Jun 21, 2018

How to bring back the green...

Back in 2007, when we bought the land for Karthi, it looked like this...


There were coconut trees that looked tired, a few jack fruit trees and a jungle jack that towered above everything else. There was little ground cover, and what little there was was mostly the thorny touch-me-nots. The plot, open from both sides was the grazing ground of local livestock which ate up any grass and left the thorns. Since the owner was away and didn't bother to fertilize or otherwise take care of the coconut trees, the coconuts were taken by anyone around and any dry thing that fell was taken away for firewood. 

After we leveled just enough space to build Karthi, we faced a lot of trouble with soil erosion, lack of nutrients in the soil to support plants and all-pervasive touch-me-nots which tore at our feet and ankles if we dared walk anywhere other than the front yard.

Neither DH nor I were any good with combating any of these problems. Back at my home, my gardening experience was limited to sticking anything into fertile soil and have it grow and be fruitful. DH hadn't even done that. So we had to read, ask for advice and simply blunder our way through fixing things.
 
Here are the things we have done to combat these problems:

1. Terracing: One of the most efficacious things we did in our upper yard was to dig rainwater ditches. We had come across rainwater-harvesting ideas while building Karthi. So when we got workers to make proper coconut thadams, we asked them to dig wide ditches to hold water during the monsoons. The ditches were kind of random and made walking in our upper yard a bit difficult, but they did help with water retention and soil erosion. But eventually they naturally filled up.

After a few years, we hired an excavator for a day and did some real landscaping work on the upper yard. The whole yard was dug up, the extraneous vegetation matter was pushed deep into the soil and we made two proper terraces. This had proved very good in catching water and improving the soil's fertility.

2. Culling:  Our property contained 8 jack fruit trees and a towering jungle jack tree that cut off most of the sunlight in the morning. At the beginning, we felt reluctant to cut down any tree. But finally we had to admit that all this abundance of trees, especially the luxuriant wild jack that was not even putting out fruits anymore were not contributing anything good except dry leaves. 

So down came the wild jack, one old jack fruit tree that was too close to a younger one and hindering its growth and another one that again stood on the eastern border, blocking the light. This opened up the yard to plenty of sunlight. And in addition, selling the wood gave us enough money to buy a weed trimmer.

3. Giving back to the soil: Most people around us deal with weeds and natural refuse in two ways: a) Whatever is dry, they burn. b) They use spades to dig out the weeds. Both these management techniques are harmful in the long run. Burning increases pollution (as we see when large-scale burning of the refuse in Punjabi and Haryanvi fields causes smog in Delhi). When weeding using a spade, the soil loses its fertile top cover and the lack of roots encourages soil erosion. 

As novices in the art of land management we were under a lot of pressure to do an annual digging up of weeds and even using an excavator every year to improve our soil. Even I reveled in doing some spadework, thinking of it as "prettying" my garden by eradicating all the weeds. But after reading books on permaculture, especially Fukuoka's works, I finally put an end to the systematic impoverishing of our already poor soil. 

As much as I can, I let the dry branches and leaves rot wherever they fall. The leaves that fall in our front yard get swept and put around garden plants. It's only when the plant beds can't hold anymore that I resort to a little leaf-burning.The dry coconut leaves also get to rot in their respective thadams... If they pile up too much or stick out into our paths, I reposition them or get a bill hook and chop them up into smaller pieces. 

Our weed trimmer does exemplary work in this field. I take it out for a spin and all the nutrient-rich green parts of the weeds fall back into the soil to rot and provide even more nutrients. At the same time enough of the weed survives to grow back and provide much-needed root support to the soil and prevent it from flowing away in the rain. I've decided that having a natural "lawn" looks much better than naked soil around my plants. I still root out some 'undesirable' weeds by hand, especially the thorny ones or ones that grow too tall and strong for my weed cutter. But those are appear very sporadically now and plucking them out does not harm the soil.

4. Coco peat: Oh, I could sing paeans to coco peat all day long! Our soil is predominantly clay that becomes spongy and squishy in rainy weather and iron-hard in summer. Even if I added cattle manure and bio-gas slurry to the soil, it didn't help much. On one of my jaunts to the garden shop I noticed these blocks of material and asked about them. The shop guy talked of it as a soil substitute made from coconut fiber. I certainly had lots of soil around!!! But I bought a block after reading the instructions, fascinated by how it said that the block would expand to several times its size after being soaked in water. Talk of buying things for the wrong reason!

Once my curiosity about its expanding qualities were satisfied, I experimentally added coco peat to the soil and found that whatever I planted in it grew immeasurably more luxuriantly that it did in our plains soil EVEN WITHOUT ADDING FERTILIZER. I read up more on coco peat and found that it is indeed added to clayey soil to make it porous and allow the plant roots to penetrate it better!! What a serendipitous discovery!

I hope these tips help anyone starting out in land management on their own. Currently I have a new adversary. I don't know what it is called, but it is a wild climber of the legume variety that is rapidly taking over yards everywhere, even destroying forests. Its lavender flowers beguiled me for a while but then I saw its truly heinous propensity of choking even sturdy and well-established plants. THAT is one weed that needs to be uprooted, even more so than the bloodthirsty touch-me-not.

So, on with my trusty gardening gloves! See you later!!!

Jun 14, 2018

Monsoon blues and greens

The dirty breakfast dishes are still waiting in the sink. The laundry is calling out loud from the washing machine. My SHE cards tell me that I have a full day of chores ahead. But when I stepped out to close the gate after my family departed, for the first time in several months I felt the urge to take out the camera, to write, to share. So my dear dishes, laundry and chore home-blessing cards, please wait a bit while I get this done!!!

The first thing that called to me was the sun...


...shining on the rain-drenched Napier grass through which I had mowed a path last week. The camera is a poor instrument to catch the magnificence of the light on the bright green. I stood a full minute enjoying the light before I ran in to get the camera...


My coral jasmine has decided that it is Onam already, making floral carpets and lending her blossoms to sundry bushes near her while vying for space with my plumeria.


Oh how I love those blossoms... they bring back the best memories of my childhood...


The color-changing bougainvillea that I had trained over the wall to say "Hi" and nod its blossoms at all passersby was blown right back and snapped in two by the wind last Saturday. I am not sad, because I know how soon it will grow back. In fact, the wind has done me a great service by sparing me the job of trimming it 😊. Now if I can just bring myself to cut it in manageable parts and get it to the top end of our yard where it can rest in peace without the thorns damaging me...


The globe amaranth providing much needed color relief from the rampant greenery...


The sun struggling to penetrate the vegetation of our absentee neighbor's overgrown yard into our backyard...


The fragile little "springs" that my ivy gourd is putting out to catch hold of its new trellis. I moved its pot to a different spot since a falling papaya tree broke the net I had set up for it earlier. Those tiny springs inspire me with so much hope and happiness...

Just take in this list for a moment...
  1. A childless aunt has multiple hospitalizations for acute diabetes issues.
  2. Husband and one child contract a nasty virus that combines fever, cough, sneezing, vomiting and consequent dehydration which last more than a fortnight each.
  3. Another kid contracts a urinary tract infection that has his bilirubin shooting up and gives him high fever.
  4. A cousin's wife and two kids have a serious accident. The lady is bedridden with multiple fractures on her legs. The kids survive with a fracture each.
  5. The cousin, a high-functioning alcoholic who had been restrained till then by his wife's loving supervision, decides that his wife's bedridden state is the ideal time to leap off the wagon, goes on an alcoholic binge and ends up in a coma. In the ICU for two weeks without knowing if he will survive. Now recovering, but still not mobile and has a food tube and breathing tube. Still in hospital after a whole month.
  6. A nephew gets acute appendicitis and gets hospitalized just in time to avoid appendix rupture. Still has a painful recovery.
  7. Dad needing and getting cataract surgery.
This is what we have been going through from the beginning of this year.  I have had to personally care for only four of these people, but the sheer stress has been drawing out all joy in life. So much so that happiness seems even more fleeting than usual! 

Movies, books, summer outings - those go-to remedies for the blues - were just momentary distractions in the doom and gloom.

Today, it's different. Today once again I feel that life is not a burden. Today I've decided that enough is enough. It's time to get on with writing, baking, sowing those new seeds, going beyond mere housekeeping routines to do something creative, something extra. 

The sun's rising brightly over Karthi once again!

Mar 9, 2018

Post laptopitis and a makeover project...

January 29th was an ordinary Monday in all other respects at Karthi. After the weekend merrymaking, I was as usual torn between selecting an extended rest on the couch or whirling around Karthi putting to it rights after the weekend mayhem. I had no inkling of the disaster that was to befall me. 

In the end, I chose to celebrate the fledgling week by alternating between bouts of cleaning and sitting still. In one leg of the sitting still part, I fired up my trusty laptop of 7 years, did some work on it and left it on the blink a while later to get my lunch. After lunch I came back to my hibernating computer, sat down and pressed the switch...

Nothing happened. The screen didn't erupt happily to life on my touch. No friendly lights gleamed. I quickly attached the power cord and tried all resuscitation methods that my laptop technician relayed to me over the phone. No good. That is when I started to realize that something very serious had happened...

To cut a long story short, my laptop is still not completely fine. It was resuscitated and returned to me after more than a month minus a battery for the backing up of files. It needs another extended stay in the hospital for a complete recovery and I'm waiting for the technician to arrange a surrogate laptop for me to use till my own is returned to robust health. 

But the first two months of the year have not passed by uneventfully. Today I will share with you a project that had been niggling at me for several months. It was concerning this bookshelf in our master bedroom:


I have no idea how old this bookshelf is. From 3rd grade to the 5th, it had been part of my room in Saudi. Later, it sat in my sister's room for a long time. When our parents came to Thiruvananthapuram, they left it here at Karthi. My father had got the old plywood panel covering changed, put in new glass sliding panels and had the interior painted. But the glass didn't slide smoothly, it was a headache to open and close them and they were tough to keep clean of smudges and dust. So over the years, I was unable to close them properly and the interior got progressively dirty.

Things being so, I just stashed in some things that weren't in frequent use and had to spend considerable time and effort in retrieving them. It was tough to keep it organized and clean. Besides, it was the first thing that met my eyes on waking up and the last when I went to sleep, so it was kind of an eyesore too. 

One day I just paused by it and checked one end of the glass channel that didn't quite meet at one corner. To my surprise, it came off from the wood, trailing threads of tacky glue. I ran to my tool box, found a chisel and in no time had pried off the channel on the left side!!! I sat down to think and found that an open bookshelf would be much more easier to maintain and organize than this sliding glass affair. 

So in the second week of the new year, I bought some white enamel paint (since my painting adventure last year, I consider myself a veteran house painter) and happily dismantled the glass channels and panel without any damage.


It was a challenge taking out the glass panels and the top and bottom channels. I didn't know how to take the glass out of the channels without removing them altogether. So after a bit of sliding and prying that saw me sweating as much in stress as in exertion, they came out without breaking and I immediately packed them up and put them away for safekeeping. 

Two coats of paint later, the bookshelf gleamed back at me... Of course, the edges are a bit ragged and the paint has got out of the lines a bit, but they don't bother me.


And here it is now... organized and easy to clean, no longer an eyesore and completely usable.


So that is another project under my belt. Each time I look at it, I smile in satisfaction! Which reminds me, I have not shown you my living room makeover yet. Will post it soon!!!

Jan 12, 2018

Movie Review: Mayanadi

Mayanadi, Ashiq Abu's latest directorial venture comes after a gap of two years. His work is not always to my taste. I loved Salt n' Pepper. 22F Kottayam was okay. Didn't like his later ventures till Rani Padmini which I liked enough to watch more than once. So I was a bit skeptical about what was touted as a "newgen romance", but decided that for the sake of keeping an open mind, I would go and watch the movie. 

Let me tell you straight away - I liked the movie. Liked - not loved and I don't think that it is awesome to the nth degree. It is the "love" or "friendship" story of two very flawed people - Mathan (Tovino Thomas) and Aparna (Aiswarya Lakshmi). The two form an attachment while in college. They break up due to trust issues. Mathan goes on to become a bit of a conman till he gets into real trouble. But he has always kept his love for Aparna alive. So he asks her to run away with him to the Gulf.

Aparna, on the other hand, never got to complete her studies and is a struggling actress. She auditions as much as she can, models for ads and moonlights as an MC for lavish weddings and such. She has to support her mother and brother. The family is not a close one. She knows she cannot trust Mathan since he broke that trust once before. But she also cannot say no when he tries to get back into her good graces.

As a story it is a change from the routine and cliched fare of filmy romance. And it is picturized beautifully. The actors deliver superb performances and are very easy on the eyes. There is no denying that logic and common sense have been sacrificed at the altar of dramatic tension and elicitation of tragedy. But it is watchable and engrossing. The ironic comedy scenes are superb. My knowledge of Tamil is pretty basic and I would have loved to have some subtitles.

This is what I felt in the movie theater. But after I came out, one of my friends pointed out to me that the picture has been touted as the epitome of women empowerment. Say what??? Walking alone in the streets of Kochi after midnight, stringing along a guy who loves you and just using him for sex and moral support and keeping mum when a good friend is carried away by her overbearing brother so that you can snag her job - these are supposed to be what women need to feel empowered??? I am sorry, I must have missed a memo somewhere... 

IMHO, that is just kowtowing to the male-defined model of achieving "success" at any cost and using emotionally vulnerable people just for physical satisfaction. Is the adoption of that historical male prerogative the definition of feminine empowerment? Sorry, I beg to differ. May be the makers of the movie want to spread this "empowered attitude" in society so that they have more misguided girls to pick from???

Having said that, the movie is eminently watchable and refreshing. Just don't take your kids to watch.

Jan 11, 2018

My New Year Gift to You!

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Oh I know it's almost half way through the first month of the year... Things get way unsettled from mid-Dec to mid-Jan here at Karthi. We have been fortunate enough that a prediction hasn't come true, but Ockhi happened and showed us that even if there is a warning system in place and information had been handed to government agencies, it didn't percolate down to the people who really needed the warning. There are still 300+ souls whose fate is unknown. Let us continue to contribute what we can to ease the suffering of the loved ones that the departed and the lost have left behind.

Back in the summer of 2013, my kids made an amazing discovery - they learned that cakes can be baked at home! Blame the summer camp that they attended at DH's workplace. And although they saw and helped in the baking process at the camp, did they want to be bakers themselves? No sirree, they colluded with their father to buy a microwave and made ME do all the hard work! 

Even though baking is one 'craft' that I didn't adopt on my own, it has become dear to my heart. It satisfies the creative, the eternal student and the gourmand in me. And it gets me raving accolades from my family! Frequent baking makes for expanding waistlines, so I bake cakes only for birthdays, bake sales at the kids' school and for guests.

Last year I was bold enough to try baking a cake without a recipe!!! I know, sacrilegious, isn't it? The amounts have to be just right to make the chemistry that is almost alchemy work for the novice. I got news that two of my cousins were coming to visit. Karthi's snack box was empty and they weren't staying for lunch. So I decided to bake a quick chocolate cake. I didn't even have to break out my hand mixer! My cousins didn't mind being guinea pigs - in fact they asked for more! Then I knew I was on to a good thing! And indeed I had the occasion to bake it twice afterwards and they both came out very good. So here goes:

Quick and Easy Microwave Chocolate Cake 

Dry ingredients:

All-purpose flour - 1 cup
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp

Wet ingredients:

Vegetable oil - 1 cup (I found peanut oil the best. Coconut oil makes for a heavy cake) 
Sugar - 1 cup
Milk -  1 cup
Eggs - 2, lightly beaten
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Whisk together sugar and oil till sugar is somewhat dissolved. Add milk and mix well. Sieve dry ingredients together and add to the mixture while whisking. Pour in the beaten eggs while whisking. Add the vanilla essence.

Pour batter into greased baking mold and nuke at 80% power for 12 minutes. Check whether done with a toothpick or skewer.  It's yummy and moist served either hot or cold.

This cake is not overly sweet - it suits our tastes perfectly. The batter may look runny, but that is how it is supposed to look. 

And as I was writing this, a memory came to me and I chuckled thinking those days are far behind me. Touch wood!

Do have a go at my new year gift. Let me know in the comments!
 

Dec 22, 2017

2017 is over, so soon?

I love being a homemaker. One of the reasons is that it offers a wide variety of activities that appeal to me. No two days are alike on this job. One day I might be a cleaning diva, the next day I could be a nurse, on the third day I can wow my family with baked goodies... the list is endless. 

The only problem with this is, unlike a day job where the milestones are marked with pay raises, promotions, certificates and congratulatory parties, homemaking is a mostly thankless and featureless career. When I look back, it all seems like an endless corridor of cooking, cleaning and other mundane tasks that I have traversed with my apron firmly tied on.

So this year I've decided to sit down and list the things that I have learned and accomplished in the past 12 months. I don't want to remember years just for the memorable trips we took or tragedies in the family and friends circles.

Here is my list:

Gardening: Grew my first ivy gourds or kovakkai in pots and devised a pandal using plastic netting between our well and shed. The yield wasn't spectacular, but the vine is still alive and that is a huge accomplishment for me! 


I also improvised a trellis for purple long beans and had a bountiful crop. We planted more fruit trees this year. So in addition to the jackfruit, tamarind and coconut trees we had when we bought the plot, we now have cashew, sapodilla, guava, papaya, bell fruit, passion fruit and mulberry. My plan for the next year is to nourish these properly. The pineapple that I had got to grow from the top of a store-brought fruit has finally decided to put forth a fruit after two years of merely taking up space in our backyard. Talk about bonuses!

I also managed a couple of elephant yams and finally succeeded in getting a kanthari (bird's eye chilli) to grow from seed. DH and I planted around 26 banana and plantain rhizomes in May and got help in maintaining them. They are flourishing. And here I was thinking that I barely did anything in the garden due to health issues in the latter part of the year!

This year is notable for my discovery of a miraculous addition to my gardening - cocopeat! We have clayey soil that becomes quite hard in summer months. I was looking for a way to loosen it up and happened on this product at an agro store. I've used it for all the new plantings this year and it has worked wonders. Later, my hunch was confirmed by an agricultural expert's YouTube video recommendation for loosening and aerating clayey soil!



Craft: Learned and made three crochet amigurumi. Made my first macrame pieces.


I am also learning polymer claying. My first pieces are very rudimentary and I am still learning the various techniques.

And of course there was that needlework project that is now framed and hanging right at our entrance so that the maker can boast to her heart's content...


I managed to BuJo through the year and have decided that I don't need any other planner ever again. But the recommended BuJo journals are very prohibitively pricey (Leuchtturm 1917 - Rs.3000 for a notebook!!!) and the dotted notebook I got from Amazon shed pages so badly that I was left pasting back the pages more than I was writing in it. Other replacements had pages that ghosted and even bled.

So I bought a package of cream-colored A4 premium bond paper from my favorite stationery shop and learned kettle-stitch binding from YouTube. My first attempt at trimming the pages after binding turned out like a rat chewed up its edges. Ani now uses that as a sketch book. I bound two more and got them trimmed and covered by a professional binder. Then I added elastic closures and colorful endpapers on my own... 


Here they are: my new BuJo and Craft BuJo for 2018. Hope to learn how to do the covers by myself next year. The paper quality is the best! I can even paint in them if I want to. I thumb my nose at you, expensive stationery manufacturers!!!

Cooking and baking: Baked Tres leches, Red velvet, Devil's food and Caramel cakes. Learned how to make Swiss meringue buttercream icing - think I will never go back to plain ol' buttercream unless I need an eggless cake and icing. I tried my hand at icing flowers too! Here was my best effort of the year made for the "baby" in our family who complains if I don't write his name in icing on the top of the cake! (Yep, that's my DH)


In addition to baking I tried my hand at Unniyappam (turned out soft and yummy in spite of my skipping the step of letting the batter rest awhile after mixing), Kumbilappam during the jackfruit season and a savory, tangy Bhakarwadi that was a huge hit. I tried pickling tender mangoes, but got the proportions of masala all wrong so that instead of being soft and mushy, they turned out hard as bullets and too salty after the requisite 6 months in a closed jar. Ah, some you lose!

Home: Painted a whole room and learned quite a few valuable lessons in the process. Then I read this (highly recommended) book...


... learned to repair a leaky toilet by myself (cost 20 rupees) and emboldened by the feat, went on to replace the lights on the gate post by myself (no manual required). This is in addition to the valve-changing, picture-hanging etc that I usually do. 

I also managed to give our living room a makeover this month, but more on that in another post!

Books: I managed to stick to my resolution of listing all the books I read this year and writing a short precis of each. So far, the number is 131 - therefore I have managed to bring down the average number of books that I read from 15 to around 10 a month. Definite improvement, I would say! I will share my favorites of the year in another post.

Please don't think I am boasting about the number of books that I manage to read because anyone who knows me can tell you that reading is almost as essential to me as breathing. And please don't imagine that all my reading is either high literature or philosophical reading - those are certainly there, but I love reading potboilers, well-researched romances, memoirs, travelogs, good whodunits, thrillers and humor. I am looking forward to reducing this number even more because this year the power of the left lens of my specs went from -10.00 to -10.25 dioptre, not a good thing at my age!

Writing has not been very good this year: I managed a measly 12 blog posts not including this one. Didn't do any creative writing this year. And I didn't miss it much either...hmm, that is food for thought...

Towards the end of the year, I managed to help out a friend by copy-editing his wife's doctoral thesis. It led to my now getting two paying clients for my copy-editing and rewriting services!

All in all, it has been a good year for domestic activities at Karthi! I am so grateful for the new things I've learned this year. But my greatest thanks goes to DH who works hard and manages our finances so well that I have the leisure to be a homemaker. I cannot thank him enough for that.   

Do you look back at each year? Do the years appear distinct or do they telescope into each other and become a jumbled mess?  How do you chronicle the year's events? Do comment in the form below...

Wish you all a very merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! Signing off for 2017!

Nov 30, 2017

Hampi 3

The sky is overcast. The rain drizzles, intensifies and drops off never to stop completely. Cyclone Ockhi is knocking at our doors, felling trees and flipping umbrellas. The power comes and goes.

But I am an Aquarian and am nothing if not contrary. 😀 After filling my water tank till it overflowed - will last us for two days - then charging emergency lights, making sure we have candles and charging the power bank, I am now settled with a hot cuppa. Now let me take you to sunny Hampi where we had left off seeing the grandeur of the past that has been preserved in their half-damaged glory.

We took the long route across the bridge to Anegundi, on the northern side of the Tungabhadra. It's no wonder that Hampi and the surrounding area is famous among rock-climbing and hiking enthusiasts. The place is simply littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes, as though some ancient giant kids had played with them and left them scattered all over the landscape (Why didn't their Mom insist on tidying up their toys?). In fact, the legend goes that this was the land of the Vanaras and Sugreeva, Hanuman and their friends are responsible for the giant stacks of stones.



But at least the humans who came afterwards have made good use of the space left amid the rocks...


In fact the place, if tidied up of the rocks, would look like yesteryear Kerala - with paddy, plantain and sugarcane fields interspersed with tall coconut trees. 

And some little extras thrown in Hampi style:


DH and the kids braved the steep climb up the Anjanadri to visit the Hanuman temple - which they told me was exactly 575 steps high. I wandered around the base of hill and cooled myself off with water and juice. 

The pictures they brought back looked interesting, but not enough to tempt me...


From the top...


The boys hadn't cooled off or regained their energy by the time we reached Sanapur lake and saw the coracles...


But by then we were too famished to attempt any more adventures, so we went to the largely undeveloped (read no tarred roads) "hippie area" to find a restaurant. On the way was another magnificent reminder of the great empire...


Remnants of a bridge across the mighty Tungabhadra... The river has been tamed for quite a while now. And it is she who is responsible for the greenery that greets your eyes everywhere. The locals told me that even in the worst of summers, the dam provides them with enough water for their needs. Once numbered among the natural protectors of Hampi from the northern marauders, the river still bestows her riches in the land she flows through...

After a bumpy ride, we reached the restaurant. (If you are a non-vegetarian, you have to cross the river to get anything to eat. No one cooks meat or fish South of the river. There are only vegetarian restaurants in Hampi.) We were greeted by a clowder of cats (yup, that is what a group of cats is called, I checked!) having their lunch...


Talk about inbreeding!!! Soon we relaxed to the views of the old capital across the river...

 

In the end, at least there was the good view, for neither the food nor the price was satisfactory. 


Nope, HE wasn't laughing, I checked! 😉😉😉 We will bid a fond goodbye to Hampi here!

I don't know if it is an effect of the cyclonic storm, but it has taken me almost two hours to complete this post because the picture uploading was too slow. Already there are reports of 80+ fishermen missing. They went out to sea yesterday evening and haven't returned. Praying for them and their families. 🙏 

Relatives and friends are calling in from time to time to see if we are okay. We are, for now. See you all again next week!

How to bring back the green...

Back in 2007, when we bought the land for Karthi, it looked like this... There were coconut trees that looked tired, a few jack fr...