El Jardín de Árboles Frutales

One of the many projects I have planned over the next several months includes the garden.

There are several sticks holding up limbs probably when they were laden with fruit the last time. It really makes the yard look unkempt, they must go!

With its 13-14 fruit trees (I am not sure if the palm tree happens to be a coconut palm that is why I am not sure about the number), in a space 33′ wide by 21′ deep. Some trees have so much dead wood the tree actually looks like the entire tree is dead, then you look at the branches that are so intertwining that you don’t know where one tree stops and another starts. For all of that they are all bearing fruit, are flowering and actually look like they are doing pretty well. What will happen when they are fertilized, watered and trimmed regularly, I should have more than enough fruit.

This is the cherry tree, my one neighbor goes crazy for these little fruits.

The pomegranate has several fruits as well as flowers.

Look at the bunches of mandarina on just this one limb, I hope my neighbors are willing to help eat these when they get ripe, because it looks like there will be way too many for Joe and I to eat.

So many flowers, if all of these flowers become limons I will be able to supply the entire neighborhood for months.

I have started a garden plan in my mind, so far it looks like we will be trimming up the trees to be able to walk underneath them, top them off so that we can reach the fruit without having to higher a cherry-picker ha ha. Next we are considering removing all the grass and amending the soil with soil from the mountains and manure.  Then the real fun part starts, I would like to put gravel and winding paths made from brick like a little garden under and around the trees, plant flowers around the tree trunks, add a table and chairs to the septic cap and put a herb garden in on the one side and plant azaleas on the road side of the yard. One of my biggest dilemmas is whether I should plant several different colors or just pick one fabulous hot color for this spot. The herb plants that I brought up from Playas don’t seem to be doing that well, but I have seen many plants at the market in Charapoto so hopefully I will be able to replace those that don’t make it. And I know my friends Mary and John (hint hint) will help me with some seeds or fledgling plants because their choice of dill, rosemary, chives, hot peppers and so many more are just doing beautifully in their patio garden along with their exceptional assortment of tea and miniature roses.  I think both John and Mary have green thumbs, I just hope my garden looks half as nice as theirs when we have done some work on it.

What a Fabulous Neighborhood

This weekend I finally had the time to bake what is supposed to be Crane House Pumpkin Bread. Well I have never seen pumpkin at any of the mercados here in Ecuador so often I have made it with squash. But I was unprepared and had no squash on hand so I went to the tienda and bought six large carrots. Hey they were orange and when you put all the spices and stuff in with all the other ingredients who is going to know it’s carrot…just me!  I made two separate batches one with sugar and one with a sugar substitute.

This was my small way to begin to pay back all my neighbors for their thoughtful and wonderful gifts that they have been dropping off at our house since we moved here 8 weeks ago. You have seen the pictures of the shrimp, several different types of fruit, one day last week I heard the little girl across the street yelling my name her mother had made llapingachos, this is a potato cake that she stuffed with a beautiful beef filling, they were hot from the stove and crispy and they did not last 3 minutes once I showed them to Joe. Then the next day the one young woman from the tienda wanted to know if I had any limons she could have, I invited her into the yard so we could pick some from the one tree and she spotted the cherry tree. I told her to go ahead take what she wanted and she started picking even the ones I did not think were ripe and popping them in her mouth, next thing I knew she was back with a paper bag with four corn balls filled with fresh queso.. Sorry no photos they went toooooo fast! This morning yet another neighbor yelled over the fence while I was watering the trees and handed me a plastic bag and came back with this big ripe papaya.

Yes, they are lobster, eat your hearts out, Joe and I had Petite Lobster Tails served with drawn fresh Cream Butter as our appetizer and our entrée was sautéed Filet of Fish served with a Garlic and White Wine Sauce.  Don’t I sound posh!

A vendor on a bike came by a few days ago at the urging of one of my neighbors, I bought beautiful heads-on shrimp for $3.50 per pound. I told him I would love some filet of fish, Pargo, Corvina whatever he could get. He was at the gate this morning with several pound packets of fresh filet for $2.50 a pound.

This is the nicest neighborhood we have ever lived in, not the fanciest, not the richest in money but neighbors that have taken two strangers in as part of this close-knit community. We feel blessed every day that we found such a beautiful pueblo and hope to be able to pay these folks back by being good neighbors and friends. Right back at ya amigos.

Smoked Pork Sausage

Last weekend the tienda women sent a vendor to our gate. This is the man who brings the fresh-made chicharrones to the tienda each week and because Joe just loves those little piggy morsels and eats them with almost anything even as a snack we go through quite a few bags. The vendor proceeded to show me some of the most beautiful fresh sausages I have seen here in Ecuador. After eating one bite I knew I was hooked and I asked them to order me several more pounds for this past weekend. Early Saturday afternoon he came by with these smoked sausages. I bought four. I packed them up triple bagged and put them in the freezer except for one which we gave as a gift. I also purchased a few bags of chicharrones

and he gave me a gift of a beautiful fruit salad as a regalo,

We are not eating a great deal of fruit now so I gave this to our friends Becky and Keith, I hope they enjoyed it because it sure looked good.

I did cook a tiny piece of the sausage up for Joe to test, it got his approval so we will need to make a nice Polish dish of sauerkraut and sausage, but first I have to make some sauerkraut…This home shopping stuff is great – almost like QVC!

It’s Raining FISH?

I was working at the worktable that sits right in front of the kitchen window when I heard something come crashing through the trees. I could not see anything until I went out onto the porch but what a surprise when I saw this sitting on our driveway.

One of the big frigate-birds obviously lost its hold on this beauty while flying over our house, I would have just died if this thing landed on me while I was out in the yard.  Joe came to my rescue and scooped him up. Hey, it had teeth.

Pork Tenderloin Delivered To Our Door

Look what I bought off a truck for $2.50 a pound? Yes, you got it right, it is two beautiful pork tenderloins.

I first browned them and then cooked them up with seco seasoning, chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, hot peppers and we enjoyed it for dinner last evening with a good amount of leftovers for another meal.

Week 6 – The Finishing Touches

Patricia and Freddy are excellent managers, keeping our renovation project on track with their watchful eye and so many excellent suggestions for making our home even better. Their crew of workers have been respectful of our little beach hut, diligent in their work schedules and concern for us and our renovation. If management is concerned with the little things, the workers do the same.  I just love these guys and cannot say enough about their professionalism and work ethic. Kudos!

The beginning of this week finds the workers trying to complete many things. Below is the maestro who has worked on the tile in our bathroom. He is kind of shy but did allow me to take a few pictures of him working on the security bars on our windows.

He is working also on the master bath to complete it with the installation of the sink and the completion of the tile work on the glass block as well as installing the towel bar, hooks and soap dishes. It looks pretty much complete except for the curing of some of the concrete work and the prep work, sanding and painting of the walls.

When I asked my friend Ana Zitnick from Florida for a suggestions on what to do with the bathroom shower instead of using a plastic shower curtain, she suggested glass blocks. I had Freddy find a few samples and I picked these cute ones that have a coral pattern on them.  Thanks Ana that was a great idea and as you can see they look wonderful!

The painting of the ceilings continue with the hand painting of some areas he was not able to get to with the sprayer. And the maestro painter is continuing on the interior and exterior wall prep work, sanding and then he will be ready to apply the finish coat.

The maestro roofer is here installing the extension of the wood beams to be able to apply the extra roofing sheets to the back of the house to protect the bedroom windows from rain.

Some minor trim work, plumbing and electrical work also needs to be completed and Freddy said that work should be completed this week but with the holiday on Friday we are a bit behind.

The painters are hard at work sanding down our front door, this is one item that did not turn out as expected. We will find out on Monday what needs to be done to correct this little item.

This afternoon my kitchen work table was delivered. It is absolutely stunning, I know how can a work table be stunning but come-on take a look, kind of cute, right?

It is 5′ long x 2′ deep x 3′ high.

Natural wood finish that will be used as a kitchen work table until I decide on what shelving and cabinets I want in the kitchen and then it should be workable as an island, if not it will go into the office room. This beautiful handmade table is the test for this cabinet-maker and as far as I am concerned he scored an A+ on this project.  Now to talk to him about the closet in our master bedroom…..but I really want to live in the house first before I decide on the closet for the master and the cabinetry for both the kitchen and bathrooms.

Here are the pictures I took just now showing how great the paint job is going.

The one thing I can say is it sure is white and it sure looks clean!

Woodworking

Some of the most beautiful work is done by the woodworkers in this area. The first photo is of cabinet work in a villa we looked at in San Jacinto.

Here is another example of some outstanding work. These are built to fit the back of a pick up truck. If transporting fish a fiberglass liner is added to protect the wood. Freddy told me this cost $500 to be made and installed on the back of your pickup. I see these around town that look to be very old but are still in great shape. I have been told that they use a very hard wood.

This work is being done a block from our house. I was impressed with the craftsmanship in all of these examples. The owner of the house we are currently renting is the gentleman so expertly wielding the machete.

And for my final example take a look at the beautiful worktable I had built for my kitchen. This beautiful 5 ft table made from a beautiful hard wood and stained to look very natural cost me $70.