Always keeping busy

Here it is again… What’s on the porch drying or ripening? This time it’s tomatoes, ripening in the sun a little more before they get canned. Ruben came down to buy some Italian sausage from us the other day and said that he had just picked tomatoes and asked if we wanted some. He had about 12 buckets of Roma tomatoes, so it was a perfect trade, a bucket of tomatoes for sausage.  Kelley canned them whole to be used for pizza sauce, salsa or whatever else we decide to make. Since all the tomatoes got peeled before being canned, we dehydrated all the skins and ground them into a powder to be used in soups and such. It’s great being able to make trades like this with friends and neighbors.

Approximately 300 or more beautiful Roma tomatoes.

The coffee plants are really producing this year. They are just starting to ripen, in the past week we have picked a good size bucket full. Most of them are coming off just two of the Arabica plants. Our Robusta plants got some type of fungus last year and we had to cut them way back. But they have recovered well and are now getting ready to flower. Our Arabica plants got so tall that we have to get a ladder out to pick the ones near the top. Once everything is picked we will have to top them down to a more manageable size. It takes a lot of time and effort to go from bean to cup with the coffee. Sometimes I question why we planted more than a dozen coffee plants, especially when Kelley can’t even stand the smell of roasted coffee.

Our Arabica plants are too tall, so they will have to be topped once everything is picked.

Our raspberry plants have really taken off this year. For the past month we have been picking a quart baggie full of raspberries every few days. We have been eating them, giving some away, and putting some in the freezer. At this point, we have at least 10-12 pounds of raspberries stored in the freezer. When we get time we will decide if we will make jam, ice cream, or something else with all those raspberries. Of course, there will be more banana/raspberry bread once the bananas ripen.

Fresh raspberries from the garden.

Most of our fruit trees were put in at least five years ago and this year just about everything is producing. So far there are at least fifty pineapples on plants, five bunches of bananas going, lots of mangos, a lot of avocados, custard apples, cacao, coffee, raspberries, lemons, and oranges. That’s just the ones that have fruit on them currently. We are up in the garden at least three times a week with a bucket picking something. Sometimes I think it would just be easier to buy the stuff at the market, but it keeps us busy and we know it doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Bananas                                             Pineapples                                               Mangos

Okay, here’s round two of what’s on the porch this time. No, it’s not small cherry tomatoes, it’s coffee. After a couple of days in the sun, we will peel the fruit off the outside and then dry the beans before they get roasted. It’s tough and time consuming peeling them, but we just tried a new method that is working very well. We pour boiling water over them for about five minutes to soften the skin and then you can just squeeze them and the bean pops out. This batch we are going to roast a little darker than normal and make some chocolate covered expresso beans with our homegrown chocolate.

Coffee and cacao out on the porch. Can’t wait for some chocolate covered expresso beans.

We just pulled another fifty pounds of bacon out of the smoker and it’s resting in the fridge before it gets sliced and packaged. Here is my favorite thing about leaving the freshly smoked bacon in the beer fridge for a couple of days. First of all, there are no other odors for it to absorb, and once it comes out, the fridge will smell like bacon for a couple of weeks. So every time we open the fridge to get a beer, it still smells like bacon, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Bacon and beer, what more could anyone ask for

The other day I was walking between the house and the garage and there was a big ruckus in the bushes. I looked in and saw a bunch of Coatimundis (quash as they are called in Belize) climbing up and down the trees. I called for Kelley to get the camera and she got some great pictures of them just before they all took off.

We have seen the whole family of them three times so far this week.

Right off the back patio, there is a big palm tree that has a huge strangler fig tree wrapped around it. In the past couple of years around this time, we have seen at least 20-25 coati around that tree. I think they may camp out in that tree for a few days while they are around here looking for food. There were definitely a couple of bigger coati, but the majority of them were small ones. I’m pretty sure that the parents are just showing the young ones where to get  pineapples in a few months.

I counted at least 23 of them, but I know I missed some.

There are a lot of interesting insects down here and we are always seeing ones we’ve never seen before. To us, the most interesting ones, and probably the most beautiful are the moths. Every morning there are a variety of moths on the front of the garage that were attracted to the light the night before. We usually try to get a picture of the more interesting ones. This one here was about a half inch long and very fuzzy, plus he had some good color going on.

Quite a fuzzy little moth

It was time to invite a few friends over for another fish fry. My theory is that if we don’t have any more fish in the freezer, then it’s time to go fishing again. This time we didn’t invite the usual friends over, but instead some new friends that we met over the past few months. Everyone there is either getting ready to build or is in the process of building. No one really knew each other before this gathering and they were all happy to meet some new friends. There were a lot of questions being asked and everyone was sharing their thoughts and ideas. It was a good gathering, and the fish turned out great.

New friends at our fish fry.

March is that time of year again for the La Ruta Maya River Challenge. This is a 4 day canoe marathon that starts in San Ignacio and ends in Belize City covering 170 miles. It’s considered the biggest sporting event in the country and the largest of its kind in Central America. This year there were 64 teams entered in all age and skill levels. There were stops along the way where the teams set up camp for the night and got their daily time recorded. These stops have turned into big parties with lots of food, spectators, and of course, Belikin beer which is their major sponsor. The winning team this year was Slim & Trim like Guava Limb, with a recorded time of 18 hours and 24 minutes to cover the whole 170 mile course down river. Now that’s moving!

The start of the race in San Ignacio.

There’s always something happening around here to keep us busy. The next two months will be hot and humid, but after that, it should be pretty nice for the rest of the year.

Hope to see you soon.

3 thoughts on “Always keeping busy”

  1. What a life! I’m tired just trying to imagine handling all your harvests. Never a dull moment 😳🤣👍🏼👏🏼👏🏼. Love the updates.

  2. As I’m reading this newsy newsletter.l, I cannot help but think of Sally Dalton. She would love all you two are doing….every single adventure.
    Keep enjoying your lives your way. I’m so proud of you both.

    1. Thank you. Yes Sally would have loved it, she was hoping to drive down here sometime. You guys should plan a trip down here. We have a casita waiting for you.

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