Indian Bean tree in full bloomIt is bone dry Himachal Pradesh and most of the day at Basunti is now spent in the garden. The Monsoon is late this year and everything is desperate for water. The Indian Bean Tree though loves the heat and is presently in full bloom.

This is the time the Mango starts ripening and the garden is turned into a hive activities. I have been peeling and dicing the green windfall Mangoes. These are then being dried in the sun for three to four days, before being ground into a powder. This powder, I have found, is a wonderful addition to Dal and Bean dishes, giving them a slightly bitter/sweet taste.

The village boys are all busy harvesting the local wild Mango, before the monkeys eat them all. Drying wild mangoThe wild Mango trees are huge, but the boys have no fear, reaching even the top most branches. The wild (desi) Mangoes are picked green and then made into “Achar” (Mango Pickle). I have already ordered a couple of kilos off the ladies who will be making it, as the best Achar is the one made from Wild Mangoes.

The two large Sol (Spotted Murrel) that we put into the Lotus pond in May produced around two hundred babies about a week ago. These fry are about one centimetre long now and are being shepherded everywhere by the two parents, who are protecting their offspring from predators. I am not sure how this is going to work out once the White-fronted Kingfisher spots them, but it will be Sol babiesinteresting to see the outcome.

Spotted in the Basunti gardens: Rusty- cheeked Scimitar Babbler and Blue-throated Flycatcher.

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