Líneas de Agua

Posted by Britton

We decided that walking up the hill to fill the chicken and turkey water was becoming a bit too tedious.  Granted it is good exercise, it is kind of a pain.  Since it is a pain the turkeys and chickens sometimes let us know that they are out of water by following us around.  The whole flock.  It is kind of funny, but also can be a reminder that getting them water is a chore.  The distance from the cabana to the turkey coop is about a football field (down, then UP hill).

We figured that since we put the coops along the property line, we could also drop in a new PVC water line along the border.  This serves two purposes.  Easy to water the birds, but also the plants.

It is pretty dry in Rincón during the winter.  It is nice because the humidity drops as well as the temps just a few degrees.  It really does feel perfect out, but the plants and especially the new plants have to be watered.  We have been dragging around 150ft of hose to do the task, but since we have expanded our area of planting, we think it is time to expand our infrastructure.

Truck with pipe
Truck with Pipes

We are now clearing/planting almost to the end of the property line on one side, we are putting down lots of grass seed and we spend quite a bit of time “down below”.  The mower, the chainsaw all the gardening equipment is starting to live at the turkey coop for convenience.  Having a water tap will be perfect!

A nice thing about living in the tropics VS a temperate climate is that I don’t have to bury the water lines.  It makes finding and fixing leaks easier as well as installation.  There really is no need to bury the line.  Not that it makes laying 400 feet of pipe thru the jungle easy, but if I had to bury the pipe I would probably not be doing it!

Laying Pipe
Ducking Under the Mandarin Tree

We have installed the new system and I had to fix a few leaks due to hooking up to some old PVC that was dirty.  Lesson learned, sand/clean the old pipe before cementing.  I should have known because I have worked with copper pipe quite a bit, oh well.  If you want it done right, do it thrice!

Water Faucet
New Faucet On The Coop

This project cost ~$150 more or less.  We decided to do this because it actually made our lives easier.  We had thought about installing a rain catchment system but did the calculations and decided that for the amount of water we use, it was far cheaper to use the water system already setup and maintained by the city.  Plus we have a reserve built up in the lines to our house, so there would be little to no gain and more maintenance and cost.  When we build the main house, we may setup a rain catchment off the gutters/roof.

In either case we planted lots of grass seed, planted new trees, transplanted trees and watered the birds with ease today!

Cool Sights: Golden Basilica, Lightning Show and a Gecko with Chrysalis

Posted by Cassie

We have seen some interesting and strange sights lately, but they are all sort of random. So, rather than making a separate post for each one, I thought I would just share the photos of them in this post.

The first sight was of a golden domed building off in the distance as we were driving to the nursery in Cabo Rojo. I asked Britton to go off track and so we checked it out.

Basilica small

It turned out that it was called Basilica Menor: Nuestra Señora de la Monserrate in Homigueros, Puerto Rico. We climbed the numerous steps to the top and looked out over the city and beyond. It was a beautiful little detour.

Jesus Hormigueros

The next cool sight was an awesome lightning show over Aguadilla bay one  night. I probably snapped about 100 photos before getting the timing right for this one.

Lightning show

And finally, we were walking around checking on all the plants when I noticed a big green worm on the underside of a papaya leaf. We fed it to a turkey who had fun running around with it like it was a football. Then we looked under some other leaves and saw this fluffy chrysalis. We weren’t the only one to be interested in it. One of our ever-present gecko friends was checking it out as well.

Gecko and crysalis small
Gecko lizard and Chrysalis

Our Biggest Find…So Far.

Posted by Britton

The other day we bought some new trees while we were out and about.  We have been in the habit of finding free plant sources thru friends and have had multiple truck loads full, but when you dig up sprouts and hijos you are somewhat limited to what varieties are available.  For instance bananas, plantains, ginger, heliconia some spreading ground covers are fairly abundant but citrus and other fruiting trees usually are harder to find.  We came across some Buddha’s hand, kumquats, tangerines and various other harder to find stuff at one of the plant stores and of course we don’t have anywhere cleared to plant them!

The areas we have planted with trees we have actually had to go back and rearrange.  We have found that a lot of the varieties of trees we bought grow to enormous sizes so we decided we put them too close and in an area that will one day block the view unless they hare heavily pruned.  Moving forward we will take that into account, but when we first arrived we were just excited to plant the trees as soon as we had cleared enough area to do so.

We haven’t cleared/cleaned up even 1/4 of the property yet.  A lot of it is still wildly overgrown.  When the forest gets tall, all the trees start to compete to stay at the top of the canopy.  This causes trees to grow very tall and slender with a huge bush at the top.  We have cut down a lot of trees shaped like this that are nearest to the house because they just block out the entire view of the ocean and Aguadilla.

So anyway, we started to clear out another area of the forest and we came across this:

Avocado reach
Pulling Off Vines

We learned a lesson in our biggest mistake and so we didn’t saw this avocado tree down..lol.  The avocado tree we cut down in that post is, as commenters posted, growing back.  It is however going to be a long while before that tree will have avocados again.   This new find has lots of nice big fruits on it and we have started to pick them up off the ground as they fall.  It is amazing that we have walked by this area quite a few times and haven’t ever noticed the tree!  It is just a testament to how over grown the property is after 20 years.  Hopefully we continue to find mature fruit producing trees.  It is fun to have our own sources for food.

Avocados up aboveAvocados Getting Ready to Drop

A Trip to the Dentist in Puerto Rico

Posted by Cassie

This month has been a doozy on the health care front. To top off our visits to the emergency room, I also happened to chip a tooth and needed to have an old filling removed and a new one filled.

Going to the dentist in Puerto Rico is remarkably similar to going to a dentist in the states. This is probably due to the fact that they are trained under the U.S. dental standards. They were all very professional and did a great job. The biggest difference (besides Spanish being the preferred language of most of the staff) was the cost!

Drilling and Filling

We are still just so shocked and thankful that Puerto Rico has not succumbed to the ridiculous prices of health and dental care as the rest of the United States. The cost (without insurance) for a full set of dental x-rays, an evaluation and a restoration filling was a total of $118. Since we don’t have a phone, we just stopped in and were able to make an appointment for that day. It was super efficient and affordable. Another reason to smile about living in Puerto Rico.