April 30
Life in the jungle: Because of my late-night last night I turned off my alarm.  Nery called and woke me up at 6:45 AM this morning from my driveway.  Usually, he showed up closer to 9 AM on the weekends to start work.

The day became a pretty full day working on moving fence posts to the new fence lines in the coconut field.  I also had to run to the gas station for gas when Nery ran out of gas for his chainsaw.  Later in the day, I followed Nery to his place when he was ready to call it a day.  Nery had cut some square posts for himself and wanted to show them to me as they would be good posts for my chicken coop and fire hearth I need to have built.  I ordered 8 4×4 10fters from him.  [Which he would not be able to get for me in the end.]  I then stopped by the hardware store for some 2×4″s that are needed for the 2 gates that will go into the coconut field.  I would be so lost without my little bike trailer with all the lumber and potting soil I have carried with it.  I was pretty tired by the end of the day.

A Cane toad living under the house

May 1
Life in the jungle: I started my morning chopping in the coconut field.  I want to go through the coconut field and clean under each tree one last time before I call for the bushhog to cut the field.  I have been doing a good job keeping the weeds down but with the wet season coming I should get the bushhog to run through the coconut field and cut the grass/weeds right down before the field becomes too wet (from rain).

After breakfast, I took a Sunday nap because; well, it was Sunday after all.  When I got up and about, I fixed my gate at the ponds.  My gate wasn’t hanging properly.  I then chopped a pathway from the road for an excavator I hope I can get here in the near future.  [Which will never come.]  Over the last few months, I have been doing a lot of chopping behind the house at what I refer to as the river lot.  The ¾ acre piece of land was thick with impenetrable bush.  I have been cleaning that bush way and exposing all the mature trees.  I need an excavator to come in and expand my one pond larger to create an excess of dirt that I can spread over the lot to attempt to level the lot.  Currently, the lot is extremely bumping from flood water sitting and unable to flow away.  Once the area is level then the land can be used for another future greenhouse or some tourist option to expand my Airbnb.  I suspect that I need the equivalent of at least 45 dump trucks of dirt to level this piece of land.

The rest of the afternoon I spent planning and calculating materials for the watermelon greenhouse I am hoping to build very shortly.

Today I wrote the poem – Empty words on a piece of paper

May 2
Life in the jungle: Even with a 6 AM alarm going off I had already missed a phone call from Nery that he was on his way over to work (Today is a national holiday – Labor Day).  I would find out that he actually came by yesterday and worked for a few hours.  How we missed each other is beyond me.  He intentionally decided not to bother me being that yesterday was Sunday and parked his ATV on the roadside and not in the driveway.  That being said I put a few hours in the coconut field myself and the area is not that big.  How did I miss him?  But whatever, he got quite a few fence posts in the ground yesterday.  This morning I probably slowed him down a bit along with my own productivity.  I learn so much from him about trees and farming when we talk and I kept him talking quite a bit this morning.  We had a fairly brief but heavy rain shower this morning.  Nery only worked until just before lunch.

A new fence line

Before I even had something to eat, I found myself in the hammock.  I have been going to bed fairly late as the other night I started to read a book called A Belizean Rainforest.  This is a book that was written about The Community Baboon Sanctuary and its beginnings.  The book is probably the best resource for the local trees.  So, I find myself going to bed fairly late taking notes down.

A really cool and resourceful book

Later in the afternoon, I spent a little time working in the coconut field to make up for a lost morning.

May 3
Life in the jungle: I read late last night again and found myself sleeping in this morning.  Because a good part of my morning was already shot, I decided to work on blog writing.

I wrote Belize Part 20 and 21 blog posts before breakfast.  After breakfast I wrote Part 22, 23, and this current post.  For the first time since arriving in Belize, I am caught up with my blog writing.  Unfortunately, I currently have 18 blog posts to post to my website (Ugg).  I may end up going to Cayes shortly to research aquaponics (YouTube videos) and post blog posts.

This morning, from my window I observed a Lineated woodpecker taking a sand bath underneath my breadfruit tree.  In the afternoon I had to replace the pressure valve for my drinking water and then I spent the rest of the day chopping in the coconut field.

Lineated Woodpecker – Very common around the house. (Random photo of the internet).

May 4
Life in the jungle: Last night I hadn’t decided on this morning’s plans.  When I woke up, I wasn’t any closer to a plan.  So, in that moment I decided to go to the city.  I ended up getting a few things, particularly I found this plastic-coated wire cloth for my watermelon greenhouse.   The greenhouse is necessary to keep the iguanas from getting at and eating watermelon plants.

Nery came in the afternoon to continue putting posts in the ground for the coconut field fence line.  I headed to the hardware store for lumber for the watermelon greenhouse.  I will have to make a few more trips for the amount of lumber I need.  Nery worked until dark and by the time I was finished watering my plants, it was 7 PM.  My jackfruit and my latest soursop seedlings started coming up today.

More work on my new fence line

May 5
Life in the jungle: This morning I went up to the village and received a first lesson in making coconut oil.  The lesson came from Shag, Derrick’s first wife.  I learned how to husk coconuts, grind coconuts and wash and squeeze coconut milk/oil out of the ground coconut.  The coconut milk/oil then sits for the rest of the day until tomorrow morning to separate from the water and raise to the top.

Husking coconuts

Ground coconut

Verna Mae gave me 2 types of custard apple and star apple seeds for planting.  Since I was already halfway to the hardware store, I picked up more lumber for the watermelon greenhouse.

The rest of the afternoon was spent pulling some old fence posts out of the ground that was part of the original fence line in the coconut field.   The weather has been really good the last few days.

May 6
Life in the jungle: I had my alarm set for 5 AM this morning.  Nery was here by 5:30 AM to hang barbed wire on the posts he put up in the coconut field.  And I needed to be up at the village at 6 AM for my second lesson on making coconut oil.

This morning’s lesson was skimming the oil off the water from yesterday’s squeezed coconut water.  After skimming the oil, the oil was then fried (boiled) for about 2 hours over a fire.  After the oil was boiled for 2 hours the oil was poured through a strainer to separate the “maya.”  The maya is sediment from the squeezed coconut water that doesn’t cook off during the frying.  Once strained you let the oil cool and then bottle it.

Soaking ground coconut

This afternoon Nery finished the 2 fence lines in the coconut field.  The coconut field is now completely fenced in from escaped domesticated farm animals such as cows or horses.  Saul also dropped off my last 40 posts required for the last fence line that needs to be finished around the house property.  Later in the afternoon, I moved those posts to a closer spot to the new fence line plus I dug up the remaining old posts from the old fence line in preparation for the line’s replacement.

A finished fence line

Belize Part 23 (April 24 to 29)

Belize Part 22 (April 13 to 23)

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