Monday, January 19, 2015

Christmas Gift 2014

                                        Martin’s Christmas Gift – to ME!  =)

                   All I want for Christmas is…………………… a long, hot shower ...................

                                      with enough water pressure to feel the water .........................

             & to know the hot water isn’t going to run out ...................

                                       just as I put on my hair conditioner.  =)

                                                    Yes, this is IT!    

We are officially IN our house.  Last night was the first night I had access to THE BEST shower I have had in a long time.  As the tile & glass blocks were finishing off the shower, I was thinking – ‘this is the culmination of one of Martin’s biggest dreams.’  When I met him, he & his father were talking about an underground, solar house and a glass block shower was part of the plan.  So, moving into this house, he reversed the “underground part” with 8 feet above ground.  Many things are the same – even the walk-in shower. 

One of our kids’ favorite children’s books was King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub … “and he won’t get out!”  (They could probably all quote the book verbatim, to this day!)  I thought of that book as I was letting the water warm my muscles on my neck & back.  It’s been rare to have a good, long, hot shower here in Belize.  Who knew?  ;)

Martin called to me & reminded me that there was a point where the shower would run out                     …… as we only have 2,500 gallons of water!  Haha!   =)    

                                       My answer back was, “Time it!!!   

      Let’s see how long it takes to run out!  I’ll enjoy EVERY minute!  =)  =)  =)  =)  =)

                               Here are the 2 tanks of water - 1250 gallons each.  

                      The next picture gives a perspective of the quantity of water.  
                                             Martin rarely goes for small.

The tanks are filled from the well dug last year OR the rainwater from off the roof.  We got 1.5 inches of rain the other day & it filled 900 gallons in one tank that was down.  So, with rain & the well - I'd guess we have a good supply of water!

Remember this from last year?  =)  Yup, THE well during the digging & how it looks now.

Truly, I am grateful for the “creature comforts” I have & enjoy in my life.  Many in the world do not have water; OR do not have running water; OR do not have hot, running water; OR do not know what a ‘shower’ is.  

                Here's the kitchen.  Yes we have appliances - furniture, not so much!  =)

The "Space Ship-Looking Washer & Dryer" were another big "find" for Martin.  Bid at an auction in Colorado, then brought them south.  Truly - it's amazing what these 2 machines can do!   

          Thanks, Shelly Trane!  I finally have a place to hang your "house-warming" gift!  

We feel very blessed to have a comfortable home, ease in our living and a knowledge that we are watched over by our loving Heavenly Father – who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth.

                                              MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cashew Apples


It seems crazy... !!! Cashew nuts grow from the bottom of "cashew apples," (shown below). The apple portion is called an "accessory fruit," and the nut beneath the apple is the part most of us actually eat. To make things weirder, that "nut" isn't actually a nut in the botanical sense of the word -- it's a seed.  Strange indeed.  I had to look up a lot of information to write this blog - due to not knowing a THING about this prior to living in Belize!

                      One day, Michael shows up with a huge bag of "weird smelling fruit,"
                                   hands it to me and says, "It makes great juice."      

                                 So......... I washed them and twisted off the nut. 
                           Yes! there is a cashew inside that kidney-shaped shell.
                                                    (More on that below)

                                                                sliced them...

                                                         & steamed them,..

                                                       and voila.... fruit juice! 

                                                        Really - quite tasty  =)

                                                The fruit can be eaten as well.  
       It has a pungent flavor from the skin and sweet, tasty insides to make a delightful snack!
                        Watch this short video - it explains a lot more in less than 2 minutes.  
                              I happen to be in the 50% who likes cashew apples! 


                                           Now... about the cashews  
The cashew seed is surrounded by several toxic layers. Outside the seed is a double shell filled with anacardic acid, which causes a skin rash on contact.  Apparently, locals who don't do the process correctly have a lot of scars due to the splattering of the oil when the shell opens!  (Guess I won't try this "at home" since I'm not a fan of acid burns.  =)

On the bright side, the acid has medical uses -- it's mildly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and it's sometimes used to relieve toothaches. (?... or does it just eat away the tooth?) The acid can also be used to fight termites (tho` I'd have to see how they do that.  All the termite nests I saw were above my head & that would mean the acid would be dripping.... possibly on me!) 

In order to make the cashew seed edible, it's typically roasted to neutralize the acid -- but roasters urge caution, because the smoke that comes off the acid is itself toxic.  (Yikes!)

          I do believe I now know why cashews cost so much more than other "nuts." 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Riding the River

Some of the fun we've had in Belize

Manatee River - near our home

                                                                 Yes, it's a jet ski!!!  
                                           I know we said we'd never own jet skis BUT 
                                                      they are fantastic here in Belize! 

                                                             So sit back and relax...

                                                                    Enjoy the ride!




                               Yes, we go upstream fairly slow so we can see what's ahead.  
                                           It's on the way out that we race!

                                                        Log (bamboo) jam
                                                     He only fell in once!  =)

                                                                 we made it!

                                         My mom's houseplants growing all over outside!

                                               Low branches - always fun to dodge  =)

                                       One of my favorite places on the river - 
                           it often has a TON of butterflies around this bamboo area.

                                                              Cohune Palm Tree

                                                       Um, not sure what it is
                                                             but it's growing!

                                                Where's he going??????


                                                      Getting starts for the fence-line


                                           Heading into tighter spots around rocks


                                                            Headed home ...

Flowers Along the Fence

Martin LOVES flowers...  

Anything with a bloom on it has been investigated,
dug up, 
& transplanted
he can actually get to the roots!

Allamanda grows wild along the roads here in Belize

                                      Here they are as they begin their new life here..
                                           They were carefully placed and watered...
                                                     Checked morning & night...

                                              Oh, they are gonna love it here!  =)

                                                              Here's the bloom!

                                                   Hibiscus bloom easily here!

                           Vines - hoping to cover the fence with greenery & flowers...

                                                         There a lotta fence

                                       (Documenting for future reference...)

                                       Start this year and we'll see how it goes  =)