Thursday, December 31, 2015

Three Years Ago Today, Part Two

Dennis and I celebrated our first New Year's Eve in Belize three years ago today. And it has been an exciting, exasperating, exhilarating, exhausting, exquisite, expensive, and expansive three years!
In 2013 we started construction of the addition to our vacation cabana to make it suitable for full-time occupancy.  Still not completed, but the end is in sight.  2016 will see us moving in.
Lots of butterflies.
Our friends Julie and Phil helped us celebrate my retirement after I spent most of 2013 commuting back and forth from Belize to Rochester for work.
The deck decked out with pennants to celebrate my retirement.
Out in the jungle behind our cabana are wild orchids.
Orchid flower stalk after the rain.
Orchid in bloom.  
Orchid seed pods.
Along the Monkey River Road we often see chachalacas.
Boom chachalaca!
 The weather is always interesting.
Waterspout at sea.
Also along the Monkey River Road are provision trees with their gorgeous blossoms
These flowers peel open like a banana to expose their showy pompom flowers.
The sea casts up its treasures at our feet.
Beautiful silver and teal blue chondrophore hydrozoans about the diameter of a bottle cap wash up now and again.
 Battles are waged in the jungle.
Male blue land crabs get feisty as mating season approaches.  The fighting claws on these huge fellows are bigger than my hand.
 Birds survey their water-side domain.
Bare-throated tiger heron looks out from a treetop along the Monkey River.  They also patrol our beach and Black Creek.
Out in the jungle are the remains of past civilizations.
Dennis in the partially restored Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punit.
The photos above are only a small hint of what Belize holds for us.  There is so much to explore and experience in our new home country.  So much to look forward to in 2016 and the years to come.

Wishing you all a peaceful, happy, and healthy New Year, where ever you are.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today, Max and I arrived in South Englishtown Belize, a permanent move for us.  We left Rochester, Minnesota and in fact we left Dennis there to tidy up some loose ends.  He joined us in Belize 10 days later on Christmas Eve, 2012.

The beautiful home where Dennis and I lived for 20 years (and have since sold) - beautiful in the spring and summer.
View from our neighbor's perspective.
The flowers at their peak.
Looking from our garden across our neighbors' manicured lawns to the farm fields and wooded hills across the road.  Hard to beat this view. 
Another hard to beat view.
Our shaded patio and back garden.
But too often, the views included snow.
Rosy dawn after overnight snowfall.
Pretty sure I took this shot in late March; there are some disappointed daffodil leaves in that flower bed at the lower right.  Way too much snow and cold for 5 months of the year.
Max in the sunroom on a winter's day, trying to stay warm.  Her strategy was to insulate with fat!  She is much slimmer in her new home.
Fed up with cold weather - just look at Max's face in the photo above - we needed to live where the weather suits our clothes (click to listen to Harry) while you see why we made the move.
Happy Max, looking out over the sea in her new home.
Our first photo (scanned in from a 35mm negative) of the property we ended up purchasing in 2004.  It starts waaaaay down the beach just after the palm that is leaning over the sea in the center of the photo and goes for 430 feet.
Rosy dawn over smooth sea.  Way better than over snowy field.
Look at how the sunlight hopscotches along the undersides of the clouds.
Black Creek in our new backyard.
Our new view to the south.
The vacation cabana before we expanded the veranda and started the addition.
Racing home against the rain.
A fine day for a sail.
Another sunrise - happens every day.
Backyard birds - adult and juvenile little blue herons.
Hey look - the sun came up again!
Local caterpillar.
Local veg for roasting.
Neighborhood birds - brown pelicans.
Kiskadee vs tiger snake.  Kiskadee wins.  This time.
Mellow Max.
Basilisk lizard.
Nutmeg fruiting

Peppercorns.
Tropical color.
A glimpse of what brought us here 3 years ago.  More to come in part 2.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Atmospherics

Poor quality telecommunications is a frequent fact life here in Belize.  Early on when we complained to various providers of mobile phone and satellite internet services, the one answer we could count on getting was atmospherics; atmospherics is the cause of all the problems.  It got so that we used it as a catch word for all of life's travails.  Burned dinner?  It was atmospherics!  Stubbed your toe?  Atmospherics.  Generator on the fritz?  Obviously atmospherics!  Five years down the road and the answer is still atmospherics.   This blog is about good atmospherics and you can listen here to some of the best.  Seriously, follow the link right now, listen to the radio; you won't regret it.

Lately, the atmosphere has hosted some intriguing cloud formations.
If we had seen this in Minnesota, we would have headed to the basement in fear of a tornado!  No worries about tornadoes here.
Late yesterday afternoon, Dennis called to me to come see the flock of white birds out over the sea.  It was terns going wild for what must have been a large school of little fish.  They were soon joined by a flotilla of brown pelicans. While I was getting the camera, the most fantastic double rainbow appeared.
Double rainbow. The barely visible specks are pelicans floating on the water near the base of the less intense rainbow at the right.
The rainbow arced without interruption over Greater Monkey Cay toward Craig's Barebones Beach Bar to our north.
That is Greater Monkey Cay at the left.
 Meanwhile, swallows flew in to feast on the mosquito-laden atmosphere.
Swallows in the air and pelicans on the water.
 The atmosphere was thick with swallows.
Swallows somewhere over, under, and through the rainbow.
The north end of the rainbow at Craig's place.
Three Greater Yellowleg birds flew north, illuminated by the setting sun.  The yellowlegs have been hanging around our shore for a coupe of weeks now.  They come through each winter.  This year they seem to be lingering longer than they usually do.  They must like the atmospherics this year.
Yellowlegs headed to the other end of the rainbow.
From up on the balcony I could see that the pelicans were still out on the water, although the terns had mostly continued south.
Birds on the water.
 Also heading south to their evening roost on Little Monkey Cay were some white ibises.
White ibises up high and terns down low with rainbow.
Some good atmospherics for a change.  I could get used to this.  I think I'll listen to the radio and enjoy it.