October 16
Life in the Jungle: I didn’t sleep great last night.  I woke up this morning determined to stick to a Sabbath habit I started last Sunday.  I started reading The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard.  The book has been referenced many times in podcasts and other books I have read.  It is actually a hard book to read and follow.  I got to chapter 4.  I am not sure if I will keep reading this book.

This morning I walked the perimeter of my yard out to the river side to see how high the flooding actually was from October 12th.  The water was almost as high as my rain boots when I walked across the whole river lot.  I actually had to adjust my path for fear of walking into water deeper than my boots.  Someday it is going to take a lot of dirt to fill almost an acre of land over a foot high (to prevent future flooding).

I tried to eat a proper meal for lunch having nothing to eat but a bowl of soup since yesterday (from being sick).  I made spaghetti and chopped vegetables.  I couldn’t finish the spaghetti and had little taste for the food.  I had a late supper of a bowl of soup.  I couldn’t finish the soup.  This evening I watched a video of a bike tour from Alaska to Alberta.  I really miss my life on my bike.

I would go back to that life in a heartbeat.  I would just bike back and forth across North America for the rest of my life if I could.  I struggle daily with my purpose here in Belize even though it is something I always wanted and loved.  There are many aspects of life here that I struggle with but my “investment” keeps me a prisoner in paradise.  But how do I know if being “a prisoner” here is a bad thing or wrong for my future?  In one or two years will I be thankful or regretful for sticking it out?  Just because life is difficult and does not make sense, an escape doesn’t make the decision to stay wrong.  As they say “the obstacle is the way.”  But I never anticipated the daily struggles here mentally.

October 17
Life in the Jungle:
Last night was a reoccurring sleepless night.  I wonder at what point you can diagnose yourself with insomnia.  I wrote blog posts today.  I wrote – No Excuses and Belize blog posts Part 45, 46, 47, and 48.  I tried to eat lunch but couldn’t finish it.  I still have no appetite.  I didn’t bother trying to eat supper.  In the evening I spent many hours sorting through old Belize photos.  I need to create content for these short videos we started to make a while back.  I am running out of content.

A flooded chicken coop

October 18
Life in the jungle: This morning was a bit of a slow morning.  In the interest of getting something done, I sorted and edited the photos I had picked out for my short videos.  I then organized some notes for the videos

After a late lunch, I realized it was time to get remotivated about working outside regardless of the flooding.  The flood waters still flow deep.  I headed to the ponds for chopping.   I guess I had more energy than I expected as I ended up chopping the whole afternoon and basically getting the ponds completely cleaned (chopped).  I then did a handful of videos from my morning notes at the ponds.

I made a full supper this evening.  I think my appetite has finally returned.

October 19
Life in the jungle: I got an early start this morning.  The first thing I noticed was that the river was down at least an inch of water – finally.  I am back working/chopping in the coconut field.  That was until rain forced me home.  I had been avoiding the coconut field ever since the flooding, I was too scared to see how badly things were flooded.  It would rain on and off until early afternoon.  I decided to work on my new book.  I could have gone back out to work later in the afternoon but I was on good role writing my book.  Today I was able to finish 4,000 words of a first draft of Chapter 6, The Rockies and West.  I finished from Calgary into my first week in Vancouver.

Before dark, putting the chickens to bed it looks like the river level has dropped an additional 2 more inches.  After supper, before bed, I wrote a short blog post called One Week.

October 20
Life in the jungle: The river is down another inch or two.  I discovered my very first chicken egg.  Unfortunately, I found it on the ground and not in a nest box.  I started my morning chopping in the coconut field.  There is still a lot of water in the field.  Over the last two days, I worked in the area of my cashew seedlings.  A good handful of them are not looking great I suspect from too much rain.

My first chicken egg

It’s been a week since I went up to the village.  Of course, my rear bike tire was flat.  I have all the time in the world to waste. That being said, there is an internet company in the village I never bothered to visit.  I didn’t trust their service.  They were open and in two weeks they are upgrading their system in a way that they could now service me with high speed.  So, in 2-3 weeks I may actually have internet. [Little did I know it would take an additional 8 months to get internet.]

I spent the rest of the afternoon organizing my seed bags.  Weeks and weeks ago I planted tons of custard apple seeds and I am not having success with them germinating.  No rain today.

October 21
Life in the jungle: I started my day in the coconut field as usual.  After lunch, I prepped 80 seed bags for soursop seeds.  I spent the rest of the afternoon husking coconuts for coconut oil.  I am finally starting this project.  It took me 2 1/2 hours to husk a wheelbarrow loads worth of coconuts.  No rain today.

Husked coconuts

October 22
Life in the jungle: I chopped in the coconut field and then planted 90 soursop seeds.  After that, I got back to my coconut oil project.  I cracked open and ground the coconuts I husked yesterday.  Half the coconuts I cracked open were too old to use.  I underestimated how much time it would take to grind all the coconuts I cracked open.  I had to grind into the dark.  After my shower, I soaked and squeezed all the coconut meat.  Now all the water that was squeezed sits overnight for the oil to rise above the water.  A very long day indeed.  No rain again today.

Crack open and grind coconut

October 23
Life in the jungle: For the last two Sundays I have been observing a Sabbath.  That didn’t work out so well for today.  I needed to boil the coconut oil that had been sitting/settling since last night.  I had to first skim the oil off from the water from last night.  Then get a fire started to boil off any water from the skimmed oil.  I basically filled my two cast iron pots with the skimmings.  It took about three hours to boil the water out of the oil.  In the end, I got 4 quarts and a bit of coconut oil.  Not a very good return on my labor.  I figure ballpark I spent about 15 hours in total labor over the last 3 days.  4 bottles x $15 = $60 ÷ 15 hours = $4 an hour. Divide by 2 for USD conversion.  Not to mention the investment of pots and building materials for the outdoor kitchen.  Reflecting on the whole process I could not use older coconuts that have very little oil left in the nut. Beyond that, I feel I worked efficiently.  Conclusion:  Making your own coconut oil is a complete waste of time.

Boiling coconut oil

Last night I discovered that my water line is dry.  Today while boiling coconut oil, I tried to re-prime the pump.  I failed to get the pump running.  The river has gone down a few feet but there is over 60 ft of pipe that angles probably 15 more feet under water.  All this while my vat is half empty.  Unless I want to go swimming, I have to wait this problem out.  The question is will I run out of water?  And more importantly, why is this still a (simple) problem I can’t solve after 10 months?

My second ever chicken egg

I was reflecting on other current farming problems.  Making your own coconut oil is a complete waste of time.  I have only gotten two chicken eggs so far that were not laid in the laying boxes.  How many eggs have I not found?  My watermelon seeds either don’t germinate, grow too slowly, and then are usually eaten by something, after all the effort of building a greenhouse, especially for watermelon.

If only I didn’t get out of my hammock (bed) this morning and if only I was still bike touring.

Belize Part 48 (Oct 9 to 15)

Belize Part 47 (Oct 4 to 8)

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.

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