28 November 2013

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The big news on the farm is that Austin started harvesting his first crop of cashews, he has maybe 100 in all, and the nuts will mostly be used for planting.   You can see the black shell over the nut at the top, and the fleshy fruit underneath.   The shell itself is toxic and has to be carefully removed before the nut is eaten.  Most fruits have their seeds on the inside, a few like strawberries have their seeds on the outside – but cashews are the only ones I know with the seeds on top.
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Akka roasted a few of the nuts and they tasted more like chestnuts than cashews, maybe because they had not been dried.  A guest here told us that in parts of Africa they make a nice beverage of cashew fruit, so we tried eating the fruit, too.  All I can say is those Africans must really like kissing, because the fruit, though sweet, is really astringent, like persimmons.  Just eat some cashew fruit and pucker up, Darling!
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FIRST SIGHTING
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I saw my first green skink at the farm.  Green skinks were the most common lizard I remember from growing up in the NC mountains.  Almost all the skinks here are brown and striped, many have blue tails.   Below is a brown skink that Akka caught on camera a few years ago.
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Skinks run along the ground and can climb trees, but the do not have sticky pad toes and do not climb walls and ceilings like geckos do.  We didn’t have geckos in North Carolina.  They were a big surprise to me when we moved to the tropics.
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VIEW FROM THE KiTCHEN
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I thought you might like a before and after of some burn marks.  The new grass comes in so green, and the line of the burn will be apparent for many years.   If it were not for the burning, the grassy hills would all be wooded hills.
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INTRODUCING ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY
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This is a photo of the terraces Austin had made on our hill back in August 2011.  So many hills around here and nobody had done terracing before.   We were thrilled that the drainage worked so well on them through many rainstorms.  We’ve grown ginger and chillies on them.  We may put papayas on them next.
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These are the terraces today.   You can see a few small lemon trees growing.  Austin is so proud of his terraces.  He says that they will still be discernible for hundreds of years – and with maintenance, they can be productive for a thousand years or more.
 
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KIND NEIGHBOR
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Awhile back I was walking on a path across my neighbor’s land and I saw wild amaranth (local name moca – “motha”). I wondered if he would mind me picking some since it is just an edible weed here and I was really hungry for green vegetables.   This is the kind of thing I think of but don’t do anything about – and I didn’t say anything to anybody.   An hour later when I was walking home along the same path, my neighbor came out to greet me with this…
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… a big bag of Chinese cabbage from his garden.   What a kind neighbor.  I love living here.
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NOTE:  I had computer trouble this week and could not read the card to my camera.  Except for cashews, all the photos are from earlier weeks.  The little green skink was borrowed from Google Images.   With luck I’ll be back to current photos next week.
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