Readying for Rainy Season

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.

Rain's coming!
Raining on the new Flycatcher roof between the bamboo Pawheela house and the “termite house” in the background.

Flycatcher Shed

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.

Reuben at the ladder
Reuben readies for spraying welded joints in the new Flycatcher shed.

Juan Returns

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.

School garden
Karlee, Carla, and Kristy celebrate their first school garden project.

Community Projects

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.

Karlee and the kids
Karlee guides the crew planting a hedge of hibiscus bordering a business and the school.
Greg and the kids
Greg, the horticulturist from Wilson Botanical Gardens guides the students setting up the pathways through the new garden.

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.

Patos' staff team
Juan, Randy and Leo with a packed up car to teach swale-building and plant a new edible garden at Wilson Botanical Garden.

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.

Lucky Horse
Canaria eating up attention from Helene and Karlee

Animal Drama

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.

Alternate mommy
Marietta keeps the baby duckling close.

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.

Making do.
My gardening apron served as temporary support to keep the animals in the fresh pasture after the sheep stormed the gate.
Animal week
Canela watches as Karlee readies the baby lamb for return to his family after more than a week on its own.

Pura Vida