Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Art's trip to Oregon

Why does fate always do things like this. Poor Art, didn't want to make this trip, but he needed to visit the VA. We're trying to keep one foot in the US for now. We've had quite a bit of rain here in Belize, but it's warmed up, so not uncomfortable. Right now it's cloudy,but 70 out. Well, I just talked to our daughter in Oregon and overnight they had 1 1/2 ft of snow and it's supposed to get down to -7 Fahrenheit. Art should be landing at the Bend/Redmond airport in just a few minutes. He didn't even have a coat to take up there with him. This is one time we're glad we have the house and lots of stuff there. All of our winter clothes are packed away in the house. Also, when I left in April I left the snow tires on the car. At least something should be ok. Hopefully, the fact that it's very dry there will make dealing with the cold a little easier.

Bailey & I will miss Art like crazy, but I have lots of chores and projects, so will keep busy.

Happy Thanksgiving, Gale

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Aracari carving

It appears that we're going to have rain, rain and more rain for the next week or so, so looks as tho' I'll not have an excuse for ignoring my little projects. A friend of ours has a wood shop where they create exquisite furniture. I snagged this piece of mahogany from them and carved this piece. This fellow spent some time in a tree in our backyard. Most of the time they just fly by, but luckily I caught him/her to get a couple of photos. We don't have mature fruit trees, since we've been hacking our place out of the bush, so most of these guys just pass us by. Hope to catch more than a passing glimpse of the big toucans too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Lots of holidays here that we don't have a clue about. Tomorrow is Garifuna day, which is a national holiday. The Garifuna's are a group of people who mostly live at the coast and south, who are descendants of slaves. I've been told that this is the most colorful holiday in the country. That's great, but we also miss our traditions, like Thanksgiving. We were thrilled that a lovely friend has a tiny restaurant and she decided to have an early Thanksgiving dinner. We just returned from stuffing ourselves on her wonderful fare. Everything was perfect, except that we won't be able to nosh on the leftovers. Oh well! Turkey and all the trimmings and pie. We were in heaven.

I should preface this with the fact that we've had the most incredible weather for a couple of weeks. Cool at night and in the 70's & 80's during the day. Can't imagine any better. I had to water my new little garden every day tho' and was getting worried that the tank I use was getting low. Well, not to worry. Tonight it was filled several times over. About 2pm it started to rain and then it changed to POURING. We slogged our way down the hill early to dinner as we were afraid we wouldn't be able to get back up. Someone said that it rained 2" in an hour. I think it was probably even more than that. It's now about 6:30 and it's still raining. A big share of Paslow Falls Rd was under water, but we managed just fine. At least the river has been down, so there's somewhere for all this water to go. The trip up the hill was a hoot. All I could do was put our sweet Toyota pickup in 4 wheel drive and let her pick the route. It wasn't easy as the whole muddy thing was a river itself. Lots of huge bumps and trenches that previous rains have dug. The top half where we had so much work done is a blessing. We always breath a huge sigh of relief when we hit that part.

Anyway, Art& I enjoyed having our Thanksgiving together as he leaves for Oregon for 10 days on Monday. He'll have the real Thanksgiving up there with family. Bailey & I will be toughing it out together here. Actually, we'll be great. I have lots of tasks to do and Bailey & I have great (if one sided) chats. Also, lots of friends and neighbors to keep tabs on me. We've agreed that Art needs to go to the VA once a year for checkups. Some healthcare here is ok, but we feel better with the quality care he gets at the Bend Clinic. He'll also be able to totally shut our lovely log house up for the winter. It's cold up there right now. We had left everything functional for occasional renters, but decided that's foolish. He'll be a busy little beaver.

I'll close for now. The hum of the generator is putting me to sleep. We didn't take in many solar rays today, so are glad for the generator. Don't have to use it very often, but a blessing at times.

Happy Thanksgiving (& Garifuna Day) to you all.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Dear Friends,
I enjoy sharing our adventure with anyone who's interested, via this blog. It's always rewarding to get your comments. They let me know I'm passing on info that is of interest. If you want to email me directly, I'm happy to hear from you. Also, it would be helpful if you want to hear from me I need your email address.

Belize is an interesting, frustrating, beautiful and sad country, just like any other. Legally we're outsiders, so have no say in anything. That can make it both good and bad. By accepting it for what it is and realizing that there are wonderful people here who are just trying to live their lives too, helps us to sit back and relish the wonders of it all. A couple of things that made Belize appealing to us is that the roots of the law are British, English is the basic language of the country, altho' the majority of the local people speak Spanish) and we've found quite a few expats to maintain our comfort zone. We did a little traveling on our first visits to Belize, but always rushed back to Cayo as we realized right away that it's home for us.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. If you have specific questions that we might be able to answer, please drop me a note.

It's warming up a bit and today is overcast. Had a dumping rain yesterday which really helped as the ground was very dry. It's actually been a wonderful year here in the "Little Jewel."

Blessings, Gale

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birds in the morning

I love sitting outside on the back veranda in the morning. Right now it's cold, but clear and sunny. The bird sounds are all around. I'm finally used to our 12 hour days. Dawn about 6am, dark about 6pm. I haven't much knowledge about birds, so am constantly thumbing thru "Birds of Belize." What's that one? So many look almost alike.

At first light the parrots start trying to decide where to go for the days forage. It's a group meeting with everyone having a voice. Pandemonium and then they're gone. Out to decimate some farmer's corn.

The two groups of Chachalacas seem to call to each other. The blackbirds, kiskadees and brown jays are always around, noisily flitting about, hopefully working on the bug population.

I keep my camera handy, but both it and I are too slow to catch so many of the little birds. A tiny Black & White Warbler and (I think) an American Redstart tease me by dancing up and down and thru the trees, always moving before I can locate them with the lens. There are so many tiny, li8ttle warblers, variations of yellow and greenish brown. Our resident hummingbird keeps busy with our few flowering bushes.

We've been frustrated that most of the flowering plants we've started have been stripped bare by ants. This will be an ongoing battle.

I had a surprise and thrill a couple of days ago, when I went into the bodega (concrete storeroom under the guest house) and was met by a beautiful blue/green bird which flew past me and out the door. It was a fairly large bird and at first I tho't it must be a parrot. Luckily it hung around for a couple of days so that I could identify it as a Motmot. What a thrill. I suspect that, because we're on the top of a hill, lots of birds pass by, but don't stay.

I wish I had a bird authority at my side to identify all the unseen birds by their sounds. There's chirping and singing all around. A constant variety of sounds, coming from the canopy. I may not see them, but I do love that they're there.

A sadness for both of us is that Art's hearing is getting worse and he can't share in the joy of all this music. We're truly blessed to be able to enjoy this gentle place, at least for now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Ok, Here's Momma Gale's handy hint for the day. If you travel to Belize in November or December, BRING SOME WARM CLOTHES! Now, we moved here from the mountains of Oregon where it can get darn right cold, so this seems kind of woosy to say that it's cold here at 50, but it is. When it's 80 during the day and then 50 at night, with humidity around 98%, it feels as tho' it's freezing. Our first trip during November we had only bro't warm weather clothes and we couldn't get warm. We shopped everywhere and there wasn't a sweatshirt to be found. So please, dear friends, bring sweatshirts and/or jackets for the late and early hours. If you're having to furnish your own bedding, a comforter will save your life.

When we started building here, we stayed in a little travel trailer. It was handy, but boy was that little metal box cold at night. We were begging bedding from friends to survive.

In Oregon we'd be lighting a fire in our little stove to take the chill off. So be warned, the jungle can get cold because it's so damp.

Warm hugs, Gale

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just a quiet day

Actually, probably a pretty boring day. I had to laugh when I checked my mail. Probably the highlight of the day is the fact that, after 53 years of marriage "someone wants to date me," Wow, the things that pop up in my spam file. So glad there's a "delete file" button that makes all that stuff disappear. I think AOL looks for the mass mailing stuff. Thank you AOL.

It's been overcast a lot and a little rain most days. Just enough to make weedeating and rototilling the garden tough jobs. We're still trying to burn piles of "Richard" debris. No rush.

We read a lot. Are actually rereading most of the books we bro't down. Lots of places trade books, 2 for 1 which gives us new stuff. We both have collections of books that we don't want to give up, so our wall is actually growing.

I don't know why I'm so hesitant, but I have started a little relief carving. They're a lot of work, but for the first time in my life, I have the time. Now I just need a kick in the hinny to get going. One huge panic for me was when I opened my tool roll that holds my Swiss chisels. They have started to rust. I've had them out a few times, but I guess this wet weather permeated my toolbox. I attacked them with a fine steel wood and light oil and have now placed a towel in the tool roll to, hopefully, absorb most of the moisture. We get chips for our yard paths and for composting from some friends who have a furniture factory. On our last trip I spotted a nice piece of mahogany in their trash and am now trying to see what I can make of it. We had an aracari visit some time back & it appears that it might find it's way onto the piece of wood.

The reality of living in the bush is that there is a lot of hard work always looking us in the face, but there are also long stretches of time to sit an ponder about life in general. Why did we make the move, we missed the election in the States, what is everyone else doing, etc.? For the first time in my life I'm actually retired. It's still a start to both of us that we don't have to get up and go to work each day, doing something that is just a job. What a blessing that we've been given this time to just savor life.

Tomorrow night we're going to sample the food at a restaurant that's new to us with some friends.