More fun down in Belize

A couple of weeks ago it was quiet around here so we decided to head down to Hopkins for a couple days and chill out in the pool and on the beach. We got there on Tuesday, just in time for the Mardi Gras celebration at Driftwoods Pizza joint. They have great pizza, but that night they were also serving up Gumbo. Of course, there was live music, masks, beads, and a whole lot of partying going on. Since seafood is not all that common up where we are, this was my chance for the next couple of days to get my fill of all that good beach food. Besides the shrimp gumbo, I also had some great jerked conch, coconut shrimp and some fish & chips. It might seem that we are always heading over to the coast, but it’s only a couple hour drive and it’s just good to get away for a little break.

Mardi Gras on the beach in Hopkins.
More Mardi Gras fun!

Ever since we’ve been going to Hopkins we thought it would be great to have a little spot down there where we could escape for the weekends. Hopkins is a very laid-back village with great beaches and good fishing. Plus it has a big navigational river with crocs, manatees, otters and a ton of other wildlife. Well, this last trip the opportunity came up and we took advantage of it and bought a lot there. We are not riverfront, but one off with a view of the river. The lot at this point is currently very dense with palm trees.

No shortage of palm trees on the lot.

There is a well maintained road in front of it with water, electricity and internet available. There is a public boat ramp at the Sittee River Marina about 1,000 feet from the lot. Plus it’s only a 1/2 mile walk to the beautiful sandy beaches. From the launch ramp, it’s only a 5-10 minute boat ride out to the open Caribbean waters. At this point, it’s just an investment, but I could also see us down there with a boat fishing for snook, jacks, tarpon and spending the day just cruising around the Caribbean. For now though, we will just sit on this and see where life takes us.

 Hopkins and the Sittee River.

We used to be about the only ones down our road, but people are now starting to build. This past weekend there were six of the eight lot owners down here all at the same time. Which meant it was a great chance to have a little block party for everyone to meet their neighbors. Craig & Monica were down along with Craig’s parents (their place is complete). Dan from the top of the road (house complete). Amanda whose house is under construction. Chuck & Roxane who are building just past us, and Kelley & I who are always here. About the only one missing was Darren. We also invited John & Penny, they are not technically on our road, but close enough. Out of everyone, Kelley, myself, and Amanda are the only full-time residents, so it is still usually very quiet around here.

Some great neighbors.

For the block party, everyone brought something and we grilled up some of our homemade bratwursts. Simmered them in a beer bath with onions and peppers and then seared them on the griddle for a little crispness. Of course, we also had some spicy mustard and sauerkraut to go along with the peppers and onions.

Wicked Toucan grilled brats.

The hatchet throwing board is great, but the first time we started throwing I broke one of the wooden handles on the hatchets. So it was off to Amazon to see what they offered in the way of actual throwing hatchets. I found these nice all metal, double sided throwing hatchets that work pretty well, but It turns out that the wood for the target board was still too hard for them to easily stick into. So I had to put a layer of softer pine over the target board for them to actually stick. They go in much better, now all we have to do is get some practice in.

New throwing hatchets.

After all the rains we’ve had, it’s great to see the past few weeks sunny, and temps in the 80°s. Which means all the plants are loving it, especially the fruit trees. Currently, on plants we have six bunches of bananas, forty pineapples, a bunch of custard apples, a lot of cacao and a ton of raspberries.

Looks like breakfast for the next couple of weeks.

Some of the other fruit trees are starting to blossom, such as starfruit, coffee, and peaches. Still nothing on the mangos or citrus, but for the first time our avocado tree is getting some blossoms. Hopefully, we will get some avocados and the citrus and mangos won’t be too far behind. It’s looking like it should be a very fruitful year, haha.

Mesh bags on the lower custard apples so the birds won’t get them.

We are finally getting a few strings of peppercorns on our plants. We assumed that once the peppercorns dried up on the plant then they were ready for harvest as black pepper. I guess that was wrong according to what I’ve read. It states that if you want black or green pepper, then you should pick them when they are green and just starting to ripen. If you want white pepper, then you harvest them when they are red and they’ll turn white as they dry. It’s always interesting to learn about all the different things we are growing down here.

Getting some peppercorns on one of the plants.

Usually, we see one or two toucans at a time when they fly over or land in the trees around the house. The most we’ve ever seen at the same time was four. The other day Kelley spotted one flying over the driveway and then another and then another. By the time they were done flying over she had counted nineteen of them and there were still more calling from the bush where they had come from. It looked like they were heading to some trees out behind our house somewhere. It’s always amazing when we see a toucan fly over, but seeing this many all at once was something else.

Toucan in flight above the yard.

We saw a beautiful rat snake in the yard the other day doing what he does, eating a rat. I was cleaning up the leaves around the casita when I noticed something moving on one of the plants. Then all of a sudden a rat comes running towards me, but the snake didn’t follow. I called for Kelley to get the camera because the snake was still hanging on a plant. He didn’t chase the rat because he was already wrapped around another one.  In a matter of about a minute, he positioned that rat towards his mouth, swallowed it whole and went back into the bush.

Rat snake squeezing the life out of a rat.

I know a lot of people are squeamish around snakes, but rat snakes are good to have around. First of all, they are nonvenomous constrictors and are no threat to humans. Because of their gentle nature and nonaggressiveness, they are very beneficial because they help control the rodent population. They are a rather large snake and can get up to nearly 9′ in length (this one was only about 4′). They are daytime hunters looking for rats, mice, squirrels, birds and are excellent tree climbers. We don’t see too many snakes around here, but when we do we are always very cautious until we can identify what kind it is.

One big gulp and that rat was gone.

This month the weather is great down here, but the next two months will be hot. Once June gets here the temperatures will be nice again for the rest of the year. I know airfares are on the high side right now, but if you watch the sales and book ahead of time you should be able to score some good deals.

Hope to see you down here someday.




4 thoughts on “More fun down in Belize”

  1. Wow! You guys are land barrons down there…that’s awesome. Our peach tree just popped with blossoms too. The mesh bags kinda work. Some birds figured out they can peck through them. Oh well, we still had plenty of peaches last year. We do want to visit. We’ll be watching air fare prices.

  2. Dave and Kelley , another awesome blog and Congratulations on the Hopkins Lot!
    Your place, friends and all the good food are a delight to read about and the great photos that accompany the stories
    Jeff Calvert
    @ the 4 Aces

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