Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Fence and That Cat

This first photo is of the right hand part of the property - we cleared the fenceline! Yahoo! In the 10 months the house was vacant trees and grass and vines pulled down the barbed wire and horses were now travelling who knows where. We walked the entire property (2 acres) with a tape measurer and with a weed wacker (over the course of a week) unveiled the "surveyed" corners - paint on trees. 2 acres is a lot of land! Our plan is to let ranchers have horses up there to keep the grass down and slowly select trees to keep. We will move the fence progressively up the hill as we clear and maintain and plant things. That way the horses won't eat the good stuff! Today was the first day in a week that we had a horse up there - I miss them. It is great to visit a little herd of them hanging out under the 50 foot mango tree - nice I guess until they eat the mangos. (I think there will be more than enough to share - two 50 foot mango trees and another in the fenced in part of the yard.) No mango blossoms yet but they fruit starting in march so they should be blooming soon.

This photo shows the scale of everything - big! The flower is an ornamental ginger. We visited a farm that specializes in gingers, heliconias and exotic fruits. More on that later. Here's Jeff standing in front of one of twelve mature and producing citrus trees we have. We are drinking lots of "jugo" or juice and using the juice to marinade meat in as well. We have several types of oranges or "chinos," a chino-grapefruit mix, limon (lemon) and lime and sour orange "naranja agria." Anyone have any good orange recipes? Reply to this blog if you do...I've made orange cake, ambrosia (with fresh coconut of course), juice, a crushed ice-juice-sugar mix (I think they call them "batidas" here), in our brand new hi-powered blender/food processor (thank you Gary and Mary for the wonderful gift). I have been pruning off fruit laden limbs to accomplish pruning and harvesting at the same time! Sometimes the fruit drops and takes off down the long and very steep driveway and we never see it again!

Oh Dakota, I had such high hopes for you and now you are in cat prison - "no mira afuera nunca" - you will never see the outdoors again. This was one of his ten trips outdoors where we accompanied him and all was well. His first unescorted trip? I wrote about that earlier. He could have been happy and made outdoor friends but instead he disappoints.

Dakota was having another excursion here - in the good old days last week. We all happily wandered around the yard...well, not exactly, Dakota would hiss and run and hiss and run all at nothing. I think at 10 years old he is simply better off inside where the roosters can't get him and he can't pick a fight with the horses!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff and Katrina,

I've been enjoying reading about your adventures. Glad to see you guys are getting settled and enjoying your new home!

Naranja agria (or naranjo) is the variety of orange that is closest to what the Spanish brought to the island. The fruit juice is best used for marinating as it is incredibly bitter. The leaves of the tree are used to make tea. My grandmother always gave us this tea when we were sick with a cold. First you boil water, add a few clean leaves and turn the pot off. Let it rest covered for a few minutes until the water is colored and the leaves are tender. Season to your like with honey or sugar. You can add other things like a bit of ginger, cinnamon, etc.

For the other types of oranges, here is a recipe for orange flan from Emeril Lagasse's website:

Disclaimer: I've never made it myself, but have tried it and is great. I hope its easy to make.

Best of luck,

H Jr.

PS Here is the secret to making flans:

Definition of Water Bath or Bain-Marie (bahn mah-REE) - A hot water bath or bain-marie are used to cook custards and baked eggs in the oven without curdling or cracking, and also used to hold sauces and to clarify butter.

Water baths are most often used for egg-based dishes. The proteins in the eggs are very heat sensitive and only need to be warmed to cook thoroughly. They will start to get firm at only 145 degrees. Cooking them with a slow, gentle heat keeps the eggs soft and smooth.

Anonymous said...

OK, here is another website with a more "doable" recipe:

It basically uses condensed milk instead of heavy cream which may be hard to find at Mr. Special. It also explains better how to do the caramel. I hope this helps.

BTW, in PR they make all kinds of flans including pumpkin, chocolate, coffee, breadfruit, lemon. I hope you get to try 'em all.

H Jr.

Jeff said...

Thanks! Your parents have been so nice. They helped us quite a bit. I hope you have a nice visit with them. We just love the house and the yard.

Happy holidays!


Anonymous said...

Your welcome! I forgot to recommend the coconut flan which was my favorite growing up. My parents are very impressed that you guys have worked so hard to clean up the house and the property. They are thrilled you are enjoying your new home so much! We finally sold our townhome and just exercised our option to buy the house we were renting. We are very happy with our new locale, but like you we'll be working on renovating a 30+ years old home. We are definitely looking forward to my parents visiting with us for the holidays!

We wish you the best and most Happy Tropical Holidays!

H Jr.