Posts tagged ‘farms’

August 4, 2012


After several years living in my back yard, the chives decided to bloom this year…

Chive Flowers

What pretty little white flowers.  The bees and butterflies like them.  So does this spider…

Chive Spider


I’m not sure how long I will be able to share them with the garden insects.  It turns out the flowers are edible :) Yum!

March 14, 2012


This is what I wake up to every morning…

Grove sunrise 2

…and then people ask my why I love living in Florida…LOL. Who wouldn’t want to have such a lovely surprise in the morning?

Grove sunrise1

See the little white flowers on the trees? They are guilty of producing the sweet perfumed air every Spring. Yes, I have the best mornings here.

March 2, 2012


Oh yeah we got some much needed rain this week.  But this time of the year any morning looks like this: foggy and moist.  The whole garden takes on an aura of mystery and everything looks different.  I went outside barefoot with camera in hand and Niza kitten to keep me company.  I found this hammock ready to lure pests into it.

Spider Hammock

Then I walked some more and picked up a sweet scent in the air…

Orange Blossom

Yes it’s time to fertilize and if you took my advice 2 weeks ago you should be ready to feed you soil.  If you didn’t, then don’t worry.  You still have time to run and get some.  Because our soil is so sandy, organic slow release works best.  It doesn’t wash away into the aquifer with one shower.  And speaking of the aquifer; remember that everything you put in the soil will eventually end up there…and then end up in your drinking water.


November 30, 2011

Lesson on Simplicity – Honduras

MoroceliThere is nothing like fresh air. That thought was fixed in my mind while my body was bouncing in the pickup truck of the priest who picked us up at the airport. The drive to Moroceli is about 1 hour from Tegulcigalpa. It’s located in a district with a name that certainly does it justice: El Paraiso. I totally ignored the bumpy dirt roads as my eyes feasted on the raw beauty of the countryside in Honduras. This trip was a missionary one. I volunteered to translate for my fellow parishioners. We are part of a team working to help our sister church. Like any experience of this nature, there are lessons learned on the journey. Here are mine:

Part of the goal of the trip was to document the progress of current church projects. One of them is a scholarship program. Children in Honduras must wear uniforms and bring their own school supplies in order to go to school. Most parents are not able to provide this for their children and so our church provides a scholarship program for them. It was amazing to know they would all like to continue to go to school and graduate from high school. Half of them dream of going to higher education. As a parent, it’s impossible not to daydream about what they and the town of Moroceli will become in the future. Investing in others reaps the highest returns.

Mission trips are not vacations and there is much work to be done while overseas. I was lucky to have time to immerse myself in their culture and daily lives. I had plenty of questions and they happily answered them all. I personally thought I was just going to translate but I surprised myself by being able to offer ideas for some of their projects. One of them is gardening, which is not a hobby in their community. It’s a matter of survival as they depend on their crops for their meals. Fr. Carlos gave me lessons on how to grow chayote squash, lemongrass and ginger. The last day of our visit he wanted to give me several root cuttings and some of his baby chicks to take home. I sadly had to turn him down explaining to him I wouldn’t be allowed to take the items out of the country. Keep in mind his rectory is a small 1 room building with another room built on the outside with a couple of 2 x4’s and tarps. This is how he lives with his wife, mother in law and 3 children. Even while living in this extreme poverty he was willing to share some of his precious food supply with me. We all have something to share. Moroceli

When we returned from the trip we arrived right in the middle of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Every year we get an overload of commercials, flyers, ads, spam, you name it. You just can’t ignore it. I sadly saw in the news how people trampled each other because somehow, objects have become more valuable than human beings. I couldn’t help thinking about the people of El Paraiso and how they manage day by day with so little compared to what we have. They place a high value on their relationships and show it by helping each other. Objects have not clouded their appreciation of other human beings. Having lots of material things does not guarantee happiness, well being or progress.

I can’t stop thinking about my trip and especially the children. I’m counting the days to my next trip to see my new Honduran friends. If you’ve been thinking about going on a mission trip, don’t ask yourself if you should go…ask yourself when.

I took tons of pictures while in Honduras.  You can see them here

I heard on the news last night Polk County has 1,300 homeless children.  So sad.  What are your plans to reach out to others during the Holidays?

Linking to Transformation Thursday and Inspiration Friday.

November 16, 2011

Pigeon Pea Clan

Pigen Pea FlowerWhen DH moved in to the house in 2006, my Dad and his two siblings stopped by for a visit. While I poured steaming coffee into cups and placed them on the dinning room table, Tati walked into the kitchen and stared out the window looking at the back yard.  “You should grow pigeon peas”.  Tati is my oldest Aunt. The oldest of the 12 children my grandmother Delia had during the 1930’s and 40’s. Lots of uncles and aunts; all whom I only know by their nicknames. “Just throw them on the ground. They don’t need any attention and they love dry land.” For someone whom I never saw tend a garden or grow food, she seemed to know a lot.

Years later while browsing on, I found a couple of 1910 census documents that looked like my great grandparents but I wasn’t sure. So I asked my Dad during our weekly phone calls and it turns out it was them. Not only that; I found out they were the only ancestors in that generation to read, write and own land. “That’s nothing” answered Dad confiming the amount of land on the census document. “My grandmother was a ‘hacendada’ (farm owner), but her husband lost most of it gambling. “What did they grow?” I asked. “Pigeon peas” he replied. “Of the many Toro families in Lajas, our family is know as ‘el clan de los gandules'(the pigeon pea clan).”

Sometimes I sit in my back yard and think about Alejandrina and wonder about the details of her life back then. What was her daily routine? How did she mange once the farm was gone? What did she think of grandma Delia when her son Arquimides decided she was the one?
Pigeon Peas
Last Saturday I went out in the yard. The sun was shining but it didn’t burn. An ocasional breeze would go by swaying the pigeon pea branches like dancing arms.  I water and fertilize the bushes with loving care.  I patiently wait until November for the early Christmas gift they bring.  DH and I sit in the back yard and remember growing up in Puerto Rico while we shell the the harvest.  On Christmas Eve, the roasted pork steps aside and gives the place of honor on the table to the rice and pigeon peas.  Of all the things I grow, the pigeon peas have the most meaning to me.

Pigeon Peas behave like perennials and go dormant during the frost, but come back again in the spring.  Like me, they feel right at home here in Central Florida.  I might not have a hacienda, but I can proudly say I’m a landowner.  It is one of the dreams that we all collectively share in this country.  I’m sure Alejandrina would approve.

What do you grow that is part of your family tradition? trees? flowers? heirloom veggies?  What are you doing to pass them to the next generation?

Linking to Transformation Thursday