A little more beach fun

There was another cold front that came through, pushing our nighttime temps down to the low 50ºs up here in the jungle. I know a lot of you are thinking that’s not cold, but for us it is! So off to the coast for a few days to soak up some of that warm Caribbean sunshine. Our neighbor Amanda came along with us down to Placencia to meet up with Ron & Rhonda for a few days of misbehaving on the beach.

Ivan’s Island is a great place to spend the day. Or there are a few little cabins where you could spend a few days.

Since Ron & Rhonda are now living in Placencia, they had heard about a Lobsterfest out on a small private island and wanted to know if we were interested. Of course, we were interested in squeezing in one more chance to indulge in lobster before the season closed in a few days.

The master chef grilling up our lobster lunch.

The event was on Ivan’s island, just a short 25 minute boat ride from Placencia. The weather could not have been more perfect. With the temps in the 80ºs, no wind, and the clear blue Caribbean water that you see on postcards. Ivan’s Lobsterfest was one set price of $125 USD for everything. That included the boat ride, all the lobster, chicken, and fish you wanted, plus unlimited beer and rum drinks. It was quite the party with Caribbean music from the DJ, dancing, hanging out in the water, great food, and lots of new friends. We have had a lot of great times here in Belize and this was definitely one of those times.

Kelley & Amanda, members of the Mike Nash Central American Drinking Team.

The whole weekend on the coast was spent pretty much misbehaving with friends, soaking up the sunshine, relaxing in the water, enjoying some great food & drinks, a little karaoke, plus just enjoying the end of Ron’s and my birthday month. This was our second trip over to the coast in February, but now it was time for us to get back to our jungle home.

Chilling in the pool at The Other Side with Ron & Rhonda.

Now that we are back from our little side trip to the beach, it was time to get the word out that we had corned beef briskets ready for Saint Patrick’s Day. In the past month, we have processed about 110 lbs of corned beef briskets. Once we got the word out that they were available, it took just over a day for us to be sold out. Now that the briskets are gone it’s time to get more bacon curing. Just like the corned beef, as soon as word gets out that we have bacon, it will all be spoken for before it’s even out of the smoker. In case you weren’t aware, we have a Facebook page Wicked Toucan where you can check out some of the different meats that we make and when they are available.

Once a year we make corned beef and it goes quickly.

Our cacao is really starting to ripen, so we will be processing it quite frequently now. Recently, we finished up another batch of our chocolate, all that’s left for this batch is to temper it and get it into molds. It’s a long process from picking the pods off the tree to this point, but very well worth it in the end.

A couple of nice sheets of homemade dark chocolate from our garden.

Recently a friend of ours gave us a few cinnamon trees that are around 16″ tall or so. Five years ago when we first planted all of our trees we did have a cinnamon tree, but for some reason after a year or so, it didn’t make it. Now is our chance to give it another try and hopefully, these will do better. Did you know that cinnamon actually comes from the bark of the tree. Yes, the cinnamon sticks you buy are just peeled bark from the tree that is rolled up and dried. Also, you can use the leaves to make a tea. I’m picturing homemade cinnamon rolls in our future with fresh cinnamon from our own trees.

Ground and whole cinnamon.

Our friend also gave us a miracle berry plant. Okay, this one is going to take some explaining because I’m sure most of you have never heard of it, I know we hadn’t. It’s a plant that gets a small red berry on it about the size of a coffee bean. When the berry itself is eaten, the molecules bind to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. We tried it by eating a bilimbi fruit first, which is extremely sour (way more than a lime). After eating the miracle berry we took another bite of the bilimbi and the sourness was gone. It will affect anything you eat and will last anywhere from 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. It doesn’t make sweet things taste sweeter, it just makes things like mustard or vinegar taste sweet. A couple of hours after I ate one I had a Belikin beer and it was like I was drinking some sweet fruity beer. Very weird.

You need to try these, they are the most interesting fruit we’ve ever eaten.

Check out the health benefits of these crazy berries. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, using miracle fruit in conjunction with sour food can give you the sweet burst you’re looking for. Miracle fruit is also used by some for medical purposes, such as changing the flavor of unpleasant medications or lessening the side effects of certain medical treatments. If you are curious about these miracle berries and would like to try them for yourself, you can find them on Amazon.

If they put up a sign it must be true.

Over the past year or so, we have heard neighbors talking about Jaguars in the area. Some have seen tracks in their yard and others have reported actually seeing them. Then another neighbor said that they were attacking her sheep. We have yet to see any around our property or get any pictures on our trail cameras, but we assume they are here. I guess it’s official now as they put up a sign about a mile from us on the road saying Jaguar habitat. At least we don’t have any type of livestock on our property to worry about, but we do have a lot of small local game animals. It would be really exciting to get a picture of one, either on the trail camera or even better yet, with the regular camera.

Yes, our possums know how to work the pole.

We had an old wood pole with a flat piece of wood on top where we’d put fruit out for the birds. Recently it fell over, so I had to build a new one. The new one I made using a piece of 2″ pvc, built a new platform on top, and bolted on an old garden rake that the handle had broken off. The rake works great to stick different fruits on so the birds can’t carry them away. This worked out great until the possums found it. Now, every time we put fruit on the feeder the next morning it’s gone. We know it’s possums because I put a trail camera out to try and catch what was eating the fruit after dark. After looking around the internet for ideas to deter critters from climbing a feeder pole I found one I liked. My favorite was to put a slinky on the pole and then they couldn’t climb it. I have a couple ordered on Amazon, so by the next blog hopefully we’ll have some funny video to post.

Geckos get into everything and lay eggs.

I have a degree in electronics, but they never taught us about this situation. Our garage TV stopped working the other night, so of course I had to take it apart to see if there was anything obviously wrong with it. First thing I find is a dozen or so gecko eggs, and some were starting to hatch. I got that all cleaned up, but I didn’t think that would cause the TV not to work. So I decided to take a circuit board out and there it was. A fried gecko, stuck to the board and part of the board was burned beyond fixing. Hopefully I can find a replacement board on line tomorrow. All just part of the fun of living in the jungle.

A nice row of Alocasia right off our porch.

That about closes out our February. Hope everyone is having a great year so far. Oh, and we saw this on a decal in a bar down in Key West and thought it would make a great shirt or something. It said “Live a Great Story”. I just thought that was a great saying and very inspirational.

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