Last weekend I made plans to finally get out and see the Fathony's farm. Christine joined me, and on Saturday morning we left with Sabina and Herul for Jongol - in the direction of Bandung from Jakarta. It was a sunny and bright morning.
The drive takes about two hours. As you get closer to the farm, things look more and more like the sticks:
Here are some ladies handpicking peanuts:
By the time we arrived at the farm, I was beyond pumped. The scenes from the car en route felt more like the Indonesia I had dreamed up in my head before going. This has mostly to do with the prevalence of space in our country. Jakarta, Parung, Bogor, and all the roads in between are packed with warungs (food stalls) and other shops and stores. There is no open space that isn't really used for anything (except overgrown buildings, which aren't space I guess). To see large open fields and mountains and low population density was extremely refreshing.
The farm sits on a beautiful 6 or 7 hectares of hilly land in Jongol. After meandering down the entrance path, you arrive at this main structure, which has a bedroom, bathroom, and sitting areas down overlooking the pond. Herul likes to fish from this comfy spot:
After a siesta in the hot Saturday sun, we left for the grand tour. They have about 70 chickens, thousands of trees (both timber and fruit), and two bodies of water for fish and a third under construction. Here's a bridge that Herul built. Did I mention that he also built the house back at the beginning? The pond under construction is visible on the lower right:
The farm also has some stunning views, with jagged mountains overlooking the scene. After weeks in Parung, it's hard to imagine these pictures are from the same island:
This is a close-up of the primary timber crop Herul is growing. It's a tree that grows very fast. He's growing some 5 or 6 thousand of these. With any luck, they'll bring in a billion! (rupiah...)
Note the ant crawling down the trunk on the bottom left. Those guys are the nasty kind:
Here's one of the functional ponds:
Fruit grown here includes durian (the king of fruit), mangoes, jackfruit, oranges, and yes, pineapples:
After the grand tour we went to a nearby Chinese graveyard area. It's pretty beautiful there as well. When we walked around near the graves, I made a comment about how the arrangement of gravesites with big mounds of grassy dirt, along with the pleasant view of the mountains nearby, would make it a perfect place for a golf course. Graveyard Golf. Need all the help you can get with your game? Tee off over the spirits of your ancestors! Almost immediately, an enormous crack of thunder erupted from only several kilometers away. Needless to say we took it as a sign and quickly left:
While he showed us around the farm, Herul picked up some wasp nests and crickets and put them in his pocket for the fishing he did later:
One of the coolest parts of that day was killing our dinner. I had never seen chicken killed before, or even been around chicken much for that matter. Christine, rather admirably I thought, insisted on getting the opportunity to do the killing herself, as a matter of philosophical consistency with eating the meat. In what was an emotional experience, she cut the first chicken's throat and had Herul's help cutting the second. We then took out the feathers and grilled them over a fire with bamboo sticks. It was the freshest chicken I have ever had:
This one is from earlier, Friday night, playing chess at the Fathony's place in Pejompongan, Jakarta: