Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Plants and nuts

Mike and I have always liked to play in the dirt, no matter what State we moved to, we'd learn the climate and the native plants. We loved to plant things we'd not been able to grow before, and missed things we'd left behind, but always looked forward to the "next season". This season of Ecuador is no different, while in the Crucita house, we took cuttings and tried to start new things to bring to the San Alejo house, all 6-8 cuttings of plumaria have thrived, the oleander did not. When we arrived at the San Alejo house in August we REALLY wanted to spend all kinds of money for dirt and plants, but we just couldn't. We had much more important things to attend to, so here it is November, and finally we have some money to put towards the yard.

We asked around, and found Sosote to be THE place for plants. We made plans with friends who drive for a Saturday excursion to the nursery, they'd been before so knew right where to start and we were in heaven!

We had to show restraint for the getting it home factor, but it sure was fun, like kids in a candy store! We bought 2 bougainvillea for the house (paid for by Dave the landlord) three for us ( planting in pots) monster flower hibiscus, have not seen these flower yet, but she kept saying grande, grande so I'm sure they will have blooms the size of salad plates, one orange, one red we think. Nice size geraniums for $1.50 each, some things suitable for houseplants, palms and elephant ear and a sprinkling of filler, all for about $100!! At Home Depot or Lowes, it would have been three times that! It was really amazing that we got it all in a sedan.

This is only half of the bounty. Couldn't get to planting right away, since it wasn't all going in the ground, but on Sunday at the Charapoto market I found some big plastic tubs that worked great, big tubs were $5 smaller oblong ones $2.50. After a rainy morning dried up I got busy and here's the outcome.

We paid a little extra for the above bougainvillea, as they were pretty special, definatly worth the $6.67 I paid, getting 3/$20. Will check back with them for the "regular " ones at $4 each, buy a couple more for the house, to get them established for Dave.

Now for the nuts! Just up the road from Sosote, is Tagua. Tagua is a nut, it's carved into jewelry and knick knacks and used as beads.  Tagua nut, also know as vegetable ivory, is the seed of a tree similar to a palm but botanically not belonging to the palmaceus but to the ciclantaceus. Its scientific name is Phytelephas Aequatorialis. Tagua grows in the tropical rainforests of some South American countries, mainly Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, being Ecuador the country that fulfills most of the world’s demand. 

Here's a garage next to one of the retail store where they have dyed them and letting them dry. Everyone inside the retail shops were busy stringing or carving nuts. Sorting them, polishing them, busy, busy.

I bought single beads for .03 cents each to make Veronica a necklace, also got a V pendant. Two pair of earrings for $1 each, why didn't I get every color? I've been with NO jewelry, but life is much more casual. Anyway, necklaces were very cheap, earring sets and bracelets $3-5 amazing! 

Great day! Such a lot to look at in this small little country! We are really enjoying calling Ecuador home, the house is certainly becoming more what we are used to, and our life is becoming more of what we'd hoped. Daily walks on the beach, shell hunting, plans for art projects, sewing projects, getting our hands dirty, finding the best nursery, jewelry making for me and Veronica, special friends, great weather and good food.

What more could we ask for? Life is good, stay tuned the adventure continues!

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