Sunday, February 28, 2010

My garden

I finally had to give up and admit defeat for now. I had hoped to enjoy some familiar veggies, but apparently they didn't care for it here.

I planted seeds directly into the garden and some in bags & boxes. Frankly, I couldn't even get radishes to sprout in the garden. How lame is that? I had to carry water, but that didn't seem to be the problem, as the ground stayed damp.

I had marginally better luck with some of the seeds in bags, but then found difficulty transplanting.

This was a test of our virgin soil and the result is that it needs help. Not one to give up so easily, I've decided to till it all, add fertilizers and tray again next planting time. We plan to try chicken manure in one part and another organic product in another part to compare results. I'll also be more diligent with my bug sprays. We're trying a concoction made from Neem leaves and another made from garlic, hot pepper sauce & dishwashing detergent. It's a challenge to try to make this a success.

I appreciate the comments & concern from some of you. I hope I'll have more positive results to report next time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'm really missing my computer. It's not always easy getting to internet cafe as we're so often hurrying. Hope to get it fixed and be able to be more diligent soon.
We're having one of those frustrating times when it seems everything is breaking. Hope it's just a spell and not the way it will always be. We did get the parts for the freezer & it's finally running again. The duty bit was maddening, but here a freezer is a luxury so won't come in duty free. So much for the QRP!
About a week ago I was making dinner, using the oven in our new Mabe stove. It's a little 20" with a black glass door. Luckily I was off to the side when I heard a loud pop & breaking glass. I turned to find a pile of tiny black glass & a disintegrated oven door. Art had been looking that direction when it happened & he saw it just explode. After a long discussion with LP Gas in Spanish Lookout, we were somewhat left on our own. We came home, disconnected everything & took the stove & box of broken glass back. I won't go into all the gorey details, but I was ready to tell the manager where he could put eh stove (it really doesn't pay to lose your temper here) when Art suggested that we cough up another $100 and take home a GE. No more Maybe (Mabe) they work and maybe they don't in this house. Also, we now believe that they do bring inferior products into Belize as we hear so many stories similar to ours & warrantees are non-existant, except in a few places in Spanish Lookout. Live & learn!
We bro't down a nice small TV that had been my Mom's, which has a built-in VHS player. Actually, our tapes are doing OK, so far, but the player has decided to not show a picture, only sound.
These problems, coupled with constant struggles with the weedeaters and chain saw are really chewing away at our budget.
We'll keep plugging along, but are hoping to at least take 2 steps forward to 1 behind, soon. Our glass is still half full!
Best to all, Gale

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A gentle day

Today is Feb 15th & I'm sitting on our veranda in a tank top, listening to the hum of our weedeater as Art works around the little Mennonite house. I know the weather is horrible in much of the US & I almost feel guilty that it's so pleasant here. It's been cool at night, this week, down in the low 50's and today was in the 80's, but muggy. Rene, (I have to tell you more about him later, he helps us with the land 2 days a week) thinks we'll get rain tonight. One indicator is that a neighboring howler monday has been making quite a noise all day. We'll see! I will only mention Rene a little here and now as I could write volumes about this wonderful, interesting man.

I worked with Rene today in an area that We're clearing. Rene's teaching me about using a machette and I'm getting better with it and finally feel I'm making a contribution and he's using my chainsaw to take down stumps.

In unpacking another of our jillion boxes I discovered a tape I made 5 years ago when we first bo't our property. It was just jungle bush. It's hard to imagine that every inch was cleared with a machette. Mostly by Rene with the occasional assistance of is sons. They are all incredible. Hardworking and so capable.

So many Gringos come down thinking only of bulldozers and other heavy equipment. We found it preferable to hire men who can choose what to cut and what to leave. They even cut down god sized trees with a machette. Amazing! The going rate for most machette work is $30-$35/day. Not only do you get a job done, you help support family. We've had so many men come up here hoping we had work for them. The country desperately needs something esides tourism to offer a future for the upcoming generations.

Once the bush is cut down and cleaned, ti's usually maintained with a weedeater. Frankly, I sometimes think they're from the devil himself when I listen as Art or Rene struggle to get the darned thing going. I wouldn't have the patience and would probably hurl the thing into a hole and bury it.

Anyway, we're so pleased and greatful for what we have here. I knw t's our imagination and direction, but it's also thanks to two dear men, Amelio, our builder and Rene who maintains the land.

This isn't the US, or Canada or Great Britain. It's a tiny developing country populated by some very talented, ingenious people who are just like all of us, trying to support their families. They deserve respect and a chance.

OK, I'm putting my soapbox away.
It's starting to rain!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I'm sitting in an internet cafe, pouting because I don't have my computer. Bummer. Oh well, onward and upward.

I've probably said this before, but here goes again - you haven't seen heavy rain until you've been in the jungle. Wow, can it pour. It started three nights ago and has continued off & on since then. We can easily get a couple of inches in an hour. Right now it's mid-morning and we've had a relentless rain since 6am.

Our little house is quite comfortable and dry (by Belize standards). The humidity takes over everything and you have to get used to putting on damp clothing. Since our lives revolve around solar, we use a solar dryer for our washing (That's a clothesline folks). Things can feel dry when I take them off the line (I test them like my mother showed me by putting them up to my mouth) and put them away, but when we take them from a drawer or closet, they feel damp. You get used to it. When we came down as visitors we'd take clothes to a laundry in town where they have a gas dryer. Then I'd bring things home and store in plastic bags in our suitcases. That was luxury. That's the one thing I'm hoping for down the road, a butane dryer. Heaven!

Sitting in our living room the rain is so loud we can barely hear each other. our home has our wonderful pine ceiling, but the verandas are open. The rain on the zinc sounds as loud as hail in the midwest. With only screens for windows the sound is all around us. This may sound unappealing, but it's actually quite comfortable. The verandas give us a dry place to work and it's still quite warm. Even with the overcast, the solar panels keep producing electricity. We're running our chop saw, drill and sanders periodically and barely dent our available power.

We're very happy being off the grid. On the grid in Belize means long power outages and fluctuating power levels. We have friends who have a restaurant in Town and they periodically go a whole day without electricity.

The worst thng that we do suffer with the rain is our road. The long stretch that we had put in is great. It's heavy gravel and is solid, but the bottom part of this "government road" is a slippery, muddy mess. It's just a track of black gumbo, now with gooey ruts. We couldn't get down on Sunday because our neighbor was stuck sideways, blocking the whole track.

It's very much like being snowed in in Oreogn. Once our freezer is repaired, we'll be able to stay for prolonged periods without going to town.

What hurts me the most is that my computer is broken. During this rain I would be sitting at my laptop, writing this to all of you, but instead I have to write it by hand and then try to get down to an internet cafe to send. Oh the hardhips, LOL Such is life in the jungle

Monday, February 1, 2010

My silence

Sorry, I have to do this quickly. My wonderful computer has told me that it needs to see a repairman (spooky) Anyway, only works for about 5 mins. then shuts down. I'll post and include photos when I can get back online. It will be an internet cafe for me for a bit.
Thanks to all. Gale