Saturday, June 30, 2012

Forever House #11: Our Garden

...our journey to rent free living, all the entertainment minus the headaches.

A plus side of taking this long to build a house is that we will have a very mature yard when we move in. No muddy swamp for us!

We have been looking forward to having a large garden on our forever house land. A couple weeks ago this is what our yard looked like:
Now it looks like this:
Rainy season started so everything took off!

In the boxes we have watermelon, green beens, yellow squash, brussels sprouts, pumpkins, okra, peas, collards, basil, and jalapeños. 

Here is one of our pumpkins: 

Jonah and Silas planted several seeds with Daddy. This is them seeing their sprouted seeds for the first time!
They were thrilled! They talk about our garden and how God makes the seeds grow. This is very educational for them. 
{Silas with a green bean}
They are very proud of the veggies they grow!

We haven't ever found yellow squash here. Our plants have really started producing! We have had squash casserole twice already and even took a bag full to a friend. It's "all you can eat"! I'm so thankful, I have really missed it. 

This is Silas' go to face when I tell him to smile for a photo:
"What... Mommy wants a picture?!"
"We think we are hilarious!"
So far Jimmy and the boys have 5 boxes this size going. The 4 above sit right outside our school room/playroom.
{This one is right outside my laundry room}
The 2 trees in the photo at the top are mandarine orange trees. If you remember we planted them on our wedding anniversary 2 years ago along with some avocado trees. Unfortunately the avocado trees didn't make it, but we already have some mandarin oranges growing!

Now before you see the rest of these photos, I have to tell you that Jimmy worked very hard landscaping around our entire wall. He laid river rock in a curved, organic looking border along the wall, planted some small plants out of the jungle randomly inside the border, and then laid down newspaper around the plants to keep weeds from growing. This took a lot of time. After he was finished he asked a worker to wheelbarrow in the white gravel and dump on top of the newspaper. After getting him started Jimmy left our house and headed to the institute land to work on stuff, not to return until the next day. Well, the wheelbarrow guy decided to move every single river rock that Jimmy laid closer to the wall and then dump the gravel all over them and the grass in front. Why he would do more work of moving river rock that no one asked him to do we don't know. Anyway now there is a nice dead pack of grass along our border where the rocks used to be and gravel everywhere. Jimmy will have to move them all again. He is looking forward to having everyone out of his yard! Anyway, so that is why these rocks look messy. 
{Cocoa tree}
Jimmy just recently planted a Cocoa tree... you know, where chocolate comes from! This might be fun to experiment with. We just happen to live in the very small region of the world where these actually grow. 

 We also have 2 Mango trees! They are Tommy Mangos, so they produce large almost volleyball size mangos.   
{Mango tree}
This was that same spot above back in February:
 Domingo gave us some sugar cane! It is in the photo below, on the right.
{Sugar Cane}
{Dwarf Coconut tree}
We have 2 Dwarf Coconut trees! We love smoothies made with coconut water, so this will be very beneficial soon. We also have one banana tree, but those spread out pretty quickly. 
{Coffee plant}

This is our Coffee plant from Huehuetenango that we have had for several years. It is slowly coming back after being replanted. It's full of berries!

Growing your own food gives you common ground with the people around here. It's an instant way for them to be able to relate. Giving away something you have grown yourself is a sign of friendship. We often get gifts from friends' harvest, now we have gifts we can give them! 

Beyond gardening here are some other yard updates. 
Jimmy planted these palms back in September:
This is what they look like now:
Not ready for hammocks to be hung yet, but getting there!
My old potted plants are filling in fast now that they are in the ground. Here are some Birds of Paradise. 
We have lots of flowering plants that will soon be cascading over our wall.
These below are Bugambilias. It is a very popular plant here. We have about 7 or 8 of them scattered around. Jimmy hates them... probably one of the few people on the planet who does, so I had to fight for them. They are gorgeous when they get big if you groom them properly. We have white, burgundy, yellow, and orange. You buy them when they're small, so sometimes you can't tell what color they are right away. 
Not bad considering we started off with an okra field!
{Photo from  July 2011}
We have good dirt!

Tonight for supper our homegrown sides are fried okra and french cut green beans!

We are very thankful for our yard and for the time we have already enjoyed together there as a family!

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