Saturday, November 27, 2010
Dateline: Casa la Esperanza, Hacienda Aquiares. Provincia de Turrialba. Costa Rica, isthmus of Central America.
It used to be that soon after we arrived here at the farm, we would realize we were sharing the house with toads. Large knobby toads the size of cats. The very first time I saw one I thought it was a doorstop, because it was sitting there – squatting really, poised for the next hop, if only I paid attention – by the door that leads from the big sala out to the terrace. Where are the toads?
The terrace has a view of nearly everything: the village, the church, the beneficio and the drying patio, the horses and the houses. When the beneficio caught on fire we were sitting on the terrace and watched the first tendrils of smoke lick the sky.
On the terrace we can watch for the itinerant priest’s Jeep to come tearing up the road from Turrialba and time the start of our walk to mass so as to arrive just as his Jeep would come to a jolting stop in front of the church doors, its headlights briefly illuminating the crucifix above the alter, against a background of sky blue stenciled with silver stars.
Bamboo grows 3 centimeters a day, up to 1 meter a week. This is not negotiable.
The white sap of the ficus tree has excellent antibacterial properties, and is effective against the sting of fire ants. I speak from experience.
Three seeds of cardamom in a cup of hot water will relieve stress. If you drink it. This may explain why the three-year old Reine would insist we stop the Jeep by the cardamom plants and get her a handful of seeds to chew. Or perhaps she liked the flavor.
Inside the spiny seed pod of the Achiote (bixa orellana) are bright red seeds ¬used to color your food. Red.
But the Imperial Ginger Torch is entirely ornamental.