Saturday, August 18, 2007

I love this time of year!

I really do love this time of year! For those of you were just waiting for the right time to come visit, this would be it. The first picture just says it all: delicious, home-grown corn! Yes, now that it´s finally raining the pastures are filled with cows again and the fincas filled with corn, watermellon, small squash, tomatoes, etc...oh, and of course, frijoles nuevos (new beans)! Basically, they are called new beans because they are picked just before they become fully ripe; they are smaller in size and lighter in color and they taste oh so good!! I minimally like the fully ripened beans, but I could eat new beans all the time...with crema (similar to sour cream) and cuajada (a type of cheese)...mmm! I also never realized the different phases and products that are produced from one stalk of corn! The first thing that is produced is the chilote (baby corn) which can be eaten whole, in soup, etc. A few weeks later comes the elote (corn on the cob) which is the most exciting part for me because that means...guirila! I used to have to travel to the ends of the earth/Nicaragua to get it...i.e. La Libertad, but now it´s in my own town, in my neighbors house which is just a few steps away! It´s so exciting. Guirila is a tortilla made with ¨new¨corn and it has a sweeter taste. I think this could be one of my favorite foods...ever! Now, if that isn´t enough to make you want to get on the internet and purchase your plane ticket to come down, then I don´t know!
My neighbor, Cira, kindling the fire to cook the corn on the cob. First, it is boiled, then it is ready to be eaten whole or once the kernals have been picked off it´s ready to grind to make into guirila (new corn tortillas).
Corn on the cob with cuajada.
My neighbor, Ludwig, and I enjoying my first guirila in my town. Don´t worry, the gaseosa (soda-which is a must) is on it´s way.

Dory and I picking the new beans off the vines. After a few hours of doing this I really appreciate how easy we really have it in the United States. Some of the families here, because they don´t have the money to buy beans nor money for the bus fair to go to the city to buy them, grown their own beans to feed their families. After growing them, they go out into the hot sun and cut the stalks to bring back. It gets extremely hot because as you can imagine the stalks are pretty close together and while they are crouched down cutting them there is no air circulation. When they arrive home, they have to spend a few hours picking them from the stalks, taking them out of the shelves, washing them, then another 2 hours or so to cook them. Finally, they are ready to eat. The two bags that they collected is probably enough to feed their entire family of 9 for maybe two days. Then, they have to repeat the entire process over again.

Dory and Ingrid taking the beans out of the shell(correct term?). Poor Ingrid just couldn´t take it anymore and fell into a siesta! (actually, she´s just very camera shy)

Because of the rains, the monte (weeds) grow out of control. Here are three workers hacking away at it with their machetes. You can see that they have barely made a dent in the few hours they have been working. The average pay for this type of work is around 70 córdobas per day=$3.

It hasn´t just been all fun and eating. Here is a picture of one of my country school making a box for their garden.

The finished product!

The principal´s grandson. He is sooo cute!


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