You remember I said we had loads of pea trees? Well the peas are ready, so we invited the neighbours over to help pick them. They picked several and taught me how to tell when they are ready which is when the pods are fat and they are just starting to turn yellow. You also have to pick the ones which have gone brown as although the peas are dried inside you can still use them - just have to soak them over night. I will use them like I use lentils to make dal.
But although we have picked a lot, the trees are still full and the pea picking will continue for a few weeks more.
The trouble is once picked they have to be shucked, which takes for ever. I shucked for hours and only ended up with this.
They are all ready now to make rice and peas with coconut for tonight, Christmas Eve, which is traditional Dominican fare.
So, I am trying to build up the energy to keep picking and shucking, when help came from an unexpected source. I looked out of the window and there at the far end of the garden was a cow, with one of those white birds with him or her.
Danilo and I went to investigate and shooed her off. The following morning the dogs were barking about 200 metres away from the house and I looked out of the window. Obviously the cow had taken a shine to me, or more likely the peas and had returned, inviting all her friends and relations around to join her for breakfast. There were now 8 cows in the garden - eating my peas.
There was no way we could shoo so many and make sure they all went in the same direction, so we called in the assistance of the cowdogs, Meg and Belinda and together we all managed to get rid of them.
Danilo found the owner and warned him that the next time we would keep and sell the cows, as not only did they eat peas - not all of them - they also ate yuca and avocado trees so they were not really welcome visitors. Made me laugh though, less peas to pick and I now know how to round up cows.
In our drive for self sufficiency we have decided to keep chickens for eggs. I love freshly laid eggs - they are perfect for boiled eggs and soldiers. Usually chickens here are left free to wander around so goodness knows how anyone can find the eggs and given that the dogs like chasing chickens I thought a chicken house would be the best solution. I found a picture of one on line and showed it to Danilo.
With this design the chickens can run around safe from the dogs, they have a nice warm house which we can fill with straw, although not sure where I can find that, and I just put my hand in the little box on the side and take out the eggs, as I am not too keen on chickens flapping so it would save me actually walking among them.
No problem he said. I can do one just like that. Like an idiot I believed him.
The chicken house has begun, in the corner behind the gym. Well what a surprise it shows no resemblance to my picture at all!
Still it is not finished so I live in hope.
Megs pups are growing like topsy and are three weeks old now. They are eating mushed up puppy food as well as still feeding from her. They now look like little furry teddy bears.
We are having our Dominican Christmas tonight, with the family over where Danilo will barbecue beef and serve with rice and peas and salad, and tomorrow Chivirico will arrive with his family in the hope that Santa Claus might possibly have dropped some presents off for him here. (Don't tell him, but I think Santa will be coming),
Finally a merry Christmas to you all, wherever you are, and thanks again for reading.