Sunday, June 25, 2017

An Update on My Google Maps Photos

It was in May that I noted that my photos uploaded to Google Maps had received 1.5 million views. I also noted at the time that it was one of my photos of Saint Joseph Parish on Pope John Paul II Ave. in Cebu that had received the most views of any of my photos. That's still the case today, with that photo having received more than 48,000 views.

While checking the photo stats this morning, I saw that my photo of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church in Dumaguete had moved to 2nd place overtaking my photo of the Manhattan Suites Inn in Dumaguete. I like that because this is the church where we attend Mass.

The photo that continues to surprise me is my photo of the Star Oil gas station located between the Dumaguete airport and the Mitsubishi dealership on the National Highway. In May, I was shocked to see that photo as the 6th most viewed of all my photos. Today, it has taken over 4th place with more than 25,000 views. It's a great puzzle to me why, out of the 1,400 photos I've uploaded to Google Maps, a photo of a gas station should receive so many views.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Removal of the Farrowing Pen

My son and I drove out to the property after lunch today to check on the piglets. I was surprised to see that my wife's papa had already removed the farrowing pen. I thought that he would keep the sow in the pen a bit longer - if not until the piglets are weaned, at least until the male piglets are castrated. The sow is, naturally very protective of the piglets, and was raising quite a fuss when we moved the piglets to remove their teeth yesterday. I wouldn't want to pick up the piglets with the mother outside the farrowing pen. It's possible that my wife's papa may have already castrated the males this morning. I didn't inspect them.

While I was there, I needed to give water to both the sows - particularly Olivia. Nursing the piglets requires her to drink more water. I also needed to do a bit of cleaning in Peppa's pen. There was an industrial size turd in her trough that needed to be removed. That would take more water. As it turned out, I needed to fetch water from the spring to fill up the 30 gallon container that holds the water beside the piggery.

I told my son to hold my camera while I fetched the water. While I was fetching water, he was taking a photo of a goat.

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Like Pulling Teeth

After Olivia's false alarm Wednesday morning, my wife's papa called in someone Thursday to see if he could give the sow a pill to induce labor. The man advised against it, suggesting that we only do that should the piglets not arrive by next week.

Right after lunch, my wife and I received word that the piglet were born around 10 o'clock this morning. Four male - four female.

I was, at first a little disappointed that there were only eight. I had no idea how many piglets this sow might have, but I had read on line that in the U.S., 12 is the average. After giving it some thought, I believe eight might be enough for me to handle at this stage. If the owner of the boar that impregnated Olivia gets one, and we give my wife's papa one as a bonus, that leaves six for me. Should I decide to keep one for future breeding, that will give me five for lechon - a reasonable number, if I don't want them to grow too large.

I went over to the property within minutes of getting the news. After I took a few photos, my wife's papa said - what sounded to me like - "I will cut the teats now". That seemed a bit bizarre to me, but what do I know? I'm new to all this. He went into the pen where the piglets were, while I went into the empty pen. He handed them to me, one at a time.

When all the piglets were transferred, what he had actually said to me became apparent; "I will cut the teeth now". I held each piglet while he cut out their teeth using toe nail clippers. When one was finished, I'd put it back into the large pen with the mother.

That's one more thing I've learned about raising pigs.

Trump Equals "1984" ?

A month ago, after having read George Orwell's Burmese Days, I added 1984 to the list of books I'd be reading (or re-reading) this year. Even after reading 1984 a few weeks back, I can't recall if I had actually read the novel in my younger days. I have a vague memory of having read it in the 1970s, but I can't recall if I actually finished reading the book all those many years ago.

I bring up the novel today because of an article I came across on, George Orwell’s son says his father’s ‘1984’ was ‘prescient’.

The article states,

One edition of “1984” saw sales jump by 10,000 percent since January, when Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway defended incorrect claims as “alternative facts.” It instantly drew comparisons to Orwell’s terms “doublethink” and “newspeak” and to the type of government manipulation the author wrote about nearly 70 years ago.

Of course, we knew that someone, somewhere would be comparing the world under Trump to Orwell's dystopia. The comparison of Orwell's novel and a U.S. President isn't a new phenomenon , however. Life in the U.S. has been compared to 1984 for as long as I can remember - well before the year 1984 came and went.

I'm not saying life isn't becoming more and more like 1984; we can all see that it is. But, this isn't new under Trump's presidency. Governmental surveillance of our daily lives didn't begin yesterday. Orwell could see it in 1948. The problem has been around for ages, but the techniques and methods used by governments today are becoming more sophisticated.

There are some who want to put the problem down to Trump - as in Trumpian equals Orwellian. The situation didn't begin with Trump. If Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize wasn't Orwellian, I don't know what is.

Trump is simply the latest manifestation.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Olivia's False Alarm

At about 8 o'clock last night, while watching Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" on Youtube, I received word that our sow - Olivia - was giving birth to the piglets. My wife and I left to meet her papa at the property; I took the car, my wife taking her motorcycle.

When we reached the property, we saw that the piglets hadn't arrived. I stayed for about 30 minutes while my wife remained behind with her papa. She returned home about midnight without the piglets having been born.

This morning, I had an errand to run, so my wife returned to the property before I did. When I arrived around 8:00 AM, my wife's papa was there - but no new piglets.

I took a few photos of Olivia in the farrowing pen and did a little bit of weeding around my three remaining squash plants before coming back home.

Of course, when the piglets are born, I will post photos, but who can say when that will be?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Farrowing Pen

One of my pregnant sows should be farrowing within the next few days, and my wife's papa is preparing an addition to the existing piggery to house the sow and piglets.

In the accompanying photos we see the farrowing pen built into the addition. I had had quite a few questions in my mind about the safety of the piglets and the building of this pen answers those questions.

My concern now is that the two pregnant sows will farrow too close together. I hope that the first litter can be moved by the time the 2nd sow is ready to give birth.

Not All the Plants Were Squashed by the Rain

Last week I wrote that heavy rains had destroyed three of my six yellow squash mounds. I was awakened by a heavy rainstorm Monday and I was fearful that the three remaining mounds would not survive the onslaught.

When I went out to the property in Magatas yesterday, I saw that, so far the squash plants are still doing OK.

As can be seen in the photo, I need to do a bit of weeding, but there is still a possibility that we can harvest yellow squash in a month or so.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Another Sea Forest Beetle

In March of this year, while driving past the Sea Forest Resort, I took a photo of the red VW seen above. This photo isn't the one taken in March, but rather, one taken today.

Just before lunch, we experienced a brown-out in our immediate area. Rather than smolder in the apartment, my son and I jumped into our soon-to-be cooled down car, and headed north. Just as we were about to pass the Sea Forest Resort, we saw the above mentioned red VW Beetle, along with a white (with rust) VW and a yellow VW van.

I had seen the white car in Dumaguete a few days ago, but was unable to photograph it at the time. I should have known it was only a matter of time.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dhelvies Construction Supply Company

As I've mentioned before, I will, on occasion attempt to add a location onto Google Maps. Sometimes these edits are approved immediately, other times it might take longer.

Most of these additions mean very little to me. This time, however, I wanted to try and add a business that I patronize. We've been doing business with Dhelvies Construction Supply Company for over a year, and I wanted to put it on the map.(I've written of Dhelvies in an earlier post).

Yesterday, I took the photographs seen here. I didn't have my IPhone with me at the time, so I returned today to get the latitude and longitude of the site - ( 9° 21' 15" N 123° 16' 46" E) and set out to add the business.

I was immediately successful. The location was added to Google Maps along with my photos and review. The map follows below, as well.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Another Piggery Update

I took these photos yesterday showing the latest addition to the piggery. As can be seen, the concrete floor has been poured. We can also see the coconut tree stump that I took note of in an earlier post.

There's nothing that can be done about the stump. Had an attempt been made to remove it now, it would probably compromised the septic tank that is beneath the main piggery. It should have been dealt with a year ago. Now, it's too late.

I'm told that when the first pregnant sow is transferred to this new space, the door from her current pen will be moved to accommodate the new pen. My wife's papa says it will be the sow I call Olivia that will farrow first. I believe he is mistaken. If I recall, it was actually Peppa which became pregnant first. This is what I was told at the time. Olivia had been bred first, but it was not successful. He also showed me the calendar where he had marked February 2 as the date Olivia was bred. If that were the case, the due date of the piglets would have been May 27. According to an earlier blog post, Peppa would have been bred sometime after February 21, putting the due date to this weekend.

Not So Good News on the Yellow Squash

A month ago, I transplanted my yellow squash plants into six separate mounds in a garden plot on our property in Magatas. As I mentioned at the time, I had attempted growing yellow squash in the past, but the plants had fallen victim to heavy rains.

We've been getting quite a lot of rain lately and the plants on three of the six mounds have been wiped out. I'm left with only three mounds with one or two plants in each one.

I can only hope that these plants survive to give us squash. Time will tell.

Changes on Google Maps

A couple of days ago, I logged onto the home page for Google Maps Local Guides and was surprised to see an incredible change in my "points". I don't recall the exact number I had before then - somewhere around 1500 - I think. The total points had jumped up to over ten thousand. I went further in and saw some phenomenal numbers. I was seeing more than 1,000 points for my 181 reviews, almost 7,000 points for my photos and over 2000 for places added.

I was certain that there was some sort of glitch in the system. I "refreshed" the page several times and logged out and returned later with the same weird results.

This morning, I received an email from Google Maps explaining everything. It read, in part :

"Points are changing to reward contributions that help people most. You will earn even more for reviews, photos, and edits—and the most for adding new places on Google Maps".

Now, according to the explanation, there would be 5 points per review, 5 points per photo, 5 points per edit, and 15 points per place added. Prior to the change, each of those would have received one point.

There's no explanation as to why the point system has changed. I don't see the point.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Drudge Down?

This afternoon, I clicked on a bookmark for drudgereport and I received a 403 Forbidden status in response. I tried several times, using two different browsers with the same result.

Even after reading about 403 Forbidden on wikipedia, I'm still at a loss to understand what has happened. Was drudgereport hacked? Is the problem just limited to Philippines?

Drudge's Facebook page appears to be OK.

I guess I'll just check again some other time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Festival Brings Out Entrepreneurs

Today, June 13, is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Sibulan, Negros Oriental. Filipinos need very little excuse for a festival, so naturally when feast day of the town's patron saint arrives, it becomes a very big deal.

There have been activities associated with the festival going on for several days; beauty pageant, parade, vendors gathering from all around the province. Being the final day of the celebration, every family is getting together for a party - everyone that can afford one is having lechon baboy.

Of course, what would any party be without cold beverages? Unfortunately, not everyone here has refrigeration in their home and ice must be purchased. With the increased need for ice, the Sibulan ice plant will be very busy today. Knowing that there will be long waits outside the ice plant, one enterprising young man has taken to selling ice on the street this morning.

The photograph below was taken at 8:00 AM and the temperature had already reached 81°F (27°C). I have to wonder if he can sell all the ice before it melts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Philippine Independence Day

Today is Independence Day in Philippines, commemorating the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898. Neither Spain nor the United States recognized Philippine independence, with the U.S. gaining control later that year.

In a blatant display of colonialism, the United States officially granted independence to Philippines on July 4, 1946. July 4th was chosen by the U.S. in order that the date would be forever tied to the U.S. Independence Day. However, the date was officially changed by Presidential Proclamation No. 28, in 1962, which declared June 12 a special public holiday throughout the Philippines.

Coincidentally, I am currently reading a novel by Philippine national hero, José Rizal. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had read Rizal's Noli Me Tángere, as translated by María Soledad Lacson-Locsin, about fifteen years ago. I know fifteen years is a very long time, and one's memory can play tricks, but I see few similarities between that translation and the 1912 translation by Charles Derbyshire that I'm reading now. Nothing seems familiar.

Also, as I mentioned in the earlier post, following Noli Me Tángere, I'll move on to Derbyshire's translation of the novel's sequel, El Filibusterismo.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Piggery Addition Update

In last Wednesday's post, I wrote that, with the exception of the gate (door), I believed that the addition to the piggery would be completed by Friday. This turned out not to be the case.

Why was I not surprised?

At any rate, I drove out to the property in Magatas early this afternoon to check on whatever progress had been made. I was surprised to find that work had been done - and probably today. The photos show what I found. I took the photos, got back in to the car and headed home. Driving home, I passed my wife's papa and his helper on his motorcycle, driving in the direction of the property. I suspect they were returning from lunch.

I'm not certain what additional work they could do today. I did not see any sand at the work sight. There may have been cement in the bahay kubo, but I hadn't thought to check while I was there.

Comparing Pig Photos

The photo above is of the original three little pigs, Olivia, Peppa and George, taken not long after they were moved into the piggery. I can't recall the exact age of the three when this was taken - (in July, 2016) but I believe they were about six weeks old, give or take.

The photos below were taken today. The first being of Peppa, the 2nd, Olivia. George is long gone, having been butchered in November.

Both Peppa and Olivia are due to farrow this month.

It's amazing to me how large the two pigs have grown in less than a year.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Google Map Additions

As always, I brought my camera with me on my morning walk today. One never knows what one might see worth photographing. This morning, I decided to take a photo of the Day Care Center on Diputado Street. I also took a photo of the nearby Sibulan Fire Station on the off chance that I could add both locations to Google Maps.

It never ceases to amaze me which edits are accepted immediately and which are left pending. The Day Care Center edit was accepted while the Fire Station was not. Of course, there's no reason why I can't post both photos here.

Not My Piggies

Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is June 13th, is the patron saint of Sibulan, Negros Oriental. The feast day is the biggest event in the Sibulan calendar (with the exceptions of Christmas and Holy Week). Just like last year - and countless years before - the people in the town will be celebrating with lechon baboy.

Days before the feast, farmers will gather as close to the poblacion area as possible in order to sell pigs properly sized for roasting. The ones in this photo are not mine. This is the first pregnancy for both my swine. After this, I will attempt to time their pregnancies to allow be to have lechon size pigs ready for different festivals.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

All in a Day's Work

At about 4:30 PM, I drove out to the property in Magatas to see how the work was coming along on the addition to the piggery. It isn't that I'm a slave driver or a particularly difficult taskmaster, it's just that I wanted to photograph the progress made in order to have another blog post today.

From the photos, it appears that the work should be completed no later than Friday - excluding any time needed to have a door made. There was a slight miscalculation in the amount of sand needed; there might not be enough concrete as well. I told my wife's papa to order whatever he needed and we would stop by the building supply company tomorrow and pay for these additional materials.

I was curious about waste removal. When the piggery was built last year, we had a large septic tank built to handle the pig waste. The piggery sets atop the tank. However, with this new addition, I did not understand what was planned for the removal of the pig manure. It was explained to me today that a hole will be put into the wall dividing the main piggery from the addition, the floor of the addition will be built on a slant so that the waste can be washed into the drain of the main piggery.

If one looks closely at the new photos, one can see the stump of a coconut tree inside the new addition. I hadn't paid attention to that earlier. I'm curious to see how that will be dealt with in the next few days.