Here’s a little story about two new life forms in our little slice of jungle.
The first one was the “pear”. For the longest time we had never quite figured out what type of mystery fruit one of the trees up front was bearing. Whenever we would pick one of the kiwi looking fruits, it would start weeping lots of latex white sap. We tasted it and it was very astringent/bitter and super sticky.
What in the world could it be? We recently started noticing a few of the fruits on the ground had been chewed on, we assume, by rats. So we looked in the tree and found that some of the fruits were actually soft! We picked some of them and cut them open.
They had about 3 shiny black seeds in each little fruit. They smelled very sweet and no longer had the bitter taste or white sap leaking from them. I tasted it and the first thing I thought was that it tasted like a brown-sugar flavored pear. The skin was soft enough to eat and like a pear it had a sort of grainy, sandy quality to it. I was so excited about my find that I took a few slices down to Britton where he was chopping down some weedy trees. When he tasted it, he also exclaimed that this was probably our favorite “exotic” or new-to-us fruit we had ever tasted.
So I looked it up because we had heard from various visitors on the property (anyone and everyone, what type of tree is this??!) that it could be a mamey, a sapote or a nispero. I searched and searched and finally found what I believe it is. A manilkara zapota, commonly called sapodilla or nispero in Puerto Rico! Yum. Now we just have to figure out how to harvest them when they are ripe enough to pick, but not so ripe that the birds and rats eat them first.
Our second find of the jungle recently was a big surprise! We were working down below in the quebrada (gulley). The turkeys were of course with us, as they always are when we are outside. I heard them making their bubble sounds which mean that they have found something they don’t understand but that it isn’t something dangerous to them. I looked where they were beeping and found…a beautiful turtle!
I was so happy about finding the turtle (well, ok, the turkeys found it) that I again had to yell and show Britton. We both enjoyed looking at and holding him.
I am still not exactly sure what type it is but I think I have narrowed it down to an Eastern Box Turtle. I didn’t even know that Puerto Rico had wild land turtles! So cool! I hope we see him and his family down in the quebrada again.
We live in such a magical place. We absolutely love it.