Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To Children, Happiness is... 12 Scenarios (Part 1)

Happiness itself does not stay -- only moments of happiness do.   - Spanish Proverb 

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Happiness is a kid with a kid.
Happiness is a lot of water to play with.

Happiness is taking time out with the family on a weekend.

Happiness is learning to paint.

Happiness is opening her first parasol inside the house.

Happiness is anything but work.

Happiness is riding a sled.

Happiness is a program for kids.

Happiness is palo sebo.
Happiness is sailing the sea in make believe.Happiness is guessing who is behind the mask.

Happiness is playing with the saints and angels.

 Happiness is having fun and leisure before a make-believe nature scene. 

 Happiness is day dreaming by the stream on the wall.

To Children, Happiness is .... 12 Scenarios (Part 2)

"Children are better models than adults.  Children can fulfill their happiness with simple things, while adults seek for more." Chiara Alyssa Cochico, UST

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Happiness is playing at sea - timeless, careless and free.

Happiness is discovering a rare flower with Ate (older sister). 
Happiness is with the whole clan on a Sunday on the beach.

Happiness is doing an errand and wading on a stream.

Happiness is waking up in a camp away from home.

Happiness is braving the prehistoric animals in a museum.

Happiness is being flower girls in a wedding.

Happiness is respite in the coolness of a shade.

Happiness is learning the first steps of a dance.

Happiness is graduation time.

When I read this article, I was touched because children can be happy on simple things but those simple things are important in life. Happiness with children can be fulfilled because they are contented and they don't aim high enough to be happy,just simple things, and they are happy in taking care of what they have, they care for their surroundings and achieving simple things that they have.

Children are better models than adults, children can fulfill their happiness with simple things. While adults seek for more. Chiara Alyssa Cochico

The Joy of New Life ... but where does Nature come in?

Man re-shapes the Earth at will for his needs
and wants disguised as values.

Dr Abe V Rotor

This editorial cartoon, The Joy of New Life, accompanies the editorial Still Poor, PDI March 21, 2016, following Easter Sunday. 

What role has environment to The Joy of New Life, 
and to the state of being Stlll Poor"?

Poverty undermines the pillars of truly a happy life;
it creates its own world apart. 

Anthropocentric claim of human supremacy over
all creatures is itself an ecological crisis.

Man re-shapes the Earth at will for his needs
and wants disguised as values.

Education for literacy, justice for equality, freedom
as right are licenses to anthropocentrism. 

Dignity sets man on a pedestal, lord and master  
of all creation, rational and supreme.

Who enthroned man with such power, but a god 
he claims the source of his power.   

Self-anointed, he wills as his god wills, acts in his behalf,
in an authoritarian rule.

Collective referendum, consultation, decision are all 
but mankind alone, sans all creatures on earth.    

Who stops him from cutting down whole forests,
dam rivers, level mountains? 

All in pursuit of progress, in the name of civilization,
for wealth, comfort and happiness.

And mankind covers the earth, aims at the universe,
challenges now the god in his mind.

And reasons out, rationality after all justifies
both good and evil, acts as amoral.

Deserts expand, land, air and water foul with waste,
"Tragedy of the commons" breeds war.

Nations break up, millions in exodus to nowhere, 
where there was once progress.

Where there was once a paradise, a golden city
in its place, now also gone. 
What role has environment to The Joy of New Life, 
and to the state of being Stlll Poor"? ~

Monday, March 28, 2016

Agro-Ecology: That’s What Practical Farming is All About

Agro-Ecology:  That’s What Practical Farming is All About
Dr Abe V. Rotor

The Ifugao Rice Terraces and Machu Picchio in Peru (lower photo) are farming models of Agro-Ecology, many are as old as the Egyptian civilization and that of Ancient China.

“Farming is a way of living,” says the dean of farm management in the Philippines, Dean Felix D. Maramba, quoting Eugene Devenport who said that farming is not only a business, but a mode of life. “Sometimes the business is the prominent feature, so successful that life seems to run on one long sweet song. Sometimes the business runs so low that life is a bitter struggle.”

The farm and the family home is intertwined; in fact they are one. Anything that affects the farm as a business also directly affects as a home. The farm operator is the head of the household and the bulk of the farm work is done by the members of the family. The farmer is the farmer 24 hours a days, on weekdays as well as on Sundays and Holidays.

The children are brought up in close contact with nature. They develop an appreciation of the manifestations of the Creator through living things and their order. The farm boy does not have to wait until he is grown up before he can work and share family responsibilities. He is brought up early in the family business. In this way he will learn the value of industry and a sense of proprietorship early in life. The work habits and resourcefulness developed by farm children are kept throughout their lives.

Composting is a regular feature of farming and gardening.

This old school of Dean Maramba  may not be the model progressive farmers are looking for today, but definitely the better farmer is the entrepreneur who grew up with farming and pursued training in technology and farm management, and has gain the confidence and skills in transforming the traditional concept of a farm into an agribusiness and therefore, he has a better chance in dealing with the complexities of world of the agriculture and business.

Make the correct decisions in farming.

Farming is no easy task. It is full of decisions - decisions based on socio-economic principles, and guided by rules of conduct and natural laws and of society. These are 10 guidelines in decision making.

1.      Surplus labor resources of typically large rural families should be directed to labor-intensive projects, such as integrated farming. 

2.      Hillside or upland agriculture requires the cultivation of permanent crops, preferably through mixed cropping, such as intercropping of coconuts with orchard trees and annual crops.

3.      Coastal and river swamplands should be preserved as wildlife sanctuaries, and should be managed as an ecosystem, rather than an agricultural venture.   

4.      Wastes can be recycled and converted into raw materials of another enterprise. Farm wastes and byproducts of processing can be processed biologically into methane, organic fertilizer, and biomass for vermiculture.

5.      Productivity of small farms can be increased through pyramidal or storey farming.  Batangas and Cavite farmers are well known for storied multiple cropping.

6.      Poor soils can be rehabilitated through natural farming, such as green manuring, crop rotation and use of organic fertilizers, all integrated in the farming system. Corn-peanut, rice-mungo are popular models of crop rotations. 

7.      Cottage industries are built on agriculture, guided by profitability and practical technology.  It is time to look at the many agro-industries, from food processing to handicrafts.

8.      Tri-commodity farming maximizes utilization of resources, such as having an orchard, planting field crops, and raising fish and livestock on one farm.

9.      Cooperative farming is the solution to economics of scale, these to include multipurpose and marketing cooperatives of farmers and entrepreneurs.   

 Sampaguita, Philippine national flower, is now cultivated like tea on large scale. 
10.  Since the number of days devoted to farming is only one-­third of the whole year, livelihood   outside of farming should be developed. Like a sari-sari store, a small farm cannot afford to have too many hands.  Other opportunities should be tapped outside of farming by other members of the family.

Always go for natural food

 The rule of thumb is that, it is always preferred to eat foods grown under natural conditions than those grown with the use of chemicals.  These are criteria to know if  a food is natural?

·        It must be fresh, or freshly packed

·        It must be free from pests and diseases

·        There are no harmful chemicals and artificial additives, including antibiotics residues.  

·        Food must not be tainted with radiation

·        Natural food excludes the so-called junk food.       

·        It has been processed by natural means such as blast freezing, sun drying and the like.

·        Packaging materials are safe to human health, animals and the environment.

·        It meets standard organoloeptic test (taste test) and nutritional value requirements.  

There are many kinds of vegetables you can choose for backyard and homelot gardening.

Native vegetables - patani, alukong or himbaba-o, eggplant, and amoalaya make the best Ilocano pinakbet. 
There are many vegetables to choose from: leafy – malungay, talbos (kalabasa, kamote, sayote), kangkong,; Stem – asparagus, bamboo shoot; flower– katuray, squash flower, cauliflower, broccoli, himbaba-o (alokong); fruit – ampalaya, squash, cucumber, green corn, sayote, tomato, eggplant, green papaya, pepper; root – Gabi, kamote, ube, tugui, ginger, onion, garlic, carrot, radish; seed – patani, sitao, white bean, black bean, cowpea, green pea, chick pea, pigeon pea, peanut, linga (sesame), paminta (black pepper) 

Malunggay is the most popular tree vegetable in the tropic. In the province no home is without this small tree at the backyard or in a vacant lot. The leaves, flowers, juvenile pods and young fruits of Moringa oleifera (Family Moringaceae) go well with fish, meat, shrimp, mushroom, and the like. It is one plant that does not need agronomic attention, not even weeding and  fertilization, much less chemical spraying.  You simply plant an arms length cutting or two, in some corner or along the fence and there it grows into a tree that can give you a ready supply of vegetables yearound.  What nutrients do we get from malunggay?

Here is a comparison of the food value of the fresh leaves and young fruits, respectively, in percent. (Marañon and Hermano, Useful Plants of the Philippines)

·        Proteins                                 7.30             7.29

·        Carbohydrates                     11.04             2.61

·        Fats                                        1.10             0.16

·        Crude Fiber                            1.75            0.76

·        Phosphorus (P2 O 5)                0.24             0.19  

·        Calcium (CaO)                      0.72             0.01

·        Iron (Fe2O3)                        0.108            0.0005

Owing to these properties and other uses, rural folks regard malunggay a “miracle tree.” Take for other uses. The root has a taste somewhat like that of horse-radish, and in India it is eaten as a substitute to it. Ben oil extracted from the seed is used for salad and culinary purposes, and also as illuminant. Mature seeds have antibacterial and flocculants properties that render drinking water safe and clear. 

From these data, it is no wonder malunggay is highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists for both children and adults, particularly to nursing mothers and the convalescents.

Get the best from your favorite fruits

1.      Be keen with the appearance, smell, feel – and even sound – of the fruit before harvesting or buying it. There’s no substitute to taste test.though. Develop your skills on these fruits: mango, musk melon,  soursop or guyabano and its relative, sugar apple or atis.  Also try on  caimito, chico, siniguelas, and such rare fruit as sapote.

2.      To ripen fruits, rub table salt on the cut stem (peduncle). Salt does not only facilitate ripening, it also protects the fruit from fungi and bacteria that cause it to rot. You can use the rice box-dispenser to ripen chico, caimito, avocado, tomato, and the like. Wrap the fruits loosely with two or three layers of newspaper before placing them inside the box. As the fruits ripen they exude ethylene gas that hastens ripening. 

3.      Bigger fruits are always generally preferred. Not always.  Native chico is sweeter and more aromatic than the ponderosa chico.  Big lanzones have large seeds. Bicol or Formosa pineapple, although not juicier, is sweeter than the Hawaiian variety. Of course we always pick up the biggest mango, nangka, caimito, watermelon, cantaloupe, atis, guyabano, and the like. 

4.      There are vegetables that are eaten as fruit or prepared into juice. Examples are carrot, tomato, green corn, and sweet green pea. Asparagus juice, anyone? Try a variety of ways in serving your favorite fruits. nangka ice cream,  fruit cocktail in pineapple boat, avocado cake, guava wine. Enjoy the abundance of your favorite fruits, consult the fruit season calendar.

Engage in cottage industries, such as home made coconut virgin oil.

The price of this “miracle cure” has soared and there is now a proliferation of commercial brands of virgin coconut oil in the market.  The old folks show have been doing this for a long time. One such person is Mrs. Gloria Reyes of Candelaria (Quezon) who makes virgin coconut oil. This is the step-by-step process.

1.      Get twenty (20) husked, healthy, and mature nuts.  They should not show any sign of spoilage or germination. Shake each nut and listen to the distinct sound of its water splashing. If you can hear it, discard the particular nut.  

2.      Split each nut with a bolo, gathering the water in the process. Discard any nut at the slightest sign of defect, such as those with cracked shell and oily water, discolored meat, presence of a developing endosperm (para). Rely on a keen sense of smell. 

3.      With the use of an electric-driven grating machine, grate the only the white part of the meat.  Do not include the dark outer layer of the meat.  

4.      Squeeze the grated meat using muslin cloth or linen to separate the milk (gata) from the meal (sapal).  Gather the milk in wide-mouth bottles (liter or gallon size). 

5.      Cover the jars with dry linen and keep them undisturbed for 3 to 5 hours in a dry, dark and cool corner.

6.      Carefully remove the floating froth, then harvest the layer of oil and place it in a new glass jar. Discard the water at the bottom.  It may be used as feed ingredient for chicken and animals.

7.      Repeat the operation three to four times, until the oil obtained is crystal clear.  Now this is the final product – home made virgin coconut oil.   

Virgin coconut oil is a product of cold process of oil extraction, as compared with the traditional method of using heat.  In the latter coconut milk is brought to boiling, evaporating the water content in the process, and obtaining a crusty by-product called latik.  The products of both processes have many uses, from   ointment and lubrication to cooking and food additive. There is one difference though, virgin coconut oil is richer with vitamins and enzymes - which are otherwise minimized or lost in the traditional method.   

Get rid of waste by utilizing them.

Agricultural byproducts make good animal feeds, as follows: 
·        Rice straw, corn stovers and sugarcane tops, the most common crop residues in the tropics, contain high digestible nutrients, and provide 50% of the total ration of cattle and carabaos. 

·        Rice bran and corn bran are the most abundant general purpose feed that provides 80 percent of nutritional needs of poultry, hogs and livestock, especially when mixed with copra meal which is richer in protein than imported wheat bran (pollard). 

·        Cane molasses is high in calorie value. Alternative supplemental feeds are   kamote vines for hogs and  pineapple pulp and leaves for cattle. 

Here is a simple feed formula for cattle:  
  • Copra meal 56.5 kg; 
  • rice bran (kiskisan or second class cono bran) 25 kg; 
  • molasses 15kg; 
  • Urea (commercial fertilizer grade, 45%N) 2.0kg;
  • Salt 1.0kg; and 
  •  Bone meal 0.5kg.  
  Weight gain of a two-year old Batangas cattle breed fed with this formulation is 0.56 kg on the average,

These are byproducts which have potential feed value: These are byproducts or wastes in the processing of oil, starch, fish, meat, fruit and vegetables. The abundance of agricultural by-products offers ready and cheap feed substitutes with these advantages.  

  • It cut down on feed costs,
  • reduces the volume on imported feed materials,
  • provides cheaper source of animal protein,
  • provides employment and livelihood, and
  • keeps the environment clean and in proper balance.

Protect nature through environment-friendly technology.

One example is the use of rice hull ash to protects mungbeans from bean weevil. Burnt rice hull (ipa) contains silica crystals that are microscopic glass shards capable of penetrating into the conjunctiva of the bean weevil, Callosobruchus maculatus.  Once lodged, the crystal causes more damage as the insect moves and struggles, resulting in infection and desiccation, and ultimately death. 
Ducks raised on rice paddy to control Golden Kuhol and other pest 

This is the finding of Ethel Niña Catahan in her masteral thesis in biology at the University of Santo Tomas. Catahan tested two types of rice hull ash,  One is partly carbonized (black ash) and the other oven-burned (white ash).  Both were applied independently in very small amount as either mixed with the beans or as protectant placed at the mouth of the container. In both preparations and methods, mungbeans – and other beans and cereals, for that matter – can be stored for as long as six months without being destroyed by this Coleopterous insect.  

The bean weevil is a cosmopolitan insect whose grub lives inside the bean, eating the whole content and leaving only the seed cover at the end of its life cycle.  When it is about to emerge the female lays eggs for the next generation. Whole stocks of beans may be rendered unfit not only for human consumption, but for animal feeds as well.  It is because the insect leaves a characteristic odor that comes from the insect’s droppings and due to fungal growth that accompanies infestation.  

             Rice is substitute, and a better one, to wheat flour.

Of all alternative flour products to substitute wheat flour, it is rice flour that is acclaimed to be the best for the following reasons:

·       Rice has many indigenous uses from suman to bihon (local noodle), aside from its being a staple food of Filipinos and most Asians.
·        In making leavened products, rice can be compared with wheat, with today’s leavening agents and techniques.
·        Rice is more digestible than wheat.  Gluten in wheat is hard to digest and can cause a degenerative disease which is common to Americans and Europeans.
·        Rice is affordable and available everywhere, principally on the farm and in households.

Other alternative flour substitutes are those from native crops which are made into various preparations -  corn starch (maja), ube (halaya), gabi (binagol), and tugui’ (ginatan), cassava (cassava cake and sago).    

Lastly, the local rice industry is the mainstay of our agriculture.  Patronizing it is the greatest incentive to production and it saves the country of precious dollar  that would otherwise be spent on imported wheat.

Let’s aim at unifying agriculture and ecology into agro-ecology.  This is what practical farming is all about.    

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