Category Archives: Tropical Plants and Food

Living in the Cabin and Preparing the Studio


Posted by Cassie

Car and Finca
Looking down at our finca from the road you wouldn’t even know a cabin existed!

I suppose it’s time to do an update on the move to the jungle tree cabin! There is always something more to be done so it’s a little hard to say we are “finished” moving over. But we have been sleeping in the cabin for about 2 months now! Once we moved the bed over, we were officially living here!

Bed
Our bed in the cabin!

This, like everything, was quite the process because we had to haul everything over on foot.

Moving out
We loaded the truck and took the furniture half-way down

Jungle flowers
And then carried it through the tropical gardens

Bridge Britton
And over the bridge…

Cabin
Up the stairs…and into the jungle cabin

We also cleaned out the studio cabana and it needed a full scrub down! Even though it is tiny, things still get really dirty here. Having all our stuff out made the job a little easier.

Britton hoser
At least in the concrete cabin it’s acceptable to bring a hose inside! Haha

Then we bought another bed for the cabana and cleaned it again so that it will be ready for visitors.

Bed to Cabana
Unloading the bed for the studio cabana

Cabana bed (2)
Cabana all cleaned and ready!

So the studio cabana is now officially open for visitors! Contact us at lifetransplanet@gmail.com to stay with us! Here’s the page with information on staying in the cabana!

Cabana Table and view Cabana kitchenette
Roof top dining and view and inside living space of the studio

Back at the jungle cabin, while we had running water, electricity and even internet, we didn’t exactly have a kitchen. Not that that was a deal breaker considering that we lived for 3 years with a mini fridge and a hot plate for our method of cooking, but I was pretty excited to have a full sized kitchen.

Britton Kitchen
Britton in the kitchen/living room of the cabin with the new sink and stove just waiting to be installed

Santa Cassie
And though I have been loving our new bathroom, it just doesn’t make the best place to wash dishes! :-)

So we started building the kitchen including making our own counters/lower cabinets.  

Counters
Building the counters

Britton installed the heavy enameled cast iron sink but had to drill through our very thick floor in order to have a grey water drain out.

Thick Floor
Like a tree core sample. The floor consists of 3/4 inch plywood, thinset, 3/4 cement board, more thinset and the tile

Kitchen Sink
Kitchen currently with counter tiles and functional sink! Yay for washing dishes out of the bathroom!

The next big thing was to hook up gas to our new gas stove so that we would literally be cooking with gas! We went down to Rafucci’s next to Ventana Al Mar to get the parts and the friendly owner said he would just send the gas guys down. We warned them that this was not a standard hook up and that you wouldn’t be able to find us from the road, but he didn’t seem worried.

output_8Yh4We
After stopping at Rafucci’s we walked 20 steps to Aloha for a beer and that always makes BK happy

When the two workers showed up, they walked down the drive, through the meadow, past the chicken and turkey coops, through the tropical gardens, down the ridge line trail, across the bridge, up the stairs and quickly concluded that they would not be able to hook up a big propane gas tank. They said they would return with a 25 lb tank in about an hour. After waiting about 3 hours, we went back to Rafucci and talked with Alfredo again who said he talked with the muchachos and they said that the site was a little too difficult for them. (Would have been nice for them to have told us that instead of having us wait…)

So we decided to go ahead and do what we were going to do in the first place and just install it ourselves. We have found that often people don’t like to tell others bad news so they will just tell you what they think you want to hear and then just avoid you. Because of that we always have a Plan B especially since we know that we are an odd case in general.

Gas hook up
Britton hooking up the gas

Last night we actually ate our first meal cooked in the oven: lasagna; and it was so good! We have been joking that we are going to get chubby again eating with a real kitchen with a full fridge and everything! haha!

Stove
We can’t wait to cook lots of meals on this stove!

Overall, living in the cabin has been a lot of fun. Because there is no road and we are deep in the trees we are immersed in nature. The hummingbirds buzz around, the doves flap and the hawks are always swirling high above. We often see the mongoose running around and of course lots and lots of iguanas, geckos and coquis everywhere. The trees sway all around us and we feel like we live in and amongst them. It’s a really cool feeling.

Cassie stairs
You don’t want to forget anything or it’s quite a walk back!

It can be a bit of a challenge to walk home in the night so we have to always remember our flashlights especially because there are very few guard rails. One night we forgot them and had to crawl on our hands and knees across the bridge because it was a dark and moonless night and…we had been drinking. But we laughed the whole way across.

Coqui
This cold, wet and clammy coqui landed on my leg and then hopped on this ginger leaf

 

First party
We have even had our first “unofficial” get together with a few friends at the cabin!

Cassie jungle
We have lots of fun in our own jungle park!

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Snapshot Update: Boquerón, Aguadilla, Rincón and Finca


Posted by Cassie

Life just keeps trucking. Sometimes there’s more exciting things than others, but I always try to have my camera ready. Here are a few snapshots of recent moments of our life here in Puerto Rico.

seahorses-bk-ck-cropped
A fun stop in Boquerón (notice the bicycle with coconuts!)

aguadilla-water-beach
A beautiful beach scene in Aguadilla

aguadilla-treehouse
A cool treehouse in Aguadilla! I need to do some more exploring of this! It’s amazing!

tree-climber
Because I do love to climb trees!

banana-bunches
The finca is producing lots of food! Especially bananas and papayas right now!

turmeric-flower ginger
And also cool stuff like turmeric (curcuma) and ginger

laura-and-cassie
I did a fun photoshoot with my friend Laura at the Lighthouse Ruins in Aguadilla

cassie-tommy-poke
And we are super proud of our chef friend Tommy’s new Poke Shack venture in Rincón!

fresh-fish-tommy poke-and-salad
With local caught tuna and many other fresh local ingredients!

rainy-day-rainbow
It has been a bit rainy lately but that means gorgeous rainbows!

silly-britton-and-cassie
And still lots of fun times!

Oh and check out this cool stick bug I found on the screen door of the cabana!

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Processing Coconuts for Coco Water


Posted by Cassie

So after the coconuts are harvested from the palm trees what happens? Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, they are mostly used for the coconut water. Fresh coconut water is so much better than any coconut water you can buy in a package. It is a great hydrator or drink mix. It has an interesting taste. Not sweet and not salty but something in between. And really doesn’t have a “coconut” flavor to it even though that is actually what it is!

Cocos locos
Hanging out with the coconut guys

The other day we went down to La Placita, the little fruit stand/gas station down from our house, and bought a half gallon of freshly processed agua de coco for $6. We have plenty of coconuts at our house and often harvest and process them ourselves, but on this day we left it to the professionals. Here’s a little video snippet. Working with a machete can be dangerous, but these guys have been doing it for some time!


Cassie and Britton
At La Placita with our coco water

Not only did we get some agua de coco but one of the men offered to make me one of his special rings! Always so much fun whenever we go out!

Ring
Wearable money. The newest fashion trend?

Cassie with dollar ring
Me and my bling!

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Coconut Harvest and Other Island Scenes


Posted by Cassie

Climbing Coconut tree
Climbing a coconut palm

When we are out and about we often see things that we call “Island Scenes,” you know, scenes that you would never see if you didn’t live on a tropical island. Palm trees, especially coconut palms, to me are one of the quintessentially tropical markers. And as we were walking down a beach one day we came upon two men who were harvesting coconuts from tall 50 foot swaying palm trees.  One of them climbed up using his spikes and the other one caught the heavy bundle of coconuts that descended from a rope.

Man in the trees
Hola from on high!

These coconuts are mainly used for their coconut water, but of course can be used for any number of preparations from coconut oil, toasted coconut, coconut milk, even piña coladas! This is a great service for the beaches because a coconut that falls from that height could easily kill an unwitting person below. Win/win! Here’s a video of them at their work:

We hung out for a while nearby with a friend and enjoyed the sunset. I tried my monkey best to climb a coconut palm, but without the spikes I couldn’t get too far :-)

Cassie in Coconut Tree
My coconut tree climb is not nearly as impressive!

Dogs and Horse on Beach
Horse riding and a pack of dogs on the beach

Cassie and Britton at Sunset Nice
Classic sunset shot

We also watched another traditional method of living off the land and water when we saw a man setting up the fishing net at the edge of the sea as the tiny ripples lapped softly against the sand. I’m not exactly sure what he was fishing for, perhaps sardines as we often see them when we enter the water. This is the kind of economic activity that has been going on for hundreds of years and that you probably won’t hear much about on the news or through the government: a direct connection to nature and your livelihood.

Boat and Beach
Boat at sunset

Island Time literally
A ceiling fan and a clock on a bamboo pole. Is this where island time came from? haha

Cassie and Britton Monkey and Horse
Yeehaw!

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