Monday, April 21, 2008

THE Bruise, a New Kind of Thorn, Cement and Diving...

As expected I got a nice bruise from the great coconut drop. It was nastier in person but hey, you can see the outline of the nut which is kind of weird! The keys are there so the camera would actually show the bruise.

So I am in the yard doing more moving around of plants, in this case moving little bananas from the parent stalk to places we need greenery in the yard when...I feel a thorn (no big surprise there) jabbing inside my pant leg. Everything here is a grows fast, flowers, throws out seeds and starts again and everything has jabby or sticky or poky parts. So I feel around for the thorn and find it. To my surprise however it had little red eyes and little legs!

Here are a bunch of the "living thorns" on the little banana starts. They are, well, about thorn size and are a poky as a thorn too! Isn't nature wonderful?

A couple weeks before Jeff left for vacation we went to the Ferreteria in Sabana Grande and bought some cinder blocks, rocks, sand and cement. They delivered everything for free the next day and we were excited to start some little cement projects since we have never done any cement work. One of the projects was to build a little wall one block high to clean up the area under the upper avocado tree. This area was very overgrown with achiote saplings and little trees and cool plants all kind of mixed together along with logs from cut down invaders and a crumbling rock wall of sorts. This is what you see when you get to the top of the driveway, and I wanted to clean it up. I also didn't like that the soil kind of flows down when it rains. Water also collected near the cement shed to the left.

Jeff laid out the wall and we filled the block holes with rocks and then cement and I graded the problem shed area (the best I could anyway) and ta da it looks cleaner already! Jeff went on his trip and while he was gone I finished the wall so it is now ready for paint (but we don't know the house color - we want to match the lime green). The next thing is for me to dig out and divide all the diffenbachia, anthuriums etc and move them to new places. I've already moved some around and I'm not sure how things will end up. Eventually we'd like the area under the tree free of bananas, but it is hard to off something that is providing shade and almost food so for now they stay. Kind of looks bare now, but when I get my plan together it will be wonderful.
So the first cement project was a success and great fun. Next we will be building a little bigger and higher wall down the driveway outside the gate. Right now the directions to our house are to to spot the recliner and garbage cans. We are about to remedy that by making a nice little wall that will hold back dirt that I can plant cool plants in. We are going to cement these cool plaster jumbo toads I got at kmart on top of the gate posts. We have a real toad that looks similar in the yard. The toads are kind of cool looking. So hopefully people can spot the toads and know it is our gate. That project has to wait until we restring barbed wire on the upper yard though. When Jeff got back he weedwacked and a little herd of horses ran up to the fence line drawn in by the smell and the "greener on the other side" thing. It is all "bosque" behind us and the ranchers let loose their horses. The barbed wire I'm afraid won't keep them out, and I have planted Ylang ylang, plumeria, canisteel, moralon, pomegranite and flambouyants I started from seed (orange, blue and yellow). If they get in they will eat it all. So with all these projects we decided to dive today. Yesterday we tried to go but a "frente frio" (cold front - not very cold though) made for swell and waves...perfect to go body surfing in. After looking at diving conditions David decided it would be crappy so we stayed and played on the beach instead. A surfer (Alfred) saw us with the boogie board and dorky air mattress and offered up his small surf board. I could row on my stomach and once got onto my knees but forget standing up! Very tippy! I definitely need lessons/pointers but appreciated the chance to use it and get rough and tumbled in the sand. That thing can swing back and knock you out! Today we DID dive at Shacks. As usual it was currenty in the caves and fine outside. We saw an eagle ray and turtle. Vis was 40 something (not as good as usual) and water was 79 on the outside and 81 on the inside. Very nice. On the way in as we entered the caverns to cross to the inside the pressure difference popped my contact out of my eye where it then stuck to my nose. Ear trouble always on that part of the dive - lots of pressure changes, water sucking you one way or another, part of the excitement. So tomorrow will be a yard day ...most likely the fence project.


Vicious Summer said...

Those little thorn bugs are cool! I wonder what they are?!

SUMMER said...

p.s. You can get a dehydrator at

Shipping is free, they ship to PR AND they ship to PO Boxes. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff & Katrina!

I agree that the thorn bugs are really cool, that's something I don't remember seeing before.

My dad thought he had some green paint left in his storage. If not, they can probably get the specs at the store they bought the paint in San German.

Try to stay away from coconut palm trees for a while, LOL!

Today's local newspaper, "El Nuevo Dia", had an article on tropical fruit trees that can be grown in PR. They are featuring a local place called "Govardhan Gardens" located between Mayaguez and Maricao. I wonder if you have visited this place already and if you have some of these trees already in your collection.

Take care,

H Jr.