Princessa and the Twins


Rudy's twins

The Spanish brought the first cattle to Nicaragua in the 16th century. Since then, Nicaragua has successfully been raising beef for export and local consumption. Although the country is suitable for raising cattle with its rolling hills covered with grass, very little attention is given to improving the breed.

Few farmers make hay when the sun shines. During the dry season from January through April, the cattle are left to fend for themselves. In an exceptionally dry season, the Pará and Guinea grasses wither and die, and the cattle starve. Their bones are found scattered throughout the fields and along the dusty roads.

I know I’m a suburban kinda gal, but I can’t stand to see any animal suffer. I never saw a skinny pig before we moved to Nicaragua. It breaks my heart to see some of the pitiful creatures walking the roads. Sometimes I just want to open our fence gate and let them all in to graze on our gringo grass. Instead, I take grass cuttings and dump them over our fence posts. There are usually two or three regular horses and cows that know where to wait for me. Que lastima!

Fences in Nicaragua are made to keep livestock out. When we had to repair our fences after an unusually wet season last year, we wondered why we needed to pay for the fence posts because we did not have any livestock.  Cattle surround us on all sides of our property. Apparently, it is common knowledge that property owners build fences to keep the livestock out of their property.

I used to be afraid of large, muscular creatures, but after my love affair with Bullwinkle and almost killing him with my wheelbarrow full of mangoes, I have developed a soft spot for big, fat cows and bulls. Now, I’m like a mother hen protecting them and tethering them to our trees during the dry season so they will have some tasty gringo grass to eat.

Princessa

Julio has a new cow. I was going to name her Natasha, but Julio calls her Princessa. She is Bullwinkle’s sister, so I know that she has the same, sweet disposition as Bullwinkle. Today, I called her to the fence, “Venga Princessa, venga.” She waddled over to me and nuzzled my camera. She likes to be scratched behind her ears, just like her brother. Her smooth, chocolaty brown fur glistened in the sun. She certainly is a beauty.

I’m going to be extra protective of Princessa. Julio is breeding her and they hope to get milk to make cheese. I’ve never milked a cow in my life, or made cheese. Julio promised to let me milk her, and I promised not to feed Princessa any mangoes. I kind of feel like I’ve been thrown into Green Acres, the Latino version. This suburban gal has a lot to learn about country living.

 

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7 thoughts on “Princessa and the Twins

  1. Well, that’s a good story ending for her; she’s such a sweet dog! I know you miss her, but she’s better off with your friends. I can’t imaging life without a dog, though! I still have two –

  2. Hi Deb – When you are ready to make your first cheese here is a very easy recipe –

    THE EASIEST CHEESE

    in a stainless pot, add however much milk you want to turn into cheese, Multiple of quarts makes it easier.

    take 2 quarts of milk… heat to 190degrees (or scalding) remove from heat and immediately stir in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. It will immediately coagulate into curds.. if not add a few more drops of vinegar until it does. Stir, and when the curds appear separated from the liquid, pour through cheesecloth or muslin in a strainer. walk away and let it drip and drain. if you like it firmer, put a saucer on the lump and weight it down to sort of press it. salt to taste or add herbs like chives.

    Voila! you have Queso Blanco.. the easiest cheese to make.

    I make it and then mix in fresh herbs, cilantro or basil and add some pepper, a bit of salt and some red pepper flakes or a small piece of hot red pepper and mix well. Press it into a plastic container. I give this to Joe when he is peckish with a packet of crackers – I would make this with unpasteurized “fresh” milk in Panama. It is just wonderful!

  3. Deb – wonderful story; you have some interesting times ahead with cattle – – I’ve had some strange and funny family experiences with them, as my grandfather and some of my uncles were farmers. I’ve always loved animals, as have you (who’s keeping your wonderful dog? Can you move him to the island?). It’s a great learning experience, Deb – interacting with animals will be a cinch for you!

    • Oh the stories I can tell about learning to interact with the animals here! I’m getting braver daily! We gave Canela to a close friend that has 2 children and a swimming pool. She posts pictures of Canela for me regularly. I wanted to bring her here, but there were so many problems. First, the airlines won’t transport a dog that weighs over 80 pounds. Then, even if we would have put her on a diet, there was no telling if she would be able to board in cargo. If the cargo hold is over 85 degrees at
      the time of boarding they will not transport animals. Then, even if
      everything did work out, and she made it safely to Nicaragua, it is difficult and expensive to buy dog food, and there are no vets available. ( At least
      no vets on the island that I would trust.) So, Canela is happy. She even
      protected her new family when someone tried to break in their house.
      She barked so ferociously she had the burglar on the run! I miss her! She is a sweet dog, but I know she has a good home.

  4. Having grown up on a farm in the Pacific Northwest I can appreciate your story. We always had two milk cows around that required both morning and evening milkings. This was my Mom’s territory. I once asked her I she’d like me to take over for her, but she smiled and said it was her quiet time away from everyone and she enjoyed everything about it. I look forward to hearing your upcoming experience…two words of caution…if you do more than just a few squirts be ready for your hand to be sore and have someone send you a tin of “Bag Balm”. Princessa will forever be greatful.

    Doc

    • Hey Doc, thanks for the advice. This is going to be a new experience for me! I think I’ll have our son pick me up some Bag Balm when he comes here from the states. Wish me luck! Of course, Princessa has to have her calf first. At least, I think she has to have a calf first. Can cows give milk when they are pregnant?

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