Today was a quiet day. It is, "Worker's Day," in El Salvador. The equivalent of Labor day. The party which the workers were going to have has been post-phoned until next week. Everyone decided they would rather have the day off at home. I can't blame them. So would I.
The chickens and Don Pedro are gone. They are probably being enjoyed in several chicken stews throughout town at this moment. Juana and Vigil gathered them up yesterday which is no easy task. Vigil chased them around the coop and Juana tied their feet with twine before piling then in a basket. She marched off to town and proudly came back with $30. The rabbits are next.
Flor de Izote has been in bloom all over the finca this month, and with it, brings a steady stream of local costumers visiting the finca. Flor de Izote is the national flower of El Salvador. From the Yucca family, it is a beautiful conical mass of white flowers perched high atop spiky green trees. It seems to be a delicacy, chopped and blended with scrambled eggs. Juana prepared it one day, but it was so overly salted, I passed it on to the dogs when she wasn't looking. Today, there were people non-stop coming to buy Flor de Izote. I thought for sure, there couldn't possibly be one more flower, but Evers always managed to find one. It means scaling the trees which are covered in thick piercing thorns and then a swift cut with the machete. At the end of the day, Evers handed over $24 at $1 per stalk. Between harvesting flowers, the boys were also busy selling bananas, avocados, and some medicinal plant that is good for chicken pox. There has been an outbreak at the local school, so quite a few mothers were here today anxious to make a poultice for their youngsters.
I was gone for a few days up in the capital to attend meetings for the cacao association, and had to rush back yesterday afternoon to pay the men a day early since today was a holiday. When I pulled up, there were small bonfires everywhere and a swirl of activity was in progress. I had mentioned to Don Beto, that we might be expecting visitors this week, so he had corralled the boys into a cleaning frenzy.When I emerged from the truck, they all wanted to show me what they had done. Vigil had build beds around the wild pepper plants, Mario had raked the entire entrance area, Juana had cleaned the back coffee field and organized the tool shed, Carlito had fed all the tomatoes and pruned the palms, Evers had planted more hot peppers and was building the legs for my coffee table, and Beto had made sure that the finca's corn fields were prepped and ready for planting. I spent a good forty minutes gushing and praising with sincere gratitude. They didn't have to do it, but they did.
Monday is going to be a full day, and I've lost track already. Juan Carlos, a new tradesman is going to start building one of two new pila's (water tanks) with stone and cement. There is an endless supply of rocks around the finca, and I can't think of a better way to start using them. He told me I need to buy re-bar, 20 sacks of cement, and a truckload of sand. The boys will begin to fertilize the coffee and cacao on Monday with a new organic product that Don Remberto is bringing by. The men spray the trees wearing a tank on their back with a nozzle attached. Beto told me I need to replace the nozzles and tubing. A tanker truck is also arriving on Monday to deliver water for the large tank as Beto said the fertilizing will require a substantial amount of water. I asked Beto what happened to his predictions of rain today according to the moon. He pointed up to the heavens and said it was in God's hands.
While I was in the capital, I bought 2 gallons of a pale yellow paint for the kitchen. I was making great progress this morning when for some reason, my foot missed a rung on the ladder on my way down while carrying the paint bucket. I came crashing down and fell right into a case of cups, glasses, and ceramic bowls. The bucket flew up in the air and of course, flung paint in every direction. Vigil, Evers, and all four dogs ran into the kitchen. After making sure I was okay, I don't think I have ever seen them laugh so hard. I was covered in paint from head to toe. One yellow gringa girl on the floor with her paintbrush still in hand. Vigil helped me up, but then headed back outside to finish his lunch. After all, this was worker's day and I guess he didn't feel compelled to help me clean up. Evers stuck with me and for the next hour, we scooped up paint, and wiped surfaces. I lost 8 coffee mugs, 6 plates, and four of my mother's favorite mixing bowls. We won't tell her. I painted on for another two hours and called it a day. The kitchen is in total disarray and I can hear Juana sighing now when she arrives in the morning. My back has a slight kink that I hope will be gone by morning.
Marquis has sent me three high-frequency sonar devices that he guarantees will get rid of the bats and other small animals which are still making themselves at home up in the attic. Late at night I can hear the flapping of wings sailing in the air. Being fruit bats, they continue to bring their tasty little meals inside. Hanging upside down, they nibble away at the fruit and then spit the pits which land on the attic floor like a cannonball. They still manage to bolt me upright when I am in bed asleep. I raise my hand up in the air and point to the ceiling telling my batty friends their nice little B & B is about to close permanently.
It all seems a little morbid, the thought of having bats flying about right above your head, separated by a thin wood ceiling. We have tried every remedy at one time or another since I have been on this mission to get rid of them. Yes, garlic, hot chili oil, flood lights, reflectors, and mesh. They are too smart and can find their way in the smallest crevice. I have tolerated them so far with the hopes that this newest attempt will be the last. We share a sort of unwilling cohabitation, the bats and I. When I first opened up the hacienda, they were residing in the house as well as the attic. Upon opening the door, hundreds of them flew over and around my head. I screamed that day and rented a house in town instead. Apparently, I am not alone. I have a several friends who are waiting to hear the results of the sonar devices. Bats are a common problem here in old homes. Tomorrow, Evers and Mario are going up to the attic and install them. I am a little concerned as the instructions indicate an increase of activity at the beginning. I might need earplugs for the next few days until everyone clears out. The instructions also mention to keep all your doors and windows closed as the animals may wander. Wander where.....