Busy the last couple of weeks.

Breakfast this week around here consists of star fruit and raspberries fresh from the garden. Our raspberry plants are just starting to produce and it looks like we’ll need to be picking them a couple times a week for quite a while now. The raspberry plants are very invasive and need to be cut back at least once a week or so. If they weren’t so damn delicious I’d probably just take them all out.

It’s nice having fresh fruit available.

Another fruit that is ripening on our trees is custard apples (Cherimoya). They are not really apples, but a subtropical fruit that has a sweet custard-like texture. Like most fruits and things down here, there are a lot of health benefits to them. We are chilling them, cutting them in half, scooping out a spoonful, then adding a couple of raspberries and it is almost ice cream like. They are a fruit that is rarely seen in the states, but you can order them on Amazon. If you really want to taste this fruit wait until you come to Belize or some other tropical country as they are $55usd a pound on Amazon.

Custard apples

Our cacao plants are doing great and we are picking a bucket full every few weeks. In the past, after we’ve fermented, dried, and roasted the seeds, we were then using a food processor to grind them up to make chocolate. The food processor worked fine but it left the finished chocolate a little gritty. Since we are getting a lot of cacao we decided to invest in a chocolate malanger. It’s a machine with grinding stones that grinds the cacao very fine to produce a silky smooth chocolate. For the first batch, we made four pounds and let the machine run for about twelve hours. It turned out very smooth and delicious. Now that we have all the right equipment and we’re making more, it’s time to experiment by adding some flavors such as mint, raspberry, and coffee.

Rich creamy dark chocolate, fresh from the garden.

A couple of weeks ago we planted about 150 bush beans and they are all growing fast. It was also time to get our lettuce and kale seedlings in the ground. There are more than 100 romaine lettuce plants and a bunch of kale. By the time the bugs and animals eat what they want, there should still be plenty left over for us.

The first section of garden going in.

We got a new batch of habanero salt all made and ready to spice everything up. We still have a few more batches to make, but this should take care of everyone who has been requesting it. I have found that the longer it sits, the hotter it gets. I guess the salt really soaks up the flavor from the habaneros. The last little bit of mine that had been on the counter for quite a while, I had to throw out. Yes, it got too hot for me, and I like stuff about as hot as it gets. In case you are wondering about the different color lids, we have been saving all our spice jars from all the meat we are making and reusing them for the habanero salt.

If you like it spicy this will add that extra kick to meat, veggies, soup, and even popcorn.

I know a lot of people like and even collect air plants to have around their homes. And why not, they are easy to care for and will grow just about anywhere. Down here you will see them growing on trees, powerlines and just about everywhere else. We have a lot of them growing around the property and when we find a good one we will transplant it closer to the house. Sometimes we don’t have to go looking for them they just appear. Like this big example that fell off a tree and was just laying in the road. We pass a lot of them that are on the road, but this is a big one that we thought needed to come home with us.

Sometimes great plants do fall from the sky.

The other day there was a vulture in the palm tree just five feet out Kelley’s office window. We thought that was strange because we have never seen a vulture in a tree so close to the house before. He flew away once we went outside, but we did notice a foul smell around there somewhere. We looked all around on the ground and didn’t see anything anywhere. Then Kelley glanced up in the palm tree and there it was. It was a dead kinkajou hanging in the tree. I managed to get him down from the tree and we didn’t see any cuts or damage to him. So we’re just going to assume that he died from old age. It was sad to think the cute kinkajou that we’d grown accustomed to seeing would not be around anymore. Then later that evening we heard two or maybe more squawking and moving around in the trees. We’re not sure what happened to that one, but it’s good to know there are still a few more in the area.

The vulture was just doing his job of cleaning up.

Our little meat venture has really taken off. Currently, we are selling as much as we can make, and that’s only by word of mouth and to friends. Since December we have made summer sausage, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, hickory smoked pepper bacon, corned beef, brats and beef snack sticks. Over the past few months, we have processed somewhere around 500lbs. of meat.

The garage is starting to look like an appliance store.

Recently we had to buy another freezer to store everything, one is for the finished products and the other is for the meat waiting to be processed. We found these nice freezers that have plastic drawers on each shelf. That way we can keep the products organized and we’ll be able to tell when we are getting low on something. The other nice thing about these freezers is that each shelf has a cooling coil on them to help freeze everything evenly.

We’d never seen freezers like this before with all the drawers.

For the past few months, I’ve been wanting to build an ax-throwing board. Well, we finally rounded up all the pieces needed to put together this rustic medieval looking board. All the posts are sapodilla, leftover from Darren’s house build. Sapodilla is a really hard wood that should last a very long time and I can’t remember what the target board is, but it is something the hatchets will stick into. I don’t know why we need to practice this, probably just for fun. Or I guess on that rare occasion when something is charging you and you happen to have a hatchet handy, a skill like this would be nice to have.

Kelley might just be a natural at this.

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Valentines Day! Instead of going out this year, we decided to spend a quiet evening at home. Of course, we will make a nice dinner of grilled steaks, portabella mushrooms, stone crab claws, asparagus and of course a bottle of wine.

Hope everyone is doing well and maybe we’ll see you soon.


14 thoughts on “Busy the last couple of weeks.”

  1. BTW – I think Ron & Rhonda may have recently bought the slice of land next to us (by The Flying Pig at MM 20.5 on Placencia Road)?

    1. Tim, we bought on Paradise Street which is the seaside street across main street from where Buba Wuba is. We bought the lot right across from the church and construction is just beginning. going down to check on it the 26th.

  2. Great blog as usual. Ive been following along for a while now – and I’m hoping you can help. We’re down in Placencia and have just started growing all sorts, but my Raspberries are a mess! I cannot find any advice in how to care (pruning, training, etc) in Belize. Can you pass on some fruitful wisdom? Please?

    1. Sorry Tim, I can’t offer any real advise on the raspberries. We just planted them and they just grow like crazy. No fertilizer or watering schedule and for trimming we usually just weed whack and machete them back when they get out of control. We head down to Plascencia a few times a year, if you want maybe next time I could bring you a few plants if you want.

      1. Thanks – yeah mine are bonkers too! I have quite a stretch of 6ft plastic-covered chainlink fence, what do you think would grow well there (obvs something that climbs! 😎)

  3. Great Blog, as always!
    Have a great Valentines Day and Birthday

  4. Happy Birthday Dave! Sounds like the perfect birthday to me~ All of this looks so yummy…. Love seeing all your new adventures and post! Hugs to you two!!

  5. Early Happy Valentines Birthday Dave! I love living vicariously thru you guys! Always quite the adventure! Miss you guys!

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