Life in the jungle: It rained and thundered hard last night with a power outage. Because I couldn’t run a fan during the power outage, I spent the first part of the night in my hammock.
Things are all calm this morning but of course, I am drained of energy. [I have been sick since last week.] In the interest of not letting my morning get away from me, I am working on my blog notes. I never actually wrote any blog posts but I organized notes and proofread some recently written posts. I did discover that it was Thursday today. For some reason, I thought it was Tuesday.
In the early afternoon, I continued with my job cutting up my lumber. Some of the pieces are wet and thick causing too much wear and tear on my saw. Later in the afternoon, it looked like the weather was going to change to rain. I ended up cleaning and putting everything away prematurely. The last part of the afternoon I potted a bunch of golden pothos plant cuttings and I went through my papaya seedlings. I separated all the larger seedlings and took a wheelbarrow load to the ponds for future planting.
Golden pothos cuttings
Life in the jungle: Last night I already predicted a sleepless night and that’s what got. That dominoed into a not-so-productive morning. But I needed some reflection time. I definitely need to rethink attitudes, expectations and who knows what else. After a very late breakfast I went up to the village for groceries. My road has a couple of spots where water is actually flowing across. I later posted a question to Facebook about if people that have been vaccinated are getting sick as often as I am. That post actually led to a phone call from Vancouver. It’s always nice to hear from Canada. I spent the last hour of daylight weed wacking around the house. Basically, the rain held off all day.
My road. What a mess.
Life in the jungle: I went to bed much later than anticipated. Verna Mae gave me some Jack ass bitters to make into a cold tea and I had to wait for the water to cool. You boil water, pour the water into a mug with the bitter leaves and let the water cool. Then you strain the water from the leaves into a cup and drink. It was horrible tasting and took a long time to drink one cup. But this morning the effect was pretty profound. My allergies are virtually non existent. I have to take another dose today but I think I will force myself to take this regularly.
Today I built a gate for the coconut field and I cut 80% of the grass at the ponds with the lawnmower. I also cut a little bit of grass by the house. Tonight, I had a second cup of bitters.
Barbed wire post gate to my coconut field
Life in the jungle: Nery called and woke me up at 6:30 AM. He finished putting the post along my front yard. Nery has been fencing my property. He can’t put up the barbed wire for this last fence line yet as I need an open access for an excavator that I hope will show up someday. At that point all the fencing will be complete. After breakfast I finished cutting the grass at the ponds. My main accomplishment this afternoon was organizing my seedlings and planting more seeds. I planted about 30 passion fruit, 8 cashew seeds and I have enough dirt filled bags for 75 soursop seeds. I will plant the soursop seeds tomorrow. I need more bags and I don’t think any businesses have any at the moment.
Life in the jungle: First thing, I planted 75 soursop seeds in the seed bags filled yesterday. I then dug the post holes for the fire hearth building all before breakfast. Cutting the corner posts to size for the hearth I realized I should paint the ends before going into the ground. Which I did. I then cut the remaining 4×4 greenhouse posts. I then started installing and continued cutting hardwood boards for my watermelon greenhouse. The hardwood boards are to make raised flower beds inside the watermelon greenhouse.
Life in the jungle: I put in the posts that I will hang the wire trellises in the watermelon greenhouse this morning. After breakfast, I went to the village for groceries. Upon returning I put a second coat of paint on the post ends for the fire hearth building. Going through my lumber I started cutting up pieces for my first chicken hen houses. Some of the lumber is pine so I put a coat of paint on them.
Adding trellis post to my watermelon greenhouse
Life in the jungle: I started my morning by putting up my 4×4 fire hearth posts only to discover that I made my holes a little too far apart. I had to re-dig 3 of the 4 holes. Framing the building was not easy with these 4×4 hardwood posts. I had to predrill every hole for the nails. I got the hearth mostly framed before I ran out of 4″ nails. I have also countersunk some cement blocks for the tables to stand on to keep them off the ground (to help prevent the wooded leg posts from rotting and sinking in the dirt). And I got a first coat of paint on the posts also. We had a little bit of rain in the night. I hope not enough to wreck the paint job.
Starting to build my outdoor kitchen
Life in the jungle: I started my morning working at the ponds. The posts that I painted yesterday sustained no damage from last night’s brief showers. After breakfast, I needed to add some dirt to my fire hearth floor area. For that dirt, I ended up sinking a small row boat in the ground behind the house. The boat used to sit at the ponds and was never used. I am converting it into a small pond/ bird bath. After the boat was sunk in the ground, I leveled the remaining area of an excess of dirt that was never removed from the area when the new septic tank was sunk in the ground last year. I moved all that dirt to cover the old garbage pit. There were the occasional 10 second showers pass by throughout the afternoon.
Countersinking an old boat to make a birdbath
I re-caught my Red earth centipede snake (Tantillita schistosa) that I found at the ponds over a month ago and escaped from my hands at the house when I tried to photograph it. Apparently, it’s part of a short-tailed snake family.
I re-caught that Red earth centipede snake from last month
Life in the jungle: This morning was the quickest visit to immigration. I was in and out in 30 minutes. The worst part was that I should have had my work permit by now and not have to waste my time and money at Belize Immigration today.
A fairly long day in the city. I needed quite a few assorted supplies which had me walking everywhere. I got to my bus with only 5 minutes to spare. I was so exhausted when I got home that I never left my hammock until before dark. I had no appetite so I skipped dinner.
Life in the jungle: A mixed day. I started building my first chicken coop. Except I had to go in and out of the house to escape intermittent rain showers. In the afternoon I headed to the village for groceries and some hardware cloth for the chicken coop. Getting back to the house the power was out. Whenever it was that the power came back on, I was too exhausted to leave my hammock. I am tired and I still have my cough.
Life in the jungle: I spent the whole day working on my chicken coop. The coop is completed except for the roof. The coop is pretty heavy. I am not looking forward to moving the coop to its final location in the yard.
A hen coop for hens to raise their baby chicks made out of off-cuts
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of words or people that may or may not be part of this blog post. This glossary will be at the bottom of every blog post for Belize.
Jack & Jill – These are my ex-property managers (names changed). They are Canadian, they introduced me to Belize in 1997, sold me their house in Belize in 2003, and rebuilt my house from 2014 to 2018. I have known them for over 30 years. After almost 20 years of me supporting their life here in Belize Jack decided quite unexpectedly to declare “war” on me right before Christmas 2021. They would end up stealing my business license and causing me a lot of grief. They live on the farm, but not on my land.
Wayne – He is the son of the original owners of the farm (both owners are deceased). The original farm was 2 – 30 acre pieces minus 2 – ¾ acre parcels for my house and 2 – ¾ acre parcels that Jack & Jill own which were all originally purchased from the original owners. In 2017 Wayne sold me 40 acres of land from the original 60 acres (30 acres plus 10 acres). Wayne lives in his parent house and has a few cows on his remaining 17 acres of land.
Nery – a local in the area that helps me with certain projects when needed. A very knowledgeable guy originally from El Salvador. He teaches me a lot about farming and tree.
The ponds – I have 2 large (300ft long x 50ft wide x 10ft deep) ponds on my 30 acre parcel of land which is basically jungle. I have about 60 coconut trees (mostly mature) around the ponds. I have plans to plant a few hundred papaya trees here plus other fruit bearing trees around the ponds.
The coconut field – I have about 400 coconut trees planted (various growth states) on about 3 acres of cleared land of the 10 acre parcel. I plan to add various fruit trees to the same field as soon as I can.
The river lot – my house sits on a ¾ acre lot. I have a second joining ¾ acre lot that allows me river frontage on the Belize River
The dry – Belize has 2 main seasons. The rainy season and the dry (no rain). The wet is obviously the rainy season.
Chopping – using my machete to clear brush and unwanted trees