Sorry, almost no photos with this blog post.
Life in the Jungle: It’s Sunday (of course). I was all prepared to head to the ponds to chop. Over the last few months, I have struggled with what a Sabbath is supposed to look like for me. In many ways, I have never really had a Sabbath (as an adult). I thought when I got married, I would be forced to figure out what it means to observe a Sabbath. When I say “force” I don’t mean in a bad way but a good way. But that marriage never happened. And then I spent 2 years on a bike. And now I am almost 11 months in Belize working 7 days a week and nothing in my life is working. Recent online research on taking a Sabbath and what a Sabbath looks like wasn’t really helpful. Being a single adult gives you a freedom that makes many people envious of you. On the flip side, people with family require healthy boundaries and balance whereas I experience no boundaries or balance which for me leads to no purpose. Technically everything for me revolves around selfishness. I don’t mean selfishness in an intentionally bad way. But if you live alone everything that you do involves your own self interests. It’s impossible to escape. But there is no purpose in life for the selfish person. I feel that generally, I have been a pretty generous person in my life. But I am so isolated now and my life experiences keep reinforcing the necessity to further isolate.
This morning I read Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
I realized after reading this passage that going to the ponds to work was probably not in my best interest. I laid in my hammock unsure of what to do. So, I read a book. Except for a few breaks and a nap, I read all day until after 11 PM. It ended up raining on and off (but mostly on) all day. Currently, things are wetter than they have been since June. Which is kind of crazy considering how quickly things were drying up just a few days ago.
Life in the Jungle: This morning dragged out mostly because of the weather. It had rained on and off through the night and continued on and off this morning. I finished reading the book I started yesterday. After a very late breakfast I figured I should make a break for the village for groceries only to discover today is a holiday. It seems every other week has a holiday in it. The road was completely flooded and a mess. What a waste of my time. As a result of a conversation with Verna Mae, we have decided that a hawk must have grabbed my 5 chicks that went missing the other day. Another problem to solve.
I worked in the coconut field. I finally got all my seedlings staked. I just have to put flagging tape on all the stakes in the coconut field for additional visibility before I can get a bushhog in someday. After that, I started figuring out and installing a cover/roof over the hen house in an attempt to keep the hawks from landing and eating any more chicks. While it looked liked it was going to rain any second all afternoon it never did.
Life in the Jungle: I started my morning chopping the ponds. After a late breakfast I headed to the village for the groceries I didn’t get yesterday. The road is in very rough shape. It’s extremely discouraging. On my back, I passed Jill and her village helper who helps her get groceries and helps her walk our road. After I was a few hundred feet past her she yelled an “F you” at me. Only I can get a 74 your old woman to curse me out for doing nothing. I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the hen house pen roof to keep hawks from going after any more baby chicks. It isn’t pretty but it should work. No rain today. Overall good weather today.
Life in the Jungle: Go figure the night insomnia hits is the night before I plan to go to the city. When I walked out of my house this morning most of my yard was completely submerged in water. The river “top galloned” last night from all the rain from Hurricane Julia. Top galloned refers to the river rising almost 20 feet and cresting over its bank. Water is literally flowing across my entire yard. Some of the fruit trees were already under stress from too much rain. I fear I am going to start losing trees now. This is very discouraging, especially on top of the rest of the challenges. Strangely there is no noticeable extra water on the road. The bus going into the city was extra full and the city was hot as usual. There was a short rain shower on the way home.
Life in the Jungle: Because of not sleeping so well the night before I didn’t set my alarm this morning. This of course resulted in a late start. My first job was to fix an exterior house door that wasn’t closing properly. With everything flooded I decided to head to the ponds for some chopping.
Entering the ponds and taking a look to my left was a mountain lion about 25 feet away from me. I couldn’t believe it. My hands were full and because we startled each other I attempted to carefully and quietly empty my hands to reach my phone. But this guy wasn’t going to wait around. He bounded alongside the pond and into the bush. He wasn’t huge, in fact kind of smallish. I suspect he’s a juvenile who hasn’t been on his own for too long. What an amazing experience. That’s why I do love it here. You never know what’s around the corner. I got a call from the village after I Facebook posted my sighting, 3 dogs went missing last night. This is only the second mountain lion I have ever seen down here. I saw one on my road in 2009.
I chopped at the ponds for a couple of hours. Returning to the house I continued cleaning my house gutters. A job I started weeks ago.
Life in the Jungle: Last night when I went to bed something didn’t feel right in my stomach. I would end up getting up 5 times. I don’t remember actually being so sick before. The best way I can describe it as I was violently sick. After throwing up multiple times whatever it was in in me did not ever want to leave me. It wasn’t until about 10 AM this morning with whatever it was exiting my body from both ends at the same time did it finally exit me. That was a first for me. Never have I seen such vile puke in my life. The entire day I maybe got out of my hammock four times. I let my chickens out in the morning and locked them up at the end of the day, 2 pee breaks, and brush my teeth late tonight. I never ate anything all day. I slept the whole day and night.
Life in the jungle: Considering that I ate nothing all day yesterday I basically felt fine aside from some mild weakness. My first job for the day was to clean the bathroom. Then I went to the ponds to chop. Not the best job to pick after being sick. I guess I hoped I might run into the mountain lion again. But no luck. The chopping drained me pretty quickly of energy. From there I needed a long break in the hammock. And from there I continued washing and cleaning my eavestroughs and roof. I got a good section completed. This evening I had no appetite. I only had a bowl of soup for breakfast. I decided to continue to do housework from this morning. I wiped down furniture and washed the living room floor and kitchen floor.
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 a 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.