| Presenting: the tempting guinea fowl. I'm too busy dodging these guys in traffic to actually take their photos. |
Photo source: Ellis, Tim. Guinea Fowl. 2013. Photograph. Flickr Commons. 4 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.
I found myself tonight googling, "how to catch wild guineas" and "how to cook wild guineas." **
Before you think I have lost my mind, things to consider:
1) We can't buy fresh poultry here. All chickens are frozen. And expensive.
2) It takes forever for a chicken that's been in the deep freezer for an indeterminable amount of time to defrost. I'm lazy and too unorganized to set it in the fridge 4 days before I want to cook it.
3) They seem, well, stupid. You know the phrase "bird brain?" There has to be a reason. These guys run in front of my car all the time. We call them the Kamikaze Birds.
4) Look up the cost of free-range guinea fowl, and then consider that I pass dozens every day. For free.
5) I really don't like chicken (really!), but I do love pheasant, and guineas supposedly taste a lot like pheasants.
I just have to figure out how to catch one and kill it (with my bare hands---no guns allowed here!). And then clean it and cook it.
I go through phases where I get really down about the grocery situation here. I could write pages about what we don't have, but I won't, because you probably don't want to hear it.
Just know, I'd appreciate if everyone reading this would buy a fresh block of cheese and cut some cheese for me (I couldn't resist). It can be ANY cheese that's not processed. I miss real cheese.
I also miss real milk. I'd rather drink almond milk than that super-homogenized stuff.
I was talking with a few ladies who have been here for quite a while, and they all said that they have gained, on average, 10 lbs a year that they've lived here. Scary, right?
And they are both active---they dive and kayak and hike and spend a lot of time outdoors.
But when your produce rots the day after you bring it home---nothing like paying $7 for strawberries, and then finding them rotten on your counter the next morning---you start to buy more processed products. Living off processed products tends to make most people gain weight.
The food situation is my one biggest complaint about living here. I understand everything has to be barged or flown in, but I didn't realize everything would be so much more expensive than in the States, considering most of it is really not fresh at all by the time it gets here.
I'm going to try my hand at growing peppers, and I do have lots of basil and oregano that are growing like gangbusters. My neighbor grew lettuce and tomatoes last spring. It's very arid here---think desert climate---and it's not as humid as, say, Mississippi, but the sun is much more intense here. Now that our water restrictions have been somewhat lifted, I think I can make a go at it and perhaps grow a few things.
For two years that we lived in Texas, I had a plot at a community garden and LOVED finding fresh squash or tomatoes or peppers growing. Even when I lost the war with squash bugs, I found it very rewarding.
I've tried googling "gardening in Guantánamo Bay," but you can guess where it focuses on---THAT place. As I mention repeatedly, I am NOT living in that place, I am not associated with it, and it has nothing to do with my mission here. (It's a sore subject for most of us living here. There's been a base here since 1898. We are a Navy base, first and foremost. Despite what you hear in the media, there is MUCH more to Gitmo than that place I won't mention).
At one time, barges from Cuba floated onto the base and vendors sold produce to the Americans here. I don't see the embargo lifting, and desperate times call for desperate measures (like killing a wild bird in your front yard).
So now. . . maybe I will figure out how to have a garden here. And just maybe, I'll grab up some of those feral, suicidal guinea fowl that keep jumping in front of my car---not to eat, but to keep in the yard to eat bugs. They eat tons of bugs (and even small rodents). Instant organic gardening!
Maybe the noisy guineas will scare off the smelly banana rats that have plowed through the (ugly) Mother-in-Law's Tongue, (cute) Portulaca, and (once-prolific) Wandering Jew that no longer reside in my front yard flower beds. I've actually considered catching a boa for banana rat control, except that they are shy and are rarely seen here. Oh, and there's that bit about them being really, really scary snakes.
It's never ending when you think about it. You need boas to kill the banana rats. You need guinea fowl to kill small rodents and bugs. The circle of life is alive and well in Cuba---even if it's Americans eating produce with a short shelf life and chicken that's been rock-hard frozen, all the while dreaming about blocks of cheese and fresh fruit and vegetables and poultry.
**Disclaimer: Librarians are people, too. And yes, we occasionally Google, but only responsibly. :)