Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hurricane Rina

To answer a question about our preparations for hurricane Rina, the answer is that we don't have any. We're on the very western side of Belize, only about 3 air miles from Guatemala, so most hurricanes don't find their way over here. What we do get is lots of rain. There's not much we can do about that except have lots of supplies in case we don't want to navigate our road. Even with a hurricane, such as Richard, which did come our way, all we can do is close our shutters and wait it out. Our house is on concrete pillars and is strapped and/or bolted down. The winds generally come from the SE and we don't have trees on that side of our buildings. We are extremely happy to not be down near the river as the rising and falling of the Mopan don't affect us up here. All-in-all the most we can do is have food and gasoline for the generator and wait these things out. A little prayer doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The sun is shining

Ok, I've whined so much about the weather and our road that I have to remind myself and you to sing praises when the weather is wonderful, which it is right now. We've had a few days now without rain, scattered clouds and sun. Being so close to the equator, when the sun is out it can get hot really fast, but oh, are we all loving it. It's gotten quite cold, for here, with the temp dropping to the high 50's at night. We're actually using blankets on the bed. So lovely. Bailey is enjoying the cool. This is absolutely perfect weather.

I splurged and bo't two bouganvilla's, a lovely hibiscus and a couple of other plants (I'm terrible with the names) and will plant them today.

We haven't been doing anything with the cacao. Our grafting attempts failed miserably. I've talked to nursery folks and found that they do most of their grafting in Nov. & Dec., so we'll try again, now that it's cool out. The problem will be getting the buds. I always have to give things at least one more shot.

Rene is back at work. He told me that he's feeling much better and going crazy staying home with nothing to do. Also, they have absolutely NO money. We pay social security for him so he did get 80% of his wages, but it's not enough to support them as he only gets paid for 3 days a week. Anyway, we told him to pace himself and only do what he felt like. Fat chance. He put in a full day, clearing the property line fences. We're so lucky to have him helping us.

Art's heading for Oregon to visit the VA, so we're getting things caught up before he leaves. Wish I was going too, but, as we've already said, one of us has to stay to take care of the place and Bailey. This is a very special time as our oldest grandson, Max, turns 16 on the 28th. It's hard to believe that he's that big. That's the hardest thing about moving out of the country. We REALLY miss our family, especially our grandkids.

Enough babbling for now. I need to get outside before it gets hot. Blessings!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trooper OOPS!

On it's best days our little old, 1990 Trooper isn't a thing of beauty, but right now she's having a new struggle. We let Rene take it home over the weedends so that he can get to another job on Friday and then to the market over the weekend. A week ago he bro't the car back and parked it on the driveway. We've had the emergency brake repaired, but he doesn't like to use it. He was weedeating a distance away and I was in the house when I heard a noise and looked out in time to see the Trooper bumping down the hill on it's own. I took off running and yelling when I heard a fairly gentle crash. As I came around the corner of the bodega I saw that it had hit our lime tree. The tree had been struggling with an infestation of bugs which we'd been treating, but it's now a moot point as it was broken and lying off to the side. Luckily, the Trooper only seems to have a broken headlight. If the tree hadn't been there, it would have picked up speed going down the hill and probably been totalled in the heavy bush. We've been trying to find a used headlight assembly, but no one has a driver's side light, so have now ordered a new one. Next week we'll take it to Bado (body shop) and have him straighten the hood and fender and install the new light.
2 weeks later:
We looked everywhere we could think of to find a used headlight, but only found three that were for the passenger side. Darn. Ended up having Bedo order a new one and then straighten the hood and fender to accomodate the light. I told him he didn't have to make it pretty because that would only embarrass the rest of the car. We now have it back and so far, so good. We're ready for a lull in the unexpected expenses.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rain, rain and more rain

Sometimes it seems that's all I talk about, but right now it's definitely on our minds. If you can look at a satellite photo of Central America you'll see that we're right at the junction where fronts from the Pacific heading NE and those from the Atlantic, heading NW are meeting and heading for Mexico and the Caribbean. The hurricane center says that there aren't strong winds associated, just lots of rain. Well let me tell you, that's an understatement. It's been pouring for two days and is supposed to continue tomorrow. We're not going to head down until this is over as there's no way we could get back up our hill.

We have one neighbor just beyond ours and he's trying to do some construction. They have hopes to open as a small resort. I swear there's one resort for every tourist in Belize. People can't believe that we're gringo's, live here and don't have a resort. Anyway, we heard a truck try to make it up the hill, unsuccessfully, and then Bailey started barking. "Good boy!" I saw two guys walking up the hill, dragging rebar! ! ! Can you imagine. It's about a 1/4 mile up that muddy, long hill.

My dilemma is laundry. I didn't want to leave clothes at the laundry because I don't know when we'd get back to pick them up, but we really needed some things, so I did a few loads today. Seems silly because it's raining like crazy. I used the existing lines on the verandas of the guest house and our house and Art hung a new, higher line on our veranda so that I could hang sheets. Heaven only knows when, or if, they'll get dry. It's still quite warm out, so worth a try. Makes me feel as tho' I'm doing something positive anyway. Several of our friends have butane clothes dryers. I'm envious, but a huge expense for such a short time. It's something we'd buy tho' if we could afford it.

OK, back to J.D. Robb and Dallas. In case someone reads this who doesn't know, J.D. Robb is a nom de plume for Nora Roberts, writing about detective Eve Dallas. Great stories, but I've read them all at least 3 times. I'm getting desperate. I slurp these books up so fast tho', that I forget them just about as fast. Scary!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dengue fever

Our dear Rene, who works so hard for us two days a week, was working a week ago when he collapsed. He's been weedeating. We heard a faint cry and Art dashed out to see what had happened. Rene was on the ground. He hurt all over, but mostly in his stomach and head. We got him in our truck and Art took him to the government hospital, stopping off at Rene's to get a couple of his sons. They stayed with him while they ran tests and checked him over. Now this hospital is new, but nearly worthless. The service is free, but you get what you pay for. Rene went back home, but felt awful over the weekend, so they took him to a private Dr, who diagnosed him as having Dengue and possibly malaria at the same time. There have been lots of mosquitos everywhere, with all our rain, so hard to pinpoint where he got it. We don't have any standing water, but the bush does harbor dampness. Anyway, after a week, he's doing much better and he's determined to try to return to work on Monday. We do pay his social security, which is a combination of retirement and workmen's comp insurance. He'll collect 80% of what his reported earnings are. The trouble is, so many people don't pay the insurance, so many workers end up with nothing. They work so hard for so little anyway, that it makes you angry. Dengue is a real threat here. We've had other friends who have contracted it and it's taken them months to get back to normal. Besides being weak, you have a horrible headache.

I'm so glad that Rene is doing better and we're praying we escape it, but it's hard to escape those little devil mosquitos.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jaguar carving

I finally finished my jaguar panel. I was really happy with the carving, but disappointed at how red it turned when I put the teak oil finish on it. This is my first use of mahogany, but I should have expected this. Anyway, I now have to push myself to start something new. I can't complain any more that I don't have the time, because I'm getting really lazy and spend lots of spare time reading. I'm going to try to find a wood that's not quite so red this next time.