One of the wonderful sites at night are the click beetles. They are like fireflies, but can regulate the intensity of their light and do not blink on and off. They are flying beetles that look like little fairies lights glowing in the yard. I often see orange, yellow, blue and green floating lights all around outside.
Last night, one of these beetles landed near us and I got a picture of the glowing eyes. I had no idea the eyes glowed too! Normally, I just see the bright floating lights.
Below are some better pictures from the internet.
Last night's dinner
Do you see how small the corn is?!!!!
Last night's dinner costs about $3.00 to make. It would have been cheaper if we did not spend so much on the corn. Baked chicken (chicken farms are everywhere), vegetables from the farmer's market and then the sweet corn from an American greenhouse. I also made brownies and I might be getting a handle on the oven, because they did not burn! Yay me!!!!
Christmas and Coffee Processing
I am going to talk about Christmas first, since there was yummy food involved. We spent Christmas with a couple that were hosting an amazing Christmas dinner. There were over 40 people from all over the globe. Each person we met was more entertaining than the last. I heard stories about how chili peppers are shipped to Tobasco, how one young guy is working on the construction for a nuclear waste plant, something about men using wax to remove body hair and in what countries/climate you should do that....trust me, it was very entertaining.
The food!!! I learned what paella is and by the way, it might be one of my new favorite dishes. I even took a picture. :) It has seafood, rice and all of the good stuff. I know that everyone probably thought I was weird taking pictures of the food at the party, but YUM!
Everyone brought something to the party, so there were many items for me to try!
The house and grounds were gorgeous and I took a few pictures of the flower decorations. I was amazed to find out that even though they look like plastic flowers, they were actually real.
1. We measure how many coffee cherries were picked by each person. Below the mothers are watching the kids do the lifing of the bags and measuring how many latas (buckets) were in each bag. The boys were eager to see how much money their mother's had made, and wow...Those boys are stronger than they look!
2. We pay the workers and then haul the coffee cherries off to have them processed.
After we get to the processing plant, we have to measure the beans again. We fill up the green box below (which is 10 latas) and then the guy flips the switch and the beans go down the chute. Our coffee is processed seperately, so we do not get to just dump it off like those other bags that you see in the pictures.
The man took a board to level off the green box to get an accurate count. When it was to the top, he pulled the lever and off the beans went! He used a smaller box to count the cherries that were less than 10 latas. We had 6 of these latas (buckets) this time.
In the pictures you can see that some of the cherries are not red. We have a couple of trees that have that make yellow cherries. They stand out in the field next to all of the red cherries!
After everything is counted and the cherries are all down the chute, we go to the office and get our receipt. It will take the cherries over a month to be processed, so we won't see this batch until February.
One last item! Sweet corn does not grow here. I am not sure why it does not, but it doesn't. However, there are a few people with large green houses that are attempting to grow it. They have to hand pollinate each plant and it turns out that it is hard to do. However, this year's crop with the bad weather had produced very small ears of corn. But, I bought some anyways! It was pretty good, just super small. Smaller than a beer bottle and skinnier too!
Rick loses the Battle
He swears the war is not over with the wasps, but I have officially declared them the winner of the battle. While we were not paying attention, the wasps made a new nest higher up in the same tree. While we were sitting outside having a refreshing drink and talking, we were looking around and talking about what other trees needed pruning. Rick looked up and I am not sure what his exact words were, but they were not nice. :)
I was confused on why his mood changed so quickly, until he kept pointing up and muttering something about when did they sneak back? Haha
It is actually very high up in the tree and I had to use our camera with the zoom to take the picture.
I also never post pictures of things that fly, because they are normally too fast for me capture on camera. However, today in a tree close to the wasp tree, there was a woodpecker or some kind of bird banging on a branch. He would pound a few times to his right, then again to his left. I thought he was going to break something. So, here is my bird picture for the day! (The bird is really high up in the tree too.)
Rick tries my Homemade Dog Food
As many of you know, my husband is a good sport. I came across an article the other night about different homemade dog food recipes. So, today I decided to see if my dogs would even entertain the thought of eating something I cooked. I mean, my own family sometimes cringes when I cook, so this would put the test of my dog's loyalty to me for real. I was not going to deprive them of real food though, so I only added some of my food to the top of their lunch. But first, I had my husband taste it...haha!!!! Someone had to make sure it was good enough. :)
I did not have all of the ingrediants for a full homemade dog meal, but this does have some meat, carrots, apples, rice....
Karma is not fond of carrots, but when she realized that Dante did like them, she hid one from her bowl so he would not eat it. However, he did find it and finished all of her leftover carrots too.
Other than Karma and the carrots, they seemed to like it! I even have enough left over for them to have more tomorrow. :)
This Past Week
This last week went by so fast! Coffee harvest is running at full speed. We just dropped off close to 500 lbs of cherries at the processing plant and I can see that we will have another round of picking soon.
Last week we spent 2 nights on an island in Boca Brava. I had never been to this part of Panama before. The hotel (Boca Brava Hotel) had very friendly staff and we saw quite a few howler monkeys and vultures. There are water taxis that can be hired to take people to the other islands with sandy beaches for snorkeling and sun-bathing. We went to one of the other islands that was about 30 minutes away by water taxi. I got a little too much sun on my shoulders, but after hearing about some weather reports in other parts of the world, I am not complaining too loudly.
Another place that we went that was a first for me was to see the Boquete Optical SETI Observation Station. SETI is looking for intelligent life outside of Earth and the only full-time operating station is located here in Boquete. Ben built and runs the station on his own property. Ben has a bachelor's in physics and math, was a radioman in the US Naval Reserves and then later worked as an engineer in the development of mass spectrometers. He is very passionate about the SETI/METI project and had an impressive setup.
We also ate at a few restaurants that I have not been in for a long time or had never been in. I think my diet will have to start tomorrow after all the food we ate!
Oh yeah...the coffee flies decided to eat me for dessert this last week. I am not sure what I did to make them mad, but they have attacked my legs. Rick's legs are fine, but I look like I have a mild case of the chicken pox or something from my knees to my ankles! I guess I need to be more careful with bug repellant when I am working with the coffee. We even had massages one day last week and the massage therapist went out the next day and got herbs from her neighbor to help keep the coffee flies away...crossing my fingers that helps too! Normally if I eat foods with some garlic, I don't even have to worry about repellant. Maybe eating out so much did not help this last week, so last night and today at lunch I made sure I put fresh garlic on my food. My breath might not be great right now, but if it keeps the coffee flies away, I don't care! I guess I should get back to work, tons to still do today before it gets dark.
We have company!
It has been a busy week. I admit that only half of my normal chores were getting done, but it was nice to have a break and visit with friends. Although, it was super nice that they were willing to try all of the "farming fun" and so all of the important items did get done! They were great sports. They picked coffee, depulped the coffee, pounded the coffee to remove the parchment, blew the parchment out of the bowls with the fans, sorted the coffee, measured how many latas of coffee cherries were picked, sorted more coffee.....the list goes on. Thankfully there were some fun things added to their vacation too. We went to the beach and stayed on an island with monkeys and vultures, tried to find missing luggage (oh yeah...that was not so fun), had massages, ate out at a few restaurants, took a boat ride to another island and played a game of Apples to Apples (I think my husband only won because he cheated somehow though.) I will be sad when they leave, but am posting a few pictures here so that everyone can see.
Oh yeah, I forgot that they spoiled my dogs with attention and played with the neighbor's new piglets too, that had to be one of their highlights...right?
If you read the earlier post about our invasions with all of the bugs on our first warm day, then you remember that I left off with this picture. My husband had promised that he had a plan against the wasps that he would implement in the morning.
Well, let me tell you that the plan was a crappy plan. In the morning, he came out and noticed that the wasps had not left and acted surprised. He said that the ladder positioned right under their nest was "Clear Intent" and that they should have run off scared. It turns out that they obviously needed to be taught what "Clear Intent" was along with me, because I had assumed there was more to the plan. :)
His next thought was to cut the branch down, but there was no way he was going to reach it, even if he was brave enough to get up there next to them.
He was out there most of the day annoying them with everything he could think of. They eventually ended up leaving and left what looks like the beginning of a huge nest. The nest was very thin and you could see through it.
I think all of his banging around made the caterpillars angry too, since they started leaving the tree as well. They decided to go towards the jungle and the quickest way there was to go on and over our house! Those little spots on the side of our house are caterpillars! They were everywhere. The entire horde was relocating....yay!!!!