09 December, 2012

Experiment with mobile blogging

My post yesterday may have been a little premature if I can get this test of mobile blogging to my satisfaction.  I am using my new Samsung Galaxy Note II.  It has a decent camera so I took a couple of quick shots of the snowfall from dry warmth of our house.

The first one is the view toward the side garden.  The second is the fern inside the dining room window looking toward the front garden.  The snow looks lovely on the blue spruce.  Last is the young flowering crab apple just outside the living room window.  Just this short post now as a test.  I hope there will be more later.

Note to self - the photos are in reverse order. 

08 December, 2012

Almost there

This is probably my last chance to blog from Rochester, as a resident, that is.  The external hard drive with all my photos on it is getting packed up tomorrow and the next few days will be a mad rush.  Fewer than 5 days remain until Max and I start our trip to our new home in Englishtown, Toldeo, Belize.  Dennis will join us on Christmas Eve.  I thought it only fitting that I leave Rochester by posting a handful of photos taken in our garden just a few months ago.  Summer in Minnesota is hard to beat.  Too bad it is so fleeting.

This painted lady was pristine and so intent on nectaring that I was able to get right up close with a macro lens.  She didn't blink an eye.

She loves her Liatris.

She looks almost furry with all that hair on her body. 
And here she is with her tongue out.  ;-)
Our garden was beautiful this summer.  So many flowers were blooming madly for months.  The flowers are so prolific, you have to look hard to see the dragonfly in the center.  

In Belize, I will have to get attuned to much different seasonal changes in plant and animal life.  The changes will be more subtle than here in the northern temperate zone. It is going be such fun - a whole new world to explore and become intimate with.
My heart is already in Belize, and we are almost there.
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05 December, 2012

Mindful Writing Challenge 2013

Another post without photos.  Why is that?  I intentionally left all my camera gear in Belize so I wouldn’t have to haul it back down while dealing with importing the cat to Belize.  I am really stressed about traveling with Max.  She doesn't like to travel and this will be a very long trip starting at 5:00am in Rochester and ending about 12 hours later in Belize City.  We will stay overnight in the city and travel the rest of the way to Englishtown the next day.  Our dear friends Sue and Chris (of Steppingstones) are picking us up and driving us to our new home.  But, to get back to this post, I don’t need photos for today's post, which is to introduce the “Mindful Writing Challenge 2013”.  You can find out more about the challenge here

I joined the challenge, which is to post a small written thought (called a “small stone”) describing something you encountered during the day, as you can see by the icon on the righthand side of this page.  I hope this will encourage me pay more attention to the moment and not stress out about all the turmoil.  I thought this exercise would be somewhat therapeutic for me during these major changes as we move our primary residence to Belize.  I figure it is similar to a photo made of words. But  - if you are put off by the words, just skip them; there will be plenty of photography and Belize natural history in a little more than 1 week. (Yikes - stress again!)

Although the challenge doesn’t start until January, I decided to get started early.  My first attempt is to describe what I felt early on the morning of December 3rd when I put birdseed out as the sun was just rising.

Deceptively warm, the December morning air
whispers “Spring” across my skin.
Happily complicit, I savor its touch,
denying that cold truth will prevail.

Nan, of Tiny River Splash blog, was my inspiration to join.  Hope some of you will join the Challenge, too.

02 December, 2012

The End of an Era

Dennis retired on Friday.  A heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined the 3, yes 3(!), retirement gatherings that were held for him.  It was a wonderful send off for him.

While packing up photo albums and miscellaneous notebooks, stationery, office supplies today, I found a journal that I started writing on our January 2005 trip to Belize.  That particular trip was the first one after we had sealed the purchase of our beach-front jungle property nearly 7 years ago.  From my writing it is easy to see that we were fairly na├»ve about many things, but our “lessons learned” haven’t been too distressing.

No photos today, but here is an excerpt from the trip 7 years ago.

A big adventure today!  Ralph took us on a tour that started innocently enough.  We went south past Punta Negra and Punta Ycacos into the Port Honduras Reserve Area.  The day was overcast and rained off and on, mostly on, nearly the whole day.  We stopped at Abalone Cay were the Reserve Ranger Station is and met George, the ranger.  He showed us a beautiful hand-painted map of the reserve with its 108 cayes, 4 of which are even more protected than the others.  This area is beautiful.  Payne Creek, Golden Stream, and several other rivers drain into Port Honduras.  In spite of the cayes, the water is very deep in many areas.  Back in the logwood days, it was a major port that sailing ships and, later, steam ships came to.  We saw the old tracks that were used to deliver the logwood to the water’s edge.  At Abalone Cay, we climbed to the top of the lookout that is in the center of the station.  The views were terrific even though it was very overcast.  It must be spectacular in clear weather.  I hope we can go back.  The station built in 2001 as a project with one of the British military groups that train here.

After looking at the map of Payne Creek, we asked Ralph to take us backup the creek.  It was lovely.  We saw kingfishers, a green heron, swallow, etc.  From there we headed out to W. Snake Cay for lunch.  A lovely little cay with a white sand each that had a lot coral bits and shells washed up on it.  Two pairs of pelicans were diving into the turquoise water and an osprey was perched in a dead tree on a little spit of sand.  The water was wonderfully clear and I could see incredible corals down below.  We explored the cay for about 15 min (it’s small) and then ate chicken curry and rice lunch that Elna packed for us.  We got back in the boat to head by toward Monkey River and maybe stop at another cay to snorkel if the sun came out.  But the boat wouldn’t start.  Ralph finally for it started, but then it wouldn’t go into gear.  He worked on it for about 30 min before radioing for help.  He finally got hold of someone who got hold of Elna who contacted her brother George to come and help us. It took about 1½ hour for him to reach us.  In the meantime we were at anchor and the sea started to pick up a bit.  Dennis felt a little queasy, but I was OK and even managed a little nap being rocked by the water.  George arrived in his little boat and after only 15 min, he and Ralph got the engine going and in gear.  Now the anchor was stuck.  More boat maneuvering to transfer the anchor line to George’s boat so he could pull it from the other direction.  In the meantime, the engine has stopped again, so we are in a boat without an anchor in rough water near a coral caye.  It took about 5 min to get the boat going.  So we finally headed back to Monkey River with George leading the way in his boat.  The waves are higher now and we are getting air born every so often.  Still nothing as bad as when John Moore took us from Gale’s Point to Rendezvous Cay.  But after one particularly had landing, the throttle cable broke, so we were just puttering along.  George realize something was wrong and came back to check on us.  He had a piece of wire that Ralph used for the throttle, but it still wasn’t very good.  Another boat from Monkey River also stopped to see what was going on but they couldn’t help either.  Ralph suggested we transfer to George’s boat so he could get us back to the village.

We finally did make it back just fine and even had time to go visit Sam and Martha that same day.  I recall that the rainy, misty morning on Port Honduras was magical with soft silver light all around, melding sky and ocean, and hardly a sound to be heard.  Looking forward to going there again.

In 10 days, the cat and I will be on our way to Belize.  Lots to get done in such a short time …