Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Finca and Skeeter's New Friend!

Not too long ago we purchased close to 1,500 new coffee plants to add to our finca.  In order to move them around to the part of the finca where they were needed, we thought we had to get our trailer down our steep mud slicked driveway!  With the help of Roberto and a very long rope we braced the trailer around a tree and guided it slowly down the hill.  I was in charge of the rope while Don and Roberto guided!

Here you can see the rope and Don working hard to keep the trailer away from the Galloper!

Once at the bottom Roberto cleaned the mud out of the hitch so it would be ready to use.

A few days later Don and 4 helpers went to a farm in San Ramon and dug up our new coffee plants.  It is a grueling process of digging up the plants, using the fertilizer bags to tie 100 plants together with 1/2 laid one direction and the other 50 laid in the opposite direction.  The work is a dirty and exhausting which I missed out on because the car was full on the way to Calle Mora!!  Unfortunately, everyone was so busy no pictures were taken of the process except this one of 3 of the guys that helped us and the "truck" that delivered the plants.  I use the term "truck" lightly because we had our doubts that it would make it down our steep muddy road and back out again!  On the return trip I was picked up to help with the unloading at the finca as some of the men were riding with the truck and there was an extra spot.

In a short time the truck was unloaded and the plants were stacked close to the fields that had previously been prepared with holes for planting.  With the truck unloaded, it was time to head home and....the truck made it up our road with a few bodies in the back for weight!

Again with the help of Roberto, Jeffery, Carlos and Louis we planted the 1,500 plants in about 3 days!!  It was amazing how quickly the job was completed!

And, because the truck delivered the plants all the way down our road we never did use the trailer!!  Oh, well, it's ready if we need it for something else.

There is so much work to be done on the coffee that we have been hiring extra help to speed up some of the jobs.  Two people spraying is much quicker and one process actually gets done before the next needs to start, that possibly being weed control with sprays or machetes, cutting cana and other plants that have become overgrown, digging ditches for water control and the list goes on.  I've become quite good with a machete and feel naked without one when I'm working in the fields!
Not only is there work to do with the coffee, but because of the torrential rains we have here there is a lot of erosion control that needs to be done.  I've shown pictures of the huge ditch that has been created by rain on the side of our home site, and that needs to fixed.  Fixed means that we need to put 1/2 round concrete, or something similar, across the top edge of the hill and terrace and plant down the hill.  This also is going to require more help and needs to be done soon!  Our driveway, which we cannot even use now, needs to have 12 loads of gravel.   This is a project we have been  trying to get bids on from a number of people!  The process is very slow!

Speaking of "torrential rains", the next three photos will give you an idea of what it is like when it rains here.   These photos are taken from our front porch and this not an unusual rain shower!

Unfortunately, they aren't the greatest photos.  This is the main road covered in mud and water! When it's raining this hard it's pretty dark and I'm shooting through a few rain drops!

Although not much is getting done on our road and driveway, the main road we use to get to our property is being improved!  YEAH!  It's a bit inconvenient at the moment, but we are excited and thrilled to have at least part of our awful trip to the property improved!  By the way, part of the reason we are having a hard time getting one of our bids is because the guy is working on the public road!  So, I guess we need to be a little forgiving and grateful!

Skeeter is giving his opinion!  I think he has been hanging around Don too long!

Last but not least, Skeeter has a new friend.  The people next door have a new puppy and he and Skeeter have become fast friends!  Skeeter has been working very hard to train the puppy to bark at dogs and people who go by so he can just sleep on the porch!!  Must be nice to have an assistant! As you can see by the following photos they play hard and fast, and as usual, the puppy is doing most of the work! 

At the end of the day, with a puppy in the house, we were all pretty worn out!  

The Rest of the Story!

Before we get to the incredible Ox Cart Parade, there a couple other things we want to share about the San Ramon Festival.

While waiting for the parade to begin we started watching these men feed sugar cane through a machine and create a juice which they were selling at one of the food spots.  The man on the left spoke a little some English and was very helpful at explaining the process to us.  He was also giving himself bee therapy!  As I was watching the process of pressing sugar cane, I noticed that he was irritating a bee and then sticking it on his arm to be stung!   Of course, we asked him about it and he said that all the bees around the sweet sugar cane gave him an opportunity to be stung which helped with some pain he had in his hip!  Although aware of bee therapy we had never experienced the process.

This very interesting gentlemen talked to us at length about the sugar cane process, unfortunately it was all in Spanish!  He didn't seem to mind that we didn't understand and entertained us for quite some time!

One last note before we inundate you with photos of the parade.  We are very impressed with how Ticos can create what they need no matter what the situation.  An example of this is the temporary sink and towel containers we noticed that are available for people to use in many locations around the temporary structures.  

Now for the parade!

When we first arrived in San Ramon the day of the parade the road was empty and closed off.  On the schedule we had the parade was to begin at 10:00 a.m., I think it was about 11:30 when things started to pass by and we were at the very beginning.  We had been told there were about 200 ox carts and, as we are not good at stand still, we decided to follow the parade backwards to the end so we could see it all!

The beginning!

The variety of Oxen, carts and Yolks work by the Oxen was endless and Don just kept shooting pictures.   I'm posting many of them but actually only a small portion and we hope you enjoy them all!

 Very fun Character!

Beautiful Yolk!

 Lots of children and families walking and riding.   All very proud of their oxen and cart!


 Look at those horns!

 A tap with a staff on the yolk means "heads up!"


 Guess Who??

Check out the tips of the horns! 

A young girl with her young oxen! 

 Absolutely incredible carts!



A bit of entertainment along the way!

 Even a band!

And for some reason, lots of bikers in town for the big event!