Tuesday, December 16, 2008

good evening

Well, it's a bit later and I'm back at it again. In the intervening days I've been up to the states and back again. I took advantage of all of the wonderful food items available at asian market in Phoenix. It's amazing how many kinds of rice there are. I loaded both of my suitcases full of rare goodies and caught a plane back home.
We have four volunteers here right now. One from England, another from Scotland, another from Germany and one from Australia. My chance to practice my accents. They're a hard working crew and things are very tidy looking around here. It's a lot of work to keep ahead of them. Tomorrow, as a reward, we're going to pick coffee. They're all very excited about the prospect of picking, processing and drinking a cup of your own coffee. Amaranth and I are too. The coffee plants are over 10 years old. The branches are loaded with beautiful red coffee berries. It's a very fun and satisfying thing to grow something that most people have to buy from the grocery store. Our farm is laden with many wonderful things to eat.
Today while cleaning up the gardens in front of the house I came across a tree that I didn't plant. A bird probably dropped the seed. At first I was going to pull it up but when I brushed up against it a lovely perfume swirled around my head. I searched out the source of this wonderful smell and found it was coming from the delicate white flowers decorating this small tree. I sat down and closed my eyes enjoying the pleasant aroma. I don't know the name of this tree but it has a permanent place with us. I love the way nature springs its surprises on me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

planting Macadamias

Yesterday, Richard, a volunteer working with us, and I planted 5 Macadamia nut trees. We bought them from a nursery for $7.50 a piece. Not bad for trees 2 to 3 feet tall. We also put in a watering system that'll keep them in water until the rainy season gets here. We also have 12 more mangosteens to plant.
It's always exciting when we plant new trees, especially when they're trees that'll bear something edible later on. It's usually a 2 or 3 year wait but when the first harvest arrives it's well worth it.
We have 8 Lychee trees and the first year they produced we only got a few lychees, They next year a couple of construction workers snuck them all. The year after that we had hundreds and we ate them by the bucket load. I don't think you can get sick eating them, nor can you get enough. There's always room for one more. Amaranth and I like going into the chicken yard with a bucket full. We sit in a couple of chairs sharing some of the lychees with our fine feathered friends. It's a nice feeling to be surrounded by such an attentive audience.
One of the projects for today will be to move a couple of surinam cherry trees that need more light. When I first planted them they were doing fine but the trees around them grew much faster and blocked their light. Even when you plant trees in ideal conditions you can still have a big variation in the rate they grow. We planted 3 teak trees in the same area. Each got the same treatment but one is at least twice as big as the others. I suppose it's like children. You feed them all at the same table but every once in a while one just out grows the rest.
We planted some hardwoods last year but they didn't do well. Some insects just loved devouring their core. They also had a problem with mealy bugs. I finally dug them all up except one that seems to be doing alright. I'm not sure what the name of the tree is. I've asked 4 people and gotten 4 answers. Since we live without chemicals we have become selective about what we cultivate. If it's too fussy after all our accommodations we let it go.
Well, the light is beginning to fill the sky... the day starts.