Vacations are over…for now.

After a bunch of little mini vacations over to the beach this year and a trip to the States it was time to buckle down and get some stuff done around here.

We finally found time to get the railing painted on the main house. This was supposed to happen a few months ago right after we painted the railing on the casita, but things came up. Because of the intricate design of the railing, it was almost impossible to sand it all down and varnish it again, so we opted to just paint it. After a good pressure washing and a bunch of scraping it was ready for a coat of paint. We are hoping that the paint will hold up, plus it adds a little splash of color around here. Next up is to sand the porch down and get another coat of clear on it.

The Toucan Hideaway gets a splash of color.

A couple of the trees we cut down a few weeks ago were hardwood. It was time to get them cut to size so they will fit on our log splitter. Once they dry and we get them split they will be perfect for the pizza oven and the smoke house. Not sure what type of wood they are, as our friends only knew the Mayan name for them. Either way, Ruben and the guy who cut them down said that they were very good for cooking.

A lot easier to haul with the tractor than a wheelbarrow.

We had given the meat making a break for the past couple of months, but now we are back at it. We have been making bacon, summer sausage, bratwurst sausage, Italian sausage, and breakfast sausage, usually at least 20lb batches at a time. As soon as we get the word out of what we have, it’s usually gone in a few days. So besides everything else around here, this is keeping us pretty busy.

Pork bellies getting ready to become bacon.

It was time to get back to making chocolate again. At this point, we have around 25 lbs of dried cacao that needs to be roasted. We are making 4 lbs of dark chocolate at a time and have been flavoring it with mint, orange, or raspberry. We even tried some with our habanero salt sprinkled on top, which was actually pretty good. So far we are just eating it and letting friends sample some, but the way the plants are producing this might become another Wicked Toucan offering.

Homemade dark chocolate from the garden.

Yes, we are still getting plenty of our little sweet apple bananas. We have enough banana bread made in the freezer and still eat them for breakfast almost daily. So I thought I’d make some banana nice cream. I found a recipe where you just slice and freeze the bananas and then put them in a food processor and it is supposed to taste like soft-serve ice cream. I was skeptical at first because I’m an ice cream lover. It needed a little milk in the food processor to help get it going and then I added some of our homemade raspberry chocolate. It turned out better than I expected, super creamy and it really taste like ice cream. Even after some time in the freezer, it tasted like hard ice cream. And the best part is that it’s really healthy.

If you are looking for something healthy, this is worth making.

The other day a lone Coatimundi (commonly called “Quash” in Belize) was wandering through the yard. He didn’t seem to mind that we were on the porch talking and taking pictures of him. It’s possible that he was a male out looking for a female as this is the beginning of their mating season which coincides with the start of the rainy season.

Coatimundi in the front yard.

We watched him wander around the yard for a while sniffing everything he could. Then we saw what we had suspected all along, he was the one eating our pineapples. Usually, the critters will wait until the pineapples are about ripe to dig into them, but recently they have been taking bites out of small immature ones.

I know it’s not ripe, but I’m still gonna take a bit out of it.

I have recently made about 75 chicken wire cages to fit over the pineapples to hopefully detour them from just taking a bite out of them. I know we will lose some of the pineapples to the animals once they ripen, but they’re at least a good month away from that point.

Hopefully, this will keep some of the critters out.

The pineapple cage update. A week after I put the cages on the pineapples here comes a coatimundi strolling through the yard again. He goes up to a pineapple with a cage on it and just pulls the cage and breaks the pineapple right off the plant. It’s like he was going to carry it home all packaged up in a wire basket. So now I’m trying a vinegar spray around the plants to see if that detours them. I sure hope so, because we really love pineapples and it would be nice if we got a few for ourselves.

If I present this to my new mate she will be so impressed.

Of the 450 or so species of birds in Belize, we have seen a lot of them. Yet every so often there will be one in the yard that we have never seen before, and if we’re lucky Kelley will get a picture of it. This time it was a Red Legged Honey Creeper and it’s mate. It’s not too often you can get a picture of a bird and its mate together. The Honey Creeper is a fairly small bird, the male is bright blue and black with red legs and the female is more of a green and white with a little blue in her bill. There are still hundreds of birds in Belize that we haven’t seen yet, so every time we see one we haven’t seen before it’s pretty exciting.

Red Legged Honey Creeper and its mate getting a drink from the bird bath.

There have been a lot of Toucans around the yard lately. One day there were seven Keel-Billed Toucans in the tree above the casita. The next day there were two Keel-Billed Toucans and seven Aracari Toucans in that same tree all at the same time. Kelley got a picture of them all together, but they are too small to really see in the big picture. Here is a single close-up of one of the Aracari Toucans.

An Aracari Toucan just off the front porch.

Ruben’s got our other piece of property looking like a real farm. He’s down there every day, pulling weeds, adjusting the irrigation, setting up trellises for the tomatoes, and making sure everything is good for the best harvest possible. Currently, there is cilantro, bush beans, Roma tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, cabbage, habaneros, and green chilis. And of course over 40 fruit trees that we put in last year.

There are bananas and papayas in the foreground.

Recently one of the furniture stores we buy from advertised that they had some Adirondack chairs for sale. So we went and checked them out and they were very well constructed, comfortable, all made from hardwoods and they were only $50usd each. We grabbed a couple of them and brought them home. They were fine with their natural finish, but we decided that we would paint them to add a little more color around here. These are great for just sitting around relaxing with a cold drink in hand, (if we ever find time to do that).

Looks like a great place to sit with a cold one and watch the animals.

Well, that’s the haps around here the past couple of weeks. Come on down for a visit, that might actually give us a chance to relax and use these chairs.


9 thoughts on “Vacations are over…for now.”

  1. I wonder how coatimundi tastes…hmmm…maybe bar-b-q with pineapple rings?

  2. I love reading all about your adventures. I want to thank you both for raising such a wonderful son. He has done such an amazing job carrying on the Derby tradition here in Cholla. He is an outstanding member of the Cholla Bay family, his kids are pretty darn cute too, you’re both lucky people. We miss you

  3. Coming to see you is definitely on our bucket list. We’ve been quite busy here getting things done. I love reading your site and it’s a pleasure hearing about all that you two are learning and accomplishing. You guys amaze us!

  4. Great post – thanks. You might try mothballs to keep the quosh away. We had a problem with racoons washing scavenged chicken carcasses in our pool(!) as soon as we put a few mothballs into an old yoghurt pot, weighted down with a couple of stones to stop it blowing away, and a slightly cracked lid, they completely disappeared! Apparently mothballs smell similar to the urine of predators MUCH larger than them! Good luck.

  5. Everything is looking great. Can’t wait to be hanging around there every so often and having you do the same at the beach!

Comments are closed.