Life in the jungle: Another sleepless night. But I didn’t have the motivation or energy to get out of bed and be productive. I think tonight I just won’t go to bed until I am sleepy. This morning I woke up to a message from Verna Mae that my chickens and their chicks were ready for pick up. So today I finished building my chicken coop and hen house. Because of Belize Immigration, I don’t even know if I will be in the country next month. Since I don’t sleep so well anymore, tonight I stayed up until 1 AM writing the Manitoba section (1,000 words) of Chapter 5 of my book.
Life in the jungle: I had to install door latches on the chicken coop and hen house before I headed up to the village for my chickens. The road was blocked and I had to clean up a large branch and a mass of vines off the road so I could pass. I ended up making 2 trips to the village. The first trip was for chicken food and chicken water bowels. I was also able to take the first hen along with her 8 chicks. The second trip was for the second hen and her 8 chicks. So, I have 2 hens and 16 chicks. We will see if I still have 16 chicks in a month. I was also able to get 2 posts into the ground for a fence that will go around the hen house.
I discovered my road was blocked this morning
Today I discovered the tree behind my house has 1000’s of Thorn bugs – Umbonia crassicornis in it along with babies. I have only ever seen photos of these bugs. This is the very first time that I have ever seen thorn bugs. I also caught the cat-eyed snake I caught last week in the laundry room again.
Thorn bugs – Umbonia crassicornis
My chicken coop roost. Designed to be lifted up to facilitate cleaning.
Life in the jungle: I slept OK last night (finally). I checked and fed my chickens and chicks. One chick is not looking so good. I pulled her out and set her up in a box separately. But an hour later I found her dead.
Last night there was a heavy rain shower. Things were pretty wet. There was no point in working on the chicken pen perimeter fencing with everything being mud. I finished the reinforcement rebar job around the greenhouse floor base I worked on a few days ago. I had 3/4 bag of cement left from the early cement jobs for the greenhouse. This bag had been around a while. I decided to mix cement and use it to cap off the cement blocks around the front entrance to the greenhouse. By capping the cement blocks it prevents weeds from growing through the cement block holes and helps secures some rebar reinforcement bars.
Filling holes with cement
Life in the jungle: Another sleepless night but I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it and a sleepless night meant a late start to my morning. Along with some nighttime rain showers, there was a rain shower this morning. When I was confident that the rains were over, I proceeded to complete the work on my outdoor kitchen/fire hearth. I started that project before I even started the greenhouse.
My new outdoor kitchen / fire hearth
When that job was out of the way I focused on the greenhouse and finished the hurricane hanger job that was only partially finished. I have hurricane hangers for the front greenhouse entrance roof and apartment roof.
My chicks are still looking good. I found the cat-eyed snake from my laundry room under the house.
Life in the jungle: I wonder if I will ever sleep regularly again. Other than an occasional night when my brain would not shut off, I generally fell asleep pretty well most of my life. I even tried sleeping in my bed (instead of my hammock) but that went nowhere. Sleep is what makes life worth living.
I worked on my greenhouse today. I finally finished securing the apartment plycem to the apartment framing. Half the plycem was already properly secured but the half was only tacked on. Anyway, that job is finished. I also got most of my apartment windows installed.
Because going to bed at a reasonable time is pointless but I needed to do something I started sorting out photos for my upcoming book until 12:30 AM. I got up to and as far as Halifax NS, sorted.
Life in the jungle: I spent the day finishing installing my apartment windows, going to the village for groceries and arranging for a replacement apartment door and roll of chicken wire delivery for Monday. For the most part, all my half-finished small jobs on the apartment and greenhouse are completed. The next focuses would be plumbing, electrical and painting. [A year later I had not been able to get to plumbing or electrical.]
I brought my friend Verna Mae some plantain.
Today I noticed and identified a Long-billed Hermit hummingbird. As far as I know, this is a first time identification for me. [The funny thing is I would see tons of these birds over the coming week now that I had noticed and identified the first one.]
Long-billed Hermit hummingbird (random photo off the internet)
Due to insomnia this evening I stayed up late organizing photos off my phone rather than tossing and turning in the hammock.
New hen and chicks
Life in the jungle: I thought it was Saturday all day. Imagine my surprise to discover that it was Sunday.
Today I installed all the posts required to surround the hen house with chicken wire for the purposes of a pen. The next job I completed was to dig a trench and lay the drainage pipe for the apartment shower. Things seem to be drying up a bit. But it’s still muddy around the chicken coop.
Apartment shower drain pipe
Life in the jungle: Last night there were these short but very strong rain showers. In the morning there was more rainwater on the ground than all of last week.
I got a delivery from the hardware store. They came down in 2 ATVs. I think the delivery trike (3 wheeler) must have gotten stuck in the mud on the road. We had to swap apartment doors as they delivered a damaged door the other month. They also delivered my roll of chicken wire.
After a late breakfast, I went up to the village to try to upload my work permit application files. I think everything uploaded but my Treasury Receipt numbers were no good as they used that receipt on my last application. So, I have to go to the city tomorrow to get that job out of the way. I spent the rest of the day building 2 hen house fence gate doors and started to install the chicken pen wire perimeter fence.
My new chicken pen
Life in the jungle: Because the bus broke down, I walked 1.5 km’s to the Treasury Dept only to find out that the Treasury Dept moved to the same building as the Income Tax Dept, 3.5 km’s in the opposite direction. Man, I did a lot of walking in the heat today. [Ultimately all of this would be a waste of time.]
I was exhausted getting home and thanks to a rain shower upon my arrival home I got a short nap in. I had to drag myself out of my hammock but I did a few hours of work on the hen house. Provided that it does not rain tomorrow that job should finally be completed tomorrow.
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’s house and has a few cows on his remaining 17 acres of land.
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 an ¾ acre lot. I have a second joining ¾ acre lot that allows me river frontage on the Belize River. I call that my river lot.
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, vines, weeds and unwanted trees.