Compost Barrel for Organic Veggies

We love being on our land and are looking forward to growing more veggies to supplement our limited income and put organic food in our tummies.  However, our soil has a few challenges from being planted with corn for who knows how long… several years or maybe even centuries.  It’s hard and compacted, full of rocks and not enough humus to encourage root growth.  We need some nutrients and humus (organic matter) added.  Letting it go wild for the past few years has helped and planting beans has certainly helped by adding nitrogen.

A few weeks back, Ana and I found a place nearby where we picked up a nice black barrel to make compost for our future veggie garden.  We also located a worm compost business and picked up a half kilo of worms for another bin we keep in the shaded side yard.  Using both of these devices, along with the first in-ground smaller food digester, we should have plenty of compost for our organic veggies.  Fortunately, Luci kept some organic seeds in her fridge that I brought to her a few years back so we now have some winter starts growing.  Woot!

I cleared the side yard off the kitchen with the scythe and raked the cuttings off to the side, then laid down flattened cardboard that we picked up in Etzatlan.  On top of the cardboard, we put dried corn stalks.  Tomorrow and the next day, we will cover it all with dirt mixed with worm castings and water well.  That should hold the plant starts and then I will surround it by chicken wire so our little chicken tractors will not gobble them up.  I have no clue if garlic will winter over here but I am going to try growing some.

The pic below is of Ana’s great nephew, Angel, helping to build the compost barrel.  Nice job!



A small part of the yard for veggies, will add more later.  On top of hard ground, cardboard and then corn stalks.



Momma chicken with her 3 babies running by


Bananas and Chickens!

We completed the chicken coop, where our new chickens will spend the night safe and sound.  Ana found a person in the nearby town of San Marcos, who was willing to sell her some chickens but part of the deal was to help catch them.  Between the 2 owners, Ana and their dog Zorro, 4 adult females and 3 baby chicks where caught and purchased.

The next day, we had our first egg which was really a surprize as we were warned the hens would not be laying eggs for at least 8-9 days since moving to a new place would be stressful.  They are settled in and we look forward to fresh eggs in the future.

One of the 5 bunches of bananas also started ripening up so we harvested in and now it’s hanging in the kitchen where it will ripen up a few at a time.  Yummy…the chickens also love bananas to snack on.

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Tragedy Strikes Oconahua

The peaceful calm of this quaint town was sadly broken a few days ago as a tragic situation hit Oconahua.  I do not know the complete details or the people involved but 3 of the town’s young men were killed outside of town in a field where one of them kept the family cattle.  The rumors are flying and the latest thought is one of the young men was involved in selling drugs and the other 2 in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Perhaps one day the truth will emerge but the tragedy has happened; 3 young lives have ended far too soon.  Families are in shock and grieving and the town, this small quaint town is forever altered.

I am sad for all of us here…..the reality of drug use is this; death and destruction.  For me, there is no innocent involvement in the use of illegal drugs.

Legal in Mexico!

IMG_2938It finally happened; I got my “green card”, or as others call it, “Residencia Temporal”.  After going through the intial screening process via the Mexican Embassy in Seattle, I completed the process in Guadalajara to obtain my legal status to stay in Mexico legally for  one year.  I will update next July for another year…need to do that for 5 years total and then apply for “Residencia Permanente” which is renewed each 10 years.

I see the difference between how easy it is for me to apply to live in Mexico versus how difficult, nearly impossible, for Mexican citizens to apply to live in the USA.  Fair?  I think not.  Pic is of Ana, Luci and me at the INM in Guadalajara.


Harvesting Corn

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Today Ana’s mother came to the house (actually Ana put her in the truck and made her come “visit”) and she wanted to see if any of the corn was ready for harvest.  Currently we have 3 kinds of corn planted all over the property except for the front yard, which is planted with beans.  I have not looked for fresh corn to eat as it’s not really that kind of corn like we get in the states…it’s not the typical sweet variety, rather, it’s corn you normally dry and use for tortillas, tamales and pozole (sort of like hominy).  We will be harvesting over the next few months and drying it for later use.

Folks here in Oconahua like to use the young corn to boil or grill for eating but I find it a bit tough to chew….Ana’s mother (Monica), found some in the yard that she likes so Ana is boiling some for her now.  All organic!