While I kept up work on the new website, David stayed focused on readying for rainy season. The main project over the summer was to get a stable roof over the slab between Pawheela House and Termite House for storage and work space.
We call the new shed Flycatcher. It is designed in the same angles like the two previous roofs, to keep rain out and air flowing through. One section is metal with three clear plastic roofing skylights. The other section is clear plastic tarp, to eventually be a greenhouse. The final section of tarp went up just minutes before the heavy rains began in April.
Juan returned to work, with his shoulder better after being dislocated in the process of being pulled out of a mud slide last November. During his time off, Leo brought his son, James, his nephew, Randy, or neighbor, Oldermar. So now, we typically have three “Ticos” showing up on weekdays handling the heavy lifting.
May is Planting Time
Dependable rain makes May the optimum time to get plants into the ground establishing strong roots to hold through the dry season beginning in December. The weight of plants waiting for the right time had crumbled tables under the shade cloth, so many that we’d begun from seed were ready for soil. Since rain also stimulates plant growth above ground, now the focus is on mulching and keeping weeds from overtaking the new trees.
Carla, working in outreach for Wilson Botanical Gardens/Las Cruces Research Station, returned from maternity leave in March. She is driven to make her baby’s world full of gardens. She and new horticulturist, Greg invited us to help create a food garden on site at Wilson, in addition to beginning gardening projects in local schools.
When Karlee and I visited Wilson to scope out the area designated for the garden, we noted that the sloped area needed a swale. Greg, their horticulturist spent a morning with us at Patos Suertudos to see how the swales look in context and for plants that could be incorporated into their site.
So, it was a special day for us, when Juan, Leo, and Randy loaded up their truck with plants, shovels, and A-frame to teach staff at Wilson to teach swale-building and populate the new garden with edible perennials. It felt good to provide a public space to demonstrate a technique that could prevent erosion in this rainy hilly part of the world.
Animal drama keeps things interesting. Helene of France rode Canaria every day of her stay, making a huge difference in Canaria’s outlook and friendliness.
An egg found hatching on the trail was rejected by the sitting duck, so Karlee and Marietta took on the mothering until it fluffed up overnight. The next morning, after letting out the ducks with their fermented local organic corn breakfast, we put the baby in the duck pen hoping for the best. While tending the gardens near the duck pen, we kept an eye on Pete the Cat, whom we’d feared would be bad for the baby ducks. Pete surprised us by keeping the little guy company from the opposite side of the mesh wall.
That night, we didn’t see the little duckling, so feared the worst. But the next day at feeding time, that little guy had joined the two-mom party with four ducklings. Another day, it was with the one mom party with two ducklings. S/he is still smaller than the others, but hanging in there and being accepted.
We were missing the baby lamb, Snowball or Palucho Nieve until the guys spotted him while working in the pasture we’d moved them from. It was a happy reunion to deliver him to the six running too fast to count nearly ten days prior.