We entered the first week of July with fun and food with all the birthday celebration... and lots of sunshine. This last week, it was time for hard work and yes... rain. It appears our "little summer" came early (in June) and now the real rainy season has shown up. And with rain comes dirty, silty river water. And, it's important to keep the ponds as clean as possible.
Having moved the big fish into a smaller pond (across from the guesthouse), it was the perfect opportunity to clean the big pond before transferring the medium-sized fish into it. Kevin was thrilled to discover that all his preventative measures throughout the year has paid off! The metal grate collecting all the dead leaves at the opening of the aqueduct and going up regularly to clean the grate... the two green nets in the sediment pond that slows down the flow of water and helps settle the sand quicker instead of it flushing through to the fish ponds... the regular maintenance of closing off the water flow when the river gets too silty... all these practices have made a huge difference in the quality of the water in the ponds. Cleaner pond water equals a healthier environment for the trout. But, there's so much less thick mucky debris at the bottom of the ponds as well, which makes for easier cleaning. Just to compare, before all these measures were in place, in our first year here, it took Kevin, Martin and his son, Nacho, a full week to clean the big pond. Last year, it took Kevin, Martin and Jiro (pronounced Hiro) three full days, which felt like a great improvement. Last week however, the men managed to clean the entire pond in five hours!! That's simply amazing!
The men use hoes to displace the dirt and muck. The create channels and let the incoming water flush the sediment down these grooves. However, and it's hard to explain, but sometimes this sediment is so fine it moves like a cloud, then just settles back to where it started. Think of when you're sitting at the beach and your body is on the edge where the sand meets the water. If you play with the sand it moves around, but doesn't actually go anywhere. Well, the same phenomenon happens here. Kevin thought that if he had a type of plough to move more of the sand/silt at once, it might make a bigger dent faster. Remember his invention from last week, well, he got to try it out. He said it was still hard work to push it through the sticky mud, but it did speed things up quite a bit. Here's an action shot :)
While Kevin and the boys were cleaning the pond, I was collecting peaches and plums from our orchard. I'm not sure, but I think that it's possible that plum trees skip a year, because we didn't get any fruit last year. I thought perhaps our trees had died. But this year, our trees are full of fruit. And the peach trees seem more abundant this year, too. Last year, I was always too late in picking the peaches... the birds seem to peck at them before they are perfectly ripe. So, this year, I decided to pick them even though they aren't 100% ripe to avoid the same scenario. However, unripe peaches don't make for a nice treat. What to do, what to do? Well, I've cooked the peaches and plums together and made pie filling. It started to smell good, but when I tasted it, I think I can safely say that it was the most delicious combination I've ever eaten. It's so yummy. I've not made the pie yet, so Kevin is getting impatient. I've been making other standard (fail-safe) recipes for our guests and there's only so much dessert one can consume. So once our current guests leave tomorrow, I will make my honey some pie! Stay tuned for the results on next week's post!
I also went to visit our good friend, Annika, on Thursday, in San marcos. Her husband, Roger, is in the U.S. at the moment and I thought I'd stop by for a visit. We had a lovely chat, as always, and then she proceeded to offer me a bagful of garden goodies. I came away with green onions, a bunch of tangy oranges (which I will make marmalade with), cilantro, a gorgeous mango (yum!) and a type of pepper I've never seen before. Annika called them Christmas Bell peppers, and when I asked my best friend (Google), it also called them Bishop's Crown. These peppers are a mixed of sweet and hot. The flesh part of the vegetable is sweet, but the seeds are hot! So, if you're not keen on spicy chili then just remove the seeds. I fried them up in olive oil and sautéed them with onions and mushrooms before mixing with rice, cilantro, cranberries and almonds. I just love the look of them and they are so delicious! I've saved the seeds and will try to grow them in our own garden. Thank you, Annika!
So all in all, a productive week. We currently have honeymooners from California (originally from Turkey) staying with us this weekend. Yesterday, we didn't get any rain all day for the first time in almost a week, which allowed the river and ponds time to clear up a bit. When the water gets really cloudy, the fish don't feed, which is normal, but always a bit of a concern. Now they're feeding again, which is great. It's also nicer for guests to see the property looking its best in the glow of beautiful sunshine. Unfortunately, we have no control over Mother Nature and to be fair, it is the rainy season.
Kevin is giving our guests the tour of the property as I write this and I hope the heavy clouds will hold off from opening up and drenching them. They really want to see a Quetzal... oh, which reminds me, I completely forgot to mention in last week's post that Kevin saw a Quetzal the morning that our previous guests arrived. The next day, when he gave them the tour, he was mentioning how he'd seen one the day before and just as he said that, a male Quetzal landed on a branch not 10 ft away. The Quetzal seemed to enjoy the attention as he posed for them for 10 minutes or so. They had time to take lots of pictures. It doesn't happen often enough, but perhaps that's what makes it so magical when it does. So, fingers crossed our honeymooners get their wish and see one today. You never know.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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