December 18
Life in the jungle:
Today is my Sabbath.  I continue reading Walking with God by John Eldredge.  Of course, I also took a nap.  In the afternoon I was thinking about a question I wrote down some time ago. What would my older self say to me today?  I wrote my answer to that question.  You can read it HERE.  Since my computer was on and my Blog Posts folder was open, I wrote blog posts Belize Part 57, 58, and 59.  I finally finished Walking with God and started reading The Way of the Wild Heart by you guessed it, John Eldredge.

Great books by John Eldredge

December 19
Life in the jungle:
A fairly frustrating and wasted day.  I attempted to tackle my water pump/line problem (again!).  I spent my whole morning basically getting nowhere.  My first one-way valve is not working but makes a good strainer (for debris).  The second one-way valve had some tiny stones in it causing it to not work properly.  I am not sure how this happened in a “muddy” river.  I installed a third one-way valve but I couldn’t get the pump, to pump water.  I then removed the third one-way valve.  But I still had problems getting the pump, to pump water which historically was never a problem.  But today it is a problem???  My problem has always been at some point the one-way valve fails and the waterline drains of water.  After removing the third one-way valve I barely got the pump pumping water and by the time my vat was filled, the water was barely a trickle.  Which means that the pump is not going to be able to run tomorrow.

Also, the cement blocks I placed on the river bank for walking/climbing support are not working as I hoped.  Last weeks rising river deposited slippery muddy silt on the blocks making them extremely slippery.  I now have to reconsider how they are placed.  Half my day was working in the mud and my waterline is still not functional.

When I predicted that my pump wasn’t going to be working tomorrow anymore, I realized the wisdom in doing laundry now while the pump was running.  Also, while the pump was running, I spent time cleaning and sweeping under the house.  I then headed to the ponds to water my papaya plants.  The last part of the day was weed whacking but that job was only about half finished before it got dark.

To add to my frustrating day I am pretty sure two clutches (20 chicken eggs) are spoiled.  I found out the other day that I should have removed all the chicken eggs as they were being laid until a hen was ready to sit.  I got lazy about that because at first the hens were laying the eggs everywhere but the nesting boxes.  Anyways, with a hen is constantly sitting on the nest to lay an egg it ends up heating all the eggs already in the box but then leaving the nest spoils the older eggs.

No rain today.  Today was probably the best day all week to paint.  I need to be more intentional about painting.  But I wasted so much time on my waterline.  Like I said, a wasted, frustrating day when I can least afford to waste time.

December 20
Life in the jungle:
I have been avoiding the coconut field due to heavy morning dew.  But this morning I started my day in the coconut field and it paid off handsomely.  I came across a Northern Tamandua climbing a tree and got an amazing photo of it.

A Northern Tamandua – one of my favorite photos

I discovered that the coconut field is basically dry enough to get the bushhog in and cut the grass.  I just have to complete one last cleaning around all the coconut trees and seedlings.  The mosquitos are horrendous.  After breakfast I went back to the coconut field.

In the afternoon it started to rain.  So much for things drying up.  Because of the rain, I worked on a project that I have been severely neglecting.  I worked on my book this afternoon and evening.  I was able to add 4,600 to Chapter 6 Western Canada and complete the first draft of the Crossing Canada portion of the book.  My notes tell me the first draft of my Canadian portion of the book is 50,000 words.

December 21
Life in the jungle:
This morning I woke up to a pleasant surprise.  The other day I assumed that the better part of 20 chicken eggs had gone bad because I had neglected to remove the eggs as they had been laid.  I had actually forgotten about the eggs yesterday.  This morning when I fed the chickens, I discovered chicks.  One hen had ten baby chicks and the other hen had two chicks.  I am not sure about all the rest of the eggs but I did hear pecking inside some of them.

New chicks

I spent the morning moving the two hens, chicks, and remaining eggs to the hen houses.  I spent the rest of the day doing yard maintenance and finished cleaning underneath the house.  This evening I took all the seeds from one of my Desert rose seed pods (1 of 2) and placed them in a wet paper towel.

Desert Rose seeds

December 22
Life in the jungle:
I decided today would be a better day for a passport stamp than tomorrow.  In Belmopan, I got my passport stamp in a record 10 minutes.  On the bus, I posted my waterline and pump problems to two Facebook groups.  I got tons of suggestions but I fear no solutions.  I also priced out materials to enclose my second hen house.  Over $500 USD!  Between the unknown expense of my water line issues, my next coop, and the $100 USD passport stamp it’s impossible for me not to be stressed and anxious about an impossible future.

Because I was able to catch the very next bus back to Belize City from Belmopan, I had enough time to catch the bus out to the hardware I used and get all of my necessary supplies.  Yesterday I was wondering if I would have to come back to the city tomorrow.  But I got everything I needed.  I was on the 3:30 PM bus home.

I got home right before dark.  I discovered another hen is missing!  I started with nine hens and one rooster.  Two hens got sick and now two have been eaten.  After this morning’s financial stress, I really only have one question for myself.  Why the F do I even bother?

I then also realized I dropped one of my boots somewhere on the road on my way home from the village.  I have rainboots for the ride to the village because of mud and I have my regular boots for going into the city.  I found the boots sitting in a mud puddle halfway down the road.  I was so tired this evening I went to bed at 7 PM.

Belize Part 59 (Dec 11 to 17)

Belize Part 58 (Dec 4 to 10)

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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