Category Archives: Turkeys

A Summer Update: Chicks, Jams, Corazón and More

Posted by Cassie

It’s summertime and that means things are slow and hot. There are often afternoon rains and everything is super green and beautiful. Lots of fruits are ripe and the flowers are in their showiest state. We also have a few new additions to the farm.

Mail arrival of some new chicks

The chickens and turkeys are doing a pretty good job at reproducing, but we wanted to add in some new genetics to the mix. We shared the order with some friends who are new to chickens and it’s been fun to watch them enjoy chickens for the first time. They are just so super cute when they are recently hatched. Pretty amazing that a little more than 21 days before, they were just eggs! What life energy!

Baby chicks
Three of 12 new additions!

We love to eat eggs around here and there is also quite a demand for local, pasture raised chicken eggs. So we thought we would put more of a focus on that side of the homestead.

The rain this time of year can also mean power or water outages. One afternoon the water, electricity and internet went out for about 3 hours. So we decided to go out and have a beer and watch the sunset. Reminds you not to worry so much. Worrying about infrastructure and thinking you could surely do it better than it currently is handled is a classic sign you are still stuck in the old Type A mindset filled with watches, schedules and to-do lists. When you are here things go much smoother if you just go with the island flow. Do what you can, let your voice be heard but don’t worry; they’re working on it. It’s just a little harder on a very mountainous island with limited resources, high heat and a more even work/rest balance.

Aguada sunset
Enjoying a gorgeous sunset at the balneario in Aguada

When these services go out, it’s a reminder that it’s all man-made. They certainly make life more comfortable. It’s pretty darn hot without even a fan blowing on you. But having them go out reminds you that you should probably have a backup water and electric plan and it definitely helps you appreciate them more than when they are just a given.

We have also been having some really great summer jam sessions with the band. It’s so laid back and chill and we’ve been making some really cool grooves. We jam with new people sometimes that just pop in. Our jam space at Mark’s is very unique. We even made a song called Jam Space, and as you can see in this picture below, Mark’s wife, Robin, made an awesome record for the wall of the song. ~~When the lights go down, you can hear the sounds, of eerie moves and funky grooves. It’s a rather magic place, that we call our jam space.~~

Jam Space crew
Such a cool jam space and crew of people

The finca is doing well. Summer is the most fruitful season of all. More and more fruits are coming on board. We recently harvested our first corazón fruit (annona reticulata). Very interesting! Semi-sweet with a grainy pear like custard consistency. I’ve read that it is related to guanabana or soursop which makes sense because it looks similar inside. At first it is so weird we didn’t want to eat it, but once we started we just couldn’t stop. Such a Willy Wonka world of fruit here! We’ve found that like children your first inclination is to not like something, but the more exposures you have to a certain food the more you begin to like it and then eventually love it. I would say corazón will soon be a favorite of ours the more we have it.

Corazon fruitIMG_3098
Corazón does sort of look like a heart - whole and half eaten

When we are out working on the farm we have to watch out to not step on iguanas! They are so fearless of humans, sometimes we see them AFTER we have stepped on their tails and they run off! I know they have become invasive pests of the island, but it still gets me every time that we basically have fricken dinosaurs just roaming free everywhere! Not to mention an easy source of clean meat if it came down to it!

Iguanas are still out en force! Our finca is an uncaged zoo of them really!

It was also recently the primary election season here in Puerto Rico. Mostly it was related to senate and mayoral races, though people can vote in the primaries for the US. Too bad we can’t actually vote in the generals though! There were major caravanas (groups of cars with lights and speakers) and you wouldn’t want to accidently get stuck behind one of them or your plans for the day will include a caravan party for a few hours! A different sort of summer jam!

Elections mean posters, murals and speaker trucks of the candidate

Though Zika messaging is getting out, it doesn’t seem to really have changed anyone’s behavior that I have noticed. I thought this billboard in Mayaguez was kind of funny and misleading. Do you want Sex without Zika? Such a funny question in and of itself. Yes, the Zika virus can spread through sex, but no, they don’t put mosquito repellent in condoms!  

Do you want sex without Zika? A lot of funny assumptions in this question

We are currently working on the water hook-ups for the cabin. Britton dug a trench and placed water line from the turkey coop all the way to the cabin. He is now working on the copper interior water lines.

Turkey and waterline
Water line connects at the turkey coop and travels 300 feet to the cabin

It’s summertime and the living is easy. It’s a nice pace. Not many people on the road. Most everyone who is here is here because they want to be. Full-timers. There are some tourists, but they are mainly from other parts of the island and so there is less confusion and hiccups. There are events like the caminata of some guy to raise money for a children’s hospital and the Rincón Triathlon and of course the hot sauce contest coming up. And the flamboyans are majestically fantastic. Summer in Puerto Rico is a special time.

Flamboyant moon
Flamboyan tree and the moon


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Our First Sales at a Pulguero!

Posted by Cassie

We have been thinking about downsizing our turkey flock now for a while. We really only need one or two toms around to fertilize the girls. The boys tend to fight a lot with each other and a chorus of four gobblers can be a bit much when an airplane flies overhead for instance. (I imagine them thinking HOLY GOBBLE THAT’S A BIG GOBBLE HAWK GOBBLE GOOBLE.)

Turkey trail
These guys are so funny and follow us everywhere

Then we had the mama come out of the jungle with 13!! babies and we knew for sure. We could harvest them for food but it’s pretty time intensive and difficult since we don’t have an operational full-sized fridge. So I listed them on a Facebook sale page as well as Clasificadosonline. Within a week we had sold 2 adult females (hembras), a male (macho) and 3 babies (pavitos) with 3 others sold on hold. Even with keeping some for ourselves, we still had more to sell though! So a friend reminded us of the San Sebastian flea market AKA Pulguero which is especially known for all the plants and animals.

When we visited the San Sebastian Pulguero years ago. Not much different today!

This market is one of the largest on the west side of the island and is open from late Thursday until late Friday (like midnight late from what I understand). It hasn’t changed much since we visited it when we were here on vacation years ago. But it is sort of funny how we have changed from the customer looky-loo that we were to being the supplier. I think of it almost like when we visited we were viewers of the movie that is Puerto Rico and now we are players/actors in the show.

Loading turkeys
Getting everyone loaded up for their first drive!

Anyhow…we weren’t sure what to expect since we don’t have the permisos to be vendors there. But our friend assured us that if we just sold them out of our truck we’d be fine. He even lent us some cages for the birds. So Friday morning we loaded up a pareja (pair) as well as 5 pavitos. We really don’t need to sell any more females, but some people want to buy them together to start their own little flock so she came along as the other side of the pair.

When we arrived at the Pulguero we weren’t sure what to do. So I asked Britton if he’d rather stay with the birds and the truck or do the walk through and see what we could find out. He said he’d stay. I walked through the whole winding path and saw many interesting things. Then I saw a guy who was selling turkeys and thought maybe we could sell wholesale to him. We talked for a while (in Spanish) and he said he didn’t have space for the adults, but I got the feeling I could talk him into buying the pavitos. By the time I returned back to the truck to tell Britton, he was gone. And so was one of our big boys!

I waited for a while and when he returned he said he sold our macho only about 5 minutes after I left -in his broken Spanish no less! ¡Buen trabajo! And that it was a good thing he did because the security guard came up shortly thereafter and said that people are only allowed to sell out of their vehicles in the parking lot until about 10am and it was by then about 1pm. Well, we still had our hembra and the 5 pavitos. Should we just go back home? I told Britton about the man with the turkey stall and so we decided to take the pavitos to him…hey we’re not selling them in the parking lot right?! ;-)

Selling Pavitos
Britton carrying the pavitos through the pulguero

We got to the guy and he kept regateando to the point that we just went across to another bird stall where an old-school guy thumped the cage to make sure they all could stand and then bought them right then and there! Not too bad for our first pulguero! And little pava got to ride back with us and join her friends.

On our way home we were hungry and stopped at this place that I thought was sort of charming and funny. Stuffed hamburgers and coffee….hmm interesting combination.

Hamburgers and coffee
The House of the Stuffed Hamburger

I’m so glad we did. They made super good, inexpensive coffee and Britton was really happy with his hand stuffed hamburger. Hamburgers are one of his favorite foods, but we try to avoid any corporate crap fast food and we want to support local businesses that truly invest in and with Puerto Rico. So this was a great find and cost less than a chain anyway! We talked with the owner a bit and he said he is thinking of opening a shop in Rincón because business is better there. Please do!

Yummy latte

Hamburger and Salad

Hey, are you calling me a pig? A piggy ketchup design with burger and plantain fries and a  delicious fresh goumet salad! 

A fun productive day out and about in San Sebastian!

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Wild Hermit Crabs in Puerto Rico

Posted by Cassie

After a good rain we tend to see a lot of wild hermit crabs out and about. They are so cool. I want to learn more about them. Like, where do they find their shells? Some must be from the sea, but what a long way to travel when you’re that small! Some of them pick the most beautiful homes! Some are more reticent than others who like to pinch me when I pick them up. I just can’t help but want to look into their little home and at their weird pokey eyes, hard red crab legs and quivering antennae.

Hermit Carb
This guy was just not afraid of me at all!

One day I went out and saw two scrambling around right outside the cabana door. So the turkeys, chickens and I went to inspect them amidst the fallen mangos. In this video you get a sense of the scale of these hermit crabs in relation to the turkeys who look like huge dinosaurs tromping around. One of them looked just a like a rock moving around. What a strange and wondrous life it is to live in our own little nature show.

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Out and About: More Island Scenes

Posted by Cassie

I hope you enjoy some of these recent island scenes from our yard and out and about.

Pomorrosa mulberry surinam cherry
Some of the delicious produce we grow here at our place: pomarrosa (large pink pear-shaped fruit), mulberry (black berry) and Surinam cherry (little pumpkin looking fruit)

Horse and seaThis sort of captures a feeling of Rincón doesn’t it? Horse and sea

Bazooka jack BK
Britton with a house jack through the tropical gardens to the cabin

DAR Wok eventAt the WOK for a fun fundraiser for DAR, the animal rescue group

Bright green tree frog
Check out this awesome frog we saw against a restaurant window after a heavy rain!

Parrot in the tree close
A wild parrot up in a tree

Turkey mama and babies
Turkey mama and even more pavitos came out of the forest. We’re going to have to downsize on the number of turkeys as we are getting overrun!

Island scene fruit vendor
Roadside fruit vendor under a mango tree (and/or broken down truck ;-) )

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