Friday, April 30, 2010


It's the end of April & I've been back in Belize about 3 weeks. The weather has been hot & muggy. According to our Mayan friends, this is unusual for April. We've also had a couple of rip-roaring thunderstorms. The first was a couple of weeks ago and came down from the north. The deluge hit hard & fast with lightning right overhead. We dashed to throw the breakers on the solar panels to isolate the inverter in case of a strike. Not sure if that's the best answer, but works for now. The storm 2 nights ago came from the west and once again, filled our cisterns. We're very conservative & our 10,000 gallon in ground cistern has stayed nearly full since it's beginning. We use the 600 gallon Rotoplast for irrigation & laundry.

We've had another repair dilemma. The bearings went out in the differential in the old flail. I had to laugh at a question from our son. I told him that his Dad was struggling to figure out what had happened & how to fix it & Tim asked if he had an instruction book on it. The poor old flail is at least 50 years old & shows every year of it. There probably wasn't a manual on it was new. Art has never been a mechanic, but has figured it out. After several trips to Spanish Lookout & lots of experimenting, he found the correct bearings & lock washers & it's working.!! We sure need the thing as we've had just enough rain to encourage the weeds to grow.

Still don't have the chainsaw working. Bo't a new coil for it in the States and it doesn't fit. After several discussions with the fellows at Crossroads in SL, they ordered one for us and it's the same incorrect one. I spent some time with them on their parts computer & we discovered that there are 2 different ones for mine. Jacob has been really helpful. He was going to order the new one. About 15 min. after leaving the store he phoned me to say that they had one in a saw that they'd take out & put in ours. We left it with them to do a tuneup to be sure all is well. Would you believe that a couple of days later we got a call that this model is unique and that there is actually a 3rd coil used only in this model. Can you hear me screaming from here? Anyway, they're ordering this unique coil.

The computer continues to be a frustration. Both Dell & the Geek Squad responded with "so sorry, but since you had the stupidity to take it out of the country, It's no longer our problem." Note: from previous experience I found that Dell Finance was in India and service was handled from the Phillipines. At least Belize is an English speaking country. I'm sending the computer north with a friend & she'll ship it to our daughter in Oregon & hoping for the best. Ha!

As I previously mentioned, my garden was a bust. I did salvage a couple of tomato plants I started in bags & three that Rene had stuck around. I transplanted them to the back of the house under the trees. I'm holding my breath, but they seem to be recovering & a couple have little tomatoes. Not sure of varieties, so will all be a surprise.

We've been enjoying watching birds visit a tree that has fruit that looks like a green cherry. Were thrilled to get photos of a gorgeous pair of tanager's who stayed for nearly a week. In the NW we don't see bright red birds. The Aracari visit here periodically, but are quick & shy. We have black & white warblers bouncing around, looking like tiny convicts in their striped attire. Some look more blue than black. Of course there are lots of greenish finches and our resident Kiskadee's to keep us entertained. They may not call it spring down here, but it still seems to be the nesting time. A not too bright pair of Kiskadee's have made a nest in the gutter on the guest house, right over the drain. A downpour might wash them away. We don't have many flowers yet, but have one large red bush that keeps a hummingbird busy. Unlike the little Rufus that we see in Oregon, this lovely thing is larger with a dark purple body & green highlights. What a joy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trip to Oregon

Well, I traveled back to Oregon to visit family and check on our house. The trip itself was as usual, frustrating. Picked up my checked bags in Houston, go thru immigration, rechecked bags, did the tap dance thru security, rushed to next gate. I have to fly economy, which is pretty minimalistic, but even the folks in first looked stressed. When I got to Portland I found that my checked bag had had extremely rough treatment, but most things were there. Since it was midnight, I grabbed and ran. Stayed overnight in Portland and flew to Redmond the next day. It was worrying to fly over the Cascades and see so little snow. Only the mountains (Hood, Jefferson, Three Sisters, Washington, Broken Top and Bachelor) had snow. Hope this doesn't foretell forest fires this summer.

Of course, it was wonderful to see our daughter and family. It's strange to go from hot to winter overnight. It did snow several times during my two week stay, but each time it melted within a day or two. It was overwhelming to walk into our house. Most of our furniture is still there and Kris had made sure it was clean for my stay. It's such a pretty house and built with love and hope. I cried! This turned out to be such an ill-fated trip in many ways. The good thing is that I had lovely visits with my brother and family, son, Tim and family and of course, Kris, Dan and boys.

I traveled with a list of chores and there lies the rub. My computer was first on the list. I took it to Best Buy and the Geek Squad because it was still under warranty. They thought they'd have to send it away for service that takes 3 weeks, but after a couple of days I got a call that they'd fixed it. Yippee! I used it while there, but when I got back to Belize, IT DIED AGAIN! Wish I'd bought a notebook while there, but didn't think I could justify the expense. Dummy!

My Stihl chainsaw needed a new coil. We've been using it a lot to clear bush. Surprisingly, no one had one in stock as "they never go bad." I finally found one in Pasco, WA, near where our son lives. Paid too much, but "a bird in the hand, etc." Got back to Belize and it's the wrong coil! ! !

I had lots of things that I wanted to bring back, but ended up leaving in Oregon in order to keep my bag under 50#s. It's hard when you travel alone.

Most of our neighbors had traveled south for the winter so missed out on visits and great potlucks. We sure miss you folks.

So, I'm back to square one, without a computer. I wouldn't recommend the Geek Squad. They sure let me down. My computer's now at the end of it's warranty and is only good as a boat anchor.

It's good to be back home in Belize with Art and Bailey. The weather here has been great. A little warm sometimes, but we get a wonderful breeze here on our hill. We continue to chop and weedeat and look ahead. Art has painted all our footings on the houses with lime wash to stop the bugs. It sure maakes the houses look tidy. I'm finally trying to finish our "Dreamer Farm" sign for our entrance. Don't know why I keep putting it off.

Anyway, dear friends, we can get frustrated with the slowness of things here in Belize, but, here in Cayo you can always find someone who will try to help you. This trip back to the States was filled with similar frustrations. Trying to find things that we needed, such as solar items, with limited luck and heared a lot of "that's not our job." "We don't do that here, you have to go somewhere else."
It's good to be home.