Friday, January 27, 2012


We have a small group of wonderful friends here in Belize, but there are times that we feel very cut off from the U.S. and our past life.  For some folks, that's why they're here.  That's not the case for us.  We came for economic reasons.  We sorely miss our family and friends.  What a joy it was to have a visit, albeit a short one, from our dearest, long time friends, Marge & Jack.  We've known Marge since our children were in preschool together.  It's scarey to realize how long ago that was.  They're such delightful people.  We could have spent weeks together, but we picked them up from the airport on Sunday and they returned to Florida on Wednesday.  Lots to catch up on in a short time.  We've had a lot of rainy weather, but Belize put on her best face for them.  It magically became a little overcast (which kept it from being too hot), but no rain for their visit.  It was beautiful.  Art & I laughed as it started raining right after we returned home.  I feel so blessed now to sit back and think about our wonderful time together and am so thankful that they continue to include us in their lives. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Concorde AGM battery problems

I've been trying to post for a couple of weeks, without success.  Finally had to move to Firefox to remove error message.  Still not sure what caused the problem with AOL.   Well, here I am again.

We had a really tough three weeks from Christmas on.  Problem one was the generator.  Our Briggs & Stratton had bad rings and we search all over the country without success.  We ended up by ordering from the dealer in Belize City.  We didn't realize they were special ordering.  I was told it would come in with their regular parts delivery.  We finally got the rings three weeks later to the tune of $240BZ.  In the meantime we were afraid of depleting our batteries even more, so spent the last of our reserves buying a Honda EU generator.  This was another real lesson.  The recommendation from several people was to buy a Honda.  We went to Universal in Spanish Lookout and saw lots of Honda engines, but on Asian bodies.  These were much cheaper than those at the Honda dealer.  We asked lots of questions and found that the reason these are so much cheaper is that they're reconditioned motors and parts for the entire machine are hard to get.  Enough already! !  We bo't the little Honda 300 from the dealer.  It bro't me to tears to spend such dear dollars on another generator, but that's the hazard of living off-grid.  The beauties of this model are, first, it's an electric start.  My muscles cried, hallelujah!  It also functions on demand.  Most generators run all out, all the time.  This little guy starts out at idle and then only increases power as needed.  Thus, it's extremely quiet and very fuel efficient.  This is keeping us functioning, but we are still having battery problems.

We have AGM sealed batteries.  You're not supposed to equalize these, but they won't take a deep charge.  The inverter keeps shutting the generator off.  Elvis and I researched the web and found that there is a way to recover.  He just hasn't been up to try it yet.  Hoping to tackle that problem this week.

Was sad to get an email from Elvis saying that he'd get here as soon as possible, but he had a burglary at his shop and they stole a lot of his merchandise.  Thievery is a huge problem here in Belize.
Our water pump had to be disabled as it wouldn't shut off.  That's what initially impacted the charge on our batteries.  Disabling it meant carrying water into the house.  That's when you regret having a house on stilts (not really).  We were lucky that we have a Rotoplas adjacent to the guest house so we could get water from it.  By using our camp shower, we managed fairly well.  

We pulled the pump and found that the supply hose had ruptured.  Wow, why don't we have a few more problems?   Now comes the real embarrassing part.  They changed the installation of the pump to galvanized pipe, but water still wasn't getting to the pressure tank.  The switch seemed to be ok.  The problem turned out to be the new ceramic filter I installed.  It was impeding the water flow.  That's what caused the rupture in the first place.  That was a really tough $500 lesson.  We're back to the paper filters. 

With company coming from the US this weekend, we're relieved to be functioning again.  Things still aren't perfect, but heck, they never seem to be anyway.  We'll just keep fumbling along.  Two old gringos learning new lessons every day. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Electricity problems continue

It's been a tough holiday time here at Dreamer Farm. We still haven't solved our electricity problems. Wouldn't have had so much trouble if our generator hadn't gone out at the same time. Hoping the parts will be in this week. Of course, this all had to happen during the holidays. Since Christmas was on Sunday, the following Monday was a holiday and then Tuesday was Boxing Day (thanks to the British), so nothing was open. We had help from an electrician who assured us that our batteries were ok, but there was an unknown drain on our system. Now, another problem surfaced with the backup generator we borrowed. It kept dieing. Not again! ! ! Elvis (yes our electrician's name is Elvis) diagnosed that the drain seems to be that the water pump in our cistern isn't shutting off. It appears that the switch directing this has gone bad, but since we couldn't charge the system because the generator didn't work, we were stopped. He took the generator back to try to fix it, but we've now gone thru the New Year's holiday without water. We were able to turn on the breakers for the house, so we have lights but are having to carry water from the Rotoplas. We have bottled water to drink and resurected our camp bag shower, so we're surviving.