To Protect and Serve the Queen

Song: Dew In June, Howie B; I Love You, I Do by I Love You Airlines

Queen Bee
Queen Bee

We’ve decided to stay here on the farm for 5 days, which will give us about 2 weeks to bike out to India, taking a road that traces the south edge of the country for 2/3 the length of Nepal. We could choose a closer border crossing into India, (like 1/10 the distance away), but we’d rather travel the long distance towards central India in Nepal where it’s cleaner and more stress-free than India.

Today we settled back into farm life, waking up just before tea time, and then Balarm gave us a proper tour of the property. His main field crops this time of year are mustard seed, maiz, and wheat grass, but foremost he’s a bee farmer, with about 40-50 hives buzzing full tilt all day. So now, in addition to spiders, flies, beetles and ants, I’m getting used to living in a bee’s world. Pradeep showed me the Queen bee in one of the hives, who’s job it is to lay eggs, most of whom become her workers. If a new queen is born they kill her, so as not to confuse the bees, who’s only focus is serving Her. No matter what bug I find at any turn, I won’t hurt or kill it, as it’s an integral part of the wild ecosystem which perfectly maintains itself, and which allows me this blissful experience in nature, away from anything resembling a city or a factory farm. This farm, like Surya’s, barely has any tools. Nepali goodness!

Today we weeded the front yard so we can plant sunflower seeds tomorrow. Man was it overgrown! And guess what tools we used… that’s right, hands. We did some major bushwacking, man! We also had a hoe and a curved blade to help. I so wish we took before and after pics, but we had no idea how much ground we’d cover. We started with a small plot next to the water pump, and before you knew it 5 hours had passed and we did the whole front yard.

Hos at Work
Ho’s hard at work.

As one would expect of farm life, it’s chock full of fun with animals. Squatting like a Nepali I watched the three buffalo do there thing (which is Chewing) for 45 minutes. The calf, so pretty and awkward, has a little piggy face (maybe I’m projecting, having watched Babe movies 3 times in 3 weeks) is really shy but let me pet her a little. Bonnie got real close with the neighbor’s sheep (letting her play ventriloquist with his mount, no resistance whatsoever), and of course a few cool goats kept us laughing all day. Also quite charming is the choir of countless dogs who howl all night long in these parts. It’s nuts. They don’t keep me up or freak me out, but boy do they get riled up come bedtime!

Other highlights of the day include identifying fruit trees by tasting their leaves (mmm mango!), riding a random old crappy bike with Cara on the back sidesaddle, chasing Congo the cat all around with my videocam, my outdoor shower (I love it), eating the most amazing Dal in my life (it’s like chickpea soup that is served with every meal but never ceases to amaze), the daughters singing to us during dinner, getting my hair braided by the youngin’, hearing all about the Nepali funeral (and cremation) Pradeep attended today, reading the Future of Food article in Wired, getting my butt beat by Jamie in Checkers, and watching Shrek 2 with the whole family and neighbors in our tiny room before bed.

That’s all the exciting news from Chitwan! And tomorrow, power outages-willing, we’ll hit up the internet place so I can tell you all about it! Love and love, Anthony

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