Friday, 29 February 2008

Small Farms

Farms in Costa Rica grow many different things compared to our farm at home.

These are Tilapia fish imported from Africa and are closely contained so they don't escape and take over the wide fish stocks. They are grown strictly for consumption by the family.

Bananas and plantains and the tress on which they are grown

Bananas have black stems and plantains are more green (the banana tree is the top picture.





and yellow sugar cane

A Macadamia tree and the nuts and blossoms below.

A tangerine/lime cross, tho' I can't remember what it is named.

These tomatoes and cabbages look somwhat familiar...

But I have never seen Holstein oxen, especially ones with such a fancy yoke!

What Goes Into a Cuppa Joe

Every wonder why coffee is so expensive?

First, you have your coffee trees.

Replacement trees of various sizes....

The coffee beans in various stages of readiness. Note the green beans as well as the different shades of red.

The beans are picked by hand into the basket shown here. Several passes through the trees are done to pick the beans as they ripen. A really good bean picker (that means he/she is fast and picks clean with no leaves, sticks or green beans) will be paid about 1,000 colones (~$2) a basket. The average picker can pick 6 - 7 baskets a day.

The beans are then put in the hopper of a machine that separates the casing from the beans themselves.

The red hopper in the picure above is on the top of the picture toward the left and the roller in the picture that follows is lower toward the right.

This machine takes the casing off the beans and separates the two.

Here the beans and casings go their separate ways. The casings wind up as compost for the trees.

These are the beans 'newly released' from the casing.

The beans are then placed on racks to dry

Once dry, the beans are place in another machine where they are separated from the inner lining, or parchment.

The parchment is either used as compost or turned into paper that is made into bags in which the beans are sold.

The coffee is roasted.......
cooled and then quickly packaged to preserve the aroma.
And sold to the tourists as well as being shipped to other markets.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Warm and Lush and GREEN!

I just looked outside and there is still an awful lot of snow.
So, for winter weary eyes, here are some shots of green. Some pictures will no doubt appear again in future blogs.


The roads in Costa Rica are interesting.

Example 1: Some roads are paved but they are relatively new and confined to the extreme touristy areas. I didn't feel they warranted a picture.

Example 2: This is not a dry stream bed. This is an example of most of the roads. It tends to cut down on speeders and the number of gears required in any given vehicle. (Reverse, 1st and 2nd are all that are really used on this type of road).

Example 3: What can I say. This one is largely composed of tree roots. I suppose one would only need one forward and one reverse gear for this type of road tho' since I don't know if we ever drove on one, I shouldn't be saying that. It may be less rough than the 'gravelled' road.Extreme care must be taken when going around corners (and there are many of them) as one tends to drive on the 'smoothest' part of the road irrelevant of whether you are on the 'right' side or not.
I guess our bumpy roads and streets are pretty good by comparison.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my...

Not to mention


and ants

a frog

a butterfly

a salamander
a moth

a bird that is cousin to a Quetzal a rainbow boa

Many different types of crabs

an iguana

& a tarantula.