thepioneersofpanama

A Journey in living simply, in living off the land and in giving back.

4,000 sq ft Spanish Style Custom Home on 27 acre For Sale near Cuesta de Piedra, Panama

As some of you already know, we have made the final decision to leave Panama and make a move back to the states.

And as many of know, we have made this decision several times, but the beauty of the land and kindness of the people seemed to hold a spell over us in this tropical paradise. However, this time we know our sojourn in Panama is complete. It is a very difficult decision, but it will much easier for my Mother to be cared for in the states- as it is wheel chair accessible and for us to be closer to our darling grandchildren (and great children!).

So we are off to make a new chapter in our life!

We have completed all the the finish work of the home, plus much more that my Father left undone before his passing– granite counter-tops, cabinetry, vanities, painting of the outside and inside of the home– and the the list of completed work goes on and on… And recently, 80% of the roads to the home have been repaired and electricity has been brought to the community (but stops at the house below us).

The home truly is a lovely jewel tucked away in the mountaintops and we really pray someone will move here, who will love it as much as we have. If you know of anyone who is interested in a private and secluded, off the grid home, please contact us.

Muchas Gracias– Rose n Smith

Home Tour:

Property Tour and the Outside of the Home:

(Please note these videos do not show many of the updates to the home)

~Price Reduced from $ 639,000 to 520,000~

General Information:

4,000 sq ft Spanish style custom home on 11 hectares m/l.
Fully Titled. 18 year property tax exemption.
Designed and built to American standards.
Almost completely off the grid.
No electric bills. 1840w solar set-up runs house, except a generator runs the washer.
Community water approximately $30.00 a year.
End of the road–ultimate in privacy.
Internet available.
Wheelchair accessible.

About the land:

Beautifully landscaped with an array of vibrantly colored hibiscus, gardenia and jasmine, as well as other tropical beauties. Various palm trees.
Banana, orange, lemon and lime trees abound. Some mature avocado and mango trees, as well as young almond trees and papaya. Over a hundred pineapple. Mint, lemon grass and culantro. Over 2,500 sq ft greenhouse and almost 2,000 sq ft chicken house-but could easily be converted to anything.
Three year round flowing creek runs through the property. A couple springs.
Views of Volcan Baru, Costa Rica and the ocean.

Property is fenced and cross fenced. Ready for horses, cows, sheep and/or goats. Various shelters in place. Pastoral views. Lush pasture.

About the home:

Large and spacious 4,000 sq ft Spanish style home.
4 bedrooms and 4 baths.
Recessed ceilings and custom moldings throughout.
Huge picture windows bring forth lots of natural light and stunning views.
Custom wrought iron french doors throughout the home.
Custom tile work.

Formal entry with chandelier.
Formal living room with large picture window and views.
Formal dining room with gorgeous chandelier and large custom French doors exiting off onto terrazzo.
Spacious family room with ceiling fans and large picture windows and single French door exiting off onto terrazzo.
Huge office space with large picture window.

Large well equipped kitchen with custom cabinets and granite/butcher block counter-tops.
Pastoral views from two large windows.
Deep and well constructed walk in pantry in kitchen.
Laundry area off kitchen includes deep laundry sink. Newer washer and dryer.
Large walk in linen closet.

Master bedroom is airy and spacious with grand his/her walk-in custom wood closets and private ensuite bathroom with deep soaking tub, two person shower and double sinks.
French door with privacy glass off the master bedroom opens to a sun bathing porch.

A red Spanish-tiled terrazzo filled with an array of potted green leafed foliage– expands the entire back of the home.
Beautiful views of the lush hillside to David, Costa Rica and even the ocean on clear days.
A perfect place to listen to the singing of the tropical birds or the whir of hummingbirds or the gentle babbling of the creek.
Paradise found.
The ultimate place for entertaining or relaxing.
An outdoor bathroom and shower are also located on one end of the terrazzo.

About the outbuildings:

Large attached secure storage area.
Smaller attached storage area.
Large detached storage area for farm equipment and/or tractors, ATVs, etc.

Miscellaneous information about the location:

The house is located off of via Volcan mid way between Bugaba and Volcan, 15 minutes off the main road on a typical bumpy Panama dirt road–however due to the water plant over 80% of the road is now maintained and due to be paved.
The house is situated at the end of the road, in a small Panama community of gentle, kind hearted people.
It affords privacy and seclusion, but less than 40 minutes to Bugaba and Volcan. Less than an hour from David. About an hour and fifteen minutes to Boquete.
This home has never experienced any crime or the loud noise of blasting radios at fiesta time, like homes closer into the cities do.
Currently employed at the home is an excellent housekeeper and field worker, both live near to the home and would probably be happy to keep working at this home, if you decide to keep them on. (It is hard to find good reliable employees.)

Ideal weather year round, approximately 80 degree average with a slight constant breeze– Cooler than David at sea level, less rainy and cool than the mountain village of Boquete.
New international airport opening in David near the end of 2012 with direct flights from Florida and Europe.
David is Panama’s second largest city…. Rapidly growing with major shopping facilities including Price Smart (Costco), KFC, Domino’s Pizza, TGI Friday’s. etc.

Land area….. approx 11 hectares m/l (approx 27 acres).

House total area…..approx 4,000 sq ft.

Full Price includes formal dining room table/chairs and china cabinet, formal living room leather sofa set, family room leather set, rugs and master bedroom suite.

For information contact Robin @ leethegil@gmail.com.

A Few Updated Pictures

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Moms House 2

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Moms House 9

 

Moms House 8

 

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Moms House 7

 

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Moms house 10

 

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Omg– Am I Raising Maggots or Black Soldier Fly Larvae…?

I shared a week and a half ago, how we ordered a batch of Black Soldier Fly eggs– which due to a mishap with the USPS was delayed and we did not get to it until a month later. Steve was surprised there were actually some larvae still alive in the little plastic bag, so he decided to bring them home and see if we could still raise them up.

I was not overly optimistic about the project anymore.  For one, the larvae had been in a plastic bag for over a month– how healthy were they?– and secondly–we were not sure exactly what we were doing.

I pulled out a plastic container and filled it with a little soil and put a little fruit scraps in it. I emptied the little larvae on top of it all. I then found the instructions, which had come with the larvae and it recommended putting a piece of moistened bread with coffee grounds in the bin and putting the larvae on top of that. So I scooped some of the larvae up and onto the bread and I hoped the others would get the idea.

Black Soldier Fly LarvaeThe Black Soldier Fly larvae after we first got them

Almost every day I have opened the lid of the container to check on the larvae and every time a little black cloud of tiny gnats with the occasional house fly have flew out.  I have been worried they have been disrupting the system, however the larvae still have been alive and wriggling.

But then doubts came in and a few days ago, I wondered if regular house flies had come in and laid eggs and all  we really had was handfuls of  thriving maggots… What exactly was I raising..???? Maggots— ? Ewwwww.

So I researched on the internet, about how to tell the difference between maggots and Black Soldier Fly larvae. I found this great article which explains the difference with great photos and detailed descriptions: http://www.blacksoldierflyfarming.com/forum/4-black-soldier-fly-discussions/829-whats-the-difference-between-bsl-and-fly-maggots?start=6

Here are a couple photos from that website:

Housefly MaggotsHousefly Maggots

BSF GrubsBlack Soldier Fly Larvae

I was still sorta leaning towards the thought I had young smooth white maggots in my bin.

I was disappointed. I was really counting on raising BSF up as a source of healthy, natural and clean protein to supplement our chickens diet.

However, after I went to check on the larvae after three more days– I could tell I definitely did not have maggots, but Black Soldier Fly larvae. They had grown so much, had started changing color and had even developed definite ridges, since I had checked on them last. It may seem odd to you all, but it made me very very happy!

Black Soldier Fly Larvae 2My beautiful fat and happy Black Soldier Fly Larvae

So our next step is to create a bin for the larvae to pupate and turn into flies.

I found a great video by NW Redworms on YouTube, who set up a pupation bin with great success.

A good example of a BSF pupation bin

I am hoping we will be able to make the BSF pupation bin and a BSF compost bin within the next month.

Our goal is to raise up a good sized colony of BSF and hopefully we will attract local BSF– so I can begin harvesting the larvae in the next several months for our chickens. We have perfect temperatures here for the BSF and should be able to raise them year round.

We will keep you posted!

I hope everyone has had a great weekend. We have gotten a lot done on the farm and I will update you more in a few days.

Much love, Rose

A Little Bit of Everything

I just wanted to share a little sampling of what I have been up to the last month.  I have had my hands in many various projects right now or what I tell our workers are “mis experimentos” (my experiments).

The Chickens

Our newest and biggest venture is raising up chickens not just for our family– but for the public. We are raising what the Panamanians call the “Blancos” or my neighbor calls “Granja”– or what is known to us in North America as the Cornish Cross.

So far we are off to a fantastic start in our new business! We appreciate the support of our friends, who care about where their food comes from, making healthier choices and for supporting their local farmer. Gracias, amigos!

Cornish ChicksThe Cornish Cross chicks pictured at a week old. Hola!

I also am raising up some dual purpose chickens for eggs and meat– which are called the “Negras” (Blacks) and the “Rojos” (Reds). I am not quite sure what breeds they actually are, but I will pull out the chicken book after these guys are older and see if I can figure it out.

The colored chickens will be raised after the Korean Natural Farming model.

The chicks eat mainly rice (which I lightly “salt” with starter mash), cut up bamboo leaves after day 3 and smashed egg yolk for two weeks to simulate the “Mothers milk”. These chickens will grow to forage on pasture, as well as eat organic fruit and veggies from the farm, whey and a diet of  no more than 30% grain as adults and hopefully less as we add more high protein greens to their diet over the next year.

NegritasMy little Negra fluffballs asleep on the rice hull bedding

I absolutely adore my role of being “Mother Hen”.

The brooding boxes are currently outside one of our windows in the carport. I can hear their little peeps when I am in our room and I can easily go out and check on the little guys and gals. Our plan is to put the brooding area in the big chicken house one day, but I really do not like the thought of my baby chicks being so far!!!

I am feeling “empty nest syndrome” already!

New Chicken House

Here is a snapshot of the new and improved 1,300 sq ft chicken house under construction

If you have not read about about our plans on how we will be raising our chickens and why– check out this page of our blog:

http://thepioneersofpanama.wordpress.com/our-pastured-poultry/

Making Homeade Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother

My Mom takes apple cider vinegar or ACV on a regular basis and I do on and off… Because unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the “mother” is hard to find in Panama and I am adding it to my chickens water as a “natural mild antibiotic”, I decided to make some of my own.

Homeade ACVMy jars of apple cider vinegar in the cupboard fermenting

The MotherThe apple cider is cloudy which is good-- the mother is there– a host of good bacteria and living nutrients!

For information about the many and varied health benefits of apple cider vinegar with the mother:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/the-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/

Kefir Goat Milk

I also am preparing kefir  goat milk again. I was making kefir a year and a half ago, but I accidentally threw my grains down the sink, so needless to say we have been without for a long time.

However, I am really pleased with my kefir this go round. It has a very pleasant mild flavor.  In fact two of my Russian customers gave my kefir rave reviews stating it was “excellent” and “sheer bliss”.

For those of you who do not know what kefir is– it is an ancient Russian drink– like a liquid yogurt, but with many more strains of good bacteria and beneficial yeasts. The probiotics  in kefir can actually colonize your gut instead of just “passing” through like yogurt.  Kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids– as well as assisting in regulation of the immune system, prevention of gastrointestinal disease and aiding in bone health.

I have currently been trying out recipes to make a perfect yogurt, Greek style yogurt and a soft spreadable cheese. So far I have been very pleased with my results.

Goat Milk KefirMaking kefir yogurt– Letting the curds and whey separate naturally

Kefir Greek YogurtThen you strain off the excess liquid and you are left with a healthy great tasting thick yogurt!

In the next couple of months, I will trying out some hard cheese recipes. I am very excited about this! Most of the rennets are made from GMO sources, but with kefir I will not need to use rennet. I am also dreaming about a dairy cow and making homemade kefir butter!

048Greek style kefir yogurt with fruit, almonds and sprinkled with cinnamon– Delish!

Projects in the Greenhouse Area

Rose ArborMy rose arbor at the entrance of the greenhouse area

My climbing rose that Steve bought me two years ago finally has a permanent home!

Banana CIrclesBanana Circles

We also made six banana circles– interspersed with dwarf banana plants, lemon grass and sweet potatoes. I have placed cardboard in the center of the circles to prevent weed growth, until the sweet potato plants and compost can deter them. My workers cannot understand why I do not want to use chemicals to kill off the weeds. They think it is funny I am so adamant about it and they just laugh and laugh– like I have completely lost my mind. I tell them I have enough chemicals in my body from all the foods I have eaten that were not organic in my past and I do not need anymore in there. Maybe one day they will understand.

New Banana Trees

The bananas plants are just now starting to shoot up

Sweet Potato StartsSweet Potato starts in the banana circle given to me by our  friend Shirley of Volcan

Rabbit CageThe Bunny Cage almost complete… It is awaiting a bunny and I am awaiting fertilizer!

We are hoping to get the plastic on the greenhouse in the next week. We would have had it done, but we are still trying to figure out the best way to apply the plastic on the roof because none of the plastic is wide enough to go on in one piece.

Sigh. Big lesson learned.

However, we will get it on one way or the other. I just pray I will be planting my little stash of heirloom and non- GMO seeds within the month! I am dreaming of various colored salad greens and speckled lettuces and fresh little sweet tomatoes for my salad.

The Black Soldier Fly

I ordered a starter kit of black soldier fly eggs last month to try to raise up and get a good colony going in our area, so we could feed the larvae to the chickens. They are an excellent source of healthy and free protein for the chickens, as well as great composters for our garden. A win-win situation.

However, the box of black soldier fly eggs got shipped up to Pennsylvania from Florida, instead of heading straight over to Texas and we were not able to get the package in time before Steve returned home four weeks ago.

The box sat at my daughters house for a month, but when Steve checked the box last week, he found some larvae alive and well in the starter kit plastic bag, so he brought them home.

Black Soldier Fly LarvaeHere are the little white black soldier fly larvae in their new home– a little compost bin

I will keep you posted on this project.

The Puppies

And last but not least the puppies… I do not think I posted pictures of them here yet, but here is Bebe our rescued street dog from Volcan and Sam a little Cocker Spaniel pup I got as a present.

BebeBebe

SamSam

Well dear friends and family– there is so much more I have not shared that we are doing around the farmI will try to get another post or two out in the next week. Suffice to say we have been very busy– but very happy in our adventures!

I pray you are each well, happy and blessed.

Thinking of you all– those near and far!

Yours always, Rose

P.S. Molly Rose– see I have been very busy and I have not shared all! I love you!

A Weekend in Volcan and the Cablagata

Last weekend Steve and I finally escaped the farm and stayed in the nearby town of Volcan.  It was exciting for us to think after two years of being in Panama, we were finally having our first mini-break! We made reservations at one of the local bed and breakfasts– the Volcan Lodge– which also has a small restaurant downstairs with excellent food. We were shown generous hospitality by the owner–Jorge and his lovely wife Vicky.

On Saturday afternoon we explored some of the roads in the area and visited Janson Coffee Farm with several members of the local Saddle Club.

Volcan CountrysideThe beautiful countryside of Volcan

Steve n ChispitaSteve and his horse Chispita

ExlporingExploring a road near the stable where we boarded our horses for the weekend

Some of the Saddle ClubHeading to Janson Coffee Farm with four other members of the Saddle Club

HolaHola!

Near Janson Coffee FarmThe hills surrounding Janson Coffee Farm

GeneGene and his handsome steed

Janson Coffee FarmA building at the farm

A View From the Coffee ShopA view from the coffee shop

PentecostsEnjoying a cup of hot coffee and intriguing conversation with the Pentecosts

The next morning, we went over to the stables to get our horses ready for the cablagata. A cablagata is a procession of riders on horseback. They are popular in Panama and other Latin American countries to celebrate holidays, birthdays or other important occasions. This cablagata celebrated Volcan and some surrounding communities, becoming their very own district– Tierras Atlas, instead of the district of Bugaba. Very exciting news for Volcan!!! We are happy for all of you!

PrisionEmma getting sprung from jail…. Now Emma –what did you do that they put you in here and out of the pasture…?

Bath timeThe stable hand washing Emma

ListaThe Queen of the Parade is dressed and ready

Mr Shipley

Mr Shipley on his gorgeous paint

A few horses waitingSome of the horse waiting for the festivities to begin

AndalusiansSome beautiful Andalusian horses that pulled up near us

The parade line upThe parade line up begins

MoreMore horses in position and ready to go

CablagataThe Cablagata begins! People line the streets to watch the procession

The CowboysThe proud cowboys and cowgirls

Some of our friendsSome of our friends from the Saddle Club ride with us

More CowboysThe streets are filled with over a thousand riders

The saddle clubSome of the Saddle Club who did not ride or who ended their ride early

BandaraI asked if I could hold the flag — Districto de Volcan— Yiiiiiii- Yaaaaa!

I hope everyone had a great week. We did! Very busy on the farm working on our new project. Did not get as far ahead as we wanted, but should have it done by next month. Poco a poco. (Little by little)

And the good news is there were no current snake sightings!

Much love to you all, dear family and friends–

Rose & Steve

P.S. There is suspicions that Emma could be pregnant… and by her son. (Big sad sigh) We have calls out to the vet, but maybe he was out of town this week… Will keep you all posted.

For more information about the Volcan Lodge: http://www.volcanlodge.webs.com/

To learn more about Janson Coffee Farm: http://www.jansoncoffee.com/

The Snake Slayer

My Mother and I were sitting in the living room talking one morning, when we noticed two of our cats starting to act oddly. They would approach the area between the sofa and window very slowly and then would retreat very quickly.

We could not figure out why.
After ten minutes of their continued bizarre behavior I pushed away the sofa from the wall and even looked under the ottoman and found- nothing- save one dead cockroach, belly up.

Freaky cats, anyways was my thought.

And then our third cat, Ed, sauntered into the room. He too approached the sofa and ottoman with trepidation– and would then retreat– exhibiting the same behavior as the other two cats. After his cautious examination of the ottoman, he bravely jumped onto the sofa.
Curiously I watched him, walk across the top of the sofa only to get down low on his haunches, peering outside the window.

Hmmm.Looking outside... at what?

I jumped up and leaned close to Ed trying to see what had his rapt attention.  When I spied it.  Neatly coiled in the potted plant under the window was a grand specimen of a Fer-de-Lance, taking a morning siesta.

Snake Outside Window
Yikes.

Needless to say I pulled Ed into the house  and shut the window screen as fast as a body could.

This was the first time living in Panama, that I had seen a live viper so close to our home. Our worker occasionally kills one while working out in the fields and then proudly brings it up to the house, where I can take his picture with his latest kill. I have told him repeatedly I wanted him to find me, if ever he found a snake in the fields, to show me how to kill a snake, for such a time as this. However, the opportunity never afforded itself. And now it was the weekend, Steve was not home and no workers were on the property.

Plan A. My Mother and I immediately made a call to our male worker to see if he could come over and save the day by removing the snake. It turns out he was in town and not at home.

Plan B.  We called our female worker and she gasped in horror, when we told her about the snake so close to the house. She quickly volunteered her male friend that was visiting her home that morning.
He appeared on horseback within minutes. Impressive time for Panama!
He was an elderly Panamanian man, his face wrinkled from years in the sun and in his hand was a stick about 6 ft tall.
I told him he would need a machete and I went and got him one, then showed him the snake from the safety of the inside of the house.

He bent down and viewed the snake, telling us it was “Peligrosa, muy peligrosa..” Which means “Dangerous, very dangerous”.

Viewing the Snake
Okay, I had kinda gathered the snake was very dangerous. That is why we called for help, right?

I suggested he  go outside so he could kill it. Slowly, he went out, quietly muttering prayers in Spanish to some patron saint.

To Kill or Not to Kill

He stood a safe distance away, hunched over looking at the snake, then within a minute of contemplation, he was back inside– telling us, that he needed to go and get another man to help him.

Apparently this snake required two men to slay it.

Caramba!

Now to be perfectly honest and not to doubt the word of the dear Panamanian man, but my Mother and I did not think he would ever come back. He had looked pretty uneasy about the whole situation.

And after waiting over ten minutes for him to return, the snake moved its position within the terracotta planter.

Did the snake sense his minutes on earth were numbered or did he just feel the nervous tension from inside the house?
We were concerned he was going to exit the pot. And then what would we do? I figured a moving target was going to be harder and more dangerous to kill.

It was at that moment, I decided, I could kill it–enter Plan C.
So I went and got a pitchfork from the shed.
I talked with my Mom on my strategy of how to kill the snake.
I figured if I quickly thrust the garden tool into his thick leathery body, I had a good chance, of pinning him down in at least a couple places.
I thought if I did not hit his upper body and only a spot in his lower half, he could not go too far, right…? I should still be able to contain him to the pot, right???

I opened the window screen slowly and hovered the pitchfork about 12 inches above the snakes body….
And then my arms felt weak like jelly and my hands started shaking.
I can do this, I said over and over in my mind.
The tremors continued to move from both of my hands up into my arms.

Dang.

I shut the window.
I told my Mother this was stupid. I knew I could do it. I could pin the snake. Yet why was I shaking…?
Frustrated, I then gave myself a more in-depth pep talk and without thinking, opened the window screen once more and with all my might pushed the pitchfork into the snakes  hard muscular body.
Immediately the snakes head and upper third, lunged forward.

My heart skipped a beat!

I used the top end of the pitchfork and pushed the pot and snake further from the house.
By now, the adrenaline was flowing.

This sucker was gonna die.

I found where the elderly man had left the machete and I picked it up and went out on the back porch.
I got behind the snakes line of vision and struck it with the machete.
The snake turned and opened its mouth wide with a menacing look of hate. He was ready for combat.
I had not pinned him as well, as I hoped and though he turned to me with great rage, he could not reach me, if I continued strike from behind him…

I parried and thrusted the machete, as fine as any swordsman of ole. Years of watching old classic movies, like the Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers had finally paid off (And not to mention the great duel scene in The Princess Bride with Dread Pirate Roberts!).

And after a dozen machete strikes, the snake finally fell back and died with his mouth open and fangs exposed.

Mostly Dead

Mostly dead.

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All dead.

To be honest, I really did hate having to kill this beautiful creature, however I am not a Steve Irwin and I was in no way going to risk life and limb by trying to remove him alive. In fact, as I was slashing him with the machete, I told him I was sorry for it and I wish he had stayed in the safety of the jungle far away from me.

Let this be a warning to other Fer-de-Lance, Bushmasters and other venomous snakes in our village. Stay out of the yard, off the porch and outta the house or you too may receive a similar demise.

Update:

Apparently the snake pictured below, did not receive the memo about staying out of the yard, off the porch and outta the house, as he had trespassed all three. I found him slithering across the kitchen floor one night, as I was ready to turn off the light and cross the floor.

I hollered for Steve and he ran into the kitchen lickedy split.  He ordered me to move back from the snake. (I was well away from it, mind you.)

I reminded him this was not my first rodeo, so to speak, and I had this.  All a girl needs is a sharp machete and voila no more live snake.

snake July 2013

I told him I had this

Our workers are beginning to revere me as a great snake slayer. I fancy it will be one of the many things the locals will remember of this crazy gringa girl.

I pray all of you are well and blessed– I think of you often. Be careful out there– it is a crazy world!  And watch out for snakes!

Yours, Rose

Our Local Rodeo

I wanted to share with you all some pictures of the rodeo we had in our little village last Sunday.  It was a big event this month with men coming as far as Colon to participate in the calf roping.

Las Tumbas Rodeo

This is our local rodeo– a bit muddy and wet this time of year

Selling Wranglers and Horse Stuff

Steve got there early to sell some essential cowboy gear

Ready to Roll

This man and his horse are ready to rope!

A Handful of the Numerous People

The crowd watches on

Yee-haw!

Yee-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!

FLorenzio

Florenzio our neighbor

Enrique n Hija

More of our neighbors- Enrique and his daughter

Ready to Ride

A horse who is ready to ride

Manuel

Manuel giving us a big “Hola!”

Cowboy

Oops– he missed that one!

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Chico getting after it!

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Our local guys in the light blue shirts

The Crowd

The on-lookers listening to music, having a few drinks and a good time

Watching

People came on foot, horseback, trucks and even buses from far away towns to be here

Our neighbor girl

Our neighbor girl giving it a go- One of two women who participated in the roping

Emma Waiting

Emma, my dear horse, patiently waiting to go home–

Sardines

Steve took a picture of them packing the horses in on his way home

I hope each and everyone had a fantastic weekend! We did!

Much love~Rose

The Greenhouse Project (& The Plastic Dilemma) Part 2

On Tuesday this week , we made good progress with Steve and our two workers, Danilo and Constantino. We got over 20 bamboo posts in around the edge of the greenhouse structure. The bamboo is approximately 4 – 6 inches in diameter and is very sturdy. Rain threatened, so we did not work past 8 1/2 hours.

Bamboo posts

The first bamboo posts are in

Posts in around the side

The posts are all in around the side of the structure (They are hard to see with the perimeter fence posts so close in the background)

We already see where we would have done somethings differently… It was recommended to use plastic on the end of the posts to help them last longer. We started out placing plastic around the ends of the posts and then I read it can actually have the reverse effect and cause earlier deterioration of the wood. Sigh. So we stopped doing that, so about half the posts have plastic. We knew it would be a learning curve and it sure has been!

On Wednesday, we got all the vertical posts of the greenhouse erected. We also had a third worker come and help us for the rest of the week.  I started digging up some of the weeds in the greenhouse area, as I am not using chemicals and I helped out the guys a little when I could. (The “litter” around and in the greenhouse area is the cardboard boxes, I had placed to help deter the weed growth.)

Greenhouse All Posts In

All vertical posts are in!

Working Hard

Starting to place the top rails on the vertical posts

Beautiful Soil n Worms

The soil here is rich and fertile– There were three worms in this handful of earth I scooped up!

On Thursday, we got all of the top rails finished and started putting up the roof supports.

Preparing the Bamboo

Preparing the vertical posts for the top rails

Up Goes the Top Rails

Placing the top rails

Roof Supports going Up

Placing the roof supports

View from the Pasture

A view of the greenhouse from the pasture

On Friday, we morning we finished the roof supports and prepared to place the plastic for the roof.

Roll out the Plastic Carpet

The ‘white plastic carpet’

We bought the plastic this week, after we had already started the greenhouse. We realized as we went to put it on and checked the measurements, that the plastic was a little narrow and would not cover an entire roof section from top to bottom. Ooops.

Too Narrow Plastic

Is the plastic too narrow or is the roof too wide? Houston– We have a problem! See our dilemma?

We tried to figure out a way to get the plastic up, but could not think of a good way to do it, which made sense because of the shortage of material. The plastic is big and heavy because of that it is hard to keep square and keep pulled tight at the same time. We ended up taking all of the plastic until we know exactly what we are doing.

We are sending out appeals of help to our neighbors and locals, who have had experience in this– to help us come up with a workable plan. Until then, my planting of all of my packets of heirloom non-GMO vegetables will be on hold.

We are resting up today and tomorrow going to the local rodeo down the lane. It is a big event this weekend with cowboys from all over the province and even as far as Colon!

I pray all of you have a wonderful weekend.

Yours as always~Rose

P.S. I received fantastic news in regards to a new venture I am starting! I am very excited and will share more about that in the next couple of months.

P.S.S. I love my husband and all the work he put into the greenhouse this week. He was very disappointed over not being able to finish it for me, but really dear one– it is not a big deal! Remember we are in Panama now, manana! No problema!

My dear husband

The Greenhouse Project Begins Part 1

It was in early April when I painstakingly dug up all the weeds with the help of one our workers in the newly designated area for our greenhouse.Here is the picture I had posted back then of the cleared weed-free greenhouse plot.

Cleared Greenhouse Plot

Then in late April we had placed cardboard over the entire 4,000 sq ft area to prevent weed growth and to encourage worm activity.  However, due to Steve’s work schedule and vacation, the project was set on the back burner. Unfortunately the cardboard boxes have almost all deteriorated and the vigorous grasses have come back in full force. (But there are lots of worms out there now!)

Weeds Have Taken Over

Look at all the weeds! All my hardwork for naught!

So yesterday Steve (bless his heart!) started the greenhouse project in full force. We started with the cutting of the bamboo to use as posts for the structure.  We will be using over 100 pieces of bamboo in this project.

Beautiful Bamboo

One of our beautiful bamboo forests– Bamboo is a wonderful renewable resource!

Cutting Bamboo

 Danilo cutting a bamboo tree, as Steve supports it

Timber!

Moving the bamboo into a pile to move across the creek

Pulling Bamboo Up the Hill

Danilo and Constantino tying up the bamboo to the winch of the four wheeler (Can you see the border collie in this picture?)

Gettin Bamboo to the Garden

Steve pulling the bamboo up the hill and across a field to the greenhouse area

Pullling Bamboo on the ATV

My baby working up a sweat

Bamboo on the Truck

Some bamboo we harvested from another bamboo forest near the driveway

Will update you tomorrow of how the beginning of the construction of the greenhouse went today!

Orange Tree

The orange tree in front of the house has sweet juicy fruit right now

Delish Oranges

These taste so good squeezed fresh in carrot juice!

Well, good night my dears. Tomorrow we have a full work day ahead of us. We are trying to get the greenhouse 80% complete by the end of Friday.

I pray each and everyone of you all had a great day! (I know one of my dear cousins is, as she is celebrating her honeymoon on a cruise to Alaska! The best to you and your dear husband!)

Always yours- Rose

Stewart has Surgery and I Adopt Another Kitten

This year we participated once again in the monthly Spay and Neuter Clinic of Volcan hosted by Dottie Atwater with Dr Tello of Costa Rica (and their group of faithful volunteers!). They do a great job and are staying busier every month, as more Panamanians are realizing the importance of sterilizing their pets.

Here is a link to the clinic website to learn more about how the Clinic serves the community and/or to donate to this good cause: http://spaypanama-chiriqui.org/63rd.html

stewart on the table

Stewart after his anesthesia and dreaming peaceful dreams (Our friends dog, Peggy is passed out beside him)!

Steve waiting

Steve patiently waiting it all to be done, so we can go out for lunch!

Mom holding Stewart

My Mother rubbing sleepy Stewart to help wake him up after surgery- What a good Grandma!

Maritza and her dog

Maritza looking at Peggy with love

Gatita

Here is Maritza holding the kitten I adopted at the clinic whom had been found abandoned by a church

Recovery

Here is Stewart and Suzy-Q a day after surgery and already friends! (Look twice for Suzy she blends right in!)

Almost a month later and I can share with assurance, Suzy has fit right into our little tribe of cats. She has given Stewart a friend and confidant, as the three older cats do not like him very much nor play with him. Suzy is loved by all of the animals in our household.

She has great personality and talks a lot! I have never owned a cat before who has so many things to say… She has an opinion and she is not afraid to tell you for sometimes up to ten minutes a conversation. I am glad she is part of our family.

(I will give more of an update later this week. How are things going in your lives?)

Yours in Panama!

Rose

P.S. And thanks honey for letting me adopt Suzy-Q! I looooooove you!

My First Group Trail Ride in Volcan

Originally posted on A Journey about a Girl and Her Horse:

Emma and I went on our first group trail ride in Volcan on Sunday.  It was put together by some local Panamanians. Our new friend, Susan was the one to get all the other “gringos” in the loop. Thanks Miss Susan!

I was a little apprehensive about going because the ride was 9 km on a paved road and then on dirt roads and trails for a distance no one could tell me how long. Emma has just regularly been taken out three times a week for the last several weeks for up to 6 km at a time. She is a big girl and her favorite gear is slooooooooooooooow. And I had noticed the last week, she had wanted to go progressively slower each ride!

It was also the first time I had trailered a horse… Well lets back that up. Most Panamanians “trailer” their horses in the back…

View original 1,446 more words

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