26 April 2013

Lemon grass edging

     About a year ago I dug up a large clump of lemon grass and divided it into much smaller plants.  I used these small plants to edge the 'avenida' leading to the house.   Here's what the grass looked like a couple of months after it was first planted.
        It turns out that lemon grass is one of the plants that thrive in the hot salt-laden air at False Bluff.  Each of the small plants I used as edging then, are themselves now big, fat clumps.   As landscape plants they are impressive in their hardiness in the Caribbean environment, the speed with which they grow, and the show they put on.
          And so the day after the new, short, no-wire fence was finished (see previous post) I began digging up and dividing other large clumps of lemon grass.   I didn't have to dig up the grass edging the 'avenida' to the house;  I had left several clumps to use later...and now was 'later.'
     Directly beneath the poles tied to, and between, the posts of the newly created fence I planted a small starter-plant of lemon grass that I pulled from the large clumps I dug for this purpose.   I put one of the little plants about every eighteen inches all along the 200 meters of new fence.   You can hardly see the small plants now, but they'll make a stunning edging in less than a year.   
     Lemon grass is more than just a pretty face:  it scents the air at dusk and dawn; and it makes nice tea, hot or cold.  Locally known as 'fever grass' the tea is reported to reduce fever although from what I've been able to find online there's no supporting evidence for this.   
     It's also used to infuse distilled alcohol...like rum?    I haven't tried it in rum but vodka infused with lemon grass is a well known and popular combination in other parts of the world.  

19 April 2013

More about fencing

     Three years ago we put a fence along much of the east and south property lines.   We used barbed wire because it's a) cheap, b) readily available, and c) easy to install.   What I didn't fully consider was what the salt in the air would do to the wire.  Along all of the eastern fence line, and much of the southern, the salt has dissolved the galvanized wire:  the fence is gone.   

     By now, though, people heading to the beach from the pier act as though the wire is still there and don't trespass so the missing wire's not too important.  I knew when we installed the fence that strands of wire - even barbed wire - weren't going to keep people off the property.   At the most the fencing just marked the lines.
     But there was still the issue of short-cuts across the property that were resulting in worn pathways that look like stripes across the emerging grass and through landscape plantings.   So additional fencing was in order.  
     This time though we needed a fence that went from the pier all the way across the cleared section of the property in front of the house, in line with some of the coconut trees we've planted...about 200 meters' worth.   We just had to figure out a fence with a minimum visual impact and no metal.
    We ended up setting short posts about twelve feet apart:  one post between each pair of coconut trees.   Tied to, and between, each post is a pole, about as big around as a fishing pole.  The poles are at waist height, nearly at the top of each of the posts:  too high to step over unless you're about seven feet tall;  too low to get under unless you crawl.   
     Much lower impact all round.


12 April 2013

Water hyacinth

       A welcome addition to the expanding variety of flowering plants at False Bluff.  The man who cleared the creek and thatched the roof and takes visitors fishing found a large patch of this hyacinth somewhere.  
     He brought and planted several small 'starts' in low lying areas that stay wet most of the year.   Slowly spreading, it sports new blooms daily.  

05 April 2013


     Cooking pastry at False Bluff isn't simple.   Done with wood and an open fire makes it trickier than simply turning on your stove's oven.
     First collect and split the wood.   
      Making the treats from scratch is done pretty much the same around the world.
      The pastry is placed in the bottom of a large, heavy pot which is then put both over - and under - a fire.   A piece of metal (in this case a piece of metal roofing material) is used to cover the pot and provides a surface for the top wood fire.
      This pastry is filled with a cheese/sugar/cinnamon mix and is golden brown when cooked.