance man): Suck, don't blow.  You should make and sell sacks full of compost to sell at local markets – all the snake-oil salesman's claims are true.

Next day

This morning on my walk I came across an Amethystine Python asleep on my track, soaking up the sun.  Of course it was the one day I didn't have my camera with me, it was still on my desk from yesterdays report, but I went directly home and got it and was back within a few minutes, and it was still there.  It looks like it has a couple of chickens inside it, but I won't be able to do a head count till this evening.

What a beautiful creature.  Top predator.

Next day

Well the head count says they weren't my bantams inside the snake.  Sadly, when I went to check it out the next day, it was clear the snake had died. Such is Life, when you have bitten off my than you can chew. The top predator will now attract a million flies and be eaten by maggots and green ants, and his bones will supply a bit more calcium to the nutrient poor soil. For about 2 weeks the smell will be awful, and then it will be all over.


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