Sunday, May 27, 2018

CAMPING - SHIVANI AND FRIENDS


Shivani and friends are a group of Indian expatriates, working in Kuala Lumpur, who decided to sample the Malaysian rural setting, whilst at the same time trying out their new tent.

It was light and easy. After settling down they made their way to Gabai Waterfalls, a 10 minutes drive away. For meals they made their way to Pekan BT 18, 5 minutes away where they found the roti prata (roti canai) meeting their approval. Night time was their own BBQ with a campfire. With the weather holding up, they talked and catch up with one another until late at night.

The next day the children had their fill of the mountain fed swimming pool.













Thank you for gracing us. Hope to see you again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

FRUIT TREES ARE BLOOMING - LOOKING FORWARD TO FRUIT PARTIES

young mangosteen fruits

God-willing, its time for the famous Langat durians, a brand name in itself. For the first time in 2 years, we are waiting anxiously over the next few months for our fruit trees to bear fruits. The weather the last few years have been unfavorable and prior to that the fruit season came during the fasting month, which resulted in much of the harvest going to waste.

Durian trees flowering. a bit difficult to see but the yellowish -white spots are the flowers

rambutan trees in full blossom

mangosteen
Starting from early April, all our fruit trees have been flowering. This includes the durians, rambutans, mangosteen, langsat and duku. Only the chempedak trees have not been flowering, maybe later. So we are looking forward to share this years fruits with our friends and guests.

mangosteen

langsat blossoms, the string like thingi are the flowers

langsat blossoms
Normally it takes about 100 days from the time the petals of the flowers drop till the fruit matures. That being the case we expect the fruits to be fully ripe by end of July or early August. And this time it is well after the fasting month.

durian blossoms
However we are not out of the woods yet. We are hoping that the weather remains kind. Too much rain or too dry a weather will cause the budding fruits to spoil or dry up. Next 1.5 months is crucial because the fruits are still very small and sensitive.

For those of our friends and guests who would like to enjoy your favorite local fruits right at the source, do keep this in mind. Sometimes offices used to have their fruit parties at the carpark of office buildings, so why not chill out and have it at the farm itself. You might want combine it some some kind of family day activities, though I doubt you can be that active when your tank is full of durians.

We will monitor the situation and keep you posted on developments. Bear in mind, it is late July or early August and will last for about 6 to 8 weeks. So bookings are limited.

ample, clean and beautiful grounds to enjoy the fruits with friends and family




Sunday, April 15, 2018

STABLES FOR RENT




For horse owners and/or lovers, existing and potential, we are pleased to inform that you that we presently have stables empty which can be rented to to accommodate guest horses. You may be contemplating getting your first horse for the first time, or if you already have a horse you may want to give your horse a new environment or maybe even your existing stable may be closing down.



Apart from stable we also have a paddock or school where you can learn or practice your riding. Yes, we do provide riding lessons for beginners, which is basically, the walk, trot and canter. For the more experienced riders the hills of Hulu Langat provide many avenues for trail rides. For those who aspire for advanced riding techniques, such as dressage, show jumping and eventing we would recommend places like Selangor Turf Club or Mont Kiara.


We are located in Hulu Langat, Selangor. This is to the south of Kuala Lumpur, about 40 minutes from KLCC (traffic permitting), 30 minutes from Ampang and 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. So our place is suitable for horse owners from the south side.   



Rental charges range from RM1000 to RM1500 per month depending on the services agreed upon. At RM1000 tenants would get the stable, grooming and stable care services and utilities charges. No food, medicine or shoeing included. These can be included with the horse owners if so required. The reason this is not included is because of owners individual preferences.   


Initial deposit of 3 months is required together with the first month rent. As per normal practice, any default in rental payment for 3 months will result in the deposit being forfeited and the ownership of the horse transferred to the stable owner, in this case Uluhati.

For potential new owners you may source your horse from riding clubs and other stables.  Former race horses range from from RM5000 to RM10,000 depending on condition. Of course horses with proper lineage and high pedigree would cost the moon, in which case Uluhati would not be the place to stable them. Should you require our input before committing to any purchase, or you need our assistance in sourcing the horses, we would be glad to assist.

For further inquiries please Whatsapp Shaipudn at 012-2716262

Friday, April 13, 2018

TAPPING RUBBER - BROADENING EXPERIENCE FOR CITY CHILDREN


Today's children are a lucky generation. Brought up in a time of plenty, most of them are hardly in want of anything. They get the best of education (some of us may debate on this), best of food, healthcare, entertainment, holidays, toys and many more. 

During my time, that was 2 generations ago, we had meat maybe once a month, toys are often home made (my mother was my partner in crime) and holidays meant going back to the kampong (village). Really glorious; great traditional food by my grandmother, a collection of aunties and uncle to spoil you, miles of paddy fields, jungle and rivers to get lost in (which happened a few times) and a taciturn grandfather who decided that you must be an expert woodsman, fisherman, carpenter and a master of all the adat (traditional customs) all by the age of 12. Healthcare was not too bad and toys were often home made or improvised, whilst entertainment was black and white TV restricted to 30 minutes per day. Hence my special attachment to Star Trek. Now education, was something our generation felt, that we had better deal. Being raised in the English medium educational system, most of us mastered both English and our mother tongue very well. The curriculum was also very extensive. Until today my foreign acquaintances would ask if I was educated in the United Kingdom and how come I know so much about other countries, economic, social or otherwise. But, I digress. What has that got to do with Rubber tapping?

A while a ago a group of parents decided that they should uproot their children from their comfort zones and let them experience something totally different. So, they trooped to Uluhati as our guest over the weekend. Instead of staying in the Longhouse chalet, which in itself is an experience, afterall how often do you get to sleep in a traditional kampong house, they decided to go for the full monty, camping under the stars with the heavens as the ceiling. This suited us just find as we have ample grounds for camping which is well tended and lighted. so it was not actually the WILD, WILD kind of thingi. Plus they have proper bathrooms and toilet and a swimming pool filled with water from the mountains. They managed their own food cooking under the stars.




The highlight of their stay was a trip to the nearby rubber small holding. (A small holding as the name denotes is a plantation anything below 50 acres. Above that one would call it an estate). Here both adults and children were given an insight into what a small plantation looks like, how rubber trees look like (yes, many adults nowadays don't know this, what more the children), how and when tapping is done, how the product (latex) look like and the simple economics of  the trade. As a bonus they were also taught how to make simple traps on how to catch animals in the wild.





Going into a plantation is not like going to the Mall. Firstly, there is the heat, followed by the buzzing insects curious at the strange new scent of the city folks. Then you have the various vegetation engulfing you in a maelstrom of colors and scents. To their credit, they took all these in stride and they enjoyed themselves. Of course, they were passing through. Tapping rubber for a livelihood would be a different matter altogether.





Typically, rubber tapping would start very early. Rubber tappers would start going in at about 4 to 5 am with their packed breakfast. The idea is to finish before the sun gets too hot. By about 8 or 9 am they would be done and get on with other things like tending to their vegetable plots or rice fields or doing repair and maintenance. This also means that in the wee hours of the morning, they would have to use lamps, in the old days carbide lamps and later battery operated headlamps. In the old days, when the jungle was very nearby, quite a few of the tappers became unexpected breakfast for the lucky tiger. Also there are the various snakes and scorpions and other denizens (bears, wild boars and even elephants) to content with. However these encounters are few and far between and when it happened its because the animal was surprised or cornered, though in the old days, rogue tigers would do it on purpose. Humans are easy prey so to speak.


Laying traps
So how much would they earn? Firstly, rubber trees cannot be tapped every day. They need time to recover. So it is done on alternate days. Tapping everyday would shorten the lifespan of the tree, which in the long run is a bad thing, considering that they take about 5 to 7 years (depending on the variety) to mature for tapping. So that leaves about 15 days a month. Then you have to minus the rainy days. Rain spoils the latex (milk). So you have between 10 to 15 days of tapping. One acre of plantation could yield about 200 kg of  rubber. The price of rubber varies widely. It has seen RM7-8 per kg to as low as RM2 per kg. So the income could range between RM1500 to RM400 per month, not much by city standards, but not too bad by rural standards if you live in your ancestral home, plant you own vegetables, raise your own chickens or pigs, grow your own rice and so on. Plus you don't need to drive your latest Volkswagen into the plantation nor do you need to spot a tie or sheath your feet with Jimmy Choo's latest style. So, it's not that bad. But at RM2 per kg, it can be tough.



Also today, most of the plantations are not tapped by the owners (many of them too old and their children too educated) but by tenant tappers, i.e. people who take a contract to tap the trees. The income is then split 50:50. So at RM2 per kg or RM400 per acre, that comes to RM200 per side. As a result many plantations are left unattended as it becomes economically not viable.

A note on the tapping technique. the cut is made only on one side of the tree. The cut should not be a full ring around the tree as that would kill the tree. All trees survive by nutrients transported from the ground through the outer circumference of the tree. So as long as there continuity on the tree bark at the outer circumference, nutrients can still pass through and the tree lives on. The inner core is dead.

So, what do all these mean to the visitors. Are they going to switch careers and now become rubber tappers. Most unlikely. But they get to know what goes on the other side. They get to know how tough it is. Perhaps they can now appreciate more what they have and not take things for granted. They get to know that there people who are not as fortunate as they are so that they emphasize and be more accommodating and understanding. In short, it enlarges and open up their minds and enrich their experience. Afterall, life is a collection of experiences. The more we have the better we are at understanding and coping with the world. Plus, for the enterprising kids they now know how to lay a booby trap for that never satisfied, perpetually grumpy P.E. teacher. (we disavow all knowledge or association with the techniques employed).

So that is what Uluhati can bring you. Not the latest craze or game but down to earth basics. Cheers and Salam.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

HORSES AND PONIES PART 2


Previously we have discussed about various categories and general grouping of horses, and we have gone into the subject of hot blooded horses.

Before I proceed I would like to state again that any opinion expresses here is distinctively my own and since I do not profess to be an expert on horses, I certainly stand corrected for any erroneous statement. Any corrective comments from readers are most welcomed as it will only enrich our understanding. So, that out of the way let's continue.

So, next on the scale are the Warm Blood horses. These are middle weight horses originating from Europe and as the name suggest they are more even tempered compared to the Hot Bloods. That being the case they are the preferred breed for show events like jumping, dressage and eventing as this discipline requires greater discipline and calmness from these animals, as opposed to a flighty and nervous disposition. Having said that there is no reason why an Arab or Thoroughbred cannot be trained for these activities. Indeed many of them do participate. I guess it is a matter of preference.





Some of the more best known Warm Bloods are the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg and the Trakener. Others incude the Belgian WarmBlood, Danish Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood and the Swedish Warmblood


Cold Blood horses are the coolest of these horses. They are the exact opposite of the nervous, flighty Hot Bloods and they come from the cold northern regions of Europe. You would find them diligently, calmly and without complain doing the typically mundane farm work, which a regular Arab would view with utter disdain. Consequently they are endowed with great bodies and tremendous strength. Today of course, with mechanization, demand fro their services have almost disappeared. In the past they were the mainstays of farms, coal mines, lumber tracks, etc. All the better I guess, because no matter how suitable they are for the work, it would still be a pitiful sight to see these beautiful animals straining the harness. 

In World War 1 they were used primarily for towing artillery pieces and field ambulances by the thousands by either side and thousands became victims of the conflict. In World War 2, they were still used but to a lesser extend. Thank God, they have stopped using them in wars. But hang on, the Afghans used to charge Russian positions on horses during the Soviet Occupation but it was rather rare. Valor is one thing but stupidity is another.


Denise-Bell-Evans

Friesien

Clydesdale

Running Gypsy

So now that we have the general idea, let's turn back to the local scene.

Where to get the horses: For some years now Malaysia has been breeding quality breed of horses at the National Stud Farm in Perak. I understand the quality there is quite good, however this source is for serious horse addicts, as it would cause quite a big dent in your bank account. On the other hand if you can afford it, you would hardly notice the check hitting your account.

Again for serious horse lovers with the means, some of them go directly to the horse country itself either in Europe, the Americas and Australia and New Zealand. This can set you back a couple of hundred thousand Ringgit.

For simple guys like me, who just want a horse fitting my ability and temperament a reasonable working horse would do. I am not into any of those fancy events, contented just with some trots and canter every now and then. So I would head to the local race course and ask around for retired race horses looking for a home. (in the old days, they put them to sleep), or I would go around the many equestrian clubs and ask around. Invariably there will always be a horse for sale for some reason or another. Current price for the category between RM5000 to RM10,000-00

What to look for in getting a horse: 
First of all know what you want. Is it for you in your sunset years or, for your teenage grand-daughter who wants to be the future horse personality in Malaysia or for your 10 year old great grandson. Get the one that suits your needs.

Age: a horse lives upto 30 to 40 years (half the human lifespan). Goes without saying the older it gets the less millage is available. Conformity (in human terms posture). A well-balance conformation allows for fluid and balanced movement and pleasurable and safe ride. Get someone to walk the horse as you observe from both the front and back. Look out for stiffness and unbalanced gait which can indicate hidden problems in particular shoulder or back injury. These are serious injuries which are almost irreparable, unless at great cost. Ride the horse and see it has difficulty in doing some basic movements. A shoulder injury would hinder turning on either side (painful for the horse to turn its head). Run your fingers down the spin to the waist and see if it flinches at any point, again indication of possible problems. Ask, ask and ask the seller until you are satisfied. Check to see if the hooves are healthy and well maintained. Those 4 hooves are the ones that the horse stand on. The questions are many, but i guess the most important guide is common sense.

Last but not least, have a good idea or feel about its temperament. You can see this from its demeanor, nervousness, calmness, friendliness, does it greet you, or does it give you its back, nibbles you (which can be a problem if it gets out of hand). Ask about its previous work, racing, school horse, private horse, and the owner. Animals like human beings carry forward habits from its past experiences. Sometimes animals have bad character because they have been badly treated in their younger years. I personally do not blame the animals, but those who raised them.

What do you do when you get them home:
Common sense, let them get use to the place, especially if your place is like ours, which had goats, chickens, dogs, cats and at one time deer, not to mention the foxes, wild cats, snakes and wildboars in the bushes nearby. So when they arrive they are bombarded with all kinds of smells, scents and sounds which they are not used to. You would notice them stand straight up with their ears stiff and upright and nose flared. And for goodness sake don't ride them immediately. We had an unfortunate owner (who rented our stable) who insisted on riding the moment the horse arrived at the farm. Needless to say, he came to grief (no, he is still alive).

Another important point is to recondition the horse, especially if they are former race horses. These horses were raised for performance on a special diet and exercise regime. So they are actually great athletes with tonnes of energy. so unless you are a jockey yourself and your paddock is a race course give time for the horse to recondition. Adjust the diet and exercise schedule to your needs and let the horse work out its high energy, basically by being lazy. This may take anything between 1 to 3 months.

That's it for now.