Smoky and Very Hot!

This was the temp at 10:46 in the morning.

April was a great month for us, but as for May, not so much.  It’s been VERY HOT! Our thermometer has read as high as 111° and a heat index of 136°. It has been 100°+ every day in May so far, with no relief in sight. Besides that, the country is having trouble keeping up with the power demands, so there have been rolling blackouts constantly. Which means that during the hottest parts of the day, there goes your fans, computer, fridge, etc. Or while you’re trying to make dinner it just goes off and it gets very hot and dark.

Very smoky coming into our village.

To top that off the entire country is on fire, and it’s really bad. There is a big fire up in Mountain Pine Ridge not far from us that is threating our village’s water supply. The skies everywhere are just filled with smoke and it’s really getting tough on our eyes and breathing. A few of our friends have had wildfires extremely close to their houses. The other day we went to help a friend put out some hot spots about fifty feet from their home. At this point the closest fire to us is about two miles away, but that changes daily. We just hope it stays away from us until maybe some rains come next month, but there is nothing forecast in the next two weeks. In the meantime, we are just keeping a very close eye on everything.

This toucan was over by the garage.
This was a different one above the guest house.

Being the dry season here, a lot of the trees have dropped their leaves and it’s looking very bare and dry around here. One advantage of having a lot of the trees drop their leaves is that it makes the birds easier to spot. Kelley has been able to get some good bird pictures without all the leaves in the way.

Parrot in flight.

By next month the temps will go back down and we should start getting some rain to green everything back up again. In the meantime, we’re having to water our plants every day just to keep them alive.

Maybe we should just collect a bunch of click beetles for when our power goes out.

Recently we have had a bunch of click beetles flying around. Once it gets dark you can see what looks like fireflies all around the yard and throughout the trees.  They are actually quite different than fireflies. Fireflies have glowing abdominal sections where as the click beetle has two bioluminescent light organs on the back of its head and one under its abdomen. Unlike fireflies, click beetles don’t flash. However, they do seem to be able to control the intensity of the light they emit. When touched by a possible predator, for example, they will become brighter. They are a very cool insect and fairly easy to catch.

The bunch of yellow bananas had three that were ripe in the morning. By lunch time the whole bunch had turned from green to yellow.

Last week we finished off the last of our custard apples for breakfast. This week’s breakfast is going to be bananas. These are small sweet apple bananas and you can easily eat a few at a time. This is a good thing because once picked they seem to ripen rather quickly. In a few weeks, we should start picking some pineapples. And since they are in various stages of ripening, we should have pineapples for a couple of months. After that, we should have an abundance of dragon fruit this year. Seems like there is always something good and fresh for breakfast around here.

We are very impressed with the mangos and can’t wait for the rest to ripen. Yes, there is a big seed in there, you just can’t see it.

We just picked our first mangos and OMG are they delicious. A lot of people here don’t get this excited about mangos because their trees have been producing for years. But these are our first mangos off of a tree we planted when it was only two feet tall. Our mango tree is grafted so the first ones ready were a smaller yellow variety. There are other ones on the same tree that are bigger and just starting to turn a rose color. There are only a handful of mangos on the tree this first time, but hopefully, by next year it should be loaded.

More banana raspberry bread.

We tried, but you can only eat so many bananas before they start to go bad. So it was time again for Kelley to make her delicious raspberry banana bread. This time she made 13 loaves that will go into the freezer. She only had enough butter on hand for half the loaves, so for the other half she substituted coconut oil for the butter. The ones made with coconut oil had a very distinctive coconut flavor. They were not quite as moist as the ones made with butter, but still very good.

Raspberry jam

We don’t usually eat much jam, but we needed to start using up some of our raspberries from last year before the plants start in again. I found a recipe for a somewhat healthy jam that just used raspberries, lemon juice, and honey instead of sugar. By using honey as the sweetener, it has a little tartness to it from the raspberries. I personally think it’s great and I’m sure it will be wonderful on some banana bread.

Our coffee trees were getting too big to handle.

Because of this weather, our big coffee plants had to be stripped of all their beans, as they were starting to dry up on the plants. Since we stripped all the coffee and the plants hadn’t started flowering yet, it was time to top them off. The plants were getting so tall that we were having to get a ladder out there to pick the coffee. Now they are cut down to a more manageable size for the next time.

It’s too hot and we just don’t have time to process these, so Ruben will get a bucket of coffee.

We had been picking quite a bit of coffee off these two big plants for a couple of months as they ripened. This time when we picked everything off the two plants, we ended up with 18lbs of coffee ready to be processed. I know some are a little green, but they all had to be picked.

The cacao seeds are wet and slimy right out of the pods. After they ferment for a week or so, they will then dry in the sunshine for up to ten days. After that, they will then get roasted and then shelled. Then into a grinder for 24 hours before they get tempered. If all goes well they will be poured into molds and we will have some more delicious dark chocolate.

We are currently picking quite a bit of cacao. So here’s a part of our chocolate-making that I might not have shared before. After we harvest the pods off the tree, they are cut open and all the seeds are removed. The seeds then go into two stacked plastic bins, one with holes in the bottom so that all the liquid can escape while they ferment. While they are fermenting, they will turn a shade of brown and emit a fruity, yeasty aroma. We will let these ferment for about a week before they are put out in the sun to dry. Once dried we are just storing the beans until the weather cools down a little before we can process them into chocolate. Over the past few weeks we have picked at least 130 cacao pods that usually have an average of 40 seeds in each one, and there is still a lot more on the trees.

Sliced corned beef ready to make that perfect Ruben sandwich.

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve made any of our meats and everyone keeps asking about them. So the other day we picked up about 150lbs of beef and pork that we will process over the next few weeks. Of course, we will be making our breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, bratwurst links, bacon, summer sausage, and this time we will also have some deli style sliced corned beef for anyone craving a Ruben sandwich.

Kelley on her way back from picking more cacao.

Even though it’s hot as blazes here, there is still a lot of stuff around here that needs to get done every day. One good thing is that we have the hot tub (the heater has been off for a long time) to cool off in. And the other is that our bedroom has the AC cranked down to 72° overnight. Otherwise, during the days it has been a sweat-fest. Hopefully, this weather will break soon and we will get back to our normal nice temps.

Oh, and on the lighter side…..

Life is short and no doubt about it is getting shorter every day. Get out and travel, try something new, or move away from your comfort zone. There’s a whole world out there to explore and experience. You will only regret it if you never try.

One thought on “Smoky and Very Hot!”

  1. Awesome blog, as always
    Sorry about the heat, smoke a black outs!
    All well here in Choya Bay 🇲🇽
    The CBSC Fish Fry is this afternoon (26 Mayo)
    Choya is packed with memorial day visitors, on Friday there was a 5 1/2 hour wait to get from the US to Mexico through the Port of Entry of Lukeville‼️

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