Sunday, April 29, 2012
Our second Christmas in Belize was spent with neighbors and friends. A big BBQ party...we gave gifts to all of the Belizean children in attendance. They fell in love with the collection of stuffed animals we parted with! With the start of the new year we started discussing possible changes in our future.
We were looking forward to the cruise that we had been planning for over a year, and starting discussing potential future travel. Rick has run out of projects and is feeling like he "wants more life in his life". Our cruise trip in March/April sealed the deal. We visited Bermuda, Portugal, Morocco and Spain and had an incredible time. We returned home with a potential opportunity to take care of a 10 acre farm near the Mediterranean coast in Spain. It's only one potential plan, but we decided to list our home for sale...we can travel at our leisure and not feel tied down to one location. We have spent the past couple of weeks working with a web designer to create a site for our listing (www.belizewaterfrontestate4sale.info) and visiting with realtors. Everything is now in place and we'll just wait and see what happens! The market here is quite slow, but if/when the right person sees what we're offering, I'm sure we'll have interest. If any of you are interested or know of someone who might be interested, please pass the link onto them...there is a referral bonus available once the deal is sealed! Time for another parrot hour on the beach! Will keep in touch!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
The summer was warm, wet and humid, but it seems we're growing more accustomed to the change and used our a/c much less this year. The rain brought a growth spurt to all of our plants and flowers. The garden provided lots of good veges and our banana tree has delivered multiple clusters of lady finger bananas. Rick even hung bunches of basil on the clothes line to dry. We visited several nurseries over the past few months and now the yard is almost half complete. We even bought a cocoa tree to test our forte for growing chocolate! Now that Fall has arrived the weather is starting to cool down, especially in the mornings, and the water in the lagoon is refreshing again. We're getting lots of lizards, spiders and critters coming around, but so far no negative interactions between the species even though we've encroached on their habitat. A crocodile tried to have one of the chickens for lunch last week, but, surprisingly, the chicken was smart enough to squawk and run! Speaking of the chickens, we're still getting about 40 eggs a week and are able to share with our friends and neighbors. One of the restaurants/bars that we frequent has even started paying us for a dozen eggs every week...that will help with the cost of the corn that the chickens seem to inhale!
In July we set out on an adventure that covered three countries and five U.S. states. We drove from Progresso, Belize to Cancun, Mexico on the first day. The trip was smooth sailing once we crossed the border and dealt with the red-tape there. Belize and Mexico are trying to see who can outdo the other with taxes...we were stuck in the middle! We spent the night in a hotel near the Cancun airport, spent a little time the next morning touring the city and then, leaving our car at the hotel, took the hotel shuttle to the airport. We flew from Cancun to Phoenix, AZ and then onto Spokane, WA where we met our son, Jason, who had flown in from Dallas, TX. The three of us rented a car and, exhausted, drove to the nearby hotel for the night. The next morning we enjoyed a buffet breakfast at the hotel and Jason took us shopping. After picking up some necessities, we drove to Pullman, WA to meet up with Rick's family for our niece's wedding. The next three days were spent visiting/partying with Rick's family and celebrating the addition to the family (the wedding was absolutely beautiful). We had a wonderful time. On Sunday morning Jason drove us back to Spokane airport where we took a flight to Salt Lake City, UT and then onto San Diego, CA. It was there that we were joined by our daughter, Janessa, and Linda's side of the family. We had 3 days/4 nights of visiting and touring San Diego. A great time was had by all. From there a bunch of us caravan-ed to Casa Grande, AZ where we had a quick tour of Linda's parents new house before renting a car and driving to the Phoenix area. We stayed with Janessa in her apartment (thanks, nessa!) and spent three days visiting with as many of our Phoenix-area friends as we could. On Monday morning, exhausted, we were on the road again, headed to Laughlin for a couple of days of gambling/relaxing. Linda got her "Wizard of Oz" slot machine fix and Rick played enough penny and nickle machines to make up for some of what Linda lost! After Laughlin we drove over to check out the now-completed Hoover Dam Bypass...pretty impressive!!! Rick watched so much of the construction of the bypass during his frequent drives to Vegas to tend to his mom's yard that he had to see the finished product. It was a little out of our way, but well worth the trip. From there we drove to Vegas and spent the night at Rick's mom's house. We played a little bit at a local casino, but went to bed early so we would be ready for our early flight the next morning. We flew from Vegas to Phoenix to Cancun and shuttled back to the hotel where our car was left. We had dinner by the pool and then crashed for the night. The final day was spent driving back from Cancun to Progresso. It was a beautiful drive...hundreds of thousands of butterflies everywhere...and no incidents at the border! We arrived home safe and sound and spent the next few days recovering from our 18-day "vacation"!!! A big "thank you" to all who made it possible.
Last week we took another road trip to San Ignacio and visited with our friends, Adam and Mona. We got to see their beautiful new house, played some darts and took a day to visit Spanish Lookout, a Mennonite village north of San Ignacio. What an incredible experience. This group of settlers was allocated land from the government of Belize and turned it into a self-governed, self-sustaining farming/agriculture community. We will definitely be going back there for another taste of their culture.
In-between road trips Linda spent her time baking, cleaning, laundry, sunning, reading, latch hooking, parrot watching (extremely busy season this year!), listening to music, lounging in the lagoon and playing cards/dominos/darts. Rick kept busy with gardening, tending to the two acres of land, cooking new recipes and playing cards/dominos/darts. We're working hard at becoming as self-sufficient as possible and we're having lots of fun doing it. We're expecting visitors in November...Rick's brother and his family and Rick's mom will be here for Thanksgiving. We should have some more adventures to report on after their visit. Until then, follow your dreams!
Friday, June 17, 2011
The flora and fauna around here detested the dry season, but we are starting to get a little bit of rain now and things are looking up. Linda has now witnessed 2 snake visits (ewwww!!!) and while the neighbors were in the states a basiliscus basiliscus (iguana) took up residency on their patio. After a few days he/she was starting to die of thirst, so we captured it and tried to set it free, but the dogs had another idea for it. Linda tried to save the iguana from the dogs, and vice versa, but no good deed goes unpunished…it bit her right index finger and wouldn’t let go! Ouch! Rick had to grab it behind its jaws to get it to unlatch! He was able to carry it to safety and Linda’s finger healed nicely. Rick has had his share of bites, too. The ants and doctor flies love him (they cause extreme swelling unless treated immediately with Preparation H) and now the mosquitoes are starting up. Between the bites and the CheChen, his skin has seen better days. He had to get another steroid shot last week to try to get things under control…so far, so good, for now!
The garden and orchard are growing pretty well with Rick’s attention and frequent watering during the dry season. This update can report fresh tomato, chilis (jalepeno, Serrano and habenero), zucchini (makes exceptional chocolate zucchini bread … http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/chocolate-zucchini-bread-ii/detail.aspx), cantaloupe, carrots, chives, onions, cilantro, cauliflower and bananas. We’ll soon be trying to grow bok choi, which seems to do extremely well here. We’re also making our own bread, pizza, Italian dressing, onion soup mix and desserts. Add to that the 4-6 eggs we’re getting from the chickens everyday and the kanep, strawberries, star fruit, passion fruit, mango and avocados from the neighbors and fruit stands, we’re eating as fresh as can be!
In family news, Janessa found a new job and a new apartment, into which she moved about 10 days ago. Linda’s sister, Shea, had to have surgery for a fractured femur head and just recently returned to work. Rick’s brother, James, is on an expedition to climb Mt. McKinley in Alaska (www.2011denali.com). We’re planning a trip back to the U.S. in less than 5 weeks, at which time we will get to see everyone! We’ll start out in Washington for a Ludka wedding (congrats Tiffany and Mark), from there we head to San Diego to have a reunion with Linda’s side of the family, then to Phoenix to visit with friends, then off to Laughlin for our overdue NV casino run and then we conclude in Las Vegas for our flight back to Cancun. It will be a fun-filled 2+ weeks with family and friends.
Until we leave for our trip, we will continue our virtually stress-free life with weekly Saturday afternoon dart games at Scotty’s bar and grill in Corozal, cards and dominoes with our recently returned neighbors, boating, swimming and sunning in the lagoon, reading, gardening, puzzles, latch hook and our daily afternoon happy hour backgammon games on the beach to keep us out of trouble. Hope this update finds you all happy and healthy…keep in touch!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Easter greetings from Belize! We’re in the middle of the dry season…no measurable rain in months…and some of the plants and animals aren’t very happy. Some of the animals have become scarce, while others seem to have made a special appearance, probably looking for water. The parrots must be on vacation as they are not as prevalent as they had been. We miss them swarming to and from “work” everyday. Rick was fortunate enough to see an Agouti at our gate one afternoon. It’s a small, Belizean rodent, fairly rare in this part of the country, so he felt pretty lucky. On one of their morning walks, Dee and Linda encountered a large king snake slithering into the cane fields. The half they saw was about 3 feet long and 2 ½ inches in diameter. Since then Linda carries a large walking stick for just such encounters. We had our second batch of baby fish born on our reef…seeing the specks of babies swimming in and out of the rocks is very rewarding. Our free-range chickens are now laying 6 eggs everyday with the orangest yolks we have ever seen! Very tasty!
We had to turn the a/c on for a couple of days in the last month (heat index was 114 one day), but now it has returned to 80’s/60’s. Our favorite time of day continues to be 4pm happy hour/backgammon on the beach. Linda has become a master and Rick has had to completely change his style of play to have any chance of victory. He found some barely adequate Belizean Gin and some fantastic large stuffed Spanish olives for his occasional martini…shaken, not stirred.
We decided to dive into Belizean culture last month by visiting some of the medical community. Linda had her annual physical with labs. Everything looks great, except her elbow tendinitis continues to be an issue. Cost was less than $80 USD for everything! Rick had a dental exam and cleaning…only $35 USD total. Linda’s still trying to get up the nerve to get to the dentist…his office was busy when she attempted and she was too hungry to wait!
Rick went to our favorite butcher in town a couple of weeks ago looking for a specific cut of meat (for Pok Chuk…a Mayan version of pork fajitas). The butcher didn’t know what Rick was talking about, so he flipped around the pig that was lying on the front counter of the shop, handed him the knife and told him to show him what he meant. Rick proceeded to teach him how to butcher a pig. The Pok Chuk results were outrageous if anyone wants the recipe!
Linda has given up on homemade sourdough bread…it either was sour and wouldn’t rise or not sour and rose fine. The whole wheat bread will have to do for now. Today Rick tried his hand at shrimp ceviche. He went out to the garden and picked fresh cilantro, tomatoes, habenero, serrano and jalepeno chilis, mixed it up with onion and lime juice and it was scrumptious. The garden is also producing lettuce, carrots, chives, sweet basil, broccoli, cantaloupes and zucchini.
We closed on our house in Arizona at the end of March…the process was a little difficult being so far away, but with our realtor and Janessa’s help, we succeeded. We’re glad that we have one less thing to worry about!
Ed and Dee bought a pedal boat last weekend. Rick and Ed added a sun canopy and now Dee and Linda are pedaling around the lagoon every morning at 0630. OMG…it’s a lot harder than it looks! It’s also fun and a great way to view the early morning scenery.
We’ve been keeping our eyes open for a good deal on a boat and this week the opportunity arose to fulfill our needs. We purchased a 24ft pontoon boat, trailer and motor to putter around the lagoon. It holds 10-12 people and will be perfect for dominos, poker or other festivities. We’ll post some photos once the deal is finalized and we have the boat in the water. While the same guy was cleaning out his garage he also found a generator which will come in very handy as a back-up during those frequent power outages, especially during hurricane season.
Linda continues to keep busy with puzzles, latch hook, reading, baking, sunning and an occasional trip to the casino with the girls. Last couple of times she’s even come home a winner! Rick and Ed enjoy an occasional fishing trip on the lagoon, but last month they were lucky enough to make an overnight trip to Bacala Chico with some Belizean friends. They caught hundreds of fish, drank to their hearts content and got a hell of a sunburn. We posted pictures with last month’s blog, but forgot to mention the details in the blog. They’re hoping to repeat the trip as soon as time permits.
Easter is a huge holiday here in Belize. Family and friends gather and celebrate from Thursday through Monday. We can already feel/sense the festive atmosphere. Hopefully you are all in the spirit of Easter, too. Jesus Lives! : )
Guess that covers things for now. Livin’ and lovin’ life in Belize. Stay tuned!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Rick bought me a beautiful handmade hammock for Valentines Day. We found the perfect spot for it near the lagoon and, after shopping several stores, found the hardware necessary to attach it to the trees. It’s the ideal place for reading, relaxing and napping.
The red-tape on the car was finalized and we picked up our new 2010 Toyota Rav 4 in late February…just in time for the kids arrival on 2/28. We’re very happy with our purchase and have already put over 2000 km on it…most of which was while the kids were here.
Speaking of that, while they visited we checked out a couple of beaches (in sarteneja and copper bank), went on the New River/Lamanai Mayan Ruins tour, went zip-lining through the jungle canopy, did a two mile cave tubing expedition, played some games, started a puzzle, did crafts and had an overall good time. We even got to spend Jason’s birthday together as a family for the first time in several years! It was fun. I got sick with a bad cold the day they arrived, but I didn’t let that get in my way! Hope I didn’t give it to either of them… Jason was less than impressed with our dial-up internet connection and bumpy, unpaved roads, but he was a trooper and didn’t put a damper on things. Janessa enjoyed the adventure a bit more…she made friends with the chickens, named our three resident geckos, climbed to the top of one of the excavated Lamanai ruins and thoroughly enjoyed the zip-lining. I asked them both to say a few words about their trip for the blog. Jason said “it's a nice place to visit but you have to be crazy to live there” and Janessa said “Hot and humid, but the beach is nice. Slow paced. Exotic. MONKEYS! ZIP-LINING! RUINS LIKE MOUNTAINS!” We hope they both return very soon.
While the kids were here we got an e-mail advising us that we had an offer to buy our house in AZ. We accepted the offer and are currently in the final stages of closing the deal. We’re awaiting receipt of the paperwork via Federal Express and will then need to schedule an appointment with a lawyer/notary for our signatures. Meanwhile, Janessa is packing up her things and preparing to move out tomorrow. We hope that the whole process will be finalized before the end of the month…being rid of that responsibility will be a huge relief!
Since the kids left, our lives have returned to normal (puzzles, crafts, backgammon, dominos, poker games, exercise walks, reading (I got Kindle for PC), keeping a check on our baby fish in our reef and gardening). No darts since I have tendinitis in my R elbow…boy does it hurt! We had some excitement a few days ago when one of the chickens gave us our first free range egg! Rick ate it yesterday and said it was the most flavorful egg he had ever eaten. We haven’t gotten any more since then, so yesterday while we were in town we picked up a bag of plastic eggs. Rick’s brother Bob told us that if you put those in the nesting boxes it encourages the chickens to lay…we’ll see what happens.
Looking ahead, starting in March through June, the whale sharks come to visit for apx. 10 days each month. If any of you are interested, visit: http://belizescuba.com/whalesharks.lasso Let us know and we’ll set something up! The guest house is vacant and available!
Right now Rick is preparing Belizean Venison Breakfast Sausage. Tune in next time for an update on how it turned out. I’ve been experimenting with sour dough bread and some different fish and chicken recipes. The sourdough bread has the perfect texture, but is still lacking that wonderful sourdough taste. Janessa told us to be patient as it might take several months for it to happen. We’re never at a loss for “good eats”!
Check out our photos and keep in touch! We love hearing from you and hope to see some of you very soon.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
We got a hand-made armoire for the guest house from the same Belizean who built our dining room set…it turned out great! Since we were placing an order, we also purchased a dresser/book shelf for the bedroom. It’s beautiful! We are also currently shopping for a new vehicle. In the QRP program we have one year to purchase a vehicle duty-free…our year is up in May and doing this now will save us over $20,000 BZE. We’re looking at a Toyota Rav4 and hope to have things finalized by next week.
Progresso Village also grew a little this month with the addition of a new Chinese restaurant. The ambiance could use a little work, but the food is delicious!
The weather has been beautiful, for the most part, with cool nights (60’s) and warm days (80’s and 90’s). We did have a 48 hour period last week of cold temps (highs in the 70’s) and steady rain...nice change of pace and good for the trees, flowers and plants.
We hope you have enjoyed the blog and photo updates. We will continue them if/when something exciting or unusual happens and will forward these updates to you. We thank you for keeping in touch with us over the last year and hope that you will continue to do so.