Saturday, June 26, 2010


We're both happy and sad today. We're very pleased as our son, Tim, is getting married today to a wonderful lady. Patti is truly a blessing in his life. We're sad because we're so far away. That's the real struggle we face, moving to a foreign country. Thank goodness for Ecards and gift certificates.

It's very expensive to travel back to the U.S. It's between $200 and $250 U.S. more expensive to fly from here to Oregon, than from Oregon to here. Go figure! In addition, the exit tax isn't included in your ticket from here. We already knew and accept these things, but it still hurts.

We really miss our family. Our daughter has two boys, Max, almost 15 and Tyler 13 and Tim has Rex 14, Charley 12 and Jessie May 8. We felt a part of their lives up there, but as they are growing up, they've headed in their own directions. Just wish it was easier for Belize to be one of the directions. In the States, you can put kids on a plane and feel that they'll be helped to their destination, but not across international borders with Customs and Immigration.

Thank goodness for the internet. My brother & sister-in-law are wonderful to stay in touch and keep us posted on their lives and their families comings and goings.

Our struggle with this separation is ongoing. We anticipated this before making the move, but doesn't diminish the hole in our lives.

With love,

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Every Saturday is market day in San Ignacio. Folks bring their goods in to sell. The best freshest produce is locally grown, but often not the prettiest. If you go early enough you might find the Mennonites from Barton Creek selling whatever produce is in season. Most of the vendors, tho', buy and resell, which means that most of the booths show the same items. I just look for the cleanest and the best price. It makes you really appreciate the variety and quality of the produce in the States. We usually get up fairly early, but don't get moving fast, so is often between 9 & 10 before we get down. There are about 8 or 10 permanent booths along the street side and those vendors are open every day. Towards the end of the week, before they get a fresh shipment, the produce can get a little limp and bedraggled.

Around the back side of the mkt. are the vendors selling clothing and misc. goods. You might find someone with a tarp on the ground selling tools, shoes & CD's. Our favorite vendors are David & Maggie who sell DVD's. They're a delightful couple who have 5 children and they go between the market in Belmopan and S.I. Since we don't have TV, we are good customers and buy 5/$20bz every couple of weeks. I just got back from trekking to the mkt, but didn't buy much as everything was very expensive and the quality definitely lacking. I did bring home a pitaya, a few mangos and 4 granny smith apples. Go figure! They import apples from similar suppliers in the US, as the apples have the variety sticker on them. We're having trouble finding fruit that we like. Everything is too sweet. The Belizeans are definitely carb lovers. When in season, we love the little apple bananas, which have a little tang to them. Yum!

Laundry in Belize

I was writing to a new friend, describing bits about Belize and I thought I'd record some of those thoughts here.

When you first come to Belize, It can be a little strange. The living conditions are very different from what we saw in the States. Houses are poorer, but not the tarpaper shacks that can be found in other third world countries. The largest number of people are just surviving, but like folks everywhere, they work hard, when there's work available and try to help each other. Most are very poor, but the children are loved, clean, well dressed and happy.

It feels as though they must be the cleanest people anywhere. Women seem to be doing laundry every day. Most villages have a water system, of sorts, usually just pumping from a river to homes. Then there are folks lke us who collect water from the roof.

I dream of a washer and dryer, but use the system most use here. It's reminiscent of my grandmother's washer, except mine is basically plastic. One tub is for washing with an agitator. Then you put it on drain and move clothes to a small spinning tub. It's pretty much a manual system. Many still use a tub and scrub board also. Anything can become a clothesline. The surprising thing is that, in spite of the humidity, we have nice breezes and clothes usually dry fairly fast. The little photo shows a neighbor who has five little children, with clothes drying on the fence. I have two lines on verandas and one outside, so manage just fine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Our backyard

Isn't this pretty? We're trying to clear a portion of the land around the houses by leaving the trees and just clearing the bush. It's taken a bit of time to get this far. Rene has chapped down the bush and we've gone thru with a chainsaw and cut the stumps. This has enabled Art to take the little tractor and flail thru. We're delighted with the results. It's actually mulching the thick layer of leaves on the ground. Lots of folks rake the leaves and pile and burn them or make compost. We prefer to allow them to remain on the ground to create humus and to choke out weeds.

Now if we can just afford to keep the old flail repaired. It's had a nearly fatal breakdown, again. It's cost us way more than we can afford, so this is probably the last repair. Hope it will keep working for a bit. It did a fantastic job with this part of the yard.

We've planted a few coffee plants and some haleconia here. Rene also bro't 5 different orchids that are tied to the trees. Not spectacular, but lovely to have bits of the original jungle in our trees.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This isn't my best work, but will do for now. I just wanted to get a sign at the entrance to our place so that folks coming up our road (which is fairly rare) would know it's us. There is one place beyond us and occasionally a taxi will struggle it's way up the road to Hammer's place. I think they're calling it La Chachalaca. ???? Anyway, this is us!

I've done carving and painting in the past, but haven't been able to kick myself hard enough to get back at it. Always something to do or it's too darned hot. "Someday" is coming soon. Anyway, dear ones, this isn't as grand as placing a flag on the top of a mtn., but it's our way of saying, we're here taking care of our little piece of the world.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Guest house

Ok, we keep hoping and planning that fortune will shine on our family and they'll be able to come down and share our dream. We've continued to plug along to create spaces so they'll be comfortable. As you can see by the photos, nothing we've built here is fancy, but functional. To us, that's Belize.

I've shown a photo of the guest house before, showing the solar on the roof & the bodega on the bottom, which houses our solar controls and tools. The top floor is a little more gracious. It houses two bedrooms and a "soon to be" bathroom. The first bedroom, which is on the right, has twin beds. The second room has a double sleigh bed. We HAD to bring down the sleigh bed as we've owned it and the dresser since we were first married. The mattress is probably the thing our kids would fight about the most if we were both gone. It's probably the most comfortable mattress we've every owned. Note: we'd both probably amend that now as we treated ourselves to a Temperpedic and it's fantastic. Anyway, the old bed has antique bedding, which we've also owned for years.

Egads, I can't believe the stuff we now consider "antique" which we actually purchased. Yes folks, we've been married for over 50 years, so we're the antiques. And we headed to Belize at our ages. What a couple of crazy old folks. Hey, cut that out! We're doing pretty great and feel just fine, thank you!

We hope to have the DC ceiling fans hooked up soon which will sure make the rooms more comfy in this heat.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My garden

The weather has been miserable for a couple of weeks, but is moderating a little right now. Rain forecast for several days, but hasn't happened. We can see a storm passing to the south of us, heading west. Watching the satellite for the caribbean, is shows the storms passing from norther South America, over Panama & Costa Rica and then turning back north & east, back to the Bahamas. Belize is tucked back and just gets the windy/rainy edge. Actually hoping this storm brings some rain as we could really use it.

I hand carry buckets of wash and rinse water from doing laundry, to my new little garden plants. Right now I only have cucumber and cantelope and some pineapple. Trying to start tomatoes, onions and cabbage in trays. Would love to have some lettuce, but it's way too hot. Once the lower black Rotoplast tank is empty, we plan to take it to the Mennonite house and have the eaves drain into it. It's a little uphill from my garden, so that I could water via a gravity fed hose. Yippee! Right now my upper back & neck are killing me from toting & fetching. Can't be that I'm getting old. Heavens no, it's just that my once rotund body is getting a little tired. Actually, I'm still rotund, just less, having dropped 40#.

I'm experimenting with my garden spot. We put 10 sacks of chicken manure in one area, and will use a fertilizer mix in another area. We'd like to stay organic, but are getting tired of losing plants to poor nutrition and bugs. Just bo't some Neem oil to help with the bug problem. We have several Neem trees that are now about three years old. We tried to make a tea of leaves, but that had no affect on the white fly. We'll see what the oil does. It's actually made from the seeds.

Well I'm off to make an orange drink and try to cool down. Art is peeling limes for his drink. I swear that part of our weight loss is all the work it takes to peel the citrus.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

recent visitors

I'm probably talking to myself, but that's ok. This is mainly a record of our adventure. If you are out there in cyberspace, waiting with bated breath for my next missive, don't hesitate to leave a comment with an email addy. I'm going to start recording our everyday experiences to remind us of how we survived a new culture.

A couple of weeks ago, when several of our jungle trees had berries, we were treated to visits by a couple of fun and unusual birds, at least for us. We've seen the Aracari elsewhere, but it took the berries to bring them up to us. They blend so well with the trees, it's sometimes difficult to spot them. They're a small toucan, so I had to look for the big bill.

Other visitors who only stayed around for about a week were a couple of pairs of scarlet tanagers. What a thrill to see the flash of red feasting on our trees. I guess they're really more their trees than ours, but we'll try to take care of the trees so they'll be there for a return trip.

I'm going to have to look thru my photos for a picture of the little black & white warblers. Almost like a zebra of birds!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bailey & the golden frog

Poor Bailey doesn't get much exercise because we're afraid to allow him to run loose. He's just too nosey. He has to check out everything. He would run for an hour or so and then come back and sit in the yard. The problem is, that while he was checking out the bush, he'd have his nose in every tarantula hole and check out every snake. Therefore, our poor, dear friend is sentenced to the verandas and short walks 4 times a day. His one bit of excitement right now is FROGS!

Last evening when Art took Bailey for his little walk, he hollered for me to come look. Bailey had found the golden frog. Art had previously told me he'd seen one, but I still hadn't seen it. The darned thing blended in with the leaves and tree bits, but when Art put the flashlight on it, I finally got a view of our golden neighbor. I took some flash pictures which don't really show it's color. It was actually a bright golden color. Bless his heart, Bailey just sat down and let us ooh and ahh over the darned thing. Bailey is the true treasure. I love it that so many things here are decked out in bright colors.

Note: A friend read this and scolded me because I didn't show a photo of Bailey. We met the frog late at night and our dear Bailey sat down patiently while I took these photos, but none of him at the time. Anyway, I'm adding a photo here and am adding more photos in a later post. Gale