Sunday, January 6, 2008

Mas Frutas, Odd Pod and Things That Sing in the Night

...but first we have the fruit line-up - on your left we've got toronja (we trade with the neighbor lady Amparo - she is on lipitor and can't eat grapefruit), then a chinoja (grapefruit-orange cross and very good for juice), then a sunburned orange (very juicy), a non-sunburned orange and a lime. That is the citrus lineup - and not shown are the china agria (bitter orange - used for marinade and the leaves for tea) and lemons that overhang our driveway.

This next one is an anon - don't know which one, but it has weird skin-scales and turns bright pink when it is ripe! It took my eating a few before I could appreciate them - had to figure out the perfect time to harvest them. They are kind of like a custardy, grainy, sugary pear. I usually find pears a little too sweet but when you use a spoon to scoop this fruit it is is a real treat and is my new favorite (even more than guanabana)!

Here is today's harvest. We helped Amparo prune a grapefruit and she made us take a couple bags of them. The mango wood bowl on the left has oranges (chinas) in it, the dishwashing bin has more oranges and the bag on the right is even more oranges! In the kind-of middle is another pink anon, and behind it is a guanabana (soursop) that I like as a cooling drink. You press the white, fibrous pulp and seeds through a sieve and end up with a creamy white goo. Add sugar (soursop is tangy) and milk and a little coconut water and ice and you've got a creamy good tangy refreshment! There are a few platanos in the mix. Plantains and bananas are a whole other blog entry!

Well, we are clearing the least making headway! Jeff goes through with the weedwhacker and I follow up with my pink plastic $1 rake (my craftsman and fiskars tools all break but not my $1 little pink rake) to pull grass and sticks into piles. Then I run into the zillion vines and hand pull those until the ground is basically bare (until it rains). I always have my hands in the dried grass and under sticks and things.
Since I am not photographing under water yet (don't know the area well enough to know what I want to photograph) I have taken on photographing - or trying to- the coqui frog! This is a difficult task because they are only out at night when it is dark! So I wander around in dense foliage that is shoulder high with a flashlight in one hand, a camera in the other listening for them and trying to spot them and then waiting for the breeze to stop moving the leaf they are on etc etc. It is hard! They pop about 3 feet when the light hits them, or they go deeper into little holes or under leaves or inside banana stumps These are some attempts. These frogs make huge sound but are very tiny. I was surprized they were so small!

In the morning I watch the big ball of a sun come up over the hill and drink my coffee out in front of the house watching and listening to the hills come alive! The roosters are ur ur uring, cows are talking and birds are out everywhere. This bird and its mate were up in one of our palms knocking the palm fruits off. I thought they were eating them but no...just picking them off and dropping them.

Another odd night time thing are the geckos. They sprawl out on top of leaves and snooze.

This odd pod is all over our hillside. It is a pretty little vine that smells like pepper when you touch the leaves and produces these pretty little orange globe-like fruits that pop open to reveal these little red bean looking things! These beans are really really sticky and exude a sticky substance. The ants love them and probably assist them in taking over the world!

This coqui was caught in the act as s/he bellowed out the cool coqui sound. Do a websearch on coqui frogs and you'll find a site that has recordings of all their sounds. Exactly what we fall asleep to each night!
So those are the ramblings for the evening. It is a good frog night since we got a little rain today! The Puerto Rican Screech owl is out there making its monkey sounds...the grasshoppers are going wild (haven't heard them like this before) and the coquis are superb. I can't wait to wake up and head for the hillside!

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