Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tagua Art & Wayne's Word

My great addiction for collecting seeds continues to blossom. The latest seed to catch my fancy is Tagua (from the Tagua Palm Tree). Tagua is also called vegetable ivory (vegans like me can relate) because it is so easy to carve it. The pictures here show tagua before it's carved & after it's carved into an egret. Plus you can see that my love of necklaces continues with this orchid tagua nut piece. According to Wikipedia: The tagua nut is an extremely hard nut that comes from the ivory-nut palm. Its endosperm can be carved and polished like ivory, making it a botanical alternative to elephant ivory and giving rise to the name "vegetable ivory." Before carving, the nut is covered with a brown, flaky skin and shaped like a small avocado. Tagua nuts can be found in the rainforest, typically on the ground, where their outer skin is eaten by the various animals populating the region. Another favorite collectable of mine are sea beans (see earlier blog). Most sea beans are in the species called "Mucuna". According to Wayne's Word: Most species of Mucuna are climbing woody vines called lianas that twine through the rain forest trees like "botanical boa constrictors." Their bat-pollinated flowers and pods are produced on long, rope-like stems that hang from the forest canopy. The seed pods are covered with microscopic velvety hairs (called trichomes) that can be extremely painful if they get into your eyes. In the Caribbean region and Central America, the hairs were stirred into honey or syrup as a remedy to dispel intestinal parasites. The dense covering of irritating hairs may help to discourage seed predators, particularly when the seeds are soft and vulnerable. At maturity, each pod produces several hard, marble-like seeds. The seed is called "ojo de buey" because of its striking resemblance to the eye of a bull. The seeds are also known as "sea beans," because they are commonly carried by rivers into the ocean.

I have collected so many sea beans, they threaten to take over my condo. I have purchased several large glass containers where I display them. I've been keeping pretty busy with barely any time to keep up with this blog. Today I spent 4 hours in David (not my first choice) getting my multi-entry passport stamp, provisional visa & Panama driver's license up-to-date for my travel to Columbia on 8/14 (one can't get in our out of the country w/o the passport stamp). Tomorrow I'll go back in to register my new 4WD Nissan Frontier.
Some of my other activities include: joining the Boquete Rotary Club (meets every Thursday at 9:00 a.m.), volunteering at Paradise Gardens animal rescue center (Thursday after Rotary), kayaking the lagoon in my newly purchased kayaks (I especially like the Perception Sundance), daily bird walks in the mangrove and twice-daily beach walks in search of seeds. I'm looking forward to the Columbia trip so I can "relax"! I'll keep up on the blog while I'm in Columbia because I'll have the computer with me (& there is hopefully a high-speed Internet connection as advertised at the resort). Today I signed up for a Panamanian post office box. In case you want to send me a letter or Christmas Card... or even birthday card (instead of email), here it is:

Elaine Mayer
P.O. Box 0426-1419
David, Chiriqui
Republic of Panama

If you want to Skype or call me, the number is 011-507-772-8028. If you buy Skype Credit & click that you are calling Panama, the only number you type in is 772-8028.
Till I Blog from Columbia...

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