Lenggong, Perak, Malaysia
Fri 4 Feb 2011 30 °C
'Permaculture Perak' is a farm on the mountainside above Lenggong in Northern Malaysia. The farm house and its gardens sit 500m above sea level in the amongst a thick, primary rainforest, millions of years old. This type of rainforest is known as a cloud forest. Because of the altitude, we spend a lot of time either in the midst of a cloud, or in the gap between the clouds that fill the valley below and the clouds in the sky above. As you can imagine, the environment is always damp. Droplets of moisture often form on plants, providing them with water without need for rain.
The farm provides a little bit of everything, there is papaya, pineapple, cucumber, banana, passion fruit, pumpkin, tea, lime, hibiscus, sorghum, a thousand different herbs, curry leaves, many plants used for aromatherapy and so many others that I am yet to stumble upon. There is Sorghum, a grain that's used for making bread, Goats to provide milk and cheese, Chickens for eggs, ducks, turkeys, a rabbit, a turtle, cats and of course a couple of dogs.
The crops don't look like they do in a traditional farm. Things are much more natural here, like a continuation of the rainforest. Beyond the food producing plants is where it gets really wild though. Dense rainforest, a thousand trees and vines competing for space, growing taller and taller, feeding off each other, climbing over one another until it becomes what looks like an impenetrable wall of green. Grass apparently grows here at a rate of 4 meters per month and the house nestled amongst the greenery looks like it could be swallowed whole if left unattended for a couple of weeks.
Ladia, the owner of the property, has given me the Things to watch out for speech;
"Are… are you serious?"
He was serious. I've seen the aftermath from last weeks 4am Elephant visit. Banana trees lying flat on the ground and footprints twice the size of my head. I saw some monkeys on the way here, had 3 leeches on my first day and heard the grunting of wild pigs outside my window last night.
Despite the pigs, the sound at night is just a pleasure to sleep to. It's like a personal live performance of one of those 'Sounds of the Jungle' CD's. An intense mix of full volume bird calls, cricket's, monkey's, croaking frog's and gushing water from the steep rocky river running just 15 meters from the house.
This is the jungle. It's alive, it's wild and I love it.