Finally some sunny days

Delicious Gibnut tamales wrapped in a banana leaf.

New Year’s morning started off great with a visit from Ruben. He brought us down some Gibnut tamales that they had just made. Gibnut is a rare treat, as it is the most prized game animal in Belize and is considered a delicacy. He brought us down five big tamales all steamed and wrapped up in banana leaves. We have been lucky enough to try Gibnut in a variety of different ways, and the tamales are one of our favorites.

Moringa leaves drying on the front porch.

The sun has finally come out and it’s drying up around here, which means we can actually get some yard work done. One thing was to trim our Moringa trees back to a more manageable size. We usually try to save the leaves and either use them fresh or dry them for later use. I’ve mentioned before that moringa has a ton of health benefits and is considered a superfood. Kelley uses the fresh and dried leaves in soups and salads. Once dried she also makes a very healthy tea out of the leaves. The Moringa tree is also called The Tree of Life or The Miracle Tree, and since we have a couple of them growing here it doesn’t hurt to include some in our diets.

Cacao drying in the sun.

It seems like there is always something on the porch drying in the sun. A couple of weeks ago it was moringa, this week it is cacao beans. They will sit in the sun until they are completely dry before they get roasted. Then they will get peeled, ground, and turned into chocolate. It looks like once this batch of cacao is dry then the coffee will be about ready to start picking. Then it will be coffee beans out in the sun drying before they can get roasted. As the coffee is drying they sort of look like peanuts. There have been a couple of friends who have tossed a few beans in their mouths thinking that they were peanuts, boy were they surprised. We do sometimes have peanuts drying on the porch, but it’s always best to ask us what it is before trying anything.

Starfruit is just about ready to pick.

This year our star fruit tree has a decent amount of fruit on it. They are just starting to ripen and turn yellow. We are just starting to get raspberries again, and in a few weeks, we should have some custard apples ready. Bananas are randomly ready throughout the year and come June we should have a bunch of pineapples and dragon fruit ripe. Most of the time Kelley and I will have fruit for breakfast, even if we have to buy it when nothing is ripe around here. Once some of our other trees mature and start producing we should have a good variety of fruits available throughout the entire year.

Fresh picked lettuce from our lot down the way.

With all the rains in the past months, Ruben hasn’t been able to plow or plant our farm lot with new crops. He did manage about a month ago to get a 300 foot long row of lettuce in. This was not to sell, but just for his and our personal use. I’m sure when it’s all said and done, we will have only used or given to friends 30 or so heads, which leaves a lot for Ruben and his family.

Planting more Zebra plants. We started with only a couple of plants, but all you have to do is put the cutting in dirt and they grow.

This past weekend it was 90º and sunny, which was a great time to get some plants in the ground, catch up on our tans, and drink a few cold beers out in the sunshine. We always have cuttings from plants that we have trimmed and are rooting in pots waiting to go into the ground. Of course, as we plant the cuttings that are ready, we trim others and they go into pots for a few months. It’s a never-ending cycle, but we hate to just throw the cuttings away.

One of the hundreds of White Fronted Parrots that were above the casita.

On a recent Sunday morning, it got extremely loud around here. It sounded like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”. In the trees above the casita, there were hundreds of parrots that all landed there at once. They were all squawking for a good half hour before they slowly started to fly away. We see parrots fly over almost every day and usually not more than a dozen or so at a time. Every so often a few will land in the trees around the house, but nothing like this time. It really was an amazing sight and sound.

Common Roadside Hawks together for a rare photo opp.

We see a lot of hawks around, usually sitting alone in a tree, on our antenna, or on a power line. We have never seen two of them sitting together before, until now. The other afternoon when we saw these two, we were standing in the yard talking to Amanda when one of the hawks chased a Chachalaca bird. We were standing only a few feet apart and this Chachalaca dove between us almost hitting us. The Chachalaca bird is not a small bird, they range from one to one in a half pounds in weight.  Kelley saw him coming and ducked and I just felt a giant burst of air on my shoulder. The hawk turned away when it got close to us and the Chachalaca got away. That sure would have been cool to see the hawk grab that bird right in front of us.

A Gray-headed Tanager. An ant-eating machine.

The same time we saw the two hawks there were a dozen or so little birds all over the ground that we’d never seen before. It turns out that they were Gray-headed Tanagers, which Kelley found out are uncommon around here. It says that they follow swarms of army ants around, which is why they were all over the driveway. There was a mass migration of ants going across our driveway. They were at least ten feet wide going across the driveway turning our new white rocks in the driveway black. Seeing that many ants at once is the thing nightmares are made of. At least there were birds there to eat a few of them.

This picture of the Toucan was taken from our front porch.

We have also been seeing more Toucan around the property. I think now that the sun is out all the critters seem to be more active, or maybe it’s because we are just outside a little more than we have been.

Had to try one, but will probably never buy another one.

We are always looking to try something new to eat. The other day at the market they had Singo Pears which I assume were imported. I guess another name for them is Asian Pears which can sometimes be found in the States at the grocery store. Anyway, we had never seen one before and it was all wrapped in this fancy package, so we knew it must be something special. It was juicy, crisp like an apple with sort of a pear taste. It definitely was not worth the $5 price in my opinion, especially when there are so much better local fruits available at a much better price.

Every time we buy pork bellies to make bacon, the ribs come with them as an added bonus.

Darren and his aunt and uncle were down for a visit to check out Belize. They spent a few days in San Pedro before heading up this way to see Darren’s place. The first few days they were up here, at least one of them had been not feeling well. Not a great way to spend a vacation, they seem to think it’s the flu or something. They pretty much have stayed to themselves, but we did manage to have a couple of meals together. The first night they were here we made some giant pork ribs on the grill. We hope they all get better, as his aunt and uncle have been on a world tour for the past year and have more places to go and see once they leave Belize.

Until next time, have fun with whatever you’re doing and maybe we’ll see you down here sometime.

4 thoughts on “Finally some sunny days”

  1. Can you by chance collect the seeds of the Moringa tree? I would love to have few to save to plant when and where we decided to move to….if we do, that is. I have read up on it and it grows fast and tall. I want to try it for health reasons. I was making Taheebo tea which comes from a tree bark from Africa and I had some terrible reactions to it. But I want to try the Moringa tea.

    1. We planted a couple of trees from seed a few years ago and they grew very fast. We don’t have any seeds on the trees currently, but when we do I will save you some. Otherwise Amazon has seeds for planting. I’ll let you know when the trees start to get seeds and maybe you could come pick them up.

    1. We don’t think anything is eating what’s drying. The possums do climb up on the porch and eat the bananas that are hanging there ripening.

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