Looking Back at 2016

Some things were lost, some things were gained, and much was learned.

We went on overseas trips in March and May, in addition to many local birding trips throughout the rest of the year. As a result, I didn’t get to spend as much time on the farm as the previous year. We did mostly 1-day trips to the farm/sanctuary. My hagonoy eradication project fell by the wayside. On the plus side, I learned how to do less housework type chores during my short visits to the farm and more fun things like walking around with Momo and Barkley.

In July we had two harvests of mangoes! They were absolutely delicious! We offered some of the first harvest for sale and they were gone in a flash. The next harvest, we gave away to family and friends. People were eager to eat our all natural, un-sprayed, pesticide-free mangoes! Our mangoes stayed greenish on the outside but became very sweet and orange on the inside. People told us the fragrance and sweetness of our mangoes reminded them of the mangoes of their childhood.

We treated ourselves to some very cool tools and gadgets in 2016! We got a scope for birdwatching from the veranda, a digger for making more wildlife ponds, and a wildlife camera for observing the wildlife as unobtrusively as possible.

March 2016, when Tonji was figuring out how the little digger works! This is Pond No. 4 under construction.

This next video is from November 2016. The ponds are full of rainwater and the ducks seem to favor Pond No. 4. It’s usually hard to see them while they are in the pond, so the wildlife camera helps a lot.  We can check out the activities of the ducks without disturbing them. One weekend we set up the camera to take videos. We reviewed the footage and saw MYSTERIOUS birds swimming in the pond! What are those birds? Are they the same birds? The mystery remains!

Tonji also got to photograph this duck just hanging around Pond No. 1. Instead of flying away at the sight of him as was their usual, this one just went back into the grassy bank and hid. This kind of behavior makes us hope that the ducks are nesting in the grass and that we will be able to record some nesting behavior next year.


July was when I discovered nature journaling. Nature journaling is a way to see the world around you more clearly, to remember what you’ve seen, and to stimulate your curiosity to learn even more. The point isn’t to make pretty pictures that you can frame. I had a post in April 2016 where I talked about sketching the same scene from the veranda over and over again because I was “practicing”. I am now glad to report that 2016 ended with me out of my chair and off the veranda. I am now enjoying myself even more because I can combine sketching with walking around the farm and exploring.


Starting in July we planted a lot of seedlings. Some of them were grown from seeds planted in 2015. We managed to almost empty out the seedling nursery!


We lost Tippy in September and Chiquita in December. Chiquita was only with us for a little over two months. It was very stressful to lose two horses in a short period of time. Chiquita’s death was a sad way to end the year. I hope it doesn’t take too long to find another horse that enjoys walking around the fields and grazing as much as Takoy does.

We closed the year with some happy thoughts and plans for 2017. We are converting the riding arena into a vegetable patch. I am looking forward to eating our own all-natural, fresh, non-GMO veggies!

seeds of hope
The future veggie patch. More power to the veggies! May they grow!

In December, I also saw a White Eared Brown Dove for the first time in our place. It was in the mango farm area. And then I saw a rainbow over the mango trees! Two good omens, for sure!


Here’s to a great 2017!

And please let me know if you can identify the mystery birds!

4 thoughts on “Looking Back at 2016”

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