The new back patio

Just when we thought we were done building around here, we came up with another idea. We really need to stop doing this!!! The area between the BBQ and the back of the house has a good slant to it. Which meant that when we had friends over and we set up tables and chairs it looked like everyone was about to fall over. So we came up with the idea of building a nice big wooden deck between the BBQ and the house. That way it would give a nice level surface and tie everything together. Besides, we already had some credit at our favorite lumber store from that silent auction we won. So come Monday morning we were off to order all the wood, cement and other materials needed to build this deck. The crew started digging the footers first thing Monday morning and by Thursday afternoon it was completely done. This addition really helped bring the outdoor kitchen altogether.

We could have a dance here… if we danced.

Since we now had this big wooden deck it was time for me to get to work making some more tables. First on the agenda was to build a bar or serving area out of that big Cabbage Bark plank we recently acquired. A lot of sanding, some resin to fill in the big cracks and a nice clear coat finish and it was looking good. Now it just needed a good base, so it was off to the metals shop to get the materials needed to build a sturdy base for this heavy piece of wood.

The countertop bar, a perfect place for a cold beer in the middle of the jungle.

The next two tables were easy, just a lot of sanding, a good clear coat, the same type legs as the one I made for the front porch and we were in business. Some people are asking if we are building a restaurant or even a small resort. Hell, we don’t know, we are just building what we like and what makes us comfortable.

Great place for friends to gather or a quiet dinner for two.

The pizza oven was finally cured and ready to get the big fire going to see how well it works. We did have it fired up a few days earlier, but Kelley got a real bad headache and was hallucinating so we decided to postpone it for a few days. It turns out that she was in the garden and touched a mushroom and she either accidentally inhaled some or wiped her mouth or something. So we ended up eating leftover lasagna that night and I just told her it was pizza (just kidding). Anyway, a few days later we decided to give it another go. This time we made a few small pizzas just so I could have a little practice cooking them. They turned out great and only took about three minutes each to cook. We think the pizza oven is a success.

pizza done3
Now does that look good or what?

Just another picture from the garden. The two fruits in the picture below seem very similar, it’s just that one is a lot bigger than the other. One is a very sweet Surinam cherry and the other is a very hot habanero pepper.  This Surinam cherry is actually pretty small and that habanero pepper is on the large size. When they get similar in size they are sometimes very hard to tell apart. The last thing you want to do is to bite into a habanero thinking it’s a nice sweet treat. It is a good thing we know which plants they come off of.

Be careful which one you bite into.

It has been a few months already and the peanuts are now ready to harvest. This is the first time we have ever grown peanuts and it was pretty exciting to pull the plant out of the ground and see a bunch of peanuts hanging there. When the locals here harvest their peanuts, they place them on a big tarp out in the sun to dry. After they dry for a few days then they get roasted. This is the route we are going to take, the other option would be to boil them. Years ago while driving through Florida we stopped at a roadside stand for some boiled peanuts and decided that was not our thing. So we will be drying and roasting our peanuts and with 200 plus plants may be making a little (lot) peanut butter.

Homegrown peanuts.

Kelley has been having a lot of fun with her new camera and with all this beautiful nature around us, who wouldn’t? The other evening there were six of the Aracaris in the trees across from the garage. They were there for a good fifteen minutes or so just hopping from branch to branch and eating stuff off the trees. It’s great to see all these different types of birds around the property. We don’t always have the chance to get a photo of them, but sometimes we get lucky.

The Collared Aracari (Toucan), one of the bigger colorful birds around here.

There are a lot of big squirrels around here and they love to eat the Cohune nuts that fall off the palm trees. The other day there was this really small baby one (that would fit in the palm of your hand) attempting to carry a nut away. The nut was a little big for him, but I’m sure in no time at all he will be dragging those back to his home.

A tiny baby squirrel trying to get a Cohune nut.

Living in the jungle there are lots of bugs around and you expect to get the occasional bite. We are very lucky to not really have many mosquitoes or other flying, biting bugs around the house and immediate area. Granted we do end up with a few small bites here and there, but nothing major. In the time we have been here there have been very few days around the house and yard where we have needed to apply insect repellent. And believe me, we brought a lot of it with us. The other morning was the exception when I was unlocking the gate. I pulled open the big hasp on the front gate and not looking I put my hand on top of the gate to open it. That was my mistake, always look before placing your hand somewhere. That’s when it got me, a big black scorpion, right in the palm of my hand. The pain was instant but only lasted about an hour or so before it went away, no mark, soreness or anything. I’ve been stung by bark scorpions in Arizona and Mexico before where the numbness will last for up to a week or more. Even though the big black scorpions look more scary and dangerous, I’d rather be stung by one of them than a small bark scorpion any day. According to the locals a scorpion sting is good for your joints and it’s good to be stung every so often they say. I’m not too sure about that.

Creepy isn’t it?

On Darren’s property next to ours, there was a small cave opening that was discovered where it looks like water rushes through in the wet season. I don’t think anyone had ever been down there, as the opening is very small. We finally had the time to drop a camera down and see what might be in there. It was too dark for the camera to see anything and the opening was too small for any of us to fit, but a local that was with us said that he could fit. So after tieing a rope to him and giving him a good flashlight, he was off to the underworld. It didn’t take long before he was out of sight. He did say that it was muddy down there, but it was big enough for him to stand up and turn around. He said there was another passage inside the cave that headed towards our property (which is only about 20’ away), but the opening was only about a foot in diameter and way too small for anyone to fit through.  I guess we will never know what’s through that next passage, but maybe that leads to another opening somewhere on our property. There are always new things to discover down here and a lot of them are right in our back yard.

darren cave
I’ll bet it is safe from viruses down there.

Next week we’re headed back to the beach for a little R&R and exploring. This time we would not be going to any of the beaches in Belize, we were off to Cartagena, Columbia. Obviously, because of the COVID-19 Virus, our trip got canceled. Fortunately, there have been no reported cases of the virus in Belize and with a lot of precautionary measures they are trying to keep it that way.

Everyone be safe and hopefully, this will all be behind us soon and we can all get back to normal.

6 thoughts on “The new back patio”

  1. You two are amazing. Knowing you both from way back when, I would never has guessed that you would be living the dream like this. I really admire what you have done.

  2. If the world completely implodes I will be moving the family down to live in your underground tunnels.

  3. What a refreshing blog to read every time, but even more so today. With all the horrible news….this is just what I needed, so thank you so much. Although….I must say, I’m VERY claustrophobic….so sweaty palms here while reading about the adventures underground! 😳😳

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