Monday, December 10, 2007

The Days Are a Blur

All the days are a blur...they start out for me early in the morning when the roosters ur ur urrrrr and the giant ball of a sun pops up from behind the mountains in the front of the house. (One second you see a glow and then up pops the ball.) I have myself a nice cup of Puerto Rican coffee - yummy - and some fresh orange juice and usually coconut and oatmeal or something and then I am off in the yard to do my thing. We have got a wonderful home and yard, but after 10 months of not being here it is a jungle! I am stretching to prune what I think is a quenapa tree to let more sun get to the carambola (star fruit) tree on the right. A short while after the pruning, I saw dark pink blossoms on the star fruit tree! Everything needs pruning, and I do part ladder and part climbing to try to do it. I broke the handle off my hand saw pruning an orange tree so now I have Jeff chain saw some of it...
This is a jobo tree and there was a cluster of ripe ones pretty high up I wanted to get. Standing in the back of the truck with the 12 foot pole wouldn't reach these suckers, so up I went and I was able to climb up high enough to pull down two of them. They were different than I expected - kind of crunchy like an apple, orange like a mango with lots of fibre and a big seed with a melon-like papaya flavor (something is blooming outside and only at night I can smell it wafting into the house - I think it is papayas).

After this climb I pointed out where Jeff should prune the semilla de pan breadfruit tree - after hauling away branches I ended up with a wad of latex in my hair. Breadfruit it ready to eat when beads of latex appear near the stem. You can harvest it at different stages depending on how you want to cook it. Tonight we tried a soft one that had turned kind of brown in the oven with brown sugar and butter in it. It was rather odd. This big greenish bumpy ball tasted just like banana. The previous night we sauteed it and it was just like potato. We also fried plantains and they tasted like potato. When is a plantain not a plantain? More on plantanos and bananas later.

The neighbor lady is always in her yard whacking away at large trees or something. Today she was digging up roots and offered me one. I recognized that plant and knew I had it in the yard so I invited her over to help me harvest from my own yard. First off, this is Puerto Rico, things are not what they seem. Oranges are not orange, I put "cholesterol" on my hair, and what looks like a pointsetta happens to be what everyone calls yuca, which is actually cassava. We do some digging and come up with these. She only speaks Spanish so we bumble along and she is telling us something about some of the roots maybe being "bitter." That is what I understood anyway. I figured it made sense that the big roots wouldn't taste as good as the small ones just like larger carrots suck. No big deal. I boil the roots and we have them for dinner and they were pretty tasty. Just another starch. The next day she tells me they are not bitter and I am just not getting it. I do an on-line search for yucca, or yuca and read all about how there are the bitter ones and the not bitter ones and how incomplete processing leaves you with enough cyanide in the root to "kill a horse." Hmmm. Since then I have read up on how the prepare this root and am waiting for the seizures to start!

This is the neighbor lady - I want to be like her when I grow up! This is our side yard where yuca kind of lines the base of the hill. Of course after harvesting the tuber it is like the rest of gardening here - hack up the stem and stick it in the ground. In 6 months you will have more! Note the machete in her hand. I don't think I have seen her without it!

2 comments: said...

What a cute little neighbor you have! New to your blog and really enjoying reading about your adventures moving to such a tropical location. Sounds sooo good right now, especially since we are in the cold, snowy, winter months. :)

Daiveedino said...

I've recently started reading your blog and really like it!I'm from Guaynabo and I can definitely relate to a lot of this including the overjoyed grandmas with machetes.