4
Feb

Farmhouse Rooms

   Posted by: admin   in Family and Personal

A not-to-well stitched panoramic photo of one of the room interiors in the farmhouse.

farmhouse-room-int

4
Feb

Farmhouse takes shape

   Posted by: admin   in Family and Personal

Frontal photo of our farmhouse as it nears completion.  Centre is the Living and Dining Space and the two sides are the bedrooms with bay windows overlooking the valley.  Click on photo below to go to the actual Panoramic Photo.

farmhouse-front-wide

4
Feb

Solar Panel on Cheese Cottage

   Posted by: admin   in Alternative Energy, Cheese

Check out our Solar Water heating panel on our Cheese Cottage. The water storage capacity is 100 lts.

cheese-cottage-solar-panel

3
Feb

The Solar Cooker we use

   Posted by: admin   in Alternative Energy

IMP: We don’t make those solar cookers.  We just use them.  Please contact Mr Venkatesh of VESAT Solar Coimbatore at +91 94433-63540. Do give our reference.

Below is a photo of the solar cooker we bought from Vesat, Coimbatore, in action on our lawn.  We have been using it for the past week to cook rice and daal.  The food is in the black circular metal boxes inside the glass case. The mirror above directs the sun downwards. The boxes are black coated to absorb as much heat as possible. Will add some photos of the food too later.

solar-cooker

2
Feb

Peak Oil & the Global Economy

   Posted by: admin   in Peak Oil

You can read the whole article Peak Oil & The Global Economy by Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. especially in the light of the current Big Collapse.  Below is an excerpt from the article by ASPO, Ireland.

ASPO-Ireland examines the economy in light of Peak Oil (excerpts from the ASPO Newsletter):

“Oil demand had begun to outpace supply around 2005, when the production of Regular Conventional Oil passed its peak. The shortfall was however relatively small and was partly met without undue difficulty by a modest reduction in consumption. But as prices began to firm, oil traders and other speculative financial institutions began to take a position in the market, which had the effect of driving up the price. Gradually the process built momentum as huge notional profits were reaped from the appreciating asset. In a conventional market such movements would soon be countered by increased production, but in the case of oil, there was no spare capacity to release, and the speculative surge fed on itself leading to an extreme escalation in price which reached about $150 a barrel by July 2008. However as this peak [in prices] was approached, the traders began to conclude that a limit was close and began to buy future options at lower prices, which began to undermine the price in a self-fulfilling process. In parallel the high prices began to undermine many other aspects of the economy with for example airlines and automobile manufacturers facing difficulties. They themselves relied heavily on debt, which itself was traded between banks without adequate genuine collateral, and were forced to unload their speculative oil positions in order to try to shore up their failing businesses. Gradually the whole edifice collapsed, and oil prices fell to around $50 a barrel, although nothing particular had changed in the actual supply/demand relationship.

The flaw in the system was to treat a finite resource whose production was largely controlled by the immutable physics of the reservoir as if it were a normal commodity capable of responding to ordinary market pressures. If the price of potatoes increases, farmers can grow more and the market responds, but oil is different.

Governments responded to the crash by pouring yet more money, itself lacking genuine collateral, into the system in the mistaken belief that this would restore the position of assumed eternal growth, and quite possibly the stock market will respond positively as traders sense a new upward direction. They have no real interest in reality: their job being to try to reap rewards from short term movements.

But if there is an economic recovery, that would serve to increase the demand for oil, which is in a sense the lifeblood of the modern world, and oil prices would again begin to surge. Probably, it will take several such vicious circles before governments and, more important, people at large at last come to grasp the reality of the situation, which will likely prompt radical changes in the human condition.

Meanwhile, desperate efforts are being made around the world to shore up the crumbling financial system. For example, the Bank of England has radically reduced interest rates in a country facing a severe recession, effectively taking money from savers to give to spenders.

The Government has evidently failed to grasp the underlying causes of recession and hopes that pumping a bit of money into the system will restore it to its previous condition. That was premised on eternal economic growth, which is a somewhat unrealistic proposition for a Planet of finite dimensions, but Governments subject to re-election are by nature short-term in their thinking.

One is led to conclude that the entire Stock Market, including especially the oil market, has become a thoroughly debased speculative institution. In earlier years, investors clubbed together to build a specific project, such as a canal or railway, with the resulting dividend being the prime motivation. Things seemed to have gone wrong when such investments were traded on markets by financial institutions which naturally can have no serious knowledge of the underlying business or the true value to be placed upon it.”

28
Jan

Bed & Breakfast Scheme Revised

   Posted by: admin   in Farmstay

Good things are happening to the concept of Bed and Breakfast in India.  Govt of India has Revised their Guidelines to make them more popular.  Hopefully Tamil Nadu govt will take the cue and we can have better options for Bed and Breakfast, homestay and farmstay facilities here at Acres Wild in Coonoor and Ooty in the Nilgiris.

Here is some of what they have done:

New Delhi: With an aim of overcoming the shortage of hotel rooms, government has revised the guidelines of the Bed and Breakfast scheme to make it more popular and acceptable across the country.
“The Incredible India Bed and Breakfast guidelines have been revised so that all state governments can adopt this scheme in their own states and increase the availability of rooms for tourists,” said a senior Tourism Ministry official.
While the emphasis has been given on less paper work in the revised guidelines, the maximum number of rooms is being increased from 5 to 6.
The changed guidelines has authorised the state governments to allocate categories of their own, devise their own fee structure and have their own classification committee which should be headed by an officer not below the rank of gazetted officer in the state tourism department or its equivalent.
The Ministry has also devised Dos and Don’ts for the house owners suggesting them how to conduct themselves as registered establishment and the activity has to be treated as non-commercial.
Delhi government has enacted a law for the scheme to extend benefit of taxation of property, electricity and water charges to be paid as per residential rates.
Himachal and Uttar Pradesh have also allowed similar incentives for the Bed and Breakfast scheme.
“All state governments have been asked to provide certain incentives so that the scheme can become popular and help in addressing the shortage of hotel rooms all over the country,” said the official.
Ministry is also planning to undertake capacity building programme for the benefit of such house owners who are willing to implement the scheme.
18
Jan

Panther takes 2 Baby Goats

   Posted by: admin   in Goats, Wild Life

So now it has finally happened.  The old man who looks after the goats came running up to tell us that a panther had taken 2 baby goats in front of his eyes.  He was in bad shape so it must have been a real experience.  Look’s like Acres Wild is getting a bit too wild for keeping farm animals.  Will move the goats to the top of the propery behind the cow shed where they are safer from the panthers.

Read excerpts from this excellent book called Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change.  It gives a chronological account of how man got into this mess of overconsumption and defining the world by his own fancy rules.  But mainly it draws a parallel between earlier Economic Collapses and the present one and shows how they were just previews of things to come.

Wonderful article by Tom Whipple from the site Peak Oil News.  Titled The Peak Oil Crisis – Mea Culpa it draws a parallel between the way the Financial Crisis evolved in public consciousness and them becoming aware of it in retrospect and how the same will repeat in the case of Peak Oil.   Very very interesting to see the role of our media in this.  They made most people aware in a patchy manner but without connecing the dots to underline the deeper and really dangerous implications until it exploded in everyone’s face and then everyone was asking ‘why were we not warned about it’.

Well let me add here……….  me and others following Peak Oil issues are formally warning you about the salient features and implications of Peak Oil which is presently upon us!!!  Salut to Doomers!

7
Jan

Indian Express Article on Acres Wild

   Posted by: admin   in Newspapers Articles

On a cheese trip

by Nikitha Bastain

New Indian Express

coonoor-train-station

SO YOU are heading to the Nilgiris for a bit of R&R. Your ‘take back’ list would no doubt include tea, some homemade chocolate and honey, perhaps a soft woolen blanket or two.  How about adding gourmet cheese as well?

The farm

A good chunk of the cheese comes from Acres Wild, an organic cheesemaking farm run by Mansoor Khan and his wife Tina.  Yes, this is the same Mansoor Khan who directed flicks like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and Josh, and who more recently co-produced ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ with Aamir Khan.  But Mansoor seems to have a completely different side to him, one which yearns to be a part of the great outdoors.  The Khan family moved to Coonoor from Mumbai in 2004, and Mansoor says, ‘‘It was my obsession to live outside the city, close to nature.  My family used to visit Coonoor annually on holiday and then I was luckily able to convince them to move here permanently .’’

tina-and-cheese-cupboard1

Lots of flavours:

All the cheese on the farm is made from the milk from Jersey and Holstein cows they raise. The cheeses of Acres Wild are handmade natural rind cheeses — much like wine, the cheeses are allowed to age and mature and as a result develop their rind naturally . Each has a distinct flavour and you can choose from hard cheeses like Gouda — with sub varieties like pepper and caraway seed — Cheddar, Romano, Colby and Monterey Jack, and soft cheeses like Acres-Fetta, Ricotta, Mozzarella and Camembert among others.

On holiday:

The farm is not open to the public but if you get in touch with Mansoor via email, he is more than willing to show you around and take you through the cheesemaking process. Also look out for the purebred cattle and ponds teeming with carp.  The farm also has donkeys, goats, hens, guinea fowls, turkeys, ducks and geese. If you are lucky, you can observe honey being harvested from the farm’s hives! The farm also has pear trees, plums, avocado, passion fruit, orange, fennel, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage and a whole range of veggies, all grown organically. To get in touch with the Khans, email them a t acreswild@gmail.com  or  log onto www.acres-wild.com.

Tasty souvenirs

If you would like to gift people back home some cheese but don’t have the time to visit the above farms, head to these stores:

Bakers Junction, Bedford, Upper Coonoor. Details: 0423 2222223

Tulsi Mall, 31, Mount Pleasant Road, Coonoor. Details: 0423 2207277

Tranquilitea Tea Lounge, 136 B, Strathearn, Kothagiri Road. Details: www. tranquilitea.in