A Cotton Plant and the Ceibo Trees in San Clemente

While out walking I came across a cotton bush two streets over from our home. It does not look like the cotton plants that you see while driving through the southern states in the US but that is exactly what it is.  This plant was about 8 feet tall and covered with little puffs of cotton.

San Clemente 9.11.2013 021

San Clemente 9.11.2013 023Above is an unopened pod.

While out with Max visiting the finca I made him stop as I saw yet another cotton bush. He thought it was the stuff found in the ceibo trees. But actually it was both the cotton from a real cotton plant as well as the fluff found on a ceiba tree.

San Clemente 12.31a.2013 002On the left is the ceibo pot and on the right is a cotton boll.  According to Max in the old days the cotton from the ceibo tree was used to stuff mattresses.The ceibo tree is protected in Ecuador,

Love to see nature up close like this. Now where’s my spinning wheel?

Building a Finca – Update

Back in December of last year our neighbors Ivan and Max allowed me to visit their finca and post about their work. See Building a Finca, December 1, 2012.  Max was kind enough to come by with some beautiful papaya from the farm and he took me back for an update.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 045Joe and Max are examining the bounty on this one type of papaya. Different varieties of papaya have been planted to see which variety is better suited to this climate. Max is experimenting with the Hawaiian Papayas as well as the locally grown variety. His focus has been fruit that has a high sugar content with low maintenance and water consumption. The papaya trees that have been planted are producing but the focus of the farm is the production of tamarind.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 064San Clemente 10.31.2013 035These tamarind trees were started from seeds and have grown to over three feet in less than a year in the ground. It is a beautiful property with spectacular views of the ocean from almost any spot.

As we were leaving Max jumped out of the car and put several huge squash in the back seat, the one he gave me made several squash breads that I shared with the neighbors.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 040Since my first visit electricity has been brought to the property, roads and planting fields have been cleared and construction has been started on the first all bamboo home.

Good luck, buena suerte!

Building a Finca

New neighbors moved in across the street from us a few months ago. Ivan, his son Ivan and his nephew Max have been working every day from before sunup to after sundown on their finca in San Clemente. This week Ivan took me to see their property.

The above tree is a Palo Santo, I could smell the beautiful aroma before Ivan told me what it was. This wood is dried for a year and sold in little sticks. These sticks are then set on fire and allowed to smoke. The smoke is pleasant smelling and mosquitoes do not like it one little bit. Max this could be a side business for the finca, selling Palo Santo to the locals.

The finca is 25 hectares located on the road leading to Bahia. The property is made up of beautiful sloping hills, gentle elevating drives leveling to pristine plateaus overlooking the beauty of the Pacific Ocean from the hills of Manta to the South up to the bluffs at the end of San Clemente to the North. One section sits between two huge Ceibo trees that has a 360 degree view of the entire area. Just breathtaking! One thing that absolute struck me was the wonderful breeze that kept us cool on our walk up to the top of one section of the property.

The ceibo trees are just amazing, they are huge, have so many crevasses that would make great hiding places were it not for the thorns like a rose-bush on its bark.

Now onto the Finca part, they are going to plant tamarind trees. Hundreds and hundreds of tamarind trees. So Max has the beginning of a green house all set up with table after table, bag after bag of seedlings.

Ivan also said that they will be planting all kinds of fruit trees. Just what I love, fresh fruit right from the tree. Life can’t get much better than that!