Lots of Critters Around

One of the many great things about living in Belize is that there are so many talented local artists. When we lived in Mexico near the beach, all of our art and décor was beach or fish related. Since we were moving to the jungles of Belize we decided that we would leave all that stuff behind and start over with local Belizean art.

33 x 56 original by Jorge Landero. Jorge paints mostly birds and animals.

We have had so much fun over the past few years looking for that one special painting or wood carving that really spoke to us. Over time we have gotten to know various artists and their styles. Sometimes they will post a picture of their latest work or we will see it at a show and just have to have it. We have also commissioned a couple paintings and even a bunch of wood carvings. I wish we had more wall space because sometimes it’s hard to walk away from some of those special pieces.

25 x 36 by Walter Castillo. Walter really captures the happy, carefree Belizean lifestyles.

We are currently in the height of the dry season. Which means it’s hot and everything seems to need constant watering. This is also the time of year when the Blue Morpho Butterflies are abundant. We have been seeing lots of them around the property for the past few weeks now and Kelley is constantly trying to get photos whenever possible. The Blue Morpho Butterfly is one of the largest butterflies, with a 5-8 inch wingspan and definitely one of the most beautiful. Their lifespan is only about 115 days so hopefully, they should be plentiful around here for a couple more months.

Blue Morpho butterfly.

There are lots of different birds around our place lately. The other evening around sunset we were sitting outside enjoying a cold beer and there were birds everywhere. There were parrots, parakeets, aracaris, toucans, and a ton of other birds. The toucans were the most impressive as there were 8 of them all at once in the trees in front of the garage. We usually see 2-4 toucans at a time, but 8 at once was a real treat for us.

Toucans in the tree by the garage.

We’ve also got a lot of different types of hummingbirds around here. Kelley is good at identifying them, but this one she just can’t seem to find on any of her reference guides. We know he must be a healthy one, as he really likes the moringa flowers.

Hummingbird feeding on a moringa flower.

We checked the trail cameras recently and there were quite a few different animals on there. A lot of the animals are nocturnal so we really never get a chance to see them, except with a trail camera.

That’s a big anteater, I guess maybe 5′ long judging by the size of the trail he’s on.

The camera captured Armadillos, Agoutis, Anteater, Pacas, Possums (lots of them), Tyra (bush dog), Coatimundis, Squirrels, Mice, and a bunch of different birds. There were also a few pictures of a cat that roams around here in the middle of the night. We’re not positive it’s a domestic cat as it does have spots on its hind end. In the past, we do have decent pictures of wild cats; a Jaguarundi and a Margay, but these current pictures we can’t be sure of. Not bad considering that the trail camera is only about 100 yards from the house.

Paca, Gibnut or Royal Rat. Whatever you call it we’ve got them.

We didn’t see for ourselves, but the other day a friend saw a deer just outside our gate and our neighbor about a mile or so behind us captured two pumas on their trail cameras. Another friend about a mile away had two monkeys in a palm tree above her porch that were tossing branches down while she was taking pictures. With what seems like a lot of building going on around here, it’s good to see that there is still a bunch of wildlife around.

We see lots of Coatimundis around as they are usually out during the day.

I mentioned before that we’ve got a lot of pineapples getting ready to ripen. Well, that means that the critters know that too. Even though we have a fence around some of the pineapples, they are still getting in and eating them. I went on a search to see what I could do to at least slow them down from eating all the pineapples and here are a couple of things that we are trying. We set up a solar motion light to hopefully scare them away. The other deterrent is water, habanero pepper sauce, and a couple drops of soap in a spray bottle. We have been spraying the pineapples with that and at this point, it seems to be working. It wouldn’t be so bad if they ate the whole pineapple, but they seem to chew on one for a while then move on to the next.

What’s left of a pineapple after a critter got to it. Pretty sure it’s possums.

Since the critters have found our pineapple patch we are taking no chances and picking some of them before they actually ripen. If the pineapples can actually ripen on the plant, they are usually a lot sweeter than when left on the counter to ripen. Even though these were not quite ready to pick, I’m sure they will still be very good.

One very ripe pineapple and a few others that will be ready in a week or so.

We had at least five bunches of bananas on our plants recently. One bunch was looking about ready to harvest and another was getting close. Well, we waited too long and within a day one plant fell over and the other bananas ripened on the plant before we could cut them down. The ones that were turning yellow on the plant had already dropped about 25 bananas on the ground that were now there for the animals. All in all, we ended up with around 175 bananas this time. Update…Later in the week, another plant went down and there were another 45 bananas ready. We use as many as we can and give the rest away to friends. My favorite ones are the small apple bananas because they are so sweet. These were all local bananas, sort of like you would get in the states. Usually, we pick them when they are green, but the ones that did ripen on the plant were sweet and delicious, I think they might have even been better than the little apple bananas.

Time for banana everything again.

Everyone has seen those parking lot signs that say Handicap Parking or Reserved for Manager or any number of other ones.  Anyway, we were at a business the other day and we spotted this sign in the parking lot. There are a lot of Mennonites in Belize who drive horse and buggies, so this is not really that unusual down here.

Bet you don’t have one of these signs in your Home Depot parking lot.

Our passports aren’t due for renewal for another 4 years, but we are running out of pages to stamp. We were trying to figure out a time to send them back in later this year, and then this happened. The American Embassy will be at The Bluff (our favorite watering hole) to do passport renewals. How great is that! Grab a burger and a cold beer all while getting your passport renewed. Now that’s how it should be done!

That’s about all for now, and remember to live life to its fullest while you still can.