A trip up to the states

It was time for a visit stateside to see about getting a cataract fixed in one of my eyes. After a few doctor visits and consultations, a surgery date was all set, but not for a few more months. It looks like it will be another visit up north come summertime and hopefully, I’ll be able to see a whole lot better when it’s all said and done.

Alli and Ty feeding ducks in their backyard.

It was great to see friends and family and especially the grandkids and how big they are getting. They are so full of energy, constantly running around or flying around the yard on some wheeled device. While we were there they got irrigation in their yard, which left them with a pond for about a week. This meant that every day the ducks would fly in and swim around in the water. After school the kids would go out and toss bread or popcorn to them, practically getting them to eat out of their hands. It was their own private duck pond right in their backyard.

Fitting the new brake shoes on the Nova.

While we were there I had a great time helping my son work on his 62 Nova convertible. The car hadn’t been on the road in over 20 years, but after getting it running, a complete brake job, and a new fuel tank, it was able to take a few laps around the block. The only drawback to helping him with the car was that I tweaked my back and my sciatic kicked in. Usually, when this happens it clears up in a few days, but this time it held on for over a week. So much that it postponed our trip back home for an extra week.

The Nova hits the road for the first time in a while.

One of the days there was a small “coffee and cars” gathering going on not far from the kid’s house. In case you don’t know what a coffee and cars gathering is, it’s where a bunch of locals gets together in a parking lot at a local coffee shop for a few hours and show off their cars.

Now that’s a Camaro! It almost looks like a full-size Hot Wheel.

There were some nice old-school hot rods there as well as some very nice older semi-stock vehicles. That is one thing that I really miss living in Belize, seeing classic cars and hotrods almost daily.

A couple of sweet rides.

When we got back from the states my back and leg were still not 100% from my sciatica.  So, after checking the house and yard for a couple days we decided that sitting on a beach and soaking up some vitamin sea would be good for it. Being Easter weekend and short notice, all the rooms in Hopkins and Placencia were booked. San Pedro on the other hand had a lot more options. We had no problem finding a room and booking a flight over to the island. So before we knew it, we were sitting at our favorite beach bar drinking a cold one and enjoying the cool Caribbean breeze.

The perfect cure for just about anything.

We found a great room at The Isla Bonita Yacht Club overlooking the pool and the Caribbean. We had nothing planned, just chill’n out and enjoying ourselves. It was just what we needed to recharge ourselves for a few days. And it worked like a charm, we were both feeling good and ready to get back to it once we got home.

A great view from our balcony at The Isla Bonita Yacht Club.

Now back to the jungle

After being away from here it’s always great to get home and see how much all the plants have grown. Thanks to Amanda for keeping the garden watered while we were gone. The first batch of green beans was ready to pick and we got enough for a couple meals. We also picked another big bucket of cacao pods, some custard apples and cut down another bunch of bananas.

Green beans fresh from the garden.

Our pineapples are going nuts this year. There are at least 65 pineapples on plants currently, with more popping out weekly. At this point, only about 1/4 of the plants have fruit on them. Once they ripen, we will be enjoying fresh pineapples daily and giving some to friends. For the majority of the pineapples, we will be dehydrating them so we can enjoy them throughout the year.

Another month or two and we will have more pineapples than we know what to do with.

For the first time, it looks like one of our vanilla vines is flowering. Vanilla in its natural environment is pollinated by a small stingless bee. Due to the particular anatomy of the flowers, pollination rates in the wild are low. In cultivation, vanilla must be pollinated by hand, in the early morning, while the new flowers are still fresh. Kelley looked up a few videos on how to pollinate a vanilla flower, so every morning as a new flower opens, she is out there hand pollinating it. Now we just need to wait and see what happens.

Hopefully, we will get some vanilla beans from these flowers.

Since the weather is warming up that means a lot of the plants are starting to flower. My favorite tropical plant is the heliconia or lobster claw. We have a lot of these between the house and the casita that are just starting to bloom.

When they are fully bloomed there should be around 20 “claws” per flower.

Another plant that is flowering is the Torch Ginger. We have a bunch of these around the yard, as they are easy to propagate. We’ve got red ones and also some pink ones. These make great cut flowers as they will usually last a couple of weeks in a vase.

Our pinkish/orange Amaryllis (a type of lily) in front of the casita is also blooming. Every year around Easter they start to bloom. This year there are a lot more flowers than there have been in the past.

It’s a shame that these only bloom once a year.

This is the time of year when the Cassia Grandis trees locally known as the Belize Bukut, all turn a brilliant color of pink. These are big trees that get a long thin fruit that has a somewhat unattractive smell. When Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods tried the fruit, here was his description. Bukut, also known as the stinky toe fruit is fantastic stuff. It taste like anchovies and fish sauce mixed with molasses and was kind of delicious. That really doesn’t sound too good to me, so at this point, I’m just going to enjoy the beautiful pink trees and pass on tasting any of the fruit.

I’ll bet you have never seen stinky toe fruit in your market.

You never know what you will see around here and the other day it was a cattle drive. Well not a big one, but we still had to pull over to the side of the road. A friend of ours who has a farm and a vegetable stand at the market in town was moving some cattle down to another field. He was in his truck and the cattle were just following him down the road. I suggested to him that he just keep going and bring them down to our place and we would have a big BBQ. He laughed about that, but they never did show up at our place.

I guess a proper cattle drive is when you drive your truck and the cattle follow.

That’s about what’s happening around here for now. Hope to see you down here sometime.





2 thoughts on “A trip up to the states”

  1. Love love those flowers… decorated the 5th wheel with them while traveling and visiting you two (which WILL happen again soon)
    So enjoy your family and grandkids and watching them grow! Great pic on The Rocky Point times! Such a beautiful and loving family that you have created! Always look forward to reading your blogs~ thank you guys 😘

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