Thursday, May 18, 2017

How does your garden grow?

It has been a busy week in the campo.

Having finished the first gate which is to the left of the house and is open in this picture.

Danilo built the second gate to the right. Same sort of idea, branches and barbed wire.

The front garden will be filled with flower beds, avocado trees, a gravel and concrete driveway and benches to sit on. The gate has an ingenious closing mechanism involving a bit of metal and a bit of wire.

Behind this gate is my secret vegetable garden. It is walled so no dogs can get in there, no chickens and no cockerels.

I have tried for years to grow vegetables with almost zero success. I have read the seed packets carefully, planted seeds to the right depth in a straight line, put the packet on a stick at the end of each row so I know what I have planted, and they have not worked.

So I decided to plant Dominican style. No digging little rows, no cleaning the soil of stones and making it nice and fine. Just chuck the seeds down, don't mark with seed packets on sticks, and wait and see what happens. It didn't take long.


These are peas (proper peas not Dominican pigeon peas) or could be green beans or Hava beans. Who knows, but this is in less than a week..

This could be radishes, or cucumbers maybe, or carrots.

Green peppers - or maybe red or yellow? Do they change colour or are they born red or yellow?

More mysteries. Could broccoli or cauliflower or maybe lettuce?

And more can't remember what I planted although could be chilli peppers.

And this is lemon grass - essential for Thai cookery.

Meanwhile I thought Danilo had had enough of building gates, but he has spent all of the last three days in the back garden, which is full of flowers near the house and then around an acre or so which is overgrown. He has been putting Mr. Trump to shame and is building a fence, quicker than the Mexican Wall, all around the bottom part of the garden.

Not only between the flower part of the garden and the lower part, but around the whole of the lower part. I spotted the stepsons putting wire way down the bottom.

Now why do we need to put in a new fence and improve the fencing around the rest I asked myself. It appears we are going into the goat breeding business. What he and I know about goats could be written on a postage stamp, but when I ask the locals and tell them we are going to have goats they all say the same;

"They escape"
"They eat everything'
"Their pee stinks"
"They need a copper supplement"

The joy of keeping goats is fast approaching. I just hope they will be more successful than the guinea fowl business, the duck business, the turkey business and the bee business. Watch this space.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Goodbye to Barbara

My neighbour Barbara has died. She was diagnosed with cancer, multiple myeloma around two years ago. This a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow. It does not have a good prognosis and even less here with the cost of chemotherapy being out of the reach of most people. When people say "she died following a long illness, bravely borne," that was Barbara. She had to spend most of her time in Santiago having dialysis as her kidneys failed almost as soon as she was diagnosed and as time went on her bones started to crumble. She must have been in tremendous pain - pain management not being the best here. She was no more than 50 years old and was the centre of our little campo, always laughing, helping people, and is sorely missed.

While her husband Miguel was away with her in Santiago last week, I was feeding his dog and his chickens.I had no choice over the chickens as if I didn't feed them, mum, dad and 13 babies would come to the gate and squawk at me till I fed them.

No to be outdone, we have  a few chickens here with babies. Here is Pollo Negra with her nine chicks, eight are black and one white! The other black ones are all keeping warm underneath her.

And at last the wall is finished in the front garden. Danilo decided we needed two gates, one large one on one side, in case we need to get vehicles into the back of the property and a small one for me to get into my veg patch on the other side. I thought gates looked like well, gates. This is a series of sticks held together with barbed wire, but it works and will double up as a washing line for my knickers and socks.

Now just the little gate to go and Lobo can be allowed out of the dog house.

All fine on the book front. The title is "Life After My Saucepans" and then a sub heading of "Lifting the Lid on Living in the Dominican Republic". I have done the front and back bits and sent off the photos and some reviews of What About Your Saucepans? so now just waiting for the editor to get back to me and keep on working on it.