Friday, February 18, 2011

Chapter 46 - Tractors

            There is a great amount of traffic by our front window in the daytime.  Thank goodness, it ends about 8 in the evening, but it starts as early as 4:30 in the morning with Horatio Hornblower.
            During the day we have a steady stream of tractors.  The men ride them like a badge of honour.  I suppose it is, in reality, because it’s probably within the past 20 years that the agriculture of Costa Rica was in the horse and wagon era.
            The tractors themselves are no different than North American tractors, in fact I think most of them came from the States.  I don’t remember seeing any Japanese trade names on them like on the cars.  It is the addition of the accessories that make the difference here.  Almost all of the tractors have steel welded canopies over them, and most of them pull either a large rubber tired wagon with a box, or one with steel pipe cradle like fingers.  It took me a while to figure out the use of these cradle cages, until it suddenly dawned that this is sugar cane country. Sure enough, in a short time I saw them loaded to the tips with cane.  Sometimes there are multiple carriers in a row behind the tractor.  I saw four behind one tractor, and that carried a lot of cane.  There were usually a few men and boys riding the tops of the loads.  Behind one load with men on top, I saw two young boys on bikes hitching a pull on the sugar wagon.
            When the tractors come to town, they are usually without carriages.  The men just drive the tractors anywhere they want to go.  Sometimes, I think it is just to show everyone that they have a tractor.  It’s reminiscent of the young lads and their oversized half ton trucks up north.  You know the ones with the very large tires that dwarf a car when they pass. 
            The cane season is in full swing now, and we can see one field after another being cut and the produce carried to the factories.  Cane is processed through a Co op here.  Coffee is also by a Co op.  Also, the only kind of coffee that is allowed to be planted in Costa Rica is the Arabica Coffee.  This is a high standard coffee, and keeps the resulting crops uniform.
            This is a farming area where we live.  There is sugar cane across the road and we are surrounded by fruit trees.  The mangoes are getting bigger every day.  When the rainy season starts, we are told this orchard is abundant in fruit of all kinds.  The only problem is that there isn’t a regular caretaker, and now with Rita and Victor living most of the week in San Jose, it will probably be less cared for.
            I have read stories of cane harvest, and that included a slash burn before the canes were cut, to wipe out the insects and snakes before the men went in with their machetes, and I know they have done that here because there is a row of huge trees beside a cane field a half mile from here that are so blackened and damaged by fire that the trees are dead.  I wasn’t looking forward to the smoke, but I haven’t seen a cane field on fire yet.
             I just hear the tractors. (and trucks, and cars, and motorcycles).

No comments:

Post a Comment