Weather has been bringing rain; perfect time to plant some trees!
Over the past few months, I have seen my coffee trees in bloom. Its flowers are very sweet smelling; like jasmine.
This time, I noticed three trees laden with ripe coffee beans!
Lucky I brought with me a small tub. I used this to contain the beans that I picked.
My method of harvesting was not delicate, I simply held to a bunch then brushed down along the branch to scrape the beans away. At times, a few branches were dismembered from the tree especially when the branch was packed with ripe fruit. It would have been more convenient if I had a tarp or some giant cloth placed under the tree so that the fruit which would fall off my hands can be collected; nonetheless, I was still able to get a substantial amount of beans.
The tub of coffee beans smelled of grass and earth; the smell of my weekend farm! It smelled like the sap of wild growth whenever I slashed them to clear an area or whenever I stepped on them! It smelled like the fresh earth whenever I dig a hole to plant a new tree!
I was so excited to start a coffee project but I just have a vague idea of what to do. I brought the beans back to the city to dry them out under then sun.
When the beans are completely dry, these need to be peeled or de-husked to get the coffee kernel. After which, the coffee kernels will be roasted; perhaps in a pan over a stove since I do not have roasting equipment. After roasting, these will be placed inside a food processor for grinding. After grinding the beans, I plan to place them in small pouches to give away to a few friends.
I hope this works. I’m really looking forward to sharing this!
I invited a few friends for picnic again.
From the previous picnic, I was convinced that I need to set-up temporary structures to make visits more comfortable. These will allow me to stay longer in the plot and accomplish more work.
By next year I want to build my bamboo hut! But for now, I want to set up a temporary shade area. I also want to make an outdoor shower of some sort so I can clean up before entering my car after working on the plot. I also need to build a toilet so the friends I invite can spend more time in the plot.
We had wine, cheese, some fancy dips and tapenades for brunch. It was hot. There were some ants.
I left my friends under the shade to check the water pipe. I was not present when they installed the pipes but I knew where they laid it. I needed to know what it looks like so I can progress with installing my outdoor shower.
I planned on replanting the pineapple in neat rows. I got help from a few friends who held the machete to slash some weedy patches. It was midday. We went back under the shade.
At 1pm it became cloudy. It began to drizzle. I brought with me around thirty orchid plants. I did not want to bring them home again. My friends helped me attach the plants to the coffee trees.
Drizzle became rain. The rain was as cold as cool drinking water. I told my friends, “I told you it’s cool here!”
How I wish I could watch the rain under a nice shade.
Clean up was not the goal for this visit. I just wanted to see the extent of the damage.
I wanted to check which of the few things I planted were damaged by the storm. I was expecting to see impassable roads and felled coconut trees.
Along with a few adventurous friends, some food, and wine; I brought a ground sheet and a shade cover for our make-shift picnic area.
I thought of sharing a story about cleaning up and re-planting after the storm, but I realized I have not started much yet.
Having looked at how the few plants I planted were faring, the land told me a different story.
The Phalaenopsis aphrodite that was attached to a coffee branch had three fresh sets of leaves and new roots firmly attached to the branch.
The Platycerium grande (Giant Stag’s-horn-fern) from Mindanao which I flimsily attached to a coconut managed to stay put despite the strong wind of the typhoon.
The Taiwanese olive tree has also sent out a robust set of new leaves. It was lucky that no tree or banana was felled on top of it.
It was not good news for some other plants.
This Vanda javierae, a native in the mountains of Nueva Viscaya, was struggling to survive in the lowlands of Quezon City. It was attached to this coffee tree a few weeks ago. Now, it finally dried up. Perhaps it really needs higher elevation or perhaps it was too weak when I planted it out here.
Despite being slightly uprooted, the 7-ft Yakal tree is thriving. With proper support, its roots can be given more time to set itself firmly on the ground.
Other then some felled banana trees and coconut saplings; it was this Tipolo tree that was the noticeable casualty of the storm.
Our picnic was pleasant but it could be more comfortable. Perhaps I could use that Antipolo tree to build a temporary shelter.
I found it March this year.
It was a compromise. My resources could only get me to as much. I had to risk getting a parcel of land with difficult documents. I wanted a cool-montane tropical climate at a location that is fairly easy to visit during weekends. I could have waited for a time when I would be more comfortable…but I want this to exist now.
I know that this is a kind of lifestyle I will be doing for the rest of my life.
This has been a private undertaking but I realize that there is a story to share.
I’m excited to allow my story to unfold here; whether, it will be just be very expensive learning experience due to failure or an opportunity for something great!