Jackson, Catching up on the farm during a long Internet disconnect (1 of 3)

a canje
It was a barter deal of sorts. Photos by Eric Jackson.

Dry season chores

by Eric Jackson

The grass has been cut, which should keep the jungle that has been my finca under control until the rains come again. I cut down and composted a decorative palm out front – just in front of my fence line – although I will still need to burn out its roots. Seeds of some of what I intend to grow in front of that section of the fence are sown, but there is more planting and composting to come.

Machete work to come? The hard stuff is on the downhill side yard. I need to cut some bamboo, because termites got into the front planter box trellises I put in not too long ago and those will need to be replaced. I need to cut down what’s left of the blighted cashew tree in the northeast corner. Wood I will leave where it is, or maybe arrange it slightly, but then there are social considerations about what, if anything, I plant in its place. Citrus of some sort, with the thorns that might make that an unattractive fence-jumping spot? Maybe a fast-growing star apple tree, some of the fruit of which some of the neighbors would surely pick and I would not much mind? Rose apples? Or maybe some fruiting shrubs like blackberries or raspberries that with any luck will be producing in my lifetime?

On the uphill side yard I should chop out a few misplaced shrubs, and chop off some chaya branches to stick them in the ground so as to more completely line my side of the fence. Edible privacy, it is.

The front porch’s planter boxes and the pots around them are being slowly rearranged. Smooth river stones that had been more or less decorative are being moved inside to become door stops. The aloe vera is intended to be medicinal, but I have so much of it now that some will be replanted, some will be given away, but the one pot goes on the porch to be decorative. The fern was always decorative but is now moved.

Out back? Gotta turn over and water the compost. I have all of these unintentionally planted behind my bananas and papaya and cecropia trees mother-in-law’s tongue plants that SOMEBODY must want to decorate their place. These being lean times, I should be digging up some fattening yucca and otoes. Perhaps before the otoes go dry for the season I should harvest some big stems and leaves and fry them up with some garlic and whatever. (Like the roots, the greens are slightly toxic if not cooked, but if properly prepared they are nutritious additions to otherwise boringly starchy survival rations diets.)

Inside the house? ¡HUY! But do get me started. Actually, I am underway. It has been a slow process.

At least I am off to a start to what passes for spring cleaning at latitude 9°N.

The front porch is being rearranged, low budget but comfortably.


Off the back porch, I need to turn over this compost already!


The mother-in-law’s tongue — as far as I know decorative only, and quite hardy.


When you have been assaulted by maleantes on your porch,
it seems safer to keep river stones like these inside.



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night oil







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