Thursday, August 30, 2007

2007 coffee crop at the house

Two of the biggest smiles around are the ones we crack each time we arrive at the house in Coatepec and see the two coffee plants that are in the small courtyard alongside the roadway. They were planted in 1999 after we bought the house. While Michele was in Australia for a few weeks Roberto and I went over to the house to start the ongoing job of making it habitable. This house had never been completed, had been abandoned for almost 20 years. Vines were growing inside, entering via broken windows. Starting work on the house, Roberto suggested beginning with a small garden. I said I wanted to plant some coffee, so we foun some coffee plants.

Turns out the plants were robusta, which like sun. Most coffee, I believe, thrives in shade. Certainly, arabica does, hence all the trees on the finca. Anyway, these sunloving robusta plants were immediately inside a 12 foot high wall. Sp to get the sun they first had to grow their lowest branches to higher than most robusta trees would ever get to be. They are now at the level of the power lines and are fully two storeys high. I am biased, of course, but they are brilliant plants. They are trees, in fact. And this year they have a stunning crop.

On this recent trip we had to use poles and ropes to lift the laden branches and then secure them -- using chain threaded through plastic hosing and then secured to the ironwork above the wall. This got the trees looking like properly shaped and formed trees again.

Don Antonio will have to prune them after this next crop. Meanwhile, they will remain the stuff of neighbourhood legend -- the gringo's coffee plants that reach to the sky.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bottle Cove: Moods and shelter

We have just returned from 3 wonderful weeks at the Cove. The weather was patchy and outside work on the cottage was curtailed. This meant that progress was slow in putting on the wooden siding. We kept holding off for photo opportunities. Right at the end of the trip the weather smartened up a bit and some progress was made. By no means complete, but at least we get a sense of what the finish will look like.

Early on the barn got another lick of paint.

Meanwhile, the Cove played out a full range of moods, some of which we recorded.

And the immediate environs were as funky as ever.