Happy Easter!

We couldn’t find an Easter Bunny, so how about an Easter Parrot?

Ham and Easter go together like colored eggs and chocolate bunnies. Of course, hams are sometimes hard to come by down here so we thought we would try to cure one for ourselves. This was our first attempt at curing our own ham (not counting the watermelon ham). By the time we cut the bone down a little (so it would fit in the brine container) and removed all the fat and skin, we ended up with about an 18 lb. ham. After a couple of weeks in the cure, then some time in the smoker with some cherry and hickory wood chips, it was looking good. All that was left was a little taste test to see if it would be good enough to serve for an Easter dinner with friends. For a first attempt it turned out pretty good, but there is always room for improvement. Update on the ham….. We finished it off with a brown sugar, mustard, apple whisky glaze, and everyone thought it was one of the best hams they’ve had. I guess it really was pretty good.

Delicious ham

There were some beautiful sunny days here last week, so we decided to head up the hill and find a spot in the river to soak for a few hours. A couple of the spots we usually go to had other people there with the same idea. No problem, we’ll just keep driving and look for a new spot. We found a nice place on the river that was easy to get to, had a small waterfall, and was plenty deep. It was a great spot to cool off, get some sun and enjoy a few cold beers. Especially in the middle of the week. And yes, those are pine trees in the distance.

Kelley and our friend Amanda cooling off in the river.

Some of the people who visit us have trouble turning their vehicles around in our driveway. Since we have been clearing a little more out front we decided that it would be best to make a semi-circular drive where people could turn around easily. It took a few weeks for us to remove some trees and get the ground smooth, and now we are really close to being done. They have been working on the roads around here and when they grade them, all the big rocks get pushed to the side. We asked one of our workers if he could bring us a load of the big rocks so we could make a border around the new drive. It worked out perfectly and now all we need is a load of gravel to put down and it will be ready to drive on.

The island created in the middle will now become nothing but flowers to attract more birds.

We had a couple colorful creatures visit us recently. There was a flock of maybe 50 or so of these beautiful blue birds that we have never seen here before. We think they were Indigo Buntings, at least according to our bird chart. Either that or they were the bluebirds of happiness.

The Indigo Bunting is the first all blue bird that we’ve seen here.

Another colorful creature to visit us was a beautiful green vine snake. He was about as thick as my finger and at least 6′ long. He hung around long enough for Kelley to get a few pictures before heading back into the bush. Vine snakes help to control the rodent, frog, and lizard populations and are harmless to humans. Plus they are a beautiful snake that you don’t have to worry about getting too close to.

A harmless green vine snake.

There’s not a whole lot happening in the garden at this point. A lot of the fruit trees are just starting to set blossoms and we have been busy planting a few hundred miscellaneous pepper plants. But with all the different things we have growing around here, there’s always going to be something ready to pick. This week we have been picking raspberries almost every day, plus using their leaves to make a refreshing raspberry iced tea (which is delicious). We have also picked a few Surinam cherries, Bok Choy, and of course another stalk of 132 bananas. Breakfast this week has consisting of fresh raspberry banana bread and a glass of raspberry leaf tea. You can’t beat that!

It’s a good thing we like bananas.

Just when we thought we had enough plants around here a neighbor brought over a few more for us. So now we have roselle or sometimes called sorrel plants growing which is a type of hibiscus plant that they use to make wine and jellies. The part that I’m excited about is that when you dry the buds on them you can make Jamaica. In case you don’t know what Jamaica is, it’s that wonderful deep red drink you can usually find at Mexican restaurants or taco stands. It’s one of my favorites beverages. I’ve been buying the dried stuff and making it at home for a long time and can’t wait to try some that we’ve grown ourselves.

Roselle or Sorrel, either way, it should get a ton of flowers and provide one of my favorite drinks.

It’s been a couple of weeks now that we have been drinking our ginger tea to see if it helps in weight loss. We really haven’t noticed a big difference, but I guess there are still other health benefits from drinking it. And truthfully I’ve just been sitting around and taking it easy for the past week and a half. Over a week ago I tripped and landed really hard on my shoulder. Luckily no major damage. I am slowly getting movement back in my shoulder and arm, plus there’s a big nasty bruise to go along with it. We have both tripped a few times on stumps and stuff around here without much injury, but this one really set me back.

Amazingly this tiny banana was as tasty as the full-size ones.

In fact, you can see by the size of the banana how big my hand is swollen up. Okay, not really. This is just a tiny banana off the last bunch that didn’t fully mature.

The Belize airport is open for travelers and has been since October.  Belize is one of only a few countries that allow you to enter without a current covid test as long as you show proof that you’ve gotten a covid vaccination. Also, it was just announced that you don’t need a test before re-entering the states as long as you can show proof of a vaccination.  We have guests coming down in June and possibly in early July, but other than that, the Toucan Hideaway is waiting for you. Hope to see you soon!

6 thoughts on “Happy Easter!”

  1. As always, great blog, you two have tapped into paradise. We will get our second shot in a couple of weeks. We still plan to visit, just fitting it in with business.

  2. Happy Easter to you guys! Nice ham! Sure it was delicious!! How’s it work if you don’t do the vaccination? Asking for a friend 😘 Love and miss you guys!!

    1. Not a problem without vaccinations. You just need a neg test 96 hours prior to arriving here or you can get it here at the airport when you arrive. When you leave here the U.S. requires another neg test before heading back to the states which also can be done at the airport here or other places around Belize. If the test are done here in Belize there is a charge for them. If you have the vaccination card then no test is needed going either way.
      We miss you too, when are you coming down?

  3. Happy Easter to you both. That blue bird is absolutely beautiful. I could go crazy over all of the wild life there. Love your pictures!

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