Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ratmale – Ideal climate for Roses – Time we grew it seriously

Frankly I was most surprised that roses grow so well and unlike in Nuwera Eliya that has a climate that is constantly wet, the Roses I have seen growing there have this mildew and is more susceptible to disease.

With the dry heat of the day, in the hot sun, and the cool nights giving the right amount of chill, rose plants seem to thrive, with hardly any care in the world. As the photo shows, just one of my rose bushes, that the caretaker has grown, and I have asked him to plant them everywhere, as I particularly like this shade of pink, and the fragrance is fabulous if not a touch too delicate to a good sniffing nose, which mine is not!

I remember reading about Ispahan in Iran which was famous for its roses, and I actually grew a rose in California called Ispahan which was stunning and once a year gave me a riot of color that completely covered the plant, with no green in sight, and moreover gave a fragrance that was utterly intoxicating.

I even have a rose bush growing inside the house and it does not even get the direct sunlight, I always felt the roses needed. When I left yesterday there were three buds ready to open in about a week, and I don’t know when the plant actually had water.

Then I began to look at other homes in the area and only then did I discover my astonishment that roses are more popular and more common than anthuriams, a traditional favorite to be grown easily in Sri Lanka in most homes, and home gardens,

In fact I have an anthuriam house on the farm in Godagama, and I must bring some pots to Ratmale, but I don’t have confidence in them being kept in the shade and watered frequently.

Observations, observations and as the photos show some types of flowers that were omnipresent last time are hardly detectable this time.

I don’t spend sufficient time in this area to organize a proper planting and maintenance schedule which could see a huge improvement to the exterior attractiveness of the place.

Now what with the elephant traipsing in once a week, and picking on the banana plants around the house, will they just trample the rose bushes or leave them be, with a careful skirt in the dark. They say elephants don’t like rose bushes because they don’t like the thorns! Is that true or a myth?      

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Continuing Incidence of Kidney Disease in Ratmale

CKDU Chronic Kidney Disease with Unknown etiology kills more in one year than guns have in the past 5 years put together!

I had a doctor attached to the Medirigiriya Hospital specializing in Kidney Diseases visit me at my place this weekend.

I brought a 30 yr old boy, father of two who has been diagnosed with the first stage of Kidney Disease to speak with the Doc. Along with the file and instructions. He was given advice after questioning his past activity to determine the likely cause of his kidney problem with excess protein being secreted.

He had in the past sprayed paddy fields with pesticide without masks and gloves and they drink water from a well that two people had already died of kidney disease. A father and son (son was 42 when died) are both next door neighbors. He was advised to refrain from smoking and drinking as he must conserve his health and be able to battle this and win and hopefully reverse the onset.

So doctor said NOT to drink the water from that well, and NOT to use that water for cooking purposes either. He was advised, along with everyone in the household to get tested again, so they could eliminate that the others have got any symptoms of the onset of disease. He was advised to get the family to drink RO water (I presume this means Reverse Osmosis) being sold off of pick ups at about a rupee a liter.

He further advised that the GN of the area, contact the Divisional Secretariat with a request for the village and its 500 inhabitants to be given a RO water facility, usually place in a community center or temple, as there are donors, construction companies and the like who donate them, and it is the village who have to maintain the facility and it is to this end that the Rupee is charged, some can be as low as 25 cents, a charge nevertheless, both to stop waste and pay for the filters and consumables in cleaning the water.

He further said that the ONLY testing facility for water in the NCP which is in Anuradhapura is not functional and to see if the Govt. can do something to have it operational again, as otherwise we are unable to test the wells for heavy metals considered to be harmful when combined with pesticide and chemical fertilizer residue to result in the toxic by-products that appears to cause this CKDU though still completely not proven!

On the same day, I heard of another incidence of a person now at the end stage of CKDU, needing dialysis, which reminds me that the doctor said, that people are charged Rs3000 for a three wheel to take them to Polonnaruwa for dialysis along with almost a day’s wait once a week, a cost they can ill afford. 

Inspiration comes with nature, to write to create and to enthuse and most of all dream, as that is personal to you alone and no one can take it away from you.

The current debate of whether to get Electricity or not is not a simple one. I know I will rue the day I decide to have power of electricity here. It will take away that simplicity, that I have got so so used to. A kerosene lamp is all I put on till about 7.30pm. I have dinner before the light fades for the day and get into the contemplative stage when lights are switched off.

I am now writing my own version of the Constitution that bears no resemblance to the one bandied about, as it is new in concept, and with 2065 in mind, and not in the old fossilized form that will be obsolete even before it is ratified. 

The problem with my one getting any traction is that the people are still lost in the old world, trapped in the past without realizing the whole world has left them behind, and soon their own country will leave them behind due to its destruction by those who profess to love it.

Meditation – an ideal place to start practicing here in Ratmale

If the natural beauty of the serene place, with just sounds of the wild and sounds of the forest at night is enough to drive you crazy, how can you take them all out of your thinking to be able to concentrate on nothing to meditate just only hearing the sound of your breathing?

Subsequent to a chat with Ranjan Perera yesterday, the value of meditation on the soul (peace of mind) and body (health) is immeasurable. In his opinion, had he done this at a young age, his life would have been completely different, but then that is history.

Teaching meditation as part of the school curriculum at age 5 will be of immeasurable benefit of the future, even if only 25% of the students are able to get to the point of removing any thoughts from the mind.

I must confess, I have tried these techniques many times and have failed, due to lack of sufficient time commitment, and Ayoma Wickremasinghe had spent some time trying to get me to follow this in the same way she has reached a sense of calm and peace of mind from it. I am always with a restless mind trying to think of some new idea that will benefit the world! The trouble is it is impossible to change people, let alone oneself, which only leaves the very young who can be adapted to change if there is a collective will.

This is not to say that mediation does not create original thought! Actually it may advance the creation of new concepts, as one has a completely clear mind to begin with.

Ranjan maintained that he does not get anything out of newspapers and it just pollutes the mind with unnecessary crap. I read for new ideas, and new ways of thinking from articles, and trying to sort out the illogicality and stupidity of what is written, so that I can challenge such articles in the blogs I write. I assume less than .1% of the readers think like that so it is a positive issue for me unlike for others, who only get a dose of negativity that makes them even more insane! (Maybe his hypotheses many have held true for me in the past, but not now.)

Meditation is a form of discipline if practiced can achieve the same goals that I have been advocating for a while. One can see through the crap with a clear mind. And have a vision for the future not polluted by old habits, ideas, practices, facts etc. –none of which apply tomorrow! As is the case before any teaching, we must first train the Teachers now so in five years they can teach the Montessori kids, nationwide, an annual intake of 350,000.          

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Common Kingfisher - so common but difficult to catch close up here at Ratmale

Fish Owls - Ratmale January 2nd 2016

There is a pair of fish owls hanging around, wanting to keep me company, (am honored)
They are impossible to spot as they are so well camouflaged. So it is actually quite surprising how clear the photos turned out.

They were literally in my face a few times flying not 3 feet from my face as if to have a good look at me. What beauty, that only memories can store and no photo can match

All taken on 2nd January 2016

Black Headed Oriole

I was fortunate enough to relax and detox from the Christmas & New Year festivities at my favorite hangout, Kumbuk Pokuna from the 1st to 5th January, leaving at 4.45am on the 6th to be in the office in Biyagama on 6th at 8.45am for a meeting! Once the Highway is open in a few years, the journey time will be about 2 hours! WOW

This is just another photo from the Infinity Room that also is currently depicted in my FB account as the cover page.

I generally don't have company. I don't have electricity, and I try to eat as little as possible, just drinking Orange Juice from the Oranges in the property when I am thirsty.

It is a place of infinite possibilities, and more - surprises beyond imagination to keep one's hopes alive for endless possibilities.

The Green Bee Eater splashing around - another view from the Infinity Room