Sunday, October 13, 2013

Poco a Poco!

The last month or so we have been very busy mostly working with all the growing things here.  I, Sharon, made a quick trip to NH to move my Mother into assisted living and the rest of our time has been spent tending and planting, pruning and caring for the coffee and numerous other growing things.

Before I left for NH, Roberto and I made two terraced rows across the side of our large hill where we were having erosion problems. We planted "Poppies" (Roberto's name for the flower).  The flowers on the bushes we planted look like a Hibiscus.  We planted red ones but I have also seen peach and yellow.  Ours have a single row of petals but I have seen them with many rows.  These appear much fuller. The "Poppies" grow quite easily here and are planted two sticks together in an "X" formation and are used as a shrub.

Here you can see the "X" shape.

Planting was quite an adventure on the side of this very steep hill.  Roberto did much of the digging and created the "terrace" and I planted the cuttings.  Hopefully, they will grow and add stability to our hillside.  Because of the torrential rains here, (photos below)  erosion is a major concern and can be a very expensive issue to control.  We spend lots of time digging ditches to direct the water flow and will be glad when our driveway is competed with gravel and cement so we don't have to continue digging the same ditches over and over.While I am on the subject of our driveway, we still have not solidified a deal what to do and who to have do it.  Yesterday we spent some time with a builder and architect who suggested we gravel the lower portion, which isn't too steep, and concrete the steep part.   It actually seems like one of the better suggestions we have heard.  Now all we need to do is find the person and gravel to get the project done!

Our bananas are doing well!  It seemed like nothing was happening for the last few months and when I returned from NH, there were 2 new shoots of bananas peaking out that no one had noticed!!  I was excited!   Low and behold, a few days later up pops number 3!!   In a month or so we will be swimming in bananas!!

This little guy is an avocado plant which we planted and are very pleased at how well he/she is progressing.  As the rainy season is about to end in the next few weeks, we are going to wait until next year and plant a couple more.

Much of our time in the past few weeks has been trying to get our citrus trees pruned and cared for.  Unfortunately, pruning means lots of branches to deal with---my job.  With my trusty machete the smaller branches get removed and then are placed next to the coffee plants across the slope of the hill to slow the flow of water.  More erosion control!!  We are also trimming the Cana and other wild trees and bushes that have been growing out of control for many years.

In addition to removing overgrowth, we are adding flowers and even some Mora Berry bushes to our property.  Things grow so easily here it's easy to clip and stick into the ground.  We've created a small area where we are starting to grow things we would eventually like to have around our house.  Unfortunately, with the advent of construction we are unable to plant close to the homesite.

In addition to the flowers and bushes we're trying to start that grow wild, a man who works for us gave us a large sack full of Hydrangea plants and a large sack full of New Guina Impatiens and Impatiens which we planted wherever we could find a spot.  They call the Impatiens Chinas and the Hydrangeas something that I cannot remember!  There you have the problem of learning a new language --- MEMORY or lack there of!!

For fun we are trying to start:  Furcraea cabuya, Malvaviscus Penduliflorus, Bambusa Vulgaris, Brunfesia Grandiflora, and many more which I will photograph and share -- if they grow!  I have also atttached a number of Orchids to a tree by our gate and hope someday to see some flowers.

In addition to enjoying all the different citrus trees dispursed throughout our coffee, we have recently started picking and eating the Guajava that grows like a weed.  Small trees sprout up everywhere!  Although we try to eliminate the small starts there are many that have grown to huge trees and produce lots of fruit.  Guajava is a fruit about the size of a lemen and, although there are many varities, ours are yellow on the outside and pinkish inside when they are ripe.  The pink pulp is full of seeds so..thanks to a trip to NH and the acquisition of a food mill--I can now scoop out the centers and put them through the mill quite quickly.  Before I had to put the fruit through a sieve with a spoon to remove the seeds.  Very slow and not an easy task to accomplish!!  The fruit smells wonderful and has a great taste and has the consistency of a dense applesauce.  I've used it for making bread, jam, wonderful smoothies and just to eat with a spoon.


More rain in front of our house.  Since this picture, a large trench has been dug along side the road and we have not seen this type of flooding since.  This is what we mean about constantly digging ditches and trying to prevent erosion control.