The first farm is a going operation, with coconut, mango and papaya trees. Shallow irrigation channels run by each of the trees, and past a small vegetable plot. Water comes from a “bore-well” (as opposed to a dug well), lifted by an electric pump. (I found out from Sudhi that one of the ways the Indian government subsidizes agriculture is through free electricity.) Once the rains come, much of the land under the trees will be planted with millet or lentils.
Farm number two is a plot of bear earth right now – they bought some scrub land and are improving it to the point where it can be farmed (hauling in soil to level the land, boring a well and running irrigation pipes). At that point they hope to sell it.
A bit farther afield from the second farm, we stopped at a brick-works. Sudhi walked us around (I am amazed by how many places you can just walk into and look ‘round).
There were long, low sheds roofed in tile – at one end of a shed the workers were forming the bricks and laying them out to dry. The shade of the sheds is needed so that the bricks will not dry too quickly and crack. It was an “all hands” operation – with an extended family working as a team to do all of the tasks: digging clay out of the clay pile; forming a rough ‘loaf’; molding the brick; toting the bricks and laying them out to dry; finishing the bricks with a knife and some sand. I figure they were knocking out a brick every ten seconds.
Once dried, the bricks would be loaded into a huge outdoor kiln, packed in with coal, and fired. From there, out of the kiln and into another shed for storage until they get loaded onto one of the huge Tata or Ashok Leyland lorries that ply the Indian roads. All of this, of course, is done by hand.
Farm number three, 10 km from Kanakapura, is a 12 acre plantation with a mix of coconut, banana, and betel nut trees. There’s a large dug well with fish swimming in it, nursery areas, and a pretty farm house. This vision of shady, green, plantation life could be yours for $200,000.
From there, we retraced our steps back along Kanakapura road to Bangalore. On the outskirts of Bangalore, we found that sometimes when things break, they break your way. We had a flat tire, and flop-flop-flopped to a stop under a shady tree across the road from a tire shop! It took 30-40 minutes, but Sudhi reappeared with the man from the tire shop rolling a freshly fixed tire. A few minutes later we were back on the road.
Back at Sudhi’s and Anju’ house we had a late lunch, and then Asha and I went hammers-and-tongs at a game of Scrabble. She won, but it was close, with both of us scoring over three hundred. The Bangalore series now stands at 2:1, in Asha’s favor.
Tomorrow will probably bring some trekking, or perhaps a trip to Asha’s father’s ancestral home, Amruthur.