Haps of the week

Music is very big in Belize and there is every kind imaginable everywhere you go. From hard rock, Caribbean, rap, pop, country, and more… they love their music and are always moving to it. We like all kinds of music and have seen all types of musical instruments played, but not a solo guy with an electric ukulele. So it was off to the Bluff’s restaurant and bar to check him out and have dinner and a few beers. Bruddah Adrian was his name and he was amazing! He played songs you know as well as some of his original stuff, and let me remind you this is all on an ‘electric ukulele.’ All of his song whether his original or others, all had this wonderful tropical beat that you just couldn’t stop moving to. He usually plays in Southern California and Hawaii and this was his first time in Belize, hopefully not his last. If you want some music that will get you in that tropical beachy attitude then check him out at www.bruddahadrianmusic.com

Kick ass ukulele player.

Ever since our first trip to Belize, we saw these fun tropical paintings that really got our attention. Walter Castillo is the artist and he is a very well known and sought after artist known for his fun tropical Belizean life scenes. We had been looking at his work for years but just couldn’t bring ourselves to purchase one at a gallery because they were a little more than we wanted to pay. But when you can buy direct from the artist without the big commission from the galleries tacked on, it makes a big difference. Well, the other night he had a small showing of his recent paintings at the ukulele show, so we saw this as our chance to finally own an original Walter Castillo painting. In case you are thinking you’ve seen his work before, it’s because he did the cover for Kelly McGuire’s King of the Island CD. By the way, if you don’t know who Kelly McGuire is then you need to check out his music also.  www.redfishisland.com

Walter Castillo and Kelley
Our long awaited for painting.

Since we have been clearing a little area for some more trees we have been on the lookout for other types of fruit trees that we don’t already have. The other day we stopped at one of the many nurseries we go to and we found a few more trees. We found a kumquat tree that is now full of blossoms, two peach trees, two surinam cherry trees, and four more coffee plants. The peach trees we planted along the driveway near the house and the kumquat went next to the other citrus trees. The new coffee we planted in the shade to see what happens (since shade-grown coffee is a thing), if they do well then we will be planting a lot more of them. As for the surinam cherries, they will actually go in the newly cleared area and that will still allow for another 7-8 more fruit trees. In a couple of years when everything gets going we should have a year-round endless supply of tropical fruity rum drinks, oh sorry, I mean fresh fruits.

That is going to make a fine rum drink when it is ripe.

We have hundreds, maybe even thousands of cohune palm trees on our property that get big clusters of cohune nuts. These are the big palms that get 35-40 foot fronds on them. The cohune nuts are about the size of golf balls and grow in big clusters and are very hard to crack open. The flesh tastes like coconut and when pressed they make coconut oil out of them. Of course, you need a big grinding press of some type to extract the oil and for the average person, it is almost impossible without a machine. Anyway, when the seed pods on the tree burst open they are quite beautiful and big, about five feet long. Once the nuts ripen and fall to the ground that’s when the gibnut, agoutis, squirrels, and other animals just go nuts for them.

Cohune palm blossom.
Cohune nuts.

Since we got the big wood carved iguanas for the front of the guest casita, we thought the casita should have a name. So a friend of ours came up with the “Iguana Getaway” and we liked it. Since the little casita is now called the Iguana Getaway we thought it should have a painting of an iguana inside. So we commissioned Jorge Landero who has done a few other painting for us, to come up with a painting of an iguana. He came up with just what we were looking for, it’s a little bigger than we were wanting (50 x 32) but it looks great inside the casita. Jorge even delivered it on Easter Sunday and hung around for a few beers, what a great guy.

iguana painting
The new iguana painting in the casita.

Other new improvements to the guest casita are a wall safe, an ice cold air conditioner and a mini fridge to keep all your beverages cold. Since we have lived here, we have not needed any AC (just a fan works great) although there were a few evenings last year when we could have used it. We do have a new AC unit sitting in the garage for the main house, it just isn’t installed yet. Since we are up here in the hills, we are generally ten degrees cooler than down near San Ignacio, and you can really feel the temp drop as you drive up here. So if anyone was concerned that it might get too warm down here, don’t worry, now you can chill out at the Iguana Getaway.

iguana getaway2
The “Iguana Getaway” don’t you want to?

We have been working on clearing a spot behind the house for the outdoor kitchen. We’ve cut down about 7 decent size trees and got it all cleared and leveled out and are now starting to build. There will be a cement slab with a wood and metal roof over it to protect it from the rain and any creatures from dropping in. The whole area will also be surrounded by white gravel just like what is around the rest of the house. Underneath the cover, there will a place for a 54” Viking grill with two side burners and a rotisserie, a sink, and a brick pizza oven. We have been grilling on a little 18” two burner BBQ for the last year and it is driving me crazy. We can’t wait to get a real grill up and going again and really start cooking. A little ways away from the slab we will build a permanent smokehouse. We have a small electric smoker now, but since we can get whole pigs just up the road the possibilities are endless. The smokehouse has us dreaming about all the bacon, hams, ribs, sausage, and other good stuff all smoked with wood from the allspice tree which grows wild here. And as for the pizza oven, there is a local guy in the village who makes clay ovens for all the bakers around here so we will see what he can do. All in all, it should be done in a few weeks and I can throw that little F*%#ing piece of S#%T grill away and we can commence to some real grilling.

Soon to be outdoor cooking at its best.

Speaking about food, a new little restaurant just opened up in town with an unusual food combination. Pizza and donuts, isn’t that a great concept, who doesn’t like pizza or donuts? I wonder how long before the big pizza chains get a hold of this idea. Imagine sitting at home late night and ordering up a pepperoni pizza and a dozen jelly glazed, that would for sure cure your munchies.

pizza dounuts

Monday was Earth Day and that was the day Belize banned all single-use plastic and styrofoam products. It joined 30 other countries around the world to ban single-use plastic and styrofoam items and is the only country in Central America to do so. For the past few months, we have seen more paper bags and more restaurants using biodegradable paper straws (like the kind we use to use when we were young). There are even bins set up around town where you can drop off your glass jars and bottles and they will grind them up and recycle them. We do our part to always use our canvas bags at the markets and stay away from as many plastic containers as possible. Everything helps and this ban is a major step in helping to keep Belize clean and beautiful.

The sign says it all.

That’s about what’s going on this week. Don’t be shy, come on down and check it out, we’d love to have you.

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