Wednesday, August 27, 2008

PR Birdwatchers paradise

At 5:30 all the puerto rican tortulas are flying around. Is this really the dark pigeon that some people eat? What's that little bird with the red legs? I wish some birdwatchers were here. They explain it all to me. "See that bird over there? He's going to the nest that the other one just left?" Birdwatchers know it all...they spot all the birds and know all the chismes (gossip).

The guaraguayos (hawks) are circling. I hope they're not eying the chicks crossing the road. The pitirris are swooping down at Puppy (our dog), but he doesn't seem to mind. Hey...the hummingbirds are making holes in the bananas! Are those finches in that plant?

Our birdwatching visitors have spotted alot of birds at TJ Ranch, but so far no one has been able to locate the screech owls. Can you?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

B&B Special

So what do you do when you have 2 of these lying around? We have banana muffins, banana bread, smoothies, and banana ice cream. I'm out of cream but tomorrow I may try a 2% banana 'cream' pie. Any ideas would be appreciated. We're at the end of our cucumbers (must get a rhythm to keep a continuous crop) and something seems to have eaten our summer squash, but our loofahs are doing great (summer must be the time)
and our herbs are fine. I'm thinking of trying hydroponic tomatoes. I haven't started researching this, but if anyone knows anything about it, let me know.
Yes...we have bananas!!!
In November we'll have fresh orange juice everyday and looking into orange recipes. Come for breakfast ....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

La Broca or Uh oh for the coffee this year

Yesterday ASDA (the department of agriculture) came to spray our coffee for "broca." Broca is an insect smaller than the head of a needle. It attacks the coffee bean from the tip and eats all the way inside. Broca is the main coffee disease throughout the world. Google it and it pops up in Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, etc. Last year Puerto Rico had it in the areas of San Sebastian and Yauco but we never had it in the Arecibo/Utuado area. We had expected to trim our coffee trees after last years' harvest, but waited too long. Once the trees flowered we decided to harvest this year and then cut. The trees looked healthy...full of green leaves but didn't seem to have many beans. Usually that's because they're too tall and bushy and the sun can't get in...maybe this year it was the 'broca'....although don't think the bugs come until there's fruit.

So..our trees have been sprayed with an organic mixture of pepper something and now we're making traps....the next line of defense against this pest. We've been told not to let any ripe grains fall to the ground because infestation can occur on the ground. Basically impossible to avoid that happening. We plan to harvest the little coffee that we have and then chop it way back. We'll dry the coffee to sell it. We've been told that there are few places buying ripe coffee this year and that the ones who are buying it are throwing the coffee in water and paying for the beans that sink. The floaters are damaged. For the already suffering agriculture industry in Puerto Rico this is truly a set back.

If you're driving through coffee country and see empty soda bottles hanging in the coffee plantations, you'll know they're trapping broca there. We'll have ours hanging soon although it's not til after the flowering when you really want to trap them. I guess they'll be a permanent part of our coffee landscape. I'll take a picture once we have them up.

Coffee season for us is usually from the end of Sept. to Nov. so come to TJ Ranch and try your hand at picking coffee.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 1- Welcome to TJ Ranch

Hi everyone....welcome to TJ Ranch's blog. We'll be talking about everything from the "broca" coffee epidemic, the north shore surf report, to Tony's famous recipes, old and new. Let me see if and how this thing works and I'll catch you later.