The Great Outdoors

Every opportunity I get to be out-of-doors I take it.  I would rather be working in the yard almost more than anything, one exception would be baking in the kitchen.  But when the weather is cooperating with sun and moderate temperatures, (moderate for me now is 60) I take my clippers, tarp and rake out to the yard for some fresh air and garden time.

The yard has a huge pine tree with needles that are falling all the time. Here you do not see any pine cones just lying around, pine cones are used to get your fire started so get out early after a windy day or they will be cleaned up by one of your neighbors.

The low temperatures right now are in the 40’s with highs into the 60’s.  But if the day is overcast forget about seeing 60.  The house we rented sits on a corner lot filled with trees, shrubs, a huge white rose-bush, bird of paradise, a Bougainvillea shaped like a basket (which is very popular in our area), the plant above which is huge and kind of scary and assorted flowing bushes as well as several trees that I have no idea what they are because they were cut way back before we moved into the house.

Joe followed me around with the camera while I was out on this day. And caught me enjoying a great afternoon out-of-doors.

 The grass is in need of some TLC as it looks to be more weeds than grass. But we have all fall and winter to get it in shape.

Sunday Market or Feria

Early Sunday morning Joe and I headed out for our daily walk. Joe had several places in mind for us to at least walk by if not visit.  One was the planetarium another the zoo and the third was……..  But instead we got totally side-tracked as we discovered a Sunday Market about five blocks from our apartment.

montevideo-2-4-23The vendors block off the several streets and set up their tents, some even come with what looks like a food truck that opens to show cold cases for cheese, meat and fish.montevideo-2-4-24The first thing that caught my eye was the flowers, but I only picked up one plant and that was thyme.  And it joined my other herb basil on the washing machine in our laundry room.montevideo-2-4-25We figured a tray of 30 large eggs would cost $3.00 and they even had one man selling household products, cleaning, TP, paper towels.  montevideo-2-4-26There were several vendors set up selling cheese, pork, chicken, beef and even fish.montevideo-2-4-27 montevideo-2-4-28The fruits and vegetables looked fresh but we had just gone shopping on Friday and our refrigerator was filled with everything we needed for the week. I have not had the time to check prices but I am sure this Sunday Market is cheaper than Tienda Inglesa.montevideo-2-4-29Grapes run $1.42 per kilo, that is cheap cheap cheap.  They are grown here so maybe that is why they are so inexpensive. Next Sunday these will be on my shopping list.montevideo-2-4-30Everything is marked so you know what you’re spending.montevideo-2-4-31I just could not resist the strawberries, they are one of my favorites.  They were small with a hint of tartness. Just perfect to eat with sugar and cream, and that is just what I did.montevideo-2-4-32$1.60 a kilo for peaches. That works out to about 72 cents a pound.montevideo-2-4-33 montevideo-2-4-34 montevideo-2-4-35 montevideo-2-4-36This stand was selling all different dried herbs and even had nutmeg nuts in this bowl above.  Need to spend some time finding out what these are but I did buy some of the adobo which I knew had red pepper flakes and seeds in it.  I have used it on several things and it does pack a punch.montevideo-2-4-37 montevideo-2-4-38This will be our Sunday morning ritual.  Buying fresh fruits and veggies five blocks from the house.  Now all we need is one of those Old Lady Carts, yes, I am prepared to drag it around. ha ha

Investing in the Local Economy

Ever since we moved here to San Clemente our neighbor David Zambrano has helped us with so many jobs around this house I can no longer remember all of them.  While we were staying in Manta, David took care of our home, our yard and our plants.  When we came back my plants were more beautiful and lush than I could ever had gotten them.  I do feel he has a green thumb.

David is great with electrical or plumbing problems but on occasion he has done some small woodworking for me as well as small concrete jobs along with a bit of painting. If he cannot do it he will find someone who can.

When the earthquake hit on April 16th, Joe got me out of the house but we were in shock, we just sat on lawn chairs out on the driveway.  David and his brother Pilli made a quick check of all the neighbors and then came back to get Joe and I.  They walked us through our house sweeping a path through the debris as they got us into our bedroom and found us shoes, shirts and flashlights. They found two folding chairs on our patio and walked us down the street to a waiting car, where we were treated like royalty and taken up the hill to Pepita’s home to wait out the tsunami warning.  David came back several hours later and took us to our home. Again, he needed to sweep a path to be able to get to the bathroom and into bed.  I cannot explain how much this meant to Joe and I.  It took us days to stop trembling when we felt an aftershock and some of those aftershocks measured over 6.

Now we are starting the work that we have been planning for the house for the past year.  This is the time to do it, this is the time to invest in this community so it can heal. If you have projects that you are looking to do in the next year, I ask that you do those projects now, infusing money into the local economy.

So far we have contracted to have wood cabinets built for our kitchen, a block and concrete wall built at the back of our property and bamboo fencing for two additional walls in our yard. This is not replacement for damage done it is all new items that we were planning to add over the next several years. Next we will be hiring maestros to build two doors for the back walkway as well as a new wood gate for our drive.

Many people are not working right now, have no income coming in and have damage to their own property. If you are living in Ecuador and are thinking about investing in your property and can give work to those in your community please do it now.

It will make a difference in the quality of life right here in Ecuador.

 

 

Pata de Vaca – Look How Beautiful!

Correction: This tree is called Bauhinia forficata not Tulipan and is commonly known as Brazilian orchid tree or Pata de Vaca (foot of the cow because of the shape of the leaves). It is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae.  Thank you Esthela Deleg for finding out the correct name.

Outside the wall at Palmazul I see this beautiful tree. When it is in bloom the flowers are just so lovely I could not pass without taking a photo.

IMG_2115IMG_2115aMakes my day!

Building a Finca – Update

Back in December of last year our neighbors Ivan and Max allowed me to visit their finca and post about their work. See Building a Finca, December 1, 2012.  Max was kind enough to come by with some beautiful papaya from the farm and he took me back for an update.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 045Joe and Max are examining the bounty on this one type of papaya. Different varieties of papaya have been planted to see which variety is better suited to this climate. Max is experimenting with the Hawaiian Papayas as well as the locally grown variety. His focus has been fruit that has a high sugar content with low maintenance and water consumption. The papaya trees that have been planted are producing but the focus of the farm is the production of tamarind.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 064San Clemente 10.31.2013 035These tamarind trees were started from seeds and have grown to over three feet in less than a year in the ground. It is a beautiful property with spectacular views of the ocean from almost any spot.

As we were leaving Max jumped out of the car and put several huge squash in the back seat, the one he gave me made several squash breads that I shared with the neighbors.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 040Since my first visit electricity has been brought to the property, roads and planting fields have been cleared and construction has been started on the first all bamboo home.

Good luck, buena suerte!

My New “Old” Cactus Garden

“We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”
— Mother Teresa —

While living in Playas I started a few pots of cactus that have taken off and really needed to be re-potted. Then I purchased a small cactus arrangement at Super Maxi that outgrew its tray so that went into a bigger pot. Then Deborah, a friend from Bahia, brought me cuttings from about 10 different cactus plants from her garden. So it became a cactus garden looking for a home instead of 20 different pots in different shapes and sizes. Finally this week I planted that last tray and below is my beautiful cactus garden.

San Clemente 8.18.2013 017Now what I need to do is get someone to build a planter on part of the walkway between the driveway and the grass area of our garden. Then I can take all these other pots and put them in the ground along with being able to plant more herbs and making it much less work…

What a Difference a Day Makes

So yesterday I took the great photos of the bush in bloom next to our porch, this afternoon the gardener came in and cut it down to around three feet…Almost all of the flowers are gone and it looks a bit sad to me.

Well it did need a trim, you need to have a good outlook when you are renting. Yet another reason for us to find our own home soon!