Our hens: our Bettys are all doing well. We started with 10 and 10 remain, nice and healthy. Each hen continues to lay one egg each day. We exchange eggs for freshly churned butter... for freshly pressed apple juice.... for whole apples... for bake goods (now and then).... We love the bartering system. It's very community-based and makes for friendly support. We're being asked more and more, if we have leftovers, to sell them, which we have done. Next time we buy hens, we may decided to get 20... we'll see.
Our adult trout: our Trevorettes are growing... they are now 10 months old (ish) and average 16 inches in length. We have about 220 from our original 300. We've lost a few to that greedy Blue Heron before Kevin installed a 'fence' made with posts and fishing line, but mostly, the numbers have gone down naturally, through fishing for dinners. And boy, are they tasty! From the very beginning, I learned how to gut and clean them... and a few weeks ago, I started practicing my filleting abilities... which are terrible, but I've seen some slight improvement with each try. I certainly appreciate the delicate skill now.
Our baby trout: the little Trevorettes are also growing... they started off in the concrete container in the hatchery, but about three weeks ago, we transferred them to one of the small ponds. They are doing really well, only two or three casualties. So from the 750 we started out with... we pretty much still have the entire crew. Very good odds.
The gate from the river to the aqueduct system: Kevin just finished installing a brand new gate system so that I can handle it, if need be. The other gate worked well, but it was made of very heavy wood and there's no way in hell I could lift it. He's really quite brilliant at solving these kinds of problems.
The trees that were chainsawed: Well, in early February (or there about), Martin and 3 other guys came to cut down some trees that were leaning too far and in danger of snapping in two in heavy winds. The deal was that they come and cut the trees down for free, but their reward is they keep the wood. We were happy with that deal... having said that, they have yet to come and collect all the wood. We have no idea if they are planning to pick it up or not. We're trying to get Martin to reach them. If they don't come soon... it might be a case of finder's keepers.
The tree with bees/wasps: After a week of cutting and burning that big old tree, I'm happy to report that all the wasps have either gone or have died in the inferno.
The garden: Well, I have burned all the tomato plants several weeks ago due to our white fly problem. We've not replanted any more as we're still researching the best way to prevent another infestation. We've learned that planting garlic and marigolds nearby may be helpful. We've read that painting yellow boards or posts and smearing them with Vasaline. This attracts the little buggers and they get stuck. We'll be planting some in our 'winter' garden area once we figure it all out. Our leeks are doing well and our peas have been abundant... these plants owe us nothing, yet continue to produce succulent pods. When the kids were here in mid-March, they brought us all kinds of seeds, so we'll be preparing our beds soon and trying again.
The stray dog: Feliz, as we call him, has not wandered off since the last scare. He's been hanging around between our place and a few other neighbours and everyone is happy to have him back, safe and sound.
The waterfall area: Martin, Nacho and Kevin have done an amazing job clearing up that area. Karen, Kevin's sister, and I also helped a bit. Martin and Kevin have built a stone wall and diverted the waterfall to fill up a new pond. It looks awesome! However, Martin was weed wacking the other day and noticed that there is another bee hive in one of the trees... so, he'll be smoking them out next week. There's always something to take care of... maintenance is a daily thing, if you want things to run smoothly.
The trails: Martin has worked really hard, chopping down all the overgrowth with his machete and uncovering several trails. During the Rio Blanco Fun Day fundraiser, we offered our trails for the first guided 'hike'. It was a huge success and we received a lot of great feedback.
Fundraising projects: the Fun Day was specifically a fundraiser. The numbers are in and we raised $2,000, so half with go to the one-room school and the other half to the community. I'm also working with my friend in California who is a director in his Rotary Club... and another gentleman who is involved with Kiwanis. The projects were working on are more long term and as they develop and become more clear and focused, I will update our progress.
Copey Learning Center: I continue to teach English to adults twice a week. And I am helping to recruit new volunteer teachers in preparation of the current volunteers leaving. I go through all the resumés and conduct Skype interviews with qualified candidates. It's a lot of work, but I'm happy to help as it's especially hard for the Spanish-speaking director to manage the language barrier.
Residency process: since applying for our temporary residency way back in October, we've not heard anything more. We're in the system, but this process could take 18 to 22 months, we're told, so we're not really worried about it.
The weather: last, but certainly not least, the weather is simply fantastic. The summer (December to May) has been days of blue sky after blue sky (mostly). It's been really dry (as per usual)... you know you're a farmer when you're so very happy to see the rain. The temperatures are very consistent and we're okay with that. The only time we 'missed' (and that's a strong word) the snow and cold was during Christmas, as it was the first time for the both of us to be in warm weather during that time. It didn't feel very Christmas-y at all, but I learned to make tamales and maybe it will become a new tradition? Maybe. Overall, Kevin and I feel grateful everyday for our paradise lifestyle.
Homesickness: to be honest, the only real sense of homesickness we feel is being so far away from our family. Having my mum here in January, Kevin's mum and sister in February, our kids in March... have definitely help keep the sadness at bay. Thank goodness for Skype, Facebook and emails so we can easily keep in touch. Once we were set up with the internet, a month after we arrived, life here became easier almost instantaneously. It was a very happy day for me... no more sitting in the SUV in Copey trying to connect with a data card. Oh, those were the days... it sure did teach me to never take technology for granted. It's not all good.... and we should all learn to get unplugged.... but I'll be the first to admit, I'm crazy happy that it's available to us.
Thankfulness: Kevin and I feel incredibly thankful for everyone who continue to support us, who keep reading my blog and Facebook page. I'm ever so pleased to be able to write regularly and by doing so staying connected with so many of you. We love hearing from you so feel free to leave comments if something interests you or if you have any questions. We'd love for all of you to come visit someday so you can share your story with us!