Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A wish come true...

   I often wished that one day I would experience a hurricane. My dream came true last night. (Sunday night) The storm will never be forgotten by those who experienced it. Before we had any wind at all, the air was quieter than I had ever felt. The fire flame at the oil company stood straight up into the sky, the first I have seen it that way. The wind first started blowing late afternoon, and close to midnight it was about the worst. Electricity was off for about 12 hours. Luckily I had water saved up and candles and the lamp out. Even though it was dark, we were still able to see the trees shaking and I even saw one fall close to the house. Daniel had to go to the shop in the night to take care of some metal that was getting wet so he left us alone during the worst hours. I was not afraid, because with a hurricane you know exactly how strong the wind is, and it was a category one so not strong enough to blow down a house like ours. We stayed fairly dry in our house. First we had wind from the north, then west and then a really strong south wind.  The maximum wind speed was 90 mph, but at our place it would have slowed down already.

A hurricane has an eye in the center where there is no wind and absolute calm, and the center of this hurricane came over Belmopan so my family there felt it. First the wind will blow from one direction, then total calm for 10 minutes, and then wind from the other direction. We did not have the eye over us, but we must have been very close to the center.

Daniel was eager to go to a restaurant once the wind had started blowing already. So we looked and looked, and found only one Chinese restaurant open. I guess Belizeans take warnings seriously. Well, we were the only ones at that restaurant, and in the middle of eating, the electricity went off, probably turned off on purpose. It was a very interesting experience, all right. Going through a city at night, completely dark! I guess you can say we made the most of the situation by braving it.

This morning we woke up to a quiet world, the weather innocent as if nothing happened. But lots did. We have two trees down, and more broken branches. As much as happened here even though we are inland 60 miles, I am sure the damage must be a lot greater at the coast. Here is some evidence of what happened around here.

 Under that tree are my washlines! Now I might have to use the dryer, as expensive as it is though...

 At Daniel's parents place things looked pretty rough! They have many old trees on their yard that can't stand lots of wind, so there are a lot of broken branches.

 Here come the avocados! 26 of them fell in the night. Think guacamole, as much as you can eat...

 This is one bluggar bunch that will be easy to harvest.

This is the tree I saw fall when looking out the window.

Well, that was one exciting night. It was fun in one way because nothing very serious happened to us. I have yet to hear and see what happened closer to the coast, and if we check it out soon I'll update you all again!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Misty morning on the farm

Ahh, gotta love those fresh mornings.

Something's always brewing...

...in my pantry. Ever since I got my book, Nourishing Traditions, (which no mom should be without), I have been eager to try some of the lacto fermented drink recipes.


Crabboo wine, blackberry wine, noni wine (we have a noni tree on our yard) and kombucha. I like to use coffee filters for the covers. In this country there are too many little critters that try to find their way into everywhere.
 This is ginger ale.

 Kombucha. It's THE drink for this hot country. So far I have a few customers who buy this drink from me. It's the perfect substitute for sweet tea. I ferment it for a few days, then bottle it with a little dash of sugar, cap it tightly and let sit for a day or two more. This way it is as fizzy as pop. Yummy! 

 Belizean blackberries from a tree. They give the absolute best wine I have ever tasted. I made over a gallon.

Sauerkraut. I am getting hooked on this! We are going back to our real German roots with this stuff. In Iowa in every German restaurant you could get some. Then I wasn't impressed with it, but now that I make it myself, I love it. 

I also make yogurt about once a week which we eat with raw honey, and have a little drink of kefir (milk champagne :) now and then. Daniel and me both love the beet kvass, but it takes the children a little longer to learn to drink that one. A little sip of wine before bed, (if I'm not pregnant...) and I feel very healthy and happy.

So, why all this fermented stuff? because I want us all to have a healthy intestinal system. Parasites and yeast infections don't appreciate soured fermented foods like these, so why not eat more! Lacto fermented foods are full of enzymes, and you can't get too many of those. Enzymes help us digest food better, so it is recommended to have foods like this for every meal. I've got no problem eating a little sauerkraut every day. Or drinking some great tasting kombucha with my meal. I can't wait to try out more of Sally Fallon's recipes! Healthy eating has never been more fun.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Here we go again...

It's hard to know where to start blogging when one does not get very many chances to do so. So I think just a general update would be good. You'll get to see what keeps us all going. The weather has turned unbelievably nice. I had forgotten Belize could get so 'cool'. The corn is being threshed and it sorta feels like fall, but instead of everything changing colors or turning brown, it stays a lovely deep dark green. I do miss the colors of fall though, but I am telling myself, that at least here we won't get that dreaded cold wind that I don't think I could miss.

There is something I am pretty excited about. I have gone through some bigtime dental work to 'remodel' my teeth. I now have 6 brand new porcelain crowns on my top front teeth. But, I do not yet have the photos to show you, as my mouth is still healing from it. I am very happy with the results though, and I will update the photos when I have them.

Probably the best thing that has happened recently though is, I now have hired help once a week! I must admit, I am getting spoiled. But then, it seems almost impossible in Belize to keep up with the work of cleaning and everything else besides. Windows have to be cleaned once or twice a month if you want pretty windows, and who has time for it? Not me. The maid works 8 hours for under $13 US, so why not?!!!

I have opened my house as a restaurant on mondays for those guys working at the shop to come and eat. It helps bring in the money I need to pay my maid! I do enjoy it. It feels very rewarding. I can be a chef, and a waitress, and a server, all at once...not to mention being a teacher, mother and all those professions besides.

Now, for some photos:

I have started making our own cheese, when I have the time for it. It is definately a money saver. Or maybe not, because we tend to eat more. Either way, it is still worth it.

I bought this coconut shredder here at the local store, and it sure is a time saver when it comes to grating coconut.

 A while ago I was invited to a quilting bee, and these are my three sweet old mennonite aunts that are all doing some handwork.

 Daniel has actually started his own little ranch. On our six acres that we own from way back, he fixed the fence and put some cows that he bought from his dad. The baby was born soon after the purchase. It is kinda neat to start somehting like this and watch it grow.

 And here he is, plowing his field that he is renting from his dad for farming. Here we have two growing seasons, so he plans on planting soybeans soon, and corn next summer.

This is the same field, when the hurricane passed us by. We had lots of rain, as you can see. Lucky that there was nothing planted yet.

 Out for a drive on a Sunday afternoon.

This old yellow crowned parrot used to belong to us a long time ago, and it still lives. I was thrilled to see it, yet on the one hand I feel so sad he has to be caged up like this. They say he can't survive on his own in the big world, so I suppose it's just as well this way.

 Our own 'smokey' mountains.

 Sometime ago we went camping up in the mountains, and here are some shots of that trip. My genius of a brother has built these seats to put on his four wheeler to give the children rides, and they love it.

Strawberries do grow in Belize, in the colder areas. This one was not quite ripe though, but it thrilled me to see it anyway.

 When I saw this old church house being painted, I couldn't help but pull over and take this photo. If you click on the picture, you will see some pretty 'bad' boys up there!
Sometimes, when the weather is great, I just go driving for fun and take some photos. This is one of them.

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