Fun In The Pines

We just got back from a quick trip to Arizona for a follow-up visit on my cataract surgery and to spend a little more time with the grandkids. But, the main purpose of this trip was to head up to the pines in Pinetop, Arizona to catch a couple days of music with some of our favorite musicians.

Ready for the shows in beautiful Pinetop Arizona.

Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers were playing their annual show at the Lion’s Den in cool Pinetop, AZ. Besides Roger, his special guests were The Jons, The Cole Trains, and Drew Cooper. There were three shows, Friday night, Saturday night and then an afternoon Borracho Sunday show which was a lot of fun. There were a lot less people there on Sunday, plus the bands were having fun and the beer and tequila were flowing.

Roger Clyne on guitar, Scooby from The Jons on tequila, and Jon Villa from The Jons on drums.

Our friend and neighbor Amanda had become a big fan of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers but had never seen them in person. When the dates for the Pinetop show were announced, it was right about the same time as Amanda’s birthday. So road trip it was.

Kelley and Amanda pose for a picture with a great musician, Drew Cooper.

With Pinetop being such a small venue, it was much easier to approach and talk to the musicians between sets. I believe the highlight and most memorable moment for Amanda was getting to meet Roger Clyne and get a picture with him.

Amanda meets Roger Clyne for the first time.

It was a great trip up to Arizona and especially up to Pinetop for the shows. We met up with a lot of friends that we haven’t seen in a while and even met some new ones. I’m sure this is a trip that Amanda won’t soon forget.

Some of the friends we saw at the concert in Pinetop.

Now Back To Belize

Our cacao trees are loaded with blossoms this year like we have never seen. Thousands of flowers per tree, from the ground up to the tallest branches and everywhere in between. At this point, we have nine trees that are flowering. If just a small percentage of the blooms take, we will be very busy processing and making chocolate in the coming months. Plus we just planted a bunch more three-foot trees that we grew from seeds. I’m not sure what we were thinking about planting more trees, but can you really ever have too much chocolate?

Cacao blossoms and one cacao pod.

Kelley has been busy making chocolate bars from the cacao beans we picked earlier this year. We still have about 25 more pounds of dried beans that need to be roasted and processed. It’s a long process, but well worth it in the end.

Dark chocolate candy bars right from the garden.

With all this chocolate we are always looking for other ways to use it. Recently Kelley dipped some dehydrated mangos and pineapple in dark chocolate. My favorite is the mango, but then again there’s nothing wrong with the pineapple.

Dehydrated pineapples and mangos dipped in dark chocolate.

A friend of ours gave us some avocados off their tree. Besides all the basic things to do with avocados, we were looking for something a little different. So we found a recipe for some chocolate avocado brownies. We have a lot of chocolate and now some avocados, so it seemed like the perfect thing to do with them. They actually turned out really good and moist. You would not know they were made with avocados if no one told you.

Super chocolaty avocado brownie bites.

Dark chocolate has many health benefits, one being that it is full of flavonols which is a huge benefit for your heart. Flavonols are related to the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes your blood vessels and improves blood flow. In turn, this also lowers blood pressure. Due to their antioxidant properties, flavonols are also beneficial in fighting cell damage relating to aging. This along with other healthy benefits, I feel good about having a little dark chocolate treat every day. Of course, this is only for dark chocolate of at least 70% cacao, whereas milk chocolate is usually 10% cacao, dried milk, sugar and other ingredients making it not so good for you.

Dark chocolate ready for the molds.

Last year a bunch of our coffee plants lost all their leaves and seemed to have died out. I trimmed them back and left them there to see what they would do, and now they are coming back. I believe it was our Robusta plants that died back, but whatever affected them, didn’t affect our Arabica plants that are doing great.


The dragon fruit is doing really well this year. I’ve been looking up how to get the plants to produce more fruit. I don’t know if what I’m doing is working or not, but we have a lot of buds this year. Hopefully, they will get pollinated and we will end up with a bunch of dragon fruit.

The start of some delicious dragon fruit.

The star fruit tree is producing, even though we lost a bunch to the wind and rains. The custard apple tree is starting to set fruit and of course, we still have pineapples, and there are bananas throughout the year. Overall, all the fruit trees are doing well and we usually always have some type of fresh fruit available around here.

Star fruit on the tree.

When we get our pork bellies from the butcher they always come with the ribs attached, that’s just how he sells them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as we love smoked or grilled pork ribs. We make a lot of bacon so that means there’s going to be a lot of ribs. Usually, we will cook up a bunch of ribs and throw them in the freezer for another night. Sometimes when we are getting too many racks we will invite friends over for a BBQ. Either way, if pork ribs are a “by-product” of making bacon, I can definitely live with that!

A couple hours low and slow and then crank up the flame for a little char and the meat just fell off the bone.

Well, off to get about 500 seedlings started so they can go in the ground next month. Always something to keep us busy around here. Have a great day and hope to see you soon!