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About a month late, the rainy season has arrived.  Thank goodness.   Now we can start two important jobs.  Planting new baby plants and feeding the mature plants to preserve the small fruits.

With all the draught stress induced flowering, we have lots of little green berries starting to swell on the plants that require food to keep growing.  Feeding is easiest through the roots and for that you need moist soil.  At last, we can feed our plants and start plumping those cherries.

 
 
Nothing to do with coffee but something I just had to share.   All our eggs have gone.  The best part of half a million eggs left Boquete to go East.  They have gone to Panama City ready for the start of school.  Children in the city have toast, eggs, and milk for breakfast before school.  Apparently this is the ultimate breakfast - not sure what is wrong with porridge.   Fortuantely, they don't eat double yokes so there were a few jumbos left for me.


 
 
We are suffering a severe drought.   This is the driest dry season in living memory.  It is very bad news for the baby plants and we are struggling to irrigate them.  However, as is usually true it is not all bad.  Stress brings on large quantities of flowers and right now my plants are full of buds.  Even one year old plants have buds.  Some 2.5 yr old tipica has flowers and the old bushes are laden.  It will be a good yielding year if we can keep the fungus at bay.  Now waiting for rain that will turn these buds into flowers.
 
 
The little rescue dog very pleased to see me, work wise not so much happens here over the holidays......

 In the garden we are waiting for the full moon to prune the roses.    

In the stables, it is all been about how to keep the horses feet dry and mould free.   Tomorrow, we start working on getting them fit for long rides in the dry season.

Good work on the coffee, most of it in storage now resting, just two more picks to go.   The wives, mothers and aunts of our workers have been visiting for the holidays and they are going to go out and get some coffee tomorrow. 

A slow end to the year.

 

 
 
Welcome to the new colonies, ten little bee houses or nucs.  Healthy little families ready to grow.

Good luck to the older colony trying to breed a new queen, I agree you need one.   

Lots of baby bee cells in the older colonies.  Domed drone cells - those are the boy bees.   Plenty of regular brood cells to bring us lots of good little workers - those are the girl bees.  

Hoping nobody swarms.  This is where the breeding business gets a bit tricky.

 
 
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Today, a euphonia; Yesterday a baby humming bird.   

More than the usual number of birds flying into the house. It is a seasonal thing,  they were born in the rainy season, young and in-experienced.

 
 
Today, I found a very fancy set of keys in the tack room door.   In addition to the usual keys for the tack room and the feed store, tool lock up and the workers housing was a very fancy set of car keys complete with automatic door opening/alarm controls.

No need to panic.  Our Indigenous worker had not hijacked a car, nor was he planning to.  He just found them in a ditch at the weekend and thought they looked pretty nice and it is quite a status thing having car keys on your key chain.

Anyone missing a set of hyundai keys found on the alto lino road somewhere in a ditch.  Let me know.
 
 
We have our little pulper working hard; the wheel barrows full of coffee, the greenhouse stacked with drying racks.    It is now peak harvest here on this little farm.
 
 
Much to my surprise and amusement, have discovered the costume police.    Here in Panama, the ladies who sew costumes, iron skirts and thread hair ornaments have a strict operational code.  No deviations allowed.

Where I am from somethings about our national dress are rigid - other rules are there to be broken, to allow some individual expression.   This week, I discovered the boundaries up here in the hills and they were not at all what I expected.   

First requests seemed fairly harmless.  We add colored cummerbunds over kilts, helps a lot - covers a multitude of problems.   My newly made to measure beautiful white frilly blouse they wear here over the big skirts made me look like a sausage.  It was not fitted at the waist and in my opinion ended at a rather unflattering length on the upper hip.     

The suggestion to remedy this with a matching ribbon round the waist was met with a surprisingly forceful negative from not one but two local seamstresses.   Did manage to get them to shorten the blouse by about 3-4 inches so it sits at the waist and we were allowed to add a few darts so it goes in and out a bit.  Much better.   

Second up, the hair thingies.   I thought it would be nice to have a mixture of white and pale blue to match my skirt.  Oh nooooooo, white or multi colored - those are the choices.    The ladies who string the pearls are very sure about this.   No one will slip through that net either.

So tomorrow the parades start with Independence Day from Columbia; Sunday Flag day.  Both are parade days.  We think Sunday is the big day but being the troopers we are, we are planning on supporting both.    Here we go......the start of many many days marching, hopefully not in the rain.
 
 
In this country, often challenged by forward planning, getting ready for the November holidays seems to be a notable exception.  In the land where just about everything is delayed, holidays never are - they always happen on time.   Panamanians are deadly serious when it comes to getting ready for a big noisy party.

Every morning the streets are blocked by the practicing marching bands.   There are drums and xylophones in taxis, sitting at the super market checkouts and waiting at bus stops.    There are young men practicing bugle calls when you least expect to hear them, mostly on evenings and weekends.  Unfamiliar with these customs and in the sleepy early mornings or late at night, I have found myself for a split second thinking there was a fox hunt nearby or civil war re-inactment in town.  In fact it was little Johnny (Juanito) up the street practicing.

We are not exempt.  We have being doing a bit of practicing all of our own.  In our case it is all about the hair arrangements. Unlike everyone else in this town we don't know how to put in the hair ornaments which consist of 28 pearl ornaments and three gold combs.    One of Beatrice's school friends aunt makes them and today she came to vist and we got our brand new set.  Big thank you to Tia Lourdes, we are very happy with our new look.

They are made to symbolize different animals such as turkeys, butterflies, scorpions and any number of different types of flowers.    There is a technique and an order to it, Tia Lourdes has even made a video to explain the process.  You start with the combs and stack the rest in from there, use an awful lot of hair spray and plenty of bobby pins.  

We will be ready, yes we will.