This is a picture of our maize (corn) harvest from one of our two acres. The two acres will give us about thirty 200 pound bags (90 bushels) of maize. We will use about ten bags and will sell the rest to cover the cost and, if the price is good, some profit. While the rains were over a month late this year, the subsequent rain in our area was adequate for a good harvest. Other parts of Kenya were not so lucky. In some places there was a drought followed now by floods in half the country.

As every gardener knows, harvesting is sweet after all the time, effort, cost, and worries to get to that nirvana. Food that one grows oneself always tastes much better than that bought in the store or market. I have also found that gardeners/farmers like to “show off” their gardens/farms. So I am shamelessly doing this as we are now happily bringing in our harvests.

This is one of our two navel orange trees. If you look closely you can see all the oranges that are developing. We have already eaten two. Do not be fooled by the fact that these navel oranges are green and not bright orange. In the US and elsewhere navel oranges are dyed to make them bright orange.

This is one of our collard greens patches. We pluck some of the leaves almost every day as many of the Kenyans in the household eat this daily with ugali (harden maize mush which is the stable food of Kenya).

This is part of our crop of swiss chard, which Kenyans call “spinach.” I prefer this to collard greens or cabbage. We also grow about five other “traditional” greens as Gladys prefers them to collard greens.

This is our new variety of sweet potatoes given to us by Gladys’ sister, Janet. We planted the ones she gave us. As they grew very well with a nice harvest, we have then multiplied this in a small field on our plot. We have also planted the normal variety of sweet potatoes in one of the fields where we just harvested our maize. If this new variety turns out better than the old one, we will prefer to plant this one.

About three weeks ago, one of our cows gave birth to this female calf. This also means that we have a lot of milk, even after giving the calf her share. We are selling the surplus to a shopkeeper in town.

This calf is over two years old and was artificially inseminated about two weeks ago. If all goes well, she should give birth in nine months. Gladys says that since the calf was inseminated, it is no longer a “calf”, but now is a “cow.” Granddaughter Faith is in the background.

Then last week we acquired this calf which is about two years old. It was given to Gladys’ son, Douglas, by his father. Since Douglas lives in Nairobi and can’t possibility take care of a calf in the city, we will husband the calf for him.

Two months ago, Gladys decided to buy fifty one-day old improved kienyeji (local) chicks. She had a friend of hers raise the chicks for a month and then moved them to our hen house. There were 27 cocks and 23 hens, which is statistically about right. We will eat some of the cocks and sell others. Gladys will keep the hens to lay eggs and she will sell the surplus in town.  

We are in good shape. We have or will have all the maize, greens, oranges, sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, and chicken meat that we will need for our household of usually about ten people. We also have green peppers, carrots, onions, cooking bananas, arrow root (a starchy root crop), and perhaps some avocadoes and mangoes. We do not grow wheat, Irish potatoes, or rice, all of which we have to buy.

While this is not a harvest, this is a picture of our grand-niece, Trinah, who has just graduated from nursery school at Lumakanda Township School. Graduations here in Kenya are always major events for celebration.

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David Zarembka

Phone 254 (0)726 590 783
Reports from Kenya: www.davidzarembka.com/

Email: davidzarembka@gmail.com

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