Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Been a Little Dry

We have planted the crop and now here comes the rainy season....  rainy season?  This month of October  has only yielded less than 3/4" of rain.  Hardly enough to sustain a crop and it's beginning to show.

In many fields the wheat has gone into self preservation mode and is shooting out its head early and at a very short height in order to produce at least some seed to grow another day.

The timing of the last we planted into virgin ground proved to be poor with little moisture left in the soil to adequately sprout and sustain the crop.   

 The ground is just as brown as the day it was planted three weeks ago

 The seed sprouted and found little moisture to keep growing and withered and died

Fortunately not all the fields are as bad

Below is Nahom working it for the camera as we were out inspecting the crop

What would we do without Nahom?

BTW - Happy birthday Nahom!

A sad thing about our project here is the necessity of displacing families from their small villages.  They receive compensation to gather their things and move to an out lying area to build their new home.

 This is now an abandoned village which housed about 30 people

Inside this hut is where a family of 5 or 6 would sleep with a few of their animals in the side room.  They have a small fireplace inside where they cook and keep warm .  This helps explain why the local people usually have a strong aroma of camp fire smell and there are so many children who come to the clinic with burns.

A corn crib to store corn

This village had to travel three hours by foot  to get needed water

 A small reminder of what was here

Now moving to the garden area and its crew
I'm trying to tell them about uncovering the bulb part of the onion to make it grow larger.  It goes against their logic to uncover much of the onion so we will do it on some and experiment to see.

They are so anxious to pick the tomatoes that a vine ripened tomato is hard to come by, bummer..

The view back to the houses

Here's a small crew trying to plant Bermuda grass for our future lawn, one of the few grasses that grows natural here.  Next best thing to laying down sod.

Shelley took off last week to Addis Ababa for needed time away from the farm and to get to know the capital and what it has to provide.  She has also been able to spend time with Alyssa's sister Kate and the children Wes and Alyssa are trying to adopt.  Kate has been a good sport in taking care of the responsibilities of these children since Wes' incedent.  Wes' last surgery went well and Alyssa is looking at returning in the next two weeks to be with the children.  What a change of events that family has had to endure.  We wish them well.

Until next time,


Friday, October 8, 2010

Planting is over

Much of the pressure is off now so I find myself with a little time to add to the blog.  We are happy to report that the planting is over.  We had a hard time getting the ground cleared fast enough in a short window of time so we were only able to seed about 1,500 hectares (3,705 acres).   Not too bad considering we have only been able to utilize half the equipment we expected with only one disk and one drill.
Here are some views from the air as we were all flown out to have a weekend retreat mixed with business to Lake Langano, ET thanks to Paul

 A good view of the camp.  Can you believe all this was nothing but trees and brush last January

 Vern was kind enough to hand over the controls for the last half of the flight, very nice.....

 Some of the view along the way.  These pictures don't do it justice

The pilot Vern Bell and me.  

An interesting thing about Vern is that he was Ethiopian born who's parents were Christian missionaries.  It's very impressive to hear a white guy speak fluently in their native tongue.

 The view from our room

 The lobby of Hotel Haile

The Next day was a Morrell Agro sponsored field day to help promote the wheat and barley varieties we are introducing into their country

It was complete with the ceremonial handing out caps and everything (except there were no door prizes)

We had a panel discussion on dry farming practices and varieties of grain

A trip out to the fields

A small field of Teff which is what injera is made from

Morrell employee, Mekonen giving his spill and playing a major role in the success of the event

Then came the big feed.  One of the few things I recognized  were potato chips at the bottom of the picture,  Bon Appetite!

The next day we went to church at a small branch in Awassa.  It was nice to attend an official church after being so far away for all these weeks.  

Then we were soon off in land cruisers to Goba (about 4-5 hrs. away) where the next day we were to meet with some VIP's from John Deere 

A view from a mountain pass along the way

This is a hotel that Chombe, the Ethiopian John Deere dealer, owns and the stage for the big meeting.  On top of the VIP list was Dave Everitt, president of region 1 & 4.  (Google him for further information) There were many others in his entourage from South Africa to Des Moines, IA  This was quite the treat for local farmers to have such representatives from John Deere.
We unfortunately didn't get to have much time with them due to time constraints.

We were spared the miserable 6 hr. ride from Goba to the farm on rough roads by being able to fly from nearby Robe.  Before that Clair and Bracken departed from us to travel to Addis to ready themselves to go back to the USA.

Things here at the farm are a bit more peaceful now.  We are preparing to spray the grain which is growing rapidly.  Soon after we are looking forward to the visit from our daughter Morgan and her husband Andrew and our two precious granddaughters.