Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Even though tomatoes are native to Central and South America, they are not the easiest fruit to grow. I think it must be the commercial varieties and hybrids – they are too susceptible here to the fungus that humidity harbours. There is a local gardener who seems to have success with a small variety and he sells his occasional surplus to Moreno (our local shop-master and fountain of all knowledge). I’m using his seeds. The first lot I planted in the garden, I currently have 6 small plants, and by small I mean barely out of their sprout hood, but with true leaves and that incredibly wonderfully tomato plant scent which takes me right back to my grandfathers’ greenhouses. I have seeds drying on my desk waiting for a bit more sun. I’ll plant these in pots first I think. I know they don’t like to be moved, but I’m pretty sure they don’t like to be eaten by beetles and pelted with tropical storms either.
As I’m writing there’s a flock of Montezuma Oropendolas in the big fig. They must be among my favourite birds here, big, 20 inches tall with bright blue cheeks and yellow tails. But what I love about them is the noise they make. It’s too hard to describe – a sort of melodious clicking and tearing and whooping bantar with the males making a sound like branches breaking.