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Our Blog

Breaking new ground.

It feels so good to have started work. Even though they are only small parts in a much larger plan the first steps have been taken. We have worked through the rigmarole of hiring workers, working out pay and schedules, we even have a supervisor and an architect (not licensed).

After about a week and a half of manual labour we (they with our supervision) have managed to construct a simple bahay kubo (a rest/picnic hut of sorts), a woven bamboo fence around our property and cut some steps into the hillside.

 

We are learning the ropes of book-keeping and staff management. All out goings at the moment, its eye-opening to see how fast it is possible to spend money. It doesn’t seem to matter how carefully you plan new costs crop up all the time. Sometimes small amounts like having to pay 0.05p per bucket of sand and sometimes much larger over a £1,000 for a water tank (of which we need two..). Highs and lows come and go reminiscent of the waves we sit and watch from our cottage.
Learning new skills and trying to remember forgotten ones keep us busy. whether it’s trying to work out the surface area of a trapezoid shaped piece of land or the volume of a cylinder for gauging water filling our well. Who knew there was more to math then what you can do on a calculator watch.

We have a small garden growing, it’s currently contained in old sardine cans and used sprite bottles. We’re looking forward to the day we can plant them.

Rainy season is fast approaching. Dark clouds loom on the horizon. The first rains have already fallen, it will be a race against time to get the foundations in. Stay tuned.

 Henry David Thoreau

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

The Cashew Nut Story (part I)

The land that we have bought is formerly part of a cashew nut plantation and within our plot of land we have around 100 bearing trees. It’s a big export for the island and a good source of income for the people during wet season as they can keep for up to 2 years. We are going to do our best to keep as many of the trees as possible so we needed to look at how to harvest them.

For some reason I was under the impression that cashew nuts grew under the ground, I have no idea why but I certainly didn’t expect to see them hanging from a tree on what looks like a pear. The trees continue to bear fruit all year round but the best time to harvest is during dry season.

 

Once ripe the cashew nut shell can be easily separated from the cashew apple, a simple twist and then the shell is free. This then needs to be dried in the sun for a couple of days, the nut remains inside the shell as it is surrounded by a toxic black liquid that can burn the skin.

The apple can then be mixed with sugar (as its slightly acidic) and made into a fruit juice or perhaps a cider, which is another project altogether.

Part II will cover the roasting and shelling of the cashews so stay tuned folks.