Monday, July 29, 2013

The problems with passion fruit

Mango season is drawing to a close and although there are a few avocados starting to appear, now is the height of passion fruit season.

Passion fruit is called chinola here, easy to grow and makes great juice. And therein lies the problem.
Apparently, so I have been reliably informed, men can eat the chinola fruit with no problem, but they cannot drink the juice. It causes impotence.

However if you add evaporated milk to the chinola juice then it doesn’t cause impotence, somehow the evap milk (Carnation as they say) negates the effect of the juice. If you want to be even more certain that there will be no issues with the juice, then you add oats as well.

I would love to have fresh chinola juice, without Carnation and without oats, but methinks in a house full of men that is unlikely to happen.

The gym has a new machine. Bars that you do dips on. Luckily they didn’t need anything else from the house.

Hector fans can see it in use!

And it is now confirmed that the buckets I used for compost, which I was promised were just moulds, are not moulds at all – the concrete is firmly stuck inside, and they are now being used regularly.

And fed up with the attention Hector is getting, husband insisted on a photo of him too!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dominican gymnasium

Danilo decided to build a gymnasium, for him and Hector to use. He said I could use it too to work on my abs and lift my bottom. I think not.

I ignored him re building the gym, thinking it was just another of his great ideas, until I went to put some peelings into the compost bucket. The bucket had gone. I went outside and discovered it was full of concrete with a tube in it. Apparently it was being used as a mould for weights for the new gym along with paint pots and various plastic containers.

Bits of wood had been sawn up.

And of course no Dominican construction would be complete without the use of my favourite kitchen knife.

There are various pieces of equipment as you would expect to find in any gymnasium, only these don't quite look the same. Here is the abdominal bench. Seems a tad steep to me, but what do I know?

Chivirico was helping out by filling the holes in the wood with filler, and please note my kitchen sink in the background which still hasn't made it into the kitchen!

The abdominal bench is made of shelves from my wardrobe, the flexible water drainage pipe from the washing machine, and the broom handle. The empty cement sack is to protect the back of your legs from the edge of the wood.

It works as Hector demonstrates.

And even Chvirico can use it - with a little help. He is desperate for a six pack!

There are dumbbells

And a bench for doing other stuff (sorry don't know the technical name).

The garden continues to frustrate me. I have replanted the butternut squash and so far it is doing well.

But it cannot compete with the Dominican squash which is taking over - all that from one tiny seed.

And I have totally given up on my corn, which now looks suspiciously dead having started so well.

Look at Hector’s Dominican corn!

I think maybe it is too hot for American/Canadian/British seeds so I will wait until it cools down in November before starting again. In the meantime, I will try and sort out my clothes which used to sit neatly on shelves in the wardrobe, sweep the floor with a broom minus handle and work out how to drain the washing machine without a hose.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Escape to Santo Domingo

Last weekend I had to go to the capital, Santo Domingo, to visit a friend, who I also work for. A working weekend. Whilst I was looking forward to going, it is always a bit nerve wracking to leave home, as every time I go anywhere for a few days, some disaster or other always befalls the animals.

The last couple of times, my husband allowed a street dog into the garden who impregnated Meg – she later miscarried, and the time after that three cats were poisoned and died. So it was with a little trepidation I got into the car to leave to go to the bus station.

We hadn't even started the car, when I noticed the three pawed cat, Cojo, hanging off a tree branch, some 50 feet up in the air. I got out of the car and tried to talk him down, but he was frozen, unable to move forwards or backwards on a very thin branch. This is the problem when you only have 3 paws.

Suddenly, Mariposa, the grey kitten, ran up the tree next to it and starting talking to him.

A few miaows later, down he came.

Trauma averted.

I travelled on Caribe tours. One of the things which is excellent in this country are the long distance buses – Caribe, Metro and others. They are large, have reclining seats, toilets at the back, and televisions. They are also amazingly cheap. The downside is that they always have the air conditioning turned up, so they are freezing, and occasionally they crash. Danilo told me to sit on in the middle of the bus on the same side as the driver, as the driver does not want to die, he would not allow any crash to happen on his side.

The buses are not only used for people, but also for parcels, and they are a very efficient and cheap way of sending goods from one part of the country to another. When I went to get on the bus, not only was there a pile of parcels to go on it,, there was also a fridge. A used fridge.

Waiting for the bus to arrive

I had a lovely weekend, great company, loads of delicious food which I can’t find here like steak, going out to restaurants and lots of work.

Nice to get home mind, only to find that the 2 week old kitten had disappeared as the mother had moved him into another house in the campo. The owners come very rarely, and the cat had squeezed in through a small hole. We can see inside but not get inside. The kitten is happily esconsed on top of a double bed and the mother comes here to eat and then back to kitten. Hopefully she will bring him back soon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Semi naked Hector and sanky slugs.

Remember I mentioned that I was waiting for a review on onlinebookclub. At last it was published and I was relieved to see that it was a lovely review. You can read it here.

Also remember that I said I had had a video interview? The interview was published on line a few days ago and as feared I should have realised it was to be a video rather than just a phone call and at least dried my hair and tarted myself up a bit. And also as feared, at around the 10 minute mark Hector makes his appearance behind me. Antonia the interviewer is laughing, and I thought she was laughing at my witty and intelligent comments - not a bit of it, she was howling with laughter as a semi naked Hector moves backwards and forwards, mopping behind me. You can check it out here.

The garden continues to frustrate and give pleasure in equal measures. The courgettes and cucumbers have flowers on them and I still have loads of tomatoes. I made tomato juice a couple of days ago, stewing a few pounds of tomatoes with half an onion, a stick of celery and a handful of parsley. Stewed for 45 minutes then added some hot sauce, salt, sugar and Worcestershire sauce, blended and strained. Delicious - just missing the vodka. The recipe is here.

However, I have made an important discovery. I think the garden has sanky slugs. Something is only attacking the foreign plants. Look at Hector's corn. Tall, green and perfect.

Even more of it here - all looking delicious.

Now look at my corn. Eaten to bits.

I can think of no other explanation as to why the Dominican corn, peas, yuca and pumpkin have not been touched, and yet most of what I have planted has been munched. Obviously the insects in this garden only like vegetables from overseas - all sankies.