Friday, June 1, 2007

Our bit of paradixe

Our 12+ acres of ridgetop were now ours, but what to do. It felt (and still feels) so wonderful to have this little bit of land. We've made 6 trips to Belize to savor it and to move forward with our dreams.

We were very fortunate to meet Rene on our second trip. He's a Mayan who lives down the road from us. We'd seen him working at Hummingbird Hills as we'd trecked past. We stopped in one day to inquire about purchasing trees and found that the owner's weren't in the country, but Rene was working to maintain the grounds. We not only bo't some tree starts (the beginnings of our Neem trees), but found that Rene would work for us one day a week to help us start. We'd already had a bad experience hiring men to clear bush for us, and were impressed with Rene's committment to work as he'd agreed, even tho' the owner's weren't there. What a jewel he is. Previously, while still in Oregon, we'd hired a fellow to clear about an acre so that we could see what the ground actually looked like. We paid about 10 times what we should have and they did a horrible job. Rene had a couple of his sons help and they not only cleaned up the mess from the previous job, but did further clearing for us. What a difference! I could go on and on about the incredible job Rene has done for us, but I'll just say that he not only maintains the clearing that's been done, but maintains it like a garden. Every time we come down we find a new gift from our wonderful friend. Orchids tied to the trees, lovely flowering plants, pineapples and banana trees.

I had read that Mahogany does better in burned over ground, so we did an experiment. Rene cleared rows thru the bush and we planted Mahogany trees. We then had them burn an area of brush and planted Mahogany and teak in that cleared area. After over a year we can state that, at least on our place, the Mahogany in the rows is doing much better. Not sure if its' the shade or if it's too hot in the cleared areas, but we've decided to continue planting the Mahogany in the cleared rows and teak in the open areas. Will probably insert some cedar in the rows as an additional buffer.

I realize that this hasn't been very interesting too date, but hope to include photos of our last trip soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Our piece of paradise

We'd seen this property listed several places and decided to put it on our list. Macarena Rose took us to look at it. This was our first trip to Belize, so hadn't experienced the intricacies of the road system. Sorry, that's a pretty bad joke. Bullet Tree road hadn't been paved yet, so that was a trip unto itself and then we headed down Paslow Falls Rd. Following the river was lovely, but then Macarena turned to the left and headed up the hill, on what looked like a field of tall grass. She assured us that under it all was a roadbed. We climbed and climbed and finally got to the top of the ridge where she stopped and said, this is it. What? The bush was impenatrable. We were looking at 12.735 acres of ?? We actually had no idea where we were or what we were looking at. Oh well.

We even traveled to the coast and had already been to the north, but felt that Cayo was the most comfortable for us. To make a long story short, we kept coming back to this little unknown piece of land and decided to buy it. I won't go into the ins and outs of buying, but it was eventually accomplished.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Why would we want to move to Belize?

I wrote this in response to the view of so many that only the "young" should move to Belize.

These are thoughts I am just throwing to the wind. If they come your way you may ignore them, but I want the wind to know I’m here.

I’ve had a good life, married to a wonderful man for nearly 50 years, two children, a girl and a boy, and 5 fantastic grandchildren. We’ve felt blessed to have always lived in the northwestern USA. I can look out the windows from the loft of our log home (which we built with our own hands) and see Mt. Bachelor in the Cascades. The lakes and mountains are only one-half hour away. This all feels like perfection, and I’m savoring the moments here, which must soon come to an end. I’ll note right here that we can no longer afford to live here, thus our home is for sale.

When we share our dream of moving to Belize, most people are fascinated, but skeptical. My goodness, surely we mean for a trip. At our ages! What if we get sick, what if we’re robbed, what if, what if!! Most folks our ages huddle together in silver haired groups, playing bingo and regaling each other with their latest ill and pill. Often minds slipping from lack of use. Those who can afford it and have better health, travel south in the winter, making the rounds of golf courses and campgrounds. Snow birds is an apt description, everyone moving as a like- minded flock, sharing tales of their favorite restaurant or where to find the best flea market. When are you going back north, Blah, Blah, Blah! I don’t mean to minimize the value of each person’s life and contribution, but for me, the thought of that existence makes me crazy.

Most compelling for us is the fact that we can’t afford to continue to live in our wonderful log home. A mortgage, insurance, property taxes and life in general means we both have to work. At this point, my heritage will be “mother of two and a really hard-working bookkeeper. Yippee!

Even if we sell and get a smaller life here, our contribution would be negligible. Not that I expect to shake up the world, but I would like to feel that I’ve made a statement and a contribution. If we can move to our little spot in Belize, we plan to build a Mennonite house and be able to afford to live on our Social Security. By living off-grid, our expenses should be minimal. By planting mahogany and teak trees on our 13 acres, we’re planting our grandkids inheritance, which is more than we could leave them here in the States. We can share with them the thrill of traveling outside their corner of the world and meeting other cultures. What better teacher than Belize, where so many cultures and colors mix with very little notice of the differences.

By trying to live “green” we hope to help Belize show the world how to live with the earth rather than destroying it. I'm also hoping we can learn more of the Mayan ways from some of our nearby friends. Here in the US, we've quit listening to anything but the sound of our own voices. The earth has so much to tell us.

Up here, in the land of take, use and throw away, it all seems too greedy. In Belize, even if your contribution is small, I feel you can make a difference. Not by making things look like the U.S., but with small contributions of books or supplies for schools or helping the true Saints like Nurse Juan of the Good Shepherd Clinic, we can make a small difference.

We hope to travel back to the U.S. to see family and keep our connection to this “home,” but for as long as we can, we hope our home will be Belize. It sounds trite, but age truly is a state of mind. I pray my little gray cells keep banging against each other, so my mind will keep working (altho’ many think I’m crazy already) and that both Art & I continue to be blessed with reasonably good health, so we can see this dream come to fruition.

To me, the lovely green jewel of Belize is more precious that all the diamonds in the world.

Gale (yes, my name means wind. appropriate)