A busy July

We just got back from a trip to the states to see family and friends. Our destination was Arizona to see Randy, Stacy, and the grandkids. The kids were off for summer break so we got to spend some extra time with them. We just saw them a few months ago, but it sure seems like the grandkids are growing up fast. It was Arizona in July, so it was naturally hotter than H-E-double toothpicks. But that just made their pool feel better, especially with a few ice-cold beverages.

Randy, Kelley, Me, Luke, Tyler and Alli

While we were in Arizona we decided to do a spur of the moment trip up to Washington to see more family and friends before heading back to Arizona for a few more days. We drove close to 600 miles around Washington seeing my mom, aunt, sister, and some good friends. One of the nights while in Washington we stayed in a casino resort near Olympia. It was a great place, plus they had a restaurant that served all kinds of seafood. We ordered up 3 types of crab, shrimp, oysters on the half shell, crawfish and a hot artichoke-crab dip, plus a few beers to wash it all down. We are not gamblers, but after dinner, we decided to each take $20 and head to the casino. Kelley pretty quickly lost hers, but I ended up winning enough to pay for dinner and the room. Not too bad for people who don’t gamble.

Washington is beautiful once you get out of the main cities.

Just before we left Belize we planted a few hundred peanuts, here we are back home a couple of weeks later and the plants are looking good. In about three months they should be about ready to harvest. Once they are plucked out of the ground, we will dry them, roast them and then grind them into peanut butter. We like to use a little coconut oil when we make our peanut butter. It gives it a little tropical taste that even Peter Pan doesn’t do.

Our village of San Antonio is the peanut capital of Belize.

Have you ever heard of Moringa? The Moringa tree is also called the Tree of Life and it’s considered a superfood with so many health benefits. We’ve got a couple of them growing in the yard and Kelley will put the fresh leaves in soups, the blossoms on salads, and also dries the leaves to make tea. Our trees recently got their seed pods on them and they are also very beneficial for your health. The seeds themselves contain:

  • Seven times more vitamin C than oranges
  • Ten times the amount of vitamin A found in carrots
  • Seventeen times more calcium than milk
  • Fifteen times more potassium than bananas
  • Nine times more protein than yogurt
  • Twenty-five times more iron than spinach

Moringa seeds are used to cure or treat many things and are also a rich source of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They can be used to help treat heart disease, lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar levels, and boost your immune system. And that’s just scratching the surface of the benefits of moringa seeds. They can be eaten raw, roasted like nuts, or boiled like beans, either way, we’ll be including these in our diet. It’s recommended that you should not eat more than a couple a day. This is just what we needed after spending a couple of weeks in the states eating not as healthy as we usually do.

Moringa seed pods.

Last week our neighbor was kind enough to ask us if we would like a couple of ducks, as he had to get rid of some of his males. We had to quickly get them processed before Kelley named them and got too attached. So within a couple of hours, we had them all cleaned up and chill’n out in the freezer. Our favorite way to cook duck is to rotisserie them on the grill for a couple of hours and put a pan under them with thinly sliced potatoes. As the duck cooks, the fat drips down on the potatoes and cooks them. Nothing better than rotisserie duck and potatoes cooked in duck fat. Of course, that might require a little more moringa that day.

Two big ducks ready to be enjoyed.

Ever since we built the garage there has been a Social Flycatcher bird nest in the top hollow metal beam. We have watched lots of baby birds fly out of that nest over the last few years. They have gotten used to us sitting right below them, talking and playing music, but there is one that we think is obsessed with us. We can be in the garage for an hour with no sign of the bird, but as soon as I turn the music on he is in the window whistling and squawking really loud. He will stay there staring in the window all day until I turn the music off. Now he’s coming over to the porch and the windows on the house squawking. I don’t know if he thinks we are his parents or what, but I’m not collecting seeds or bugs to feed him.

He either likes our music or really wants me to turn it off.

It’s great living out here in the jungle amongst all the wildlife, but sometimes you get to witness what it’s really like to survive. The other evening we were sitting in the yard enjoying a cold beer and watching for different animals. All of a sudden the little Seedeater birds with the three little baby birds (from the last blog) were squawking like crazy. As we looked over there, we see a snake leaving the nest with one of the baby birds. The parent birds did manage to get the snake to drop the baby bird, but it was already injured. Kelley put him back in the nest twice, but the parents kept pushing him out. At that point, there was nothing we could do. As we sat back down here came the snake back again, this time we scared him away before he could get the other two. But by morning the nest was empty and the birds were gone.😢

A non-venomous Mexican Parrot snake stealing a baby bird.

A while back we witnessed a Toucan come down and steal eggs from another bird’s nest. That time it was just an egg, not three little birds that we’d been watching for a week. I know this is all part of nature and survival in the wild, but sometimes it would be better if it didn’t happen right in front of us.

Toucans are omnivores, besides fruits, they will also eat small animals.

While we were up in the states a Blue-black Grosbeak bird had built a nest in the hedge just a few inches off the porch. The first day we were back it was empty, but by the next day, there were three eggs in it. If the birds hatch we will be able to get some really good pictures, as from the porch we look straight down into the nest. The only drawback we see is that the nest is right in the dripline of the roof, so it might be a problem if we get any substantial rain. Hopefully, the birds will hatch and fly away before something happens to them.

The eggs should hatch very soon.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 4 years since we painted the garage, and it sure did need it. Earlier in the week, I got the whole thing pressure washed in preparation for a Saturday paint job. Our friend Amanda came over to give us a hand on a beautiful sunny day. Well, halfway through the paint job the skies got dark and it started pouring down rain. Luckily the rain came straight down and with the overhang on the roof, it didn’t bother the new paint job. Now the garage should be good for a few more years.

You can see by the peak of the roof how badly the color had faded.

Up in our village of San Antonio, they recently opened Oxmul coffee farm. Their motto is “From the tree to the cup!”. If you like coffee, you can get a tour of the farm and a lesson on how they make coffee. They also offer tasting and if you enjoy their coffee they sell bags of fresh ground to take home. It’s just one more thing to experience when you are up around this part of Belize.

Oxmul Coffee Farm is only a couple of miles from us.

Plants grow big and fast in Belize, which is why we don’t have house plants. I think this person was gone for a couple of months and their house plant grew through the roof of their house. Won’t they be surprised when they get home?

Never underestimate the power of a plant.

That’s about what our July looked like. It was great to get away and see family and friends, but it’s always great to be back home. Hope everyone is having a great summer and we hope to see you soon.


One thought on “A busy July”

  1. I love hearing about all the new plants you’re growing and what you’ll make with them! Moringa! Peanuts! Love it.

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