Carla knows plants. The other day I saw her digging in the dirt with a smile on her face. “I’m planting pineapples!” she announced as I passed by with Toby, my Chocolate Lab, on our morning walk. She waggled one of the pineapple tops in the air. “It’s easy. You just put the top of a pineapple in the dirt and it makes a whole new bush!”
I pondered this as Toby and I romped through the hills of Roca Verde. The charred ground, still black from that nasty fire, is starting to sprout green shoots everywhere. All is takes is a little rain and sunshine; everything grows rapidly in the tropical climate of Costa Rica. Soon Roca Verde will be a vibrant emerald wonderland again.
The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. I had a ripe pineapple sitting on my counter ready for eating. I know, I know! I’ll slice the top off and plant it next to hers – well her half dozen newly planted pineapples. I wondered if she ate all that pineapple herself just to get the tops to plant.
I started to walk up the hill to add my lone soldier to her row and suddenly it occurred to me that I had a raised bed of planting soil right outside my door the previous occupant had hauled in to grow herbs. I never did get around to planting mine; I had visions of fresh basil, rosemary, parsley and more, but it’s easier to visit the “herb guy” on Friday mornings at the Atenas Farmer’s Market and buy all for just a few cents. Yeah! That’s it.
I plunked the freshly cut pineapple top into the soft soil, pushed the dirt up around the edges, sprinkled some water on top, and went back to my breakfast of El Toledo coffee, mushroom and onion omelet, and yes, pineapple slices. I smugly went about my day knowing that, in just a few months, I would have my very own pineapple bush that I planted with my very own hands!
I had invited some new friends over for cocktails at sunset. As we settled in, and were enjoying the ambiance of the evening, along came Toby dragging something in his Labrador mouth. I was hoping it wasn’t a sapo (toad); dead or alive – a nuisance either way. As he plunked it down at my feet, I was horrified to see it was my baby pineapple covered in dirt. When I explained the situation to my new friends, we howled with laughter! Our theme for the night: “Toby stole the pineapple.” We sure know how to have a good time!
The next morning I ran up the hill to see if Toby had discovered the others. I would hate to break that news to Carla. Nope, they were untouched. I tried to recover my own from Toby when he wasn’t looking; not a chance. Once he declares a food item, those jaws are locked down. I thought maybe I could sneak it out in the middle of the night, hide it and get it back in the dirt.
It has been two days now, and I haven’t been able to plant it without Toby following me and grabbing it. I guess I’ll just keep buying my pineapples at the Farmer’s Market. At least it’s not as bad as when my Rottweiler, Brando, was killing my neighbor’s chickens in California.
I felt horrible after I tripped on the third dead chicken in my yard. Riddled with guilt, I called to confess. Luckily, she wasn’t home and I left a message on her answering machine offering to buy her new chickens. When she called back, she said: “Nope. Not my chickens. I counted, and they’re all present and accounted for.”
Um, er, okay. I thought either she doesn’t know how to count, or someone had babies without her noticing. Either way, I was off the hook. I called a fence-maker and solved that problem with a little chain link.
Now, I’m hoping Carla’s pineapples have babies and Toby doesn’t notice them proudly sitting in a row up the hill and think they are his afternoon snack.
I just have to face it: I do not have a future in pineapple production. I shall leave it to the experts!