Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Green Season Gardening, etc.

Rainy season, aka green season has been much drier than normal. We don’t have any hard data because our weather station was struck by lightning a few months ago! Usually at this time of year plants explode with growth. Our plantings are doing well and are established, they just aren’t growing as much as one might expect. Not a problem, we have time. I am starting impatiens, geraniums, coleus, and portulacas from cuttings. Our bromeliads are making babies! I’ve read that it is okay to cut off the babies when they reach one third the size of the mother. I’m keeping tabs on them, most aren’t ready.

Besides planting and some general clean-up we are having Mario (our gardener) create trails on the property. We have about 4.5 acres and much of it is accessible, although hilly. He and his cousin are paving paths with gravel and steps where the terrain is too steep for a regular path. Norm was guessing that we currently have up to a half mile of graveled path, but our GPS says we only have .11 miles done, but we have lots more planned.

Django weighs 55 pounds at 6 months. We expect him to weigh 80 pounds at his full weight. He is good on the leash and generally obedient.
Sometimes he is just too excited and distracted and is less responsive. We’re working on it. The cats tolerate him and when weary of his puppyness retire to their boxes. Sometimes we see them stalking the same bug. We bought a dog house, so he’ll have a place to get out of the rain if we aren’t here, but Fred (one of our cats) has taken it over. Fred hisses at Django when he approaches and Django backs away, not entering his dog house. We are trying to shoo Fred out whenever we see him in there. We are also feeding Django in the dog house so he’ll get the idea that is his place. He does run in and out with his bone as he careens past. However we have not yet seen him try to get out of the rain via the dog house. Fortunately it never gets cold enough here to get him chilled. We hope that eventually he’ll have enough sense to get out of the rain.

We have lots of Guava trees on our property. Since we don’t use chemical sprays, the fruit can be quite wormy so we leave it for the birds. I have only seen the Brown Jays eating it, but no doubt it attracts insects, thereby attracting small birds. This afternoon, we spotted this coatamundi eating the fruit on the ground. Norm was able to snap his photo before he spotted us and scurried off.

A few days ago, we spotted this ugly fellow. He's about 6" long and 4" wide. We believe he's a Bufo marinus or cane toad. They are the poisonous toads and and one of the reasons why we have the cats enclosed. The small green frog is likely an Emerald glass frog. The gecko is a house gecko and lives on our veranda.

Mario planted a couple dozen wild tobacco tree branches or trunks around the property. They are the same kind of tree that we covered with orchids. He just stuck leafless sticks in the ground.The first one that he planted a few months ago now has branches or shoots that are 12-18 inches long. The trees support orchids and attract up to 40 different birds. We are trying to build habitat as we continue to plant the property.

The agave spikes (see August 18 blog notes and photo) now have hundreds of baby agave plants where the flowers were. The wind blows them off and many root where they land. I wondered about the large agave scattered about the property. They are a natural phenomenon and were not planted by the previous owner. Very cool.

We have resumed our Spanish lessons (long overdue). We have made the acquaintance of a young Tica who has good English and we are helping her as she helps us. Norm is much better. He learned French as a first language, so he has more of an ear, plus there are many, many similar words.

This week we’ll be getting cabinets for the Casita kitchen and the day bed cabinet for the studio. That means more boxes will be unpacked and off the floor in the studio and the casita!

We’ll be posting pictures and a link for the casita within another week or two. We plan to offer it for short term vacation rentals when we’re not hosting friends and relatives.