Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Packing, packing, packing

No, we're not moving. Our dear friend, Jane Beard, has returned from England to spend a couple of weeks here, making sense out of the things she left in her house here and shipping her animals back to the UK. All this is much harder than it sounds. She has a whole room full of boxes that she'd never unpacked when she moved into her house. Burlars broke in recently and ransacked the room. It was someone who knew what was there as they seemed to have had a shopping list of items to take. Mostly Mayan books and memorabelia. Also, many of the boxes of books had become damp. We're having to sort and rebox. Ick!

Also, she has 3 dogs and a cat. Magic (cat) came from the UK, so is returning home. Max (dog), whom she's had the longest, must sense what's happening and decided he doesn't want any part of it. He's become aggressive and wouldn't let the vet near him. She's decided to leave him here and gave him to the nice young fellow who's been staying in the house. Even if Belize would let Max out of the country, she wouldn't be able to get him into the UK. I've tracked down two large kennels for her other two dogs and they should arrive here today. That search is a whole nother story. We bring the animals here Wed. and take them to the airport on Thursday am, EARLY.

Then it will be back to the sorting. Once we're done we will keep her boxes in our little Mennonite house until she can afford to ship them. It's so difficult to see her have to make decisions that I had to make just a few weeks ago. The economy all over the world is forcing so many of us to make tough decisions. She heads back to England on Monday and then it will be back to our projects.

They finished building the septic tank yesterday and will now do the drainfield and plumbing.

The nursery is doing fine with about 90% success with sprouting our seeds. We are having trouble with bugs, which is difficult as we're trying to be totally organic. Hope the soap, garlic and neem works. Trouble is, I spray and it then rains. Trying not to be discouraged, but being tired doesn't help. Getting to be a cranky old broad. Have to slap myself alongside the head for an attitude adjustment.

More later.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Giving up on composting toilets!

We've had it with the composting toilet thing. We paid a lot of money for a Biolet toilet and absolutely hate it. Of course, we bo't the basic model because we were concerned about our electricity useage, which may be part of the problem. But, the whole process is just too smelly and a pain to empty. In this humidity the bugs hatch really fast, so we're emptying it a lot. Whatever the reason, when I went back to Oregon and was able to actually flush I told Art that I wanted to upgrade to a water flushing toilet. Hard to get excited about something this basic, but we are.

When our family visited recently, we had trouble with the one in the guest house as the vent odors permeated the bedrooms. Ick!

We've hired Rene's sons to dig the septic and build the system. Originally we tho't we'd have to have two septics, but upon advice of an American contractor friend of ours, we moved the site to below both buildings and will drain both into the one. We could have had someone come in with a backhoe, but did that with our cistern and it made an even worse mess than we have now and cost a lot just to get them up here. The boys dug a neat hole and they really need the work. It's money better spent. They just finished the hole and will pour the floor tomorrow. Our biggest problem is getting rid of the pile of marl that's now littering our yard. Will probably have to load it in the pickup and put it on our road.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June in Belize

I had an unevenful trip back home to Belize. Long layovers proved to be a blessing as weather was delaying flights in and out of San Francisco. No worry for me, just shortened my layover time. No problem with Belize customs as residents are allowed to bring in $200 worth of goods and I only bo't a couple of small items, so breezed thru. I did ship a few boxes of "stuff" to Belize, via Houston. Nothing important, just memory things to remind us of our previous life. I'm anxiously awaiting a few books from those boxes.

I've been home a week and am just starting to get my balance again. It was such a difficult time in Oregon and the weather was cold and when I arrived back in Belize it was hot and humid. I've had a tough time sleeping and have just felt disoriented. It was so good tho' to get back home and find my place again. One thing that helped was that Marco bro't us 700 more cacao seeds and some bags the day after I got home. It was great to have a project and to jump right in. This time we've changed our tactics. We're pre-sprouting the seeds to be sure that they're viable. We've put them under the house on screen and are keeping them wet. As they start to sprout, we put them in the bags giving us a much better success rate. We gave Rene some seeds and have about 500 in bags. We already have about 270 seedlings growing for root stock. Now we just need budwood to start grafting.

Belize's hot spell seems to have broken and it's started raining. We're getting lots of thunder during evenings and nights and then lots of rain. This is really good for the seedlings, but the trees we hoped to get budwood from have sprouted too fast, so we're left waiting, again. We made the base for our nursery from a pile of marl we had from digging our cistern. The rain makes this slippery and it splashed up on the bags. Cacao hates marl. Marco suggested we put sand on top, but it tracks and washes away. Instead we've opted for shavings. We get them either for free in bags, or they bring us a trailer load for $20 for fuel. It's really tidied up the nursery making it easier to water and much less messy. Hope we don't find that this has an adverse affect on the plants.

My brother wrote that it sounds as tho' we're working hard and getting blisters. Instead, we work a little in fits and starts and then just watch to see if something is sprouting. All this rain makes it hard to do much else outside, so we're back to reading.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

I've been in Oregon for almost 3 weeks sorting possessions, having two garage sales, giving things away and doing a lot of crying. Art had to remain in Bullet Tree to take care of our place and our dear Bailey. It's very difficult to dismantle and discard pieces of our 50 years together. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not going away from, but to. We're definitely not alone in this struggle. So many are facing the same heartache. Leaving a home that you created, loved and now have to walk away from. We're lucky that we have our place in Belize. It's entirely different from our log home in Oregon, but it's a place of healing and new directions. We've been so blessed with good health and to have each other, along with our wonderful Bailey, which allows us to keep dreaming and facing new goals. It' s just so hard to once again, say goodbye to our beloved family.

It's also been very strange to leave Belize, where it's been over 100 every day for a couple of weeks, and have snow and freezing temps in the Oregon mountains. I've actually been so busy that I haven't had time to worry about it. I just put on a jacket and keep packing. Art tells me that it rained yesterday, so not sure what I'll find when I return.

When I get back to Belize I'll update what's happening with our Cacao nursery. I'm taking back grafting knives and tape, so will be jumping into the next phase of our growing.

I'm so grateful for the internet. It can be such a pain, but it allows us to remain connected, even in remote corners. More to come soon. Blessings!