Archive for February, 2015

Homesteading and Food Production MTCF

Friday, February 27th, 2015


Farm life compliments the cloud forest wilderness here at MTCF and provides fresh local produce for our guests who also enjoy participating in the homesteading life.

farm 16
Alma harvesting hydroponic lettuce for this evenings salad

farm 24
Hydroponic lettuce nourished with compost tea.

farm 22
Watering the garden, leaks in foreground.

farm 23
Beet greens and salad greens are grown under shade cloth due to the high winds and strong sun at 1900m

farm 4
Big fat fennel grows really well here.

farm 25
Naranjilla is a native fruit belonging to the tomato family.

farm 6 Naranjilla fruit peeled and ready to cook into jam.

farm 3
Fresh harvested wild blackberries from the pastures

farm 30
We make our own home made blackberry popsicles.

farm 31
Dan is very happy enjoying his popsicle.

farm 5
Our tom turkey lost his bride when a dog attacked her and she past away. Since then he has fallen in love with one of our hens who he follows around strutting his stuff and displaying. She is not impressed.


We make our own compost tea mixing in a 55 gallon drum a couple bags of chicken manure, a gallon of molasses we got at the sugar cane factory along with some micro nutrient foilage fertilizer. Let the whole thing ferment for a month and then spray this on your garden veggies…..

farm 15-001
Ian harvesting coffee

Nicole harvesting coffee cherries. January and February are coffee harvest time here at MTCF.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It takes approximately 20 five gallon buckets of harvested coffee cherries to eventually yield 100lbs of coffee.

farm 18
Reinaldo Sr. Graciela and Olga depulping the coffee.

farm 17
Reinaldo pounding the coffee cherries to remove the fruit from the bean.

Mike grinding coffee on the hand mill.

farm 33
Gage grinding coffee

farm 34
Wyatt grinding coffee

farm 1
Loading the grinder

farm 2
Ground coffee

Our gourmet high elevation coffee is hand roasted on a cast iron fry pan that allows Timo and Nicole to fine tune the profile roast to bring out the best characteristic of our Cataui, Tipica and Geisha coffees :)

farm 9

farm 8

farm 7
Coffee drying in our greenhouse. Seedlings will be ready to plant in May/June.

Climbing a 120 Foot Old Growth Oak Tree

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

tree climb 1
Ian, an arborist who visited MTCF, brought along his climbing gear and we had an amazing day scaling a 120 foot old growth oak tree on the La Amistad Trail. This is Ian on the ascent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Happy Nicole in the canopy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA From the canopy looking down the straight trunk

tree climb 5 Yours truly attempting to ascend

tree climb 2


Ian and Nicole

Bird photos from Pam McGroarty

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Rufous Browed Pepper Shrike MTCF Pam
Rufous-Browed Pepper-Shrike. This bird has a loud grosbeak like call but is frustratingly difficult to spot as it stays well hidden in the trees. A great photo shot of this bird!

Pam McGroarty and her friends Steve and Barney came up yesterday for a day visit to Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. Pam is a photographer and resides here in Chiriqui. She made some stunning photographs while hanging out on the balconies and decks of the cabins. At the Bambito Suite of the Bellbird Lodge is a large tree (matahombro) and there were insects everywhere from the lights we had up the night before and this drew in the birds. That is where Pam got the shot of the Pepper-Shrike.

The weather had a major shift with rains, the first in awhile. Birdsong everywhere….. a hint of the breeding season just around the corner.

Long - Tailed Silky Flycatcher MTCF Pam
Long-Tailed Silky Flycatcher

Yellow-thighed Finch MTCF Pam
Yellow-Thighed Finch

Yellow-Throated Vireo MTCF Pam
Yellow-Throated Vireo

Wilson's Warbler MTCF Pam
Wilson’s Warbler

Acorn Woodpecker MTCF Pam
Acorn Woodpecker

Common Bush Tanager
Common Bush-Tanager

White-Naped Brush-Finch MTCF Pam
White-Naped Brush-Finch

Slaty Flower-Piercer
Slaty Flower-Piercer

Green Violet Ear MTCF Pam
Green Violet-Ear

Flame - Colored Tanager MTCF Pam
Flame-Colored Tanager male

Flame - Colored Tanager MTCF Pam 1
Flame-Colored Tanager female

Introducing Reinaldo

Sunday, February 8th, 2015


Reinaldo is the son of our caretaker here at MTCF. Two years ago during his summer holidays Reinaldo started joining guests on their walks on the trails and quickly developed basic English knowledge and learned the names of the common birds here. His keen eye misses very little on the trails. In the past two years his knowledge has increased greatly and he shares the excitement with guests when a Resplendent Quetzal or Highland Tinamou is spotted on the trail.

Reinaldo still has one year left in high school as he continues to develop his English and Bird Identification skills. He looks forward to graduation so he can dedicate himself full time as a guide here at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest. We will support him with training courses and certificates once he is graduated from high school so that he can launch his career in tourism as a bird and nature guide.

Reinaldo’s origin is indigenous from the first nation Ngöbe Buglé tribe (Guaymí). He is proud of his heritage. We are very grateful that Reinaldo has shown such a passion for bird watching and developing a deep understanding of the importance of conservation.


reinaldo 2