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Episode 85: Spring Homesteading Vocabulary Pt. 2

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Welcome to part two of our homesteading vocabulary! Today we'll go over some vocabulary that you might never have heard of (unless you've been reading children's books or farming blogs in Spanish!). Mainly, words dealing with livestock. Not to mention our second part of our Cultural Tip on the Dominican Republic: important national holidays! Let's begin!


Quick Update

First off, my sincere apologies. I didn't realize that my podcast for Episode 84 hadn't actually uploaded (because I, in a moment of stupidity - or rather, exhaustion - did not remember to upload the audio file after I had finished uploading and editing everything else!). So if you got a notice that the podcast was up, but all you could access was the blog, I am so sorry. That has been fixed as of Monday this week (06/19), and I hope never to repeat that mistake. I'm sure, instead, I'll make more new ones. :D

Homesteading Vocabulary for the Springtime

If you missed last episode, I recommend you first check it out before listening to today's podcast/reading today's blog post. In Episode 84, I explained what homesteading is and we delved into some good gardening vocab. If you really enjoyed that episode and would like more recommendations, I also recommend the YouTube Channels Growfully with Jenna and Melissa K. Norris. Also, more appropriate for today's episode, we love the YouTube Channel OakAbode, which mainly revolves around chickens.

Now, as I mentioned in the last episode, I don't have time to do an exhaustive list of the different homesteading terms and uses. That's why we covered gardening last time, and today we'll talk about raising livestock, but with the main focus being on chickens. (Please note, I won't provide translations for basic animal words or groupings, as those were covered in Episodes 59, 60, and 61.)

Raising Livestock

Rather than just giving you a huge list, I'm going to try doing it in paragraph/story format again. So 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.

Dealing with Chickens

When we decided to start our own parvada de pollos (flock of chickens)*, we first bought los pollitos from

un criadero (hatchery), who shipped us 15 pollitos - 2 machos y 13 hembras. At least, we hope so! It is very hard, even for los expertos, to properly identify a chicken's gender. When we picked them up from the post office, we immediately put them in their caja de criadora (brooding box). No es un incubadora (incubator), as we did not want to be responsible for them naciendo, o saliendo del cascarón (hatching). We set them up with electrolyte water, special food, and una placa calefactora para pollitos (chick brooder heating plate). No nos gustan las lámparas de calor (heating lamps) because of the fire risk. But we did place una bombilla roja, as it is important to cover any injuries the chicks might get from each other to prevent further picoteando (pecking). Weakness in the animal kingdom is a dangerous thing.

Eventually, as los pollitos grew, we moved them into their gallinero (chicken coop). We are currently constructing their corral (chicken run), but they have more than enough space and ventilación while they wait. We're going to need unos ponederos (nesting boxes) so that the gallinas can poner unos huevos (lay eggs). Already our young gallos can kind of cacarear (crow), saying kikirikí (cockadoodledoo)! We love it. :D The hens cacarean (cluck), saying coc co co coc or kara kara, which is different from when they all were pollitos - then they said pío pío (cheep cheep!).

Some notes:

(For more animal sounds in Spanish, check out this article by FluentU or this one by ThoughtCo.!) There's a classic Spanish folk song that I love to sing to my little girl, called "De Colores," and in it the song covers all three animals and their sounds! Here's a YouTube video, with the lyrics and translations, if you want to hear it.

I found a really interesting site that seems mostly dedicated to raising chickens, and it is completely in Spanish! You can check it out here at I don't know much about it, as I just discovered it, but the little I have read seems legit. Either way, if you want to develop your poultry vocabulary, this is definitely a good place to start! (For instance, I learned that a possum is called una zarigüeya!)

*I have had the hardest time figuring out which word to use. From what I've read, in general people will refer to a flock of hens as las gallinas. But I've found also bandada de pollos and manada de pollos. You can even use gallinería to refer to a group of just hens. But parvada seems to be the best choice for "flock of chickens". Let me know if you've heard otherwise!

Other Livestock

If you want to raise other ganado (livestock), such as vacas, cabras, cerdos, o conejos, I won't be able to tell you much. Just like with chickens, you can raise vacas for carne (meat) or for their productos. With aves de corral (poultry), o aves domésticas, it is los huevos. With cows, it is la leche (milk) that you can also turn into queso (cheese). If you want una vaca mainly for la leche, then you'll want una vaca lechera. Some people like la leche de cabra (goat milk), and I've even seen some places sell jabón (soap) made out of it!

You'll want to think about el pienso (feed) that your animals will need, such as la pastura (pasture) or el heno (hay). Do you want to raise your animals orgánicamente, or do you plan on using las pesticidas on your césped (grass) or buying pienso that might have them? For your cerdos, you'll need un chiquero o una pocilga (pigpen or pigsty) to house them. Some people use los establos (barns) to house their animals in, others create specific areas and buildings for each one.

Are there any other livestock or homesteading terms you can think of? Send me a note! And if you have also started on this homesteading journey, I wish you all the best! Please let me know what you're doing and how it's going!

See you in two weeks, where we'll dive into the differences between the verbs saber and conocer!

Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.

¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!


Cultural Tip: Dominican Republic

Global National Holidays

Today's cultural tip highlights the national holidays of the tropical half island, the Dominican Republic! To save on time, and to avoid extreme repetitiveness, here is a quick list of holidays that many other countries also celebrate and/or which we have covered in previous episodes, so I won't get into too much detail for these ones.

  • New Year's Day (01/01a, although this year they will have the second off since the first is a Sunday)*

  • Epiphany (01/06a, Día de los Santos Reyes, but they will get Jan. 9th off since it is celebrated the Monday after the 6th.)

  • Good Friday (04/07) (Viernes Santo, it is always the Friday before Easter)

  • Easter Sunday (04/09)

  • Labour Day (09/01a, Día del Trabajo, also known as International Workers' Day)

  • Mother's Day (05/28) (The last Sunday in May. Technically, it's not an official national holiday)

  • Corpus Christi (06/08, the second Thursday after Whitsun)

  • Father's Day (06/19) (Every third Sunday in June. Technically, it's not an official national holiday)

  • Christmas Day (12/25a, La Navidad)

*The "a" means that it is always celebrated on this day.

Unique National Holidays

So let's talk about the 6 unique holidays that Dominicans celebrate!

1. Lady of Altagracia (01/21a, Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia)

There are a few different origin stories for this holiday, but they all revolve around the 16th century painting of Our Lady of High Grace (as the Virgin Mary is the country's patron saint, as of 1844), which currently resides in the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia. If you want to see a picture of the painting, which has been available for public viewing since 1571, check out this article from Dominican Today. If you want to learn more about the church it is in, which it was moved to in 1970, I recommend checking out their website (you can also do a virtual tour, and it is super cool!). This amazing-looking building was made into a minor basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Really recommend you check it out; it looks really cool!

Anyway, one legend claims that a merchant from Salvaleón de Higüey was struggling to find a portrait of the Virgin Mary for his daughter, when an old man at an inn gave him one. Miraculously, the painting would disappear from the girl's room every night and appear under a nearby orange tree. This place then became the sacred site of a church.

Another claims that the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant from Extremadura while he was walking through the woods. She was level with the tree branches (hence "Altagracia").

A less-miraculous claim states that two brothers brought the painting in 1502 from Spain, or a group of Spaniards during one of Christopher Columbus' last trips brought it to the Higüey region.

While this holiday used to be celebrated in August during the Assumption of Mary, it was later moved to January 21st to celebrate The Battle of the Sabana Real. For this battle in 1691, the Spanish army defeated the French army on the island with help from the Virgen de la Altagracia.

2. Juan Pablo Duarte Day (01/26a, Natalicio de Juan Pablo Duarte, but the holiday will be celebrated on 01/30 this year)

This holiday celebrates one of the founders of the Dominican Republic, Juan Pablo Duarte. He was born on January 26, 1813. For some historical context, the island gained its independence from Spain in 1821, but then fell to the Haitians. Duarte and others created La Trinitaria in July 1838, which was a secret society that played a key role in undermining the Haitians. He actually had the opportunity to become president after the Dominican Republic gained their independence in 1844, but rejected it and was then later exiled by the man who did become president, Pedro Santana.

To celebrate, there is a special mass at the church where Duarte was baptized, the Santa Bárbara Church.

3. Independence Day (02/27a, Día de la Independencia Nacional)

This holiday celebrates the Dominican Republic's independence from Haiti in 1844. Lets remember that the entire island, with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in December 1492, became the first permanent European settlement in the newly discovered world. It gained its independence from Spain in 1821, but was then unified by Haiti through military force. Then Duarte, Matías Ramón Mella, and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez created La Trinitaria, which revolted and declared independence from Haiti on February 27, 1844.

To celebrate, Independence Day marks the grand finale of a month-long celebration, filled with carnivals across the eastern half of the island. While each region has its own unique way of celebrating, one common feature is the Limping Devil, or the Diablo Cojuelo, with popping balloons and a Devil's whip. There is also the National Military Parade, headed by the President and his wife.

For an interesting glimpse into the costumes of Carnival, check out this video by Go Dominican Republic.

4. Restoration Day (08/16a, el Día de la Restauración Dominicana)

This holiday celebrates the beginning of the Dominican Restoration War, which started on August 16, 1863 with the Grito de Capotillo, when 15 men raided Dajabon city and raised the Dominican flag on Capotillo hill. Remember the first president after the Haitian rule, Pedro Santana? Well, he basically made a deal with Spain in 1861 to make the Dominican Republic subject once again to Spain. This did not go over well with the islanders, who rebelled. Santana resigned in 1862. The war for independence from Spain (again) lasted until Queen Isabel II of Spain repealed the island's reinstatement under Spanish rule on March 3, 1865.

Nowadays, presidents are sworn in every four-year election cycle on this day. If it's not an election year, they do a speech similar to our State of the Union address.

5. Our Lady of Mercedes (09/24a, la Fiesta de Las Mercedes)

This is the feast day of the Virgin Mary for the Mercedian order. According to legend, Mary appeared to St. Peter Nolasco and King James of Aragon in 1218, asking them to create the Mercedarian order, whose purpose was to free Christians taken captive by the Moors. The feast day was created in 1615. In the Dominican Republic, the Virgin Mary appeared, startling the natives in 1495 and giving victory in battle to the Spanish. With more visitations from the Lady of Mercedes, they built a church at the site.

6. Constitution Day (11/06a, Día de la Constitución, although it is observed on the Monday or Friday closest to the 6th; hence it is observed on 11/5 this year)

In a country with as much upheaval as the Dominican Republic has had, I can understand having a national holiday for one's Constitution (the US does, by the way, have a Constitution Day. It's celebrated on September 17th, officially called Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, but it is not actually a federal holiday. You can learn more at the National Archive's website here). After Santo Domingo (modern day Dominican Republic) gained its independence from Haiti, it created its first Constitution in Santo Domingo on November 6, 1844. They based it on the U.S. Constitution, although it has been amended many times (each time counting as a new Constitution). It currently is the country's 39th Constitution. Wow!



Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr

Cultural Tip Transition Music edited from song by JuliusH from Pixabay

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