Monday, January 10, 2011


I know the weather in the U.S. is really awful in some places. Unusually cold and lots of snow. I just looked at the road cams in Central Oregon. Lots of snow and cold. I loved the snow when we had lots of wood stacked outside and food stocked up. I could just savor the beauty of it all in the mountains. It is always a time of worry tho' about folks driving in icy conditions. Sunriver is a resort area and folks visit who are there to have a good time skiing and enjoying the winter, and have no concern for the hazardous road conditions.

Our concern here is Belize is just the opposite. We're having the most gorgeous weather, which I'm sure the tourists are enjoying. It's in the 80's during the day and high 50's at night. Sounds ideal, but our big worry is that this is supposed to be the rainy season. Usually it rains most of December and on into January. We haven't had rain for several weeks. The ground is dry and cracking and any of the trees have started to lose their leaves. We do have the morning mists, but they're not enough to provide water to the earth. Farmers have planted beans and corn, staples here, and what has sprouted is drying up. The Mennonites are trying to irrigate some fields, but most will be a loss. I hear that the government is trying to find sources outside of Belize to get folks thru this tough year. Prices will go soaring. Because of the weather and struggling economy here, most of the population is out of work. I worry about how families can survive.

We're extremely conservative in our water and electricity use. When we came down we were prepared to have our cistern go dry, so we developed ways of recycling our water. We collect our gray water in a tank (this is from showers and washing dishes) and use that to water plants. We also use composting toilets. As is turns out, our 10k gallon cistern is still 90% full. This dry weather will be a test for our usage. If we continue to maintain our water supply, we may opt to install a regular toilet here in our house. I have to say we're not fans of the Biolet toilet system. We much prefer the homemade composting toilet in the guest house. Anyway, right now we're just concerned about water.

We had standing water in a spot near my garden. This is curious as we're at the top of a ridge. The ground slopes down quite seriously behind the guest house. Art & Rene decided to dig down to determine the source of the water. Rene dug a hole about 3' across and maybe 4' deep and water is leaking below the topsoil at the top of the marl. The water is clean and odorless. Rene remembers as a boy they used to hunt in this area and there was a spring fed stream around here in the bush. When our "ship comes in", what a laugh, we'd like to dig a well and hopefully supplement our water supply.

Moving to Belize is such a fantastic experience. To develop our little place with limited funds and off-grid is a little like pioneering. Of course they didn't have solar, so we know we're pretty lucky. We also couldn't do most of the work on the land without our good friend, Rene. He's a wealth of information and common sense and he works extremely hard. He's so proud of what we've all accomplished here and doesn't hesitate to take credit for much of our success.

This seems to be a very confused year weather wise, everywhere. None of the usual conditions are happening. I hope the spring (that's for the U.S, there really isn't a spring here) will bring a gentleness back to the land for all of us. We're praying for a little rain here before the expected dry season hits.
Blessings, Gale


sandy a. said...

I found this site that has a rainfall graph. I always thought that rainy season was in mid-summer there? Maybe the drought conditions are ongoing since too light a rainfall in the summer

Dreamer farm said...

Hi Sandy, Thanks so much for the site info. I'm definitely not an authority, but from everyone I've discussed this with who'd lived here a long time, this time of year they usually get gentle rains that can last for days. The summer months bring torrential rains from storms. That would explain the rainfall amts. Wouldn't you know, it rained a little here last evening. Me and my big mouth. Thanks again.

Scotty said...

Dear Friends,

Is there something that I could send to Rene and his family that would help with their general well being. I like this mans integrity and work ethic and wonder if there is something I could send as a present from Canada that would ease their life in any way?