Wish I could say much has happened since the last entry, made almost to the day. Answer is ‘no’, if you are looking for visible changes on the ground at pointReturn and ‘yes’ if I were to relate the learning and preparatory aspects.
On January 6, the entire property was surveyed and stone markers were placed at nodal points. The work was done by government surveyors assisted by a party of five. It took that many and several hours to cross and recross the land, with a tape measure carried everywhere.The basic reference material were the survey maps. These are very detailed with diagonal lines provided for accurate physical verification.
Survey of the pointReturn property was complicated because of its odd shape. The access road is a narrow 15 feet strip running almost 2000 feet. The main land is a multiple of trapeziums joined together. It is customary to inform all adjacent property owners of a survey taking place so that they can witness it if they chose. Mano went around doing that a couple of days before.
We began at 10 AM, from the east, marking out the access road. That took three hours. By the that time it was lunch time and we had not carried anything to eat. So Lesson One to carry away for a future day: if you are surveying a remote parcel of land, carry refreshments and lunch. We made do with water.
The survey proceeded slowly to the west and was over by 3.30 – but before it did, it delivered a good-sized punch. The western fence stopped well short of the hillock. There was another piece of land that belonged to the Bhoodan Board to the west. I had been shown that the property extended right up to the foothills. The first line of vetiver planted with so much enthusiasm in October now lay outside the property. [ah, well its somewhere on this planet after all] It was very disappointing to digest the news first, but reflection for a day or two enabled equanimity: maybe this was all to the good for several reasons. Maybe, but still… Lesson Two, get the land surveyed before you commit [-but that’s easier said than done as a boom rages all around and you may have to decide quick].
Once the land was marked out for extent and access, everything can begin, right? Well, ‘wrong’ as it turned out. I had reckoned without the peanut season. December showers had only been moderate but that left enough moisture for loosening the soil for peanuts. For a radius of a hundred miles farmers everywhere went for that crop. Including in the path I had bought as access. There is nothing to it but wait out the 90 days before the nuts are pulled out of the ground.