Friday, December 31, 2010

Calender 2011

Calender 2011- (Picture drawn by Ajith, a student of Govt.Tribal Residential School Geddesal)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shola forests and black wattle of Avalanche

Aradu kuttan

We (Me and Kuttannan) went to Avalanche in November for a short filming. Avalanche named after an `avalanche’- a landslide, in 1823. We stayed in a Avalanche mund (toda village). It was a nice stay every morning I saw Nilgiri laughing thrushes coming through bushes and laughed at me (they came very close that I could not film them!). Grasses were carrying water droplets, waiting just to be absorbed by sun.
Our friends have got lots of buffalos, the famous and scared, toda buffalos. Every day I saw buffalos leaving mund by 06.30 hrs to graze in the hill slopes, and they came back themselves by evening. Evening sunlight filtering through buffalos' white (toda buffalos are not black) crest hair was a different view of sunset for me. Toda houses' roof was thatched with grass (I ve posted one photo of a toda temple in one of the previous posts). Relationship with forest is starts when a child is born, it follows in marriage and death in toda.
Black wattle in flowering 
One of the elders in the village mantioned that Avalanche was full of shola trees, rhododendrons, orchids, epiphytes and small wetlands. Rattan, a plant group belongs to palm was abundent in the near by sholas, which they used to construct temples. But now due to the invasion of Black wattle they have to go to the distant forests.

Black wattle
Black wattle Acacia mearnsii (a fast-growing leguminous tree native to Australia) had reached almost everywhere. Kuttan is a nursery expert and he says that the germination rate of Black. The invasiveness of this tree species is due to its ability to produce large numbers of long-lived seeds and the development of a large crown which shades other vegetation. Acacia mearnsii competes with and replaces most of the indigenous vegetation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tired Bees Make Poor Dancers

We all struggle to communicate after a sleepless night, let alone pull off our best dance moves, and it seems that honeybees are no different.

Read more about bees' struggle from this link:-

Grass lands

We were trying to shoot grass with lots dew (I would call paradigms of sun) in the higher regions of Nilgiris. I tried to recall my memories about grass harvesting paddy, climbing a bamboo ladder, smell of extracting lemon grass oil and lot (don't know names) and decided to find little more about grass and grasslands.

Grasslands go by many names. In the southern part of India, they are known as Pul veli (Tamil), Pul hiro (Toda), Pul medu (Malayalam) and Ullu matta (Baduga)... In the U.S. Midwest, they're known as prairies. In South America, they're called pampas. Central Eurasian grasslands are referred to as steppes, while in Africa they're named savannas.
What they all have in common is grass as their naturally dominant vegetation. 

This miraculous plant covers a quarter of all the land of the earth, Grass lands exists where ever there is a little rain but not enough to sustain a forest.

When rainy season arrives, our grasslands become coated with flowers, some of which can survive well into winter with the help of underground storage organs and thick stem bases.

Grasslands are of vital importance for raising livestock for human consumption and for milk and other dairy products. My old house's roof was covered with grass, now some of the Toda houses' and all the Toda temples' roofing is done with grass (a special grass!).