Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Should I now learn to make snakeskin leather?

I will discuss one of the problems that is an indicator of the future changes that may happen at my farm as a result of global warming. I am now host to the wildlife that has decided to move nearer to the urban community that has invaded my quiet haven in the town of Silang.

At my farm, wildlife are now turning up in the wrong places. This may seem trivial to most people who will claim it is a normal thing to find snakes in the gardens in the tropics. I think it is not abnormal to find snakes, but not dozens of 15 foot pythons in the area where I have my farm.

For the first time, the annual deluge has brought me some very large pythons that are showing up very hungry! These larger pythons are showing up on my farm more and more frequently, and all I can think about is, whether or not this is a normal or strange effect of the 2o years of subdivision development upland?

The pythons are attracted by my free range chickens, they have been hunting and foraging nearer and nearer to our area, and now finally have invaded my farm. These large pythons come over during the rainy season,carried by the floodwater from the higher elevation that was once full of coconut and fruit orchards. In the past, it was a normal thing that we lose a few chickens, but mainly the younger ones that don't come in at night. We only feed our free range chickens in the late afternoon, and bring them inside the barn area where they safely nest at night.

These large serpents coming in have changed everything. We are now catching them coming in through drains, and through the roofs, and killing more than 5 chickens at a time. They can get part of their bodies into the shed by breaking down portions of the screen with their heads, then killing the chickens by crushing them in their powerful embrace, but they cannot swallow and leave with their bellies full. In fact, one very large python got into the chicken coop, swallowed three chickens then regugurated them back because it could not squeeze back through the opening it made before the sun came out for a new day. There was the large python lying with dead chickens beside it, and it was cowering in a corner, a massive coiled serpent. How does one wrangle with a massive male python? We are sorry to say, it was necessary to kill it, than for our farm hands to lose a limb and or their lives in trying to catch them.

This is what a dead chicken crushed by a python looks like. This chicken belonged to another farmer. I just pitied the chicken to see it like that. The chicken in this picture, had every bone crushed by a 10 foot python.

My chickens are not tied, and they can run if they see a snake, but a sleeping hen has no chance to get away from a big python that has fish-hook type teeth and bone crushing force to squeeze it to death.

A few female pythons we caught on our farm were smaller, about 9-11 feet in length. I personally found a big one that took refuge under the overgrown plants near my horse stable. The snake couldn't hide for very long since the color of the one we caught was a beautiful yellow and ochre color.

When we roam around our property, we now have to check for snakes before they find us. I am careful because some snakes that may be poisonous try to catch geckos and can wander their way into our house.

Boa constrictors give birth to live young, and will find a spot that is away from people, whereas pythons lay eggs in nests of mud and grass, and tend to be very bold about moving into property that has a ready food supply.

Our poultry farm is near the river. Boas prefer to stay in trees waiting to lurk around sleeping birds at night, or sleepy bats during the day. Pythons like to make their way up sewage pipes and big drains to get into an underground tunnel where they will sleep for weeks until hunger wakes them up. Pythons will then start to hunt by using their heat pits to locate prey. They are very effective during the darker days of the rainy season and it is often when they are sighted slithering away with a big belly, and desperate to get back into their tunnels and holes after feeding.

This large python was killed by a security guard in another poultry farm in Batangas. The guard shot in the head after it was caught inside the barn after eating 4 chickens. The python regurgurated the chickens and tried to flee but there would be no way to catch a 15 foot python without being seriously injured.

Pythons also feed on anything they can catch. Their favorite food are birds and bats, and when orchards are cut, a lot of these pythons that roost in trees or caves eating bats, and birds will be very hungry and start looking for prey in poultry farms, or homes where there may be small mammals like rats.

I used to catch and release the pythons far in the neighboring area of Indang, or Amadeo, but I realize these pythons can lay as much as 80 eggs that will populate the countryside at an alarming rate if these are not managed somehow. Pythons usually forage during the early morning or late afternoon, or on moonlit nights. They usually eat birds, rats, small mammals, lizards and of course the occassional feral chicken, dog or cat.

We have caught at least a dozen large pythons this year. We used to rarely catch one over 4 feet, but now these serpents are showing up looking like they are big enough to eat an entire goat.

I wonder if I should shift from raising free range chicken to raising free range pythons for leather?

The few we caught were given over to the natives to eat. They value the meat as tasting like chicken !! well, of course...they ate my chickens! Now they are eaten...karma..

Why I haven't posted anything for months...

I have been avoiding expressing my anger at my surroundings because quite frankly, I cannot do anything about what is happening. Global warming is affecting us all, but it is very true that majority of people, including me are just shrugging and saying " What can we do anyway?"

I feel like screaming sometimes because WE CAN DO inhabitants of this province of Cavite, there is a bunch of leaders who are just not getting it!

Rain is now pouring down, and out of control because the natural balance was destroyed when millions of rainforest, and orchard land was cut to make way for these land developers to create an upland suburbia.

The watersheds were sold off by the thousands of hectares, and because bulldozers have uprooted all the trees to create those soft, rolling hills that can be subdivided as lots to sell to people, there is nothing to hold the earth from washing out with the rainwater. What happens after the rains stop, is silt depositing on the land, raising the level of the river. Succeeding years of heavy rain, will further erode the uplands until huge breaks in the surrounding banks of the river will also wash away.

This balance has been tampered with. When the rivers are overflowing, and there is NO MORE WATERSHED, certain adverse changes will happen! The river is rising and bringing all kinds of problems. All this water once was stored in acquifers in the upland region, and in the roots of forest trees in the watershed. Watersheds are set aside as forested areas that should be left untouched to prevent rainwater from eroding the soil. All this mud and water then pours down into the lowlands and becomes a flood, and mud landslides can kill people living in the lower areas.

The rain, and outpouring of the river into the lowlands was a normal process that fertilized rice paddies, and gave us many centuries of abundant harvests. The rice fields, and estuaries benefited from the rivers swelling and depositing rich minerals and silt that diluted estuaries salty brine, giving us a new generation of fish fry from spawning ocean varieties that come to lay eggs in that silt.

The river that blessed the lowlands, is now the factor that is destructive, instead of productive. What used to be a normal circumstance, and a beneficial relationship between water, earth and sea, is now instruments of disaster.

I have to post certain events that have convinced me that maybe I need to migrate to another country with strict zoning laws, and policies that protect the land. We who are organic farmers want to flee from these agents of commercial agriculture and get away from areas where they are spraying pesticides, and the using GMO seeds!

I got ridiculed and dismissed by many who believe everything is for the good of the nation. WHAT? Spraying poison, and dumping chemicals in rivers, having garbage in the streams, cutting down rainforests for stupid urbanites to have a rest house in the uplands they use like once a month, is good for the nation?? Excuse me, I am no longer enthusiastic about the area as I was when I first got here.

I dread the thought of leaving the province and stay in the polluted city until I am paralyzed with fear of going out for a walk to inhale poison in the air...

There are more urban housing projects to come..and I can't remain in this area and suffer the effects of watching the beautiful scenery of coconut plantations, mango orchards, and narra forest land end up as the sight of the rooftops, and traffic jams of a rising urban community at my doorstep. Staying and looking around at condos in the middle of what once was beautiful grazing land is painful.

After writing this blog to let off steam, I decided to write leaders of this nation and also try to post facebook messages, send emails to people, and a lot of successful business people. They can influence the leadership, and both business people male and female alike. However, progress, and the increase in revenue for the city blinds the politicians to the simple beauty of their countryside. Every single provincial government wants a big city and that is sad. This area is not suitable for the kind of pollution, density of population that comes with the city style. Poverty will only spread when more people crowd in, using up more resources than the area can provide. What is the simple answer to the question on how to end poverty in the Philippines? The answer given to me is " go abroad!!."

I wonder if there are some who care enough to go out and convince people to vote for strict agriculture zoning in CALABARZON. What I was told was, it is okay for me to continue to keep my farm, and it would even be a novelty because a lot of city folk are moving to Silang, Cavite to enjoy the weather, and it is about time I started putting up a restaurant or some business dealing in organics!

My principles are not for sale. One CANNOT HAVE AN ORGANIC POULTRY FARM in the middle of a metropolis. The free range chickens will pick up filth and debris, making them unhealthy carriers of disease, and the pollution from vehicles using lead in the gasoline or diesel will corrupt the air. Plants do absorb lead, and other toxic do animals absorb pollutants, and toxic substances in their blood! I do not know how people who graduate from college do not understand this? Sure, one can have an organic garden and grow vegetables in their backyard..but in a city that is polluted, one has to be very, very careful about going about it!

I was told to be happy there is progress in our town. Here is what I see is the result of that "progress" beside the creek near my farm. The amount of garbage is increasing every day. Is this progress?