Traveling Mari

Mari is loving Guatemala!

The Farm September 21, 2013

Filed under: Food,Guatemala — Mari Gray @ 4:31 pm

I like to sometimes joke about the garden produce by calling it “child labor salad” but in all seriousness, the garden at the school is great.  This is the school down in Antigua called Oxford, and just to clarify, these kids are in no way going hungry.  The kids have Organic Farming as part of their week, and those who sign up for after-school classes come farm some more with their awesome farming companion, me.

I would like to take this opportunity to show off some photos of The Farm.  I usually get my hands dirty and so am not the one to take photos… But as you can see, the few that I have are quite impressive (right??).  I wish my school growing up had a little farm like this one at Oxford!



Using tires for beds and wine bottles for irrigation during hot days.




Mama Chicken! She unfortunately turned into dinner for one hungry cat. I got so attached to this hen, I was devastated…





On a field trip to the local organic farm where we get our seeds and seedlings.

On a field trip to the local organic farm where we get our seeds and seedlings.



Post- Mama Chicken farm animal: Captain Fluffy Jumpalot.  His best friend is the school dog.  Now if I could just get them to snuggle....

Post-Mama Chicken farm animal: Captain Fluffy Jumpalot. His best friend is the school dog. Now if I could just get them to snuggle….


one week at the farm April 24, 2010

Filed under: Belize,Food — Mari Gray @ 10:53 am

Wow, it’s already been over a week since that first dory ride to MMRF!  Since then, I’ve learned a ton – how to make coconut milk, how to cook with a wood stove, how to plan meals ahead of time to take advantage of the fire (baking, especially, takes a loooooooong time… ), how to use the composting toilet, etc., etc….

It’s been fun, exciting, and also quite tiring, especially with this heat.  After a few sleepless nights, 50+ bug bites, surprise encounters with large insects in my room, and a constant layer of sweat and dirt on my skin, I was ready to go into town, which we did on Thursday to help out with the Red Cross Elderly Feeding Program in Punta Gorda.  We brought some cabbage, pumpkin, and bananas with us, and while this time they didn’t need any help cooking, it was nice to meet people and enjoy delicious, sugary and refreshingly cold treats.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so much sugar in one day!  I definitely took in enough sugar to last me through the week  🙂

Some things I’ve cooked here during the week:

Cocoyam gnocchi with pesto and coconut sauce

Banana pudding

Banana bread

Lots of eggs… every morning, or I’m afraid they’ll go bad!  The chickens are laying a lot right now.

Colaloo stir-fry

Beans, bean soup



Roasted pumpkin




Rachael, the Farm Coordinator, made an excellent cheese-less quiche yesterday, which I’ll have to try making soon.  And Chris really likes to make nachos, which I guess is his specialty dish.

A typical day for me here on the farm goes something like this:

Wake up around 6:30ish, depending on wildlife noises.  Do a bit of yoga on the drying floor where there is a yoga mat and a wonderful view.  Within probably 5 minutes, I am already sweating.  Start cooking around 7:30.  Chris usually already has the fire going and his cup of coffee ready by the time I get to the kitchen, so I just prepare some eggs and whatever else we’re having that day.  I’m still getting used to having to think ahead – trying to make sure to boil the beans if we have any so that they don’t go bad, or baking bread or roasting veggies in the oven while we have the fire going.

After we all have breakfast together, it’s down time.  We usually take a moment to use the internet then, and I go harvest whatever I think I’ll use that day when the sun’s not fully up yet.  After lunch, we’re all ready to jump in the river, and the dogs like to join us.  I usually try to take a shower after cooking dinner or at least after I’ve already gotten the dinner fire going to limit my sweatiness when I go to bed.  Sometimes we play a game after dinner or watch a movie.  Chris has quite an extensive movie collection here, which we watch on a laptop.  I read for a bit, and depending on the heat at night sleep really well or… not so much.  Sometimes a bat gets in my room and makes noises, or something falls/walks on the roof, or birds start making odd noises, etc… which wake me up.  I think I’ll eventually get used to all of that.

I sewed most of the bigger holes in my mosquito net yesterday, which makes me feel a little more comfortable given the large wolf spiders living in my room (I think I’m actually probably living in THEIR room).  But I have high hopes for our relatively harmonious coexistence as long as they keep the cockroach population down, which they seem to be doing well so far.  I just don’t want them on my bed.  Sorry, but that’s off limits.


Yummies April 19, 2010

Filed under: Belize,Food — Mari Gray @ 11:23 am

I thought I could go over some of the available crops at the moment here at the farm.  Aside from the dried beans, corn, rice, flour, and other essentials, this is pretty much all I am working with when cooking.  We do buy onion and garlic because they apparently don’t grow very well on the farm.  We’re never short of coffee, and with milk from powder Chris makes excellent cappuccinos every morning, it seems.  Today, we had mocha with leftover hot “chocolate” we made from the cacao on the farm!  (Well, the cacao was already prepared… we’re doing another batch now, in the fermentation process at the moment.)  We have fresh eggs everyday.

So this is what we have:


TONS of bananas







Pineapple (we just had the first ripe one the other day!  Yuuuuuuummmmmm)

Some leafy greens


Pumpkin flower


Acerola-like fruit

Poblano peppers

Bell peppers



I think that’s about it, although I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch.  I can’t wait for avocado and mango season, which is in a couple of months, I think.  I’m sad that they don’t have many tomatoes here, because I LOOOOOVE tomatoes and I’m missing its season in California right now…

You might not recognize some of the crops mentioned.  Well, I didn’t either.  I’m still getting to know everything, and trying to learn what can be done with those things.  I think I had at some time or another eaten almost all of the ingredients above, but never really prepared any of it.  Wish me luck!

I’ve also realized that I use a lot of cheeses in the states, which is scarce here at the farm since we don’t have refrigeration.  Chris gets them once in a while from the village when he goes through.  He seems to come back with ice almost every trip, and makes a mean banana milkshake with coconut milk… sooooo refreshing chilled in this heat!