Minions, monkeys, mushrooms and more.

With all the recent rains, everything is growing like crazy. We always throw our fruit and veggie scraps out in the yard for the animals and we have a lot of miscellaneous plants popping up. A few months ago when mangoes were in season we threw all the seeds out there, because the Gibnuts like to chew them open and get to the inner seed. Well there were a couple that they didn’t get to and now we have more mango trees growing. For now we will just put them in some pots until we can find a new home for them.

mango seed
Wild mango tree.

The veggie garden is starting to produce some good peppers, okra, and squash, plus the fruit trees are starting to set fruit. We have our first starfruits on the tree with a lot more blossoms on the way and our first bunch of bananas. Everyone here has banana plants so it’s no big deal to anyone that we have bananas, but this is our first and it is very exciting to us. This plant is right in front of the guest casita, bananas for breakfast anyone? Looks like we are well on our way to having lots of fresh fruits at our finger tips every day.

Our first stalk of bananas.

Speaking of bananas, we now have monkeys. Okay, let me explain, this has been a long time in the works. Inside the house, the ceilings are over 14’ tall, which leaves a lot of empty space above the kitchen cabinets and other stuff hanging on the walls. So we had this idea of monkeys swinging around on some vines to fill up the big blank area near the ceiling. We came up with a couple of sketches of monkeys in different poses and gave them to a local wood carver who had done some other stuff for us. We wanted the monkeys to be life-size, whimsical and with no real detail to them. He had never carved monkeys before, but he did a great job and it was just what we had in mind. Now it was time to go out in the jungle and find some vines for them to swing on. We found some perfectly twisted vines that were worthy of hanging in the house, of course with the help of Ruben. So after a good cleaning and a coat of varnish the vines and the monkeys were ready to hang. They were not the easiest things to get into place, but now we have monkeys swinging in the house and filling up that big blank area.

The monkeys are loose in the house.

A few weeks ago Ruben cut some new trails on the far side of the property, up by where all the fruit trees are. This time we had him cut some more trails that went from behind the house to the back of the property, down by the creek and then back towards the house. As we were walking on the new trail we were commenting about how beautiful and peaceful it really is. It makes for a great morning hike when all the birds and animals are active.

new trail
One of the new hiking trails.

On our trek around the property, we are always looking for oyster mushrooms, especially after the rains. Today Kelley found some that she had never seen before and since Ruben was here he was able to give us a good ID on them.  According to our book, they are called tree ear mushrooms, something we had never seen before.

The tree ear mushroom really does look like an ear.

Ruben said that they are very delicious and are usually very hard to find. He told us that we need to fry them in oil and they will puff up and then put salt and pepper on them and they will be very tasty. Okay, so Kelley fried the mushrooms and they did puff up, something we’d never seen a mushroom do. The outside edges were crunchy and the middle was very soft. Overall they were very good, but I still prefer oyster mushrooms.

mushrooms 2
Who would think mushrooms would puff up in hot oil.

Okay, so another little food thing that we just had to try was deep-fried banana blossoms. We use to see these all the time in the Asian markets in the states and from what we understand they are a delicacy. After little interweb searching Kelley found out how to cook them and it even said that they taste like artichokes hearts. Kelley had it all cooked and called me over to try, but when I saw her spitting it out there was no way I was going to try it. She said it was one of the worst things she had ever tasted, but at least she tried it. So all the banana blossoms are safe from our kitchen.

banana blossom
Banana blossom. Each little finger would become a banana.

Our Mahindra truck is great, but with it being our daily driver and our only vehicle I’m a little leery about taking it deep into the jungle off road. Which is why we have been looking for another vehicle that we can do some more exploring and not worry too much if something happened to it. We have been looking for a Jeep for a while and finally found one that will work. Jeeps like this are hard to come by down here, there’s not that many around and the ones that are, people just don’t want to sell. We finally found one that’s a 1997 with a 4.0 that runs on gas and butane and already has a 4” lift. It seems mechanically sound and just needs some minor stuff done to it. Once we get it transformed into the rig we want we should be ready to hit the jungle trails and explore new places that aren’t on the map. Can you imagine driving around in the jungle and all of a sudden a monkey jumps in and gets you a beer out of your ice chest and says thanks for the ride dude? Okay well maybe not, but it will still be fun driving around and finding new areas.

The new jungle cruiser.

It seems that the animals around here are showing up at different times of the year, so we have started marking on a calendar when we see them. The last couple of months we saw lots of toucans, now we see only a couple a week. Same with the parrots, swarms every day and now they have thinned out.

The beautiful Toucan.

We haven’t seen a possum in a while, where we were seeing them all the time. This month we are seeing quite a few Coatimundis and foxes around the property. We’ll be sitting in front of the garage with music on and talking and this little fox comes up about 25’ from us and just starts eating stuff off the ground. He doesn’t seem to care if we’re there or if it’s day or night, he just goes about his business. Of course, the Kinkajou’s are still up in the trees dropping stuff on the tin roof every night. Our Cohune palms are starting to drop their nuts and we know the Gibnuts love those, so we expect to start seeing them around soon. Eventually, we will learn what animals will be around by what the plants are producing.

The little fox standing on a plastic bucket.
Fox strolling through the driveway.

Belize being such a young country takes their Independence Day very seriously. September 21st is their 38th year of independence from Britain and everyone here is very proud of it. The entire country goes on a three day weekend with parties, parades, and celebrations in every city, town, and village.

The children of San Antonio on a float in a parade.

We were lucky enough to be coming back from town just as the parade in our little village was starting. This was not a big elaborate parade like some of the bigger cities do, but it was a perfect representation of how loyal and proud everyone is to be Belizean. San Antonio is a small village and I believe every resident was either in the parade or watching from the sidelines.

Young dancers celebrating Independence Day.

There were floats, costumes, dancers, music, and even a queen. What more would you want in a parade? The town square even got a fresh paint job and the stage is all ready for the bands. It should be a great party in the evenings that will go on for three days.

You never know who you will see in our little village.

After trying for a couple of years and missing out, we finally got some tickets to see Jerry Jeff Walker at Camp Belize. Every year in January, Jerry heads down to his house in San Pedro on Ambergris and does concerts for two weeks around the island with other musicians. This year we manage to buy 4 tickets for week one (January 19-26) just in case someone wanted to join us. January is a great time in Belize, but it is considered the high season and there are a lot of people here. If anyone is interested in the tickets and joining us please let us know soon, as accommodations on the island fill up fast that time of year. Hope to see you here.

4 thoughts on “Minions, monkeys, mushrooms and more.”

  1. The monkeys look much better “in action” than just laying there on the counter! Too bad you didn’t keep that stuffed fox to give to the neighborhood fox for a friend! Love the parade! Yay bananas!

  2. Awesome pictures an info in your blogs. We love to read them. Love the Jeep and monkeys!!! We are still looking at plane fares and our schedule but hope to come see you two in the near future.

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