Chasing Holy Cows, Popping Shrooms & Planting Shit

Today was supposed to be a day to haul dry wood from the rice field to the rancho. This was the most present task as the day began and before the sun rose above the horizon. How quickly things Can change.

Looking at the grazing cows and glancing at the cascading mountains that make up the entire horizon, I began to consider the availability of mushrooms on the farm now and the last trip i took with them.

i pondered my current schedule of consuming at least one mushroom a day for the next month. For the past couple of days I ate Fresh Fruits & Fermented Foods.

I entered the kitchen and passed the table of what remained from the shrooms collected 2 days prior…and thought… “at least one.” I took two mushrooms and chewed them while staring at the cows who were now staring back in my direction. Little did i know that this stare down was the beginning of a very fun day!

Prior to entering the kitchen, i had begun to wash my clothes… which were now in the Fabric Softener Bucket. While squeezing the water from them, i could feel how much my fingers and forearms have been used the past few days on the banana fields… and knew it was time to give this muscle group a rest.

And then i heard it…
a rustling in the pig sty with a very low “mooooooo.”

I looked thru the trees and there i saw them. 3 cows were 1 fence away, 30 meters away from entering the rancho area – which was forbidden – although they didn’t know this.

I entered the kitchen where there was a pot of fresh coffee … and again i had to pass the table of mushrooms. I poured a cup of coffee with a teaspoon of brown sugar and sipped thinking of how many ways corralling these cows could go (literally & physically).

The cows were not only one fence away from the rancho, there were less than 100 meters away from the Garden where we’ve been chopping and planting with much purpose for the past month. There was a hope that they would return thru an opening yet to be found leading back to the fields where the others were waiting. It was likely they would cross the creek and enter the main part of the garden where there was fresh grass, fruits and vegetables in an area they’ve not visited in quite some time.

All of this was popping up while i was drinking the coffee… and at the same time considering how many more mushrooms i should take. And so prior to grabbing my stick and putting on my boots, i took one more mushroom making today’s total of 3 shrooms or about 1.2 grams… so far – all before the first round had kicked in.

And off I was.

I entered the Garden area with a “Hiyaaaaa” reminiscent of a stereotypical karate movie sound. Either way, the cows responded to the stick moreso than the sound. 2 of the cows quickly take off down the hill towards the creek. I run down to cut them off because if they make it across the creek at this point, they will be in about 10 hectares of open land and corning them would no longer be an option.

Made it! With the stick i was able to push them further up the creek. I was in pursuit up the creek when i heard the third cow behind me. It had yet to see me. Between us was the entrance to the Garden and i was sitting in the bush hoping it would casually walk past me and join the other up the creek.

NO BUENO!

The 3rd cow saw me in the bush and opted to enter the garden…. and so the chase began. With this one cow running along the border of the creek, i sensed that could find a way to push it back across the water and into the adjacent field before it was too late.

As the chase began, a huge log lay ahead and i wondered how the cow would manage. To see this cow pause and consider what was ahead (a large log) and what was behind (me, in hot pursuit) made for a good laugh. After a slight adjustment in speed to account for the pending jump, this large lady was on her way full steam ahead towards the bananas.

To my surprise, instead of running thru the banana and into the main area of the garden, she took a hard right and joined the other 2 cows that were easing their way up the creek. As i followed her path, i could see them fade away behind the shrubs and back into the adjacent field. Although I didn’t know where the opening in the fence was, i was content with them being back on the other side.

I returned to the Rancho, quickly looked to make sure none had entered and then proceeded to see if I could find the opening from the field they just entered. While unsuccessful in finding an opening, I did find several mushrooms along the way. A gift of the cows, the Holy Cows, of which i was recently in pursuit.

The Bull and 8 other cows all looked on as i walked the field searching for an opening in the fence while simultaneously stopping to pick up an occasional mushroom along the way. After 10 minutes and about as many mushrooms, i returned to the rancho… with a growing buzz of energy from the mushrooms just now reaching my digestive system.

a goooooood feeling!

I pause for a few and then decide to visit the Green House to check on the seedlings before visiting the rice field in consideration of carrying firewood back to the rancho.

En route, I see Milley & Katia playing and washing in the River. I learn that they were headed to the Green House to plant sone Zapote Columbiana seedlings. After informing Katia that there was a bucket of fresh cow shit and dirt for the seedlings, i continued my Journey.

Upon arriving at the house, i look at all of the seeds growing and take note of the Ayote sprouts as they are ready to jump out of the current potting. Afterwards, i look at the trees around. The Beriba is growing well and soon there will be some very large ripe delisciousness to harvest. The upcoming crop of Manzana de Agua and Guanabina look promising.

Before i finish surveying the fruit trees, Milley & Katia arrive to the greenhouse. We look over what’s planted, what’s growing and what needs to be planted. After making adjustments, we head towards the river pool to collect water and to fill a pot with more mud, dirt and cow shit.

On the way down the hill, Katia spots a couple of mushrooms. I tell her that there are so many around here and that we’ll get those once we finish this run. We continue with the tasks at hand and fill the makeshift pots with a mixture of soil and topped with cow shit for the Zapote Columbiana.

And then it’s time for the mushroom collection. Although I knew that there were mushrooms to be found in this field, i didn’t know what i would collect a buckets worth of large shrooms in less than 30 minutes. (see photo)

We walked the field around the Green House and within ever 10 meters there was another bloom. It was a jackpot of a find and it wasn’t on the agenda for the day. When my hands were full, i packed up and stated that i would return to the rancho to dry the shrooms and relax.

Just as i exited the field, another batch of shrooms were waiting to be harvested from the next field over. All of this was being collected while i was still buzzing from today’s shroom session.

I made it back to the house in time for the most significant downpour of rain experienced to date on the farm. The sound of it approaching reminded me of the howler monkeys and the spider monkeys approaching thru the rustling tree tops… only this was like 1000 howlers and spider monkeys by the sound of it.

And it hit within seconds of me collecting today’s wash that was set out to dry. Everything in alignment and a super mushroom buzz that i’m fine with.

Today was a day of Chasing Cows, Collecting Cow Shit and Digesting Mushrooms all thanks to the Holy Cows. While one reason for putting the cows in the fields is for clearing the fields and feeding the herd, the other benefit is that we always know where the mushrooms should be growing in abundance.

Oh… and after writing this entry, I saw Linsinnee laying lifeless. I observed that she wasn’t breathing and after a few moments concluded she was in fact dead. 2 days ago she delivered 4 babies, 1 day ago she had a still birth and today she has transitioned.

The funny part of this tale would be seeing Vlad and I feeding four puppies with makeshift nipples from a plastic bag that was filled with powdered dog milk, tapa dulce and water. Yes, we’re feeding the four orphaned puppies with makeshift titties.

Love the Life you Live, Live the Life You Love!

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