Monday, July 6, 2020

Day 107

Day 107 of the coronavirus restrictions.

Planting sweet potato cuttings, also tomato and corn
Hot sunny days [up to 95˚ or so in the house] and cooler nights [down in the 70's] Most nights this week with at least a brief thunder shower makes for rapidly growing trees and plants.

Last week with the airport opening we started to hear and see more jets flying overhead but not as many as before.

Other restrictions remain in place as the number of cases continue to increase.

We may do a blog someday of the cool reef fossils here at 4,500' elevation
The guys weeded and fertilized trees, and made a terrace above the first part of the path that leads from the house to the other ridge.

Cory found a fossilized shark's tooth. The guys say there are lots in some areas, we will see if they bring any.

The local beans are being harvested to sell fresh-shelled without drying.

Fritz and I finished up month number two of fourth grade.

We celebrated along with our "family night" roasting hot dogs.

Black and butter beans and some of the plants they came from
I think the Fritz collects a new monarch caterpillar every time he collects food for the rest of them.

We continue to enjoy releasing the butterflies.

For the 4th we enjoyed some small ears of sweet corn and vanilla puddling pie with berries.

We'd collected and froze strawberries, mulberries, and blackberries for a week or add a bit of flavor.

Count changes daily: losses, additions, crysalises.
Sunday we enjoyed listening to a sermon by my brother and talked on the phone to our older two.

We remain very thankful for our in-house internet. 

Unplugging during most thunderstorms as we pray not to lose any equipment. 

Seen a few rainbows to the east. 

Always reminding us of the Lord's faithfulness to His promises. 

So much pain the world.

So many hurting people: physically, mentally, emotionally. 

So much fear, anger, hopelessness.

So many needing to be comforted with the Lord's love, through His people.

So many voices, crying loudly: this and that; for and against; one thing now and then another, constantly changing 'facts', swirling confusion.

So many tired, hurting people

 Pslam 40: 1-5, 11-12, 17

Thunderheads over the fort and coffee plantation ruins
I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, 

out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in  my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust,
who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things You planned for us
no one can recount to You;
Were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. 

Do no withhold Your mercy from me,
O Lord;
may Your love and Your truth always
 protect me
For troubles without number surround me,
my sinus have overtaken me, and I cannot see

Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.

You are my help and my deliverer,
O my God, do not delay. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Garden Update by Cory. Lots of photos!

Sahara dust June 23
Still on the dry side here due to the Sahara dust.

We had one good rain last week and mostly sunny days so the gardens and trees continue to grow very well.

The local corn looks good but the beans are spotty from the drought.

They also suffer from leaf diseases at this altitude even with the sunnier than normal weather.

Some of the beans are close to harvest time and they should bring a good price.
Hawaiian super sweet corn on pile of dirt with sweet potato
Our workers said "This isn't like our corn"

Our workers told me last week that prices jumped so much in the market for the main foods that some of the village merchants returned without buying because they didn't have enough money.

During the first and thickest wave of dust our solar panels only gave about 70% mid-day but there are fewer clouds so we have plenty of electricity.

Decent yield for small plants
The dust looks thick down to sea level.

While most of the fruit trees will need a few years to fruit, it is good to be harvesting zucchini, chayote, broccoli, turnips, mulberries, strawberries.

Tomatoes are almost ready.

I thought our sweet corn was doomed due to being planted before the rainy season on a dirt pile which was hard to water (so I neglected them a bit) during the extended dry season.

Despite being very small plants they produced fairly well.

Trees with squash are still growing well

Lightning strike fried bushes on hillside lower than our house!

Grape tomato and broccoli

Bok Choy, mustard and turnips.

Big sweet mustard and 1/2 inch tall tiny leaf lettuce same age

Corn and bean garden next to our property

View toward the village
I doubt star fruit will do well in many areas on the mountain top since they don't do well with wind but it is worth a try and I have planted some in sheltered spots.
Star fruit in back yard, north Haiti a few years ago

It was so popular we never could produce enough trees in the nursery.

The trees looked like this several times per year and often still had blooms while ripening fruit.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Day 92. Summer starts.

Start of month 4 of Covid-19 restrictions, start of summer.

We visited our neighbors yesterday the first time in three months.

First time in months for Fritz and I to go past the fence and in a vehicle.

Agricultural pond is full and Fritz enjoyed taking a dip.

Plants, trees and weeds all growing.

Cory still planting seeds and trees 6 days a week.

More stone work done: front stairs and back floor work.

School work.

Hatched a baby lizard from an egg Cory found.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Garden Update by Cory

I am enjoying having terraces built, planting the newly made terrace gardens, and planting out fruit trees.

We have had good sunny days and enough rain so the local corn and beans are growing well.

We also worked on rock steps for the path around the back of our house.

 Many of the trees being planted also get a couple squash seeds in the planting hole. The tree and the squash get fertilizer and since phosphorus is the limiting mineral in most of the local soil, the trees should benefit in the long run from the residual phosphorus. Rain will probably be excessive now through October.

Since most trees we are planting take a few years to produce, I will start to include some photos from Port Margot to show what future harvests could look like.
A few years ago we started making an effort to take a photo each month of the fruits in season on the mission property. In the photo above, left to right, back row: squash, black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit), coconut, 2nd row from back: mango, atemoya, cacao, avocado, biriba (rollinia) unripe canistel (eggfruit). 3rd from back: 3 types of banana, star fruit, slice of breadfruit. 4th row: bilimbi, peach palm fruits, sapodilla. Front row: breadnuts, bird peppers, 2 barbados cherries (acerola, commercial source of vitamin C) miracle fruit, unusual passion fruit (sweet with floral taste).
Black Sapote

Cherimoya. This and sugar apple hybridized produce atemoya.
 Cherimoya is the best but needs some altitude to grow well in the tropics.

Egg fruit. Very sweet, makes excellent smoothies. Rich in vitamins and is
 filling, twice the calories of mango, a plus where hunger is common. 

Egg fruit


Peach Palms

More to post in the future.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Day 77. 11 Weeks and counting...

Thankfully good rains continued this week.

The daily sunshine added to the moisture equates to rapid growth of trees, veggies and unfortunately weeds.

By working a few mornings a week weeding while Fritz sits nearby doing schoolwork I'm keeping up with the original and kitchen terraces.

Will see next week when the pond terraces need weeding if I can continue the pace.

The guys and Cory continued to work on the terraces, add rock walls, move dirt, and plant.

As we start week 12 of Covid restrictions [with at least 6.5 to go unless something changes], Haiti's case numbers are rapidly increasing.

Our travel plans to head to the USA for our Global Partner's area retreat in July and then on to see Eli, Anna and family no longer exist.

A therapeutic activity for me includes organizing and getting rid of things.

This week I felt the need for something different than just school and weeding and realized a neglected small room could provide an outlet.

Destined in time to be a guest bathroom, this room contained a pile of tools, tile, and stuff.

Never has it been swept, cleaned or organized. Once the interior non-shower walls were painted the room became a catch-all.

A second stroke of genius occurred when I realized that the shelving and milk crates full of tools next to the kitchen ship-lap wall could be moved.

With Cory's help by the end of Monday night the tools were either in the small bath or the storage room.

The cleared, uncluttered wall makes me smile, as does the knowledge of how much easier it will be to clean!

It reminds me how the Lord can turn chaos into order. He can provide peace in the middle of uncertainty. Calm in the midst of turmoil.

The unknowns of COVID-19 in Haiti remain.

The mixture of sorrow, anger, frustration and more...that comes from reading about the racial and political tensions in the USA- remain.

The helplessness in the face of so many hungry, suffering people in Haiti and the world-remains.

Our faith in God-remains.

Our praise, giving Him the glory, honor, gratefulness that  He deserves-remains.

Our hope- remains in Him.

Our prayers rise to Him.

Remain firm in Him. Courage!