Friday, March 30, 2012

Progress on the house (Part 2)

Still moving along up here on the hill. We have 5 guys working here... but they don't all always show up, so the progress is still very slow. "Belizean time." No worries.

One of the things we do most is drive down to the Stann Creek River and pick up loads of rocks. We've got piles and piles saved up for all the river-rocking we want to do in the house, but these rocks here are all being used as the base of the cement tracks we'll have leading up part of the driveway. (Try getting up here in the rainy season without 4WD, lockers on your tires and no concrete. Just try.) :

See that tiny little black rock down at the end of the driveway? That thing is huge!

Now for the house updates........

The front of the house a few weeks ago

The front today.

Guest room with painted walls and unfinished floor

Guest room with painted walls and finished floors... temporary storage room.

Back of the house last month - no paint

Back of house now - paint!!! Verandah gets stained tomorrow!

Inside of back verandah, then

Inside, now.

All windows stained, sealed, screened and framed.

That's pretty much it for now. I need to start taking pictures of the land next - we just cleared another 3 acres, plus our crops are looking sweeeeet! Here's a few to leave you with.....

Lime trees, freshly cut grass, trimmed hibiscus bushes, solar panels

Daily (nightly?) sunsets from back verandah

We're waiting for kitchen cabinets to come next week, the floors in the kitchen and living room should be getting worked on soon.... maybe those rooms will finally make it into the next update post.

I just added a link for cheap-ish airfare from Philly to Belize on Facebook ($604 roundtrip)
Just sayin.


Monday, March 26, 2012

The weird, furry thing

I totally thought this was just a big furball from one of my cats, but it moved....

I'm guessing it's a caterpillar but I can't find anything quite like it online. What else could it be though, right? A hairy worm? Fuzzy bug?

I'm still not sure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Belizean Legend... or soon to be proven true?

Most books and websites about Belize will tell you the rainy season here is from June-November  -Belize Facts- but that doesn't mean that you don't see rain during the other months. When I moved to the mainland in February it poured, off and on, for about 3 weeks.

Storm coming in from the Sea

Robert told me that it rains in February because, "The iguanas need to lay their eggs."

I asked him today, since we haven't had anything other than a few night time showers so far in March, if the rainy season is over now. He said, "No, there will be one more storm, a big storm with lots of thunder and lighting, and it will be over Easter weekend. After that storm, the iguana eggs will hatch and the rainy season will be over."

I looked up "rainfall in April," specifically (since Easter weekend this year is April 6-8, with my birthday in the middle) and this is what I found:

"April ushers in the onset of the rains caused by the heating of the land. Huge thunderstorms begin to build over the hot Maya Mountains. The easterly trades are losing their force and the thunderstorms often move toward the coast. These afternoon buildups are beautiful to watch, with most of the lightening hitting deep within the Maya Mountains. Toledo has another dry month of only about 4 inches of rain, and the Mayan farmers wait till after the ground is soften by the rains to begin to plant their corn or burn the bush. In the north, the rainfall is very sporadic and go by the local name of "Iguana Rains". 

I love Belize lessons like this - it's like learning that you can't plant plantains during the full moon because there's too much water in the ground and they'll just end up bursting.

Come on out, little guys - it's time to start the dry season!


<>  I have no idea whats up with the enormous empty space at the end of this entry. <> <>


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Belizean fruit - the Cocoa Bean....

Ok, everyone knows how delicious chocolate is, right? Did you know that it's a totally different kind of delicious before it becomes chocolate? Personally, I had no idea, until today.

This afternoon, Robert came home from La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, an annual 3 day canoe race that goes from San Ignacio to Belize City using the Macal and Belize Rivers. He was there to support his brother and some other friends that were in the race.   La Ruta Maya Info

Anyway, he came home with another fruit he told me to try:

The Cocoa Fruit ... hard, yellow, leathery

I don't know what I was picturing the inside to look like.... Cocoa fruit... Hmmm... Maybe white pulpy stuff with big, brown seed? Some kind of brown "meat," like a coconut? Whatever I was thinking... this did not come to my mind:

The inside Pod....

Holy crap! It looks like big kerneled corn on the cob inside! Those kernels aren't squishy though, those are the seeds covered in this really sweet, sticky coating that you just suck on like candy. It's like nature's own little sweet tart. The taste doesn't last long, but luckily there's somewhere between 30 and 50 seeds stuffed in there.

So... wait, this is a fruit? Apparently, and this explains why: Cocoa is a fruit?

I think we're just gona try to grow some Cocoa Trees here, making chocolate looks like a pain in the butt.... how to make chocolate

If you want to try some tasty made-in-Belize chocolate though, try to get your hands on some from Cotton Tree Chocolate, Goss Chocolate, or Kakaw Belizean chocolate. (I'm going back to the States in May - if you're nice maybe I'll bring some home with me.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

For Lunch: Belizean Stewed Chicken (As made by my American husband)

We usually don't get to do a lot of cooking because Robert seems to enjoy doing it, and we don't have our own kitchen yet.
Yesterday was Election Day though, so we were left to fend for ourselves.

Side note - before cooking any chicken dish, let it soak in a bowl of fresh lime juice and some water for about 20 minutes, swishing it around occasionally - it sucks out a bunch of extra fat and grossness.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients - chicken, peppers, onion, garlic, tomato, sweet potato, recado, black pepper, and whatever else you have handy.

We didn't have any fresh tomatoes, so he used a can of natural salsa instead. (By natural, I mean I could read all the ingredients - no poison.)

Next step - Thoroughly heat a little bit of coconut oil (or EVOO) in the frying pan, until it just starts smoking, and then add a lil bit of brown sugar. When the sugar is caramelized, add the chicken. Stew the chicken until the pan is dry, making sure you coat each piece of chicken with the oil and sugar while you're doing this.

This is also a good time to start cooking your coconut rice.

Once you're done frying, add the chicken back into the pot and "stew" it all together for about 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

While waiting, drink Belikin and play Dominoes.

The finished product - delicious!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Belize Mystery Fruit - What is it?? (Updated March 6)

Robert handed us some fruit from a tree outside of Bolo's mom's house and told us it's a.... Kymeeto? Chymeato? I asked for the spelling, but he doesn't know, which has been making it extremely difficult to look up. It kind of looks like a Cherimoya or a Custard Apple (from the pics and descriptions I found from Google and Bing) but it isn't either one...

This is the Mystery Fruit - that white sappy stuff is very sticky

The inside - pulpy/fleshy looking, dripping with milky white juiciness

Big black seeds

This fruit is super tasty - it almost has the flavor and texture of a cantaloupe! The only part I didn't enjoy were the mucousy, gelatinous pod-like coverings that the seeds are in... it's what I imagine biting into an eyeball would feel like. I guess you're not supposed to eat that part.

 So?? What the heck is it??

Update March 6 - My friend Aiesha from San Pedro told me that it is spelled Caimito!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Progress on the House (Part 1)

Things are getting done around here, slooooowly but surely.  Not even a month ago, we were still without electricity and sleeping in (whats going to be) the kitchen.

This is the back of the house in December

This is the back of the house today - complete with (unfinished) verandah

Front of the house, December

Front of the house, today

We are SO close to having that front verandah done enough to be able to hang out out there and watch the amazing sunsets in a screened in, jungle bug free zone.


I've been trying and trying and trying to upload a video of the windmill doin it's thang - but it isn't happening. I don't know what the problem is, it says it's loading but there's nothing spinning around to make it look like it's loading.... and I let it sit for like, an hour.... still, nothing. These pics will have to do for now. Enjoy.

That's all for this week - hopefully by next weekend I'll have a guest room, bathroom floor, and finished front verandah to show you..... hopefully.  And maybe Blogger will be my friend and let me post some videos up in here.