Thursday, February 13, 2014

No sale, darn!

We're let down, but are pulling up our socks and continuing on.  We've been in negotiations with some folks who seemed a perfect fit for the farm.  With our one bedroom/one bath in the house, two bedrooms/one bath in the guest house and then the unfinished Mennonite house at the entrance and leaving the property turn key, we were excited about the prospect of going back to Oregon and spending time with family.  In the end, we couldn't agree on terms, so are starting over.  I'm sorry for them as they seem to think that building is going to be a breeze.  After all we've been thru and the ugly stories others have related, I can assure them it's not, but to each his own.  Anyway, we're still here, enjoying the beauty and comfort on our hill.  

Improved road

Nothing much going on right now at the farm.  Weather is great.  Cloudy, occasional light, very short rain.  This is a prelude to the hot, dry season ahead.  Just wanted to post a photo of a piece of the road improvement.  Doesn't look spectacular, unless you've spent time in Belize and have driven some of our roads.  Folks are calling it our "highway."  Wish all the roads were this solid.

You can see the improvements at the top.  The road is about 1/4 mile and took a lot of gravel and work.  We're just enjoying being able to go up and down with relative ease. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Road, again!

The road up our hill has been a problem for several years, but this rainy season was the final straw.  We found ourselves virtually trapped up here and when we did go down, the huge ruts along with the mountain of black muck the was pushed up in the middle, were destroying the bottom of our truck.  We quit trying to use the old Trooper as the 4 wheel drive went out on it.  We've tried to keep our Toyota truck from becoming a "Belize" truck, but the elements seem to be winning.  We were able to get up and down most of the time, but no one else could or would even attempt it.  We finally cried "uncle" and decided it was cheaper to fix the road than repair the truck

We attempted to contact Victor, who put in the top part of our road when we built.  It turned out that he was spending the rainy season in California, so we contacted Henry, who was doing work for several friends and he agreed to help us.  Normally, it's best to wait until things dry out before attempting to repair a road, but our dilemma  needed drastic attention. 

It's extremely frustrating that there are other families on this road, but no one will contribute, but they keep trying to drive in the goo and succeed in making it totally impassable.  A neighbor has sold a lot and contracted to build an upscale house on it, but has been waiting for dry weather to do anything about the mess.  Her crew just spin their wheels and dig huge trenches.  Ok, ENOUGH!  I know that the neighborhood will think that we're rich Americans because we are spending to get this fixed, but that has to be their problem.  Little do they know that this is the last of our little fund.  Priorities.

Henry decided to put some material he's digging from a hill in Santa Elena.  It's huge rocks with a minimum of dirt.  He's using a backhoe to dig out the black goo and dumping the rock on the road.  It's not pretty like some folks like, where they put down white rocks that look nice, but when the rains hit, they become buried in the mud.  We were impressed by his diligence by using the backhoe, instead of a grader, he was able to continually pile the rocks on the roadbed, rather than having them pushed to the side with a grader.  

After he had dumped 4 loads of rock and leveled it out, I had an irate call from the woman at the bottom of the hill.  Her boys had buried the front end of her big Ford diesel truck in the new road.  She was adamant that everything we did was horrible.  I finally went down in the pickup and saw what had happened.  These young fellows don't have a clue how to drive and he'd tried to drive thru a pile of the black goo and had buried the front end with the back up in the air.  I had a tow chain and pulled him out, telling him that he's much better off sticking to the new rock.  Duh!  A couple of days later I got a call from her, thanking me for pulling them out and telling me that the new road was looking great.  Wow!

Anyway, Henry took about a week to slowly dump 14 loads of rock at 14 years per load.  We had to call a halt to the work as the funds were running out, but boy did we get a lot for our money.  He had to put most of the work at the bottom of the hill, but was able to address the couple of muddy spots up closer to the farm.  Hopefully, before the next rainy season we can get Henry back up to do a little more work, but we now have one of the best local roads in the country.  Anyone should be able to get up without four-wheel drive and Henry was able to bring up a full load of chippings which we'll use to build walkable paths around the house.  

It doesn't seem right that this track up to our place is a 60' government road, but they don't do anything, even to the main roads.  It's all political here.  When an election is coming, they tell the folks that they'll fix the roads if they win.  Hah!  Then nothing substantial happens.  They might bring a grader in and then drop a few loads of marl on the road, but the first rain brings back all the potholes.  Our road, with it's solid base of large rocks, should stay passable during the worst of the rains.