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Manabi Ecuador

Growing up on a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta,  I thrived in the natural world of fields and hardwoods and that grand Mississippi River.  Horses, cattle, mules and chickens shared as much of my attention as the fields and lakes and river did.  Fishing, water skiing and horseback riding provided endless outdoor entertainment, and the summers slipped by way too fast.   Life in Ecuador reminds me of that vanishing idyllic syrupy life of my childhood when summertime was oh so very easy!

Enjoy Norah singing Summertime while we wipe away the color and pretend we’ve stepped back in time.

My neighbor

My neighbor Jaime

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Jaime says, "HOLA!  Fish for sale!'

Jaime says, “HOLA! Fish for sale!’

A few locals describe my home as an islita – ‘little island,’ since it is nestled between Rio Jama and a shrimp pond!   Tucked half a mile across the shrimp farm is my friends’ cattle farm. Let’s go see some horses and cows!

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Floating out of the misty recesses of my memory bank, memories from long ago resurface as I explore my friends’ farm on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast.  At times, the years are wiped away, and I am young and full of wonder.   The wonder has remained a lifelong companion.

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The corn is harvested by hand and carried across a footbridge.  How well I remember shucking corn by hand!  Why? Because I enjoyed the task!

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Planted by hand; harvested by hand.

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Going home after a long day.

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Mules, just like in the old days!  We sometimes hitched a team of mules to the wagon and journeyed three miles to town!  All was great until we pointed the mules toward home, and we sometimes risked a runaway mule wagon!

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Wooden Saddle

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Crates of Queso Fresco (Fresh Cheese)

The Mississippi Delta did not have shrimp ponds, but there were many rice fields and catfish ponds! The shrimp harvest in Ecuador relies on manual labor, and the walk-on helpers are paid with shrimp!

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My life-long friend Andalyn will testify that we shelled our share of lima beans while growing up, though we never dreamed that their origin might have been Lima Peru!
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No thanks, I think I will shell my own!

No thanks, I think I will shell my own!

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Sometimes the cowboys dress up and go to town!

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Farmers bring their cheese to town each Friday afternoon and sell it to a buyer.  They meet at my friends’ home, which is the cheese-trading headquarters!
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Sampling and Weighing Queso Fresco

P1490983 cheese dayAs with the shrimp, the buyer and the seller write down the information for each crate and agree on the grand total.   Town bustles throughout the weekend, and the horses, burros and mules enjoy their days off as well!
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Going home; what’s for dinner?!

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Going Home…

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Going Home – Fish for Dinner!

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Leave your boots at the door; there’s no place like home!

See more black and white images at this week’s Let’s Be Wild then hop over to the party at WordPress and enjoy neighborhood images taken by telephone.  Since I don’t own a telephone, I hope WP will forgive me for submitting ‘normal’ images, although my neighborhood is far from normal!