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Episode 84: I'm Back! Plus Spring Homesteading Vocabulary Pt. 1

Actualizado: 22 jun 2023

Hello again!! It feels good to be back! :) In today's episode, I'll give you a quick update before diving into spring-related vocabulary! More specifically, words and actions revolving around homesteading. For you gardeners out there, today's episode is for you! Plus we have the beginning of our Cultural Tip on the Dominican Republic! Let's begin!


Quick Update

Welcome to the podcast/blog, 2023! To any new subscribers, Spanish Answers is a podcast/blog dedicated to diving deep into the Spanish language and exploring its related culture around the world. To all of my current listeners/readers, thank you so much for sticking around! My maternity leave has been wonderful, and definitely needed! :) Adjusting to a newborn is always a challenge, but we've finally achieved some form of normalcy. And now we have a sweet little baby boy! We are so thankful for this little blessing from God! <3 His older sister, despite some initial -and sometimes current - resentment, adores him, and it has been fun to watch the two of them interact.

For this year, I have a lot of ideas for episodes and content, but it all depends on what happens with this second child. :D After all, I thought I would be back in May, and it's already June! (Sorry!) I have found the word that defines my husband and I: tidsoptimist! It is Swedish for one who is consistently late because they believe they have more time than they do. Literally, a time optimist! :D So I have hope that things will go according to plan, but also I'm trying to be realistic about what I can do with two young children. For now, then, my basic plan for 2023 is to continue to produce an episode every other week. Instead of episodes coming out Monday, though, they'll now be coming out Wednesday! Why? Because with two kids, Mondays are catch-up days from the weekend, and I really want to do my best in producing episodes every two weeks. Wednesdays seem like a better fit.

With all of that being said, if you have any suggestions, ideas, or requests for episodes and other content this year, please email me at I would love to hear from you!

Without further ado, let's begin our first episode of 2023!

Homesteading Vocabulary for the Springtime

Another huge part as to why this podcast has taken so long to get started again is that my husband and I have been working very hard on starting our own homestead! So what better topic to cover first than vocabulary related to my current major project? :D

What is Homesteading?

It is a growing movement here in the US to raise more of one's own food and to do things from scratch, whether that be a few vegetables in a suburban backyard or raising livestock out in the country, from making one's own sourdough or cheese to learning how to do leatherworking. Don't confuse it with farming; although similar, homesteading tends to be on a smaller scale. It's generally focused on providing enough food for the family, with the potential to sell to others, instead of the end goal being mainly commercial. It's viewed more as a lifestyle than as a profession, and many homesteaders have full-time jobs not related to agriculture or livestock. (If you'd like to check out some podcasts, Melissa K Norris has an excellent one called Pioneering Today that is full of tips and tricks for homesteading. Then there is 40 Acres and a Fool, which - although no longer running in the same format - was what first got my husband and I into this movement!)

While we don't have time to do an exhaustive list of the different homesteading terms and uses, in this and the next episode, we'll cover two of the major tenants of homesteading: gardening and raising livestock.


While originally this was all going to be just one episode, I realized after starting to write the script that there is just too much information to share around the different words we use for gardening! So I have broken it up into two parts. For today's episode, we'll cover the basic vocab for gardening, such as vegetables, fruits, and tools needed to get the job done! :) After all, you don't have to be a homesteader to enjoy gardening! And 'tis the season! :)

Rather than just giving you a huge list, I'm going to try doing it in paragraph/story format. Ish. If you're listening to the podcast, see if you can better understand the vocabulary when I read through it a second time, minus the English translations. If you're reading the blog, try reading through it a second time without looking at the translations.

Planting the Garden

We have created a rather large garden this year! In nuestro jardín, we are growing a lot of las verduras, including unos tomates for making tomato sauce, or salsa de tomate, as well as el maíz (corn), los guisantes (peas), and red and green pimientos (bell peppers). Our zanahorias are nice and orange, with their hojas de la zanahoria (carrot tops) standing above the dirt like wobbly sentinels. We are using the tres hermanas, or three sisters method for growing our maíz, los frijoles (beans), y las calabazas* for baking pumpkin pie. We are also working on cultivando (growing) nuestra lechuga (lettuce), col rizada (kale), y el repollo (cabbage).

Some people like to grow las patatas** (potatoes) or batatas*** (sweet potatoes) in the ground, but we decided to plant las cebollas (onions), unos rábanos (radishes), and los ajos (garlic) instead. We are also trying our hand at cultivando la quinua.

We also really wanted to start growing some fruta, so we plantamos unos manzanos for las manzanas (apples) and un melocotonero**** in the hopes of getting un melocotón (peach). Someday, we hope to get un peral for las peras (pears), un cerezo for las cerezas (cherries), or even un ciruelo for las ciruelas (plums). We have many fresas (strawberries), and unos saúcos***** for las bayas del saúco, as elderberries are supposed to be great for your immune system (cooked, though! Don't eat them raw unless you want a stomachache!) We are also starting with un frambueso for las frambuesas (raspberries). We bought one that is ever bearing (de cosecha perpetua, meaning it bears fruit twice a year), and hope to add unos arándanos azules so we can enjoy blueberries******. We also have unas zarzas, but las zarzamoras (blackberries) are ácidas (tart) instead of dulces (sweet)

We also sembramos (sowed^) many hierbas, such as el romero (rosemary), el tomillo (thyme), la salvia (sage), el perejil (parsley), la albahaca (basil), la camomila o manzanilla (chamomile), y el cilantro. But don't worry - we also included some aguileñas (columbine flowers), las caléndulas o maravillas (marigolds), and las lavandas (lavender), and las campanillas******* (morning glories) to add some beautiful flowers to the mix! We also have un rosal (rose bush), and I hope to add unos tulipanes (tulips) and unas margaritas (daisies) in the future!

According to

*In Central America, they might say el ayote instead.

**In Latin America, they are called las papas. Not to be confused with el Papa, the Pope.

***In Uruguay, they call them los boniatos, whereas in Central America they are los camotes.

****In Latin America, they are called los durazneros, as the fruit is called un durazno.

***** You might also see it referred to as el sabuco or sabugo.

******In Mexico, the bush and the fruit are referred to as las moras azules.

*******In Argentina, they call them las campanitas.

^The difference between sembrar and plantar is that you use sembrar when referring to directly sowing seed into the ground, whereas plantar means you plant seedlings (las plántulas) or saplings (los plantones) in the ground, or after the seeds (las semillas) have had time to grow and develop. You can check out this article (in Spanish) by Mondo Huerto for a brief summary of the two options.

Gardening Tools

While you definitely will want una azada (hoe) to cavar o usar la azada and una pala (shovel) to palear the dirt. Una pala de jardinería (trowel) is quite useful, as is un rastrillo (rake). Desmalezar, o escardar (weeding) is very important for your garden, and even if you cubres con mantillo (cover with mulch) your entire jardín, you will still have to remove the weeds. There are several different terms for weeds, such as la maleza o la mala hierba, el hierbajo, or - my favorite one because of how it sounds - el yuyo. But I think maleza and mala hierba are the most often used terms. When we first started our garden, it was a bit easy to weed - we just used el arado cincel (tiller) to dig up all of the dirt! Now it is a little bit harder. Our ground is also very clay-like, tiene barro, so we hope to fertilizar con compost to improve it in the coming years.

Besides fertilizing our plants, obviously we have to regar (water) them every day with la manguera. Here are some other tasks we have had to complete: we had to endurecer las plantas (harden the plants) before we could move any plántulas outside permanently; we created unos enrejados (trellises) for the peas, which need to climb; and we put up una valla (fence) around the garden to keep out los venados (deer).

Are there any other garden terms you can think of? Send me a note! And if you have already started your garden, I wish you all the best! Please let me know what you're growing and how it's going!

See you in two weeks to talk about Homesteading part 2: livestock!

Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.

¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!


Cultural Tip: Dominican Republic

Country Facts

Name: República Dominicana (Dominican Republic), from its capital city

Size: It is 48,670 square kilometers. According to the CIA World Factbook, it is just a bit more than twice the size of the state of New Jersey. It is divided into 10 regiones, or regions.

Location: It is one of the islands in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Cuba and Florida and just west of Puerto Rico. It shares an island with Haiti, composing the eastern side.

Government Type: Presidential Republic. So the executive branch is not accountable to the legislature, and the government is elected directly by the people. The President is both head of state and chief of state, and as of August 2020 their president is Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona. Both the President and the Vice President are directly elected for 4-year terms on the same ballot. They have a bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) made up of the Senate (Senado), which has 32 seats total, serving 4-year terms, with 26 directly elected and 6 indirectly elected, according to the CIA World Factbook, "based upon province-wide party plurality votes for its candidates to the Chamber of Deputies", whatever that means!, and the House of Representatives (Camara de Diputados), which has 190 seats for 4-year terms, with 178 directly elected by "closed party-list proportional representation vote using the D'Hondt method" (again, no idea what that means!), 5 are elected via nationwide constituency, and 7 directly elected by majority vote. This is one of the more complicated sounding election systems I've read about yet!

The Judicial Branch has the Suprema Corte de Justicia, or the Supreme Court of Justice, which has at least 16 magistrates. But there is also the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional) with 13 judges that came into being via constitutional amendment in 2010. All judges are appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary, which includes leaders from both the Senate and House of Representatives, the President, the Supreme Court's President, and a congressional representative. The Supreme Court has 7-year terms, and the Constitutional Court has 9-year terms.

Capital City: Santo Domingo

Religion: Mainly Christian, with Roman Catholic (44.3%), Evangelical (13%), Protestant (7.9%) as of 2018

Official Language: Spanish

Currency: Dominican Pesos (DOP)

Brief History

Previously known as Hispaniola, the entire island was comprised of five Taino (the indigenous population) chiefdoms. Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1492. The reason the island is split in to 2 countries is that in 1697 Spain recognized French dominion on that part of the island and it later became Haiti in 1804. Interestingly enough, the other half was called Santo Domingo and - despite trying to gain its own independence in 1821 - was conquered by the Haitians for 22 years. It didn't gain its own independence until 1844, when it became the Dominican Republic. For some reason, they then voluntarily rejoined the Spanish Empire in 1861, only to then start a war to regain their independence from 1863-1865.

Since that time, they've had two dictators and a US intervention due to civil war (there was a military coup that temporarily deposed an actually elected president). Since 1996, things have been a bit more stable with continuous elections.



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