I get to write with an editor, which is super fun! My friend Cheryl Raisch was my first editor here at VSVEVG. She held my hand while I got my bearings during those first posts. I’m delighted to have an opportunity to work with a partner again. A fresh perspective is invaluable.
I’ve learned so much during my job hunt, and I know this work will take my writing to the next level. I couldn’t be more excited or grateful.
Thank you all for sending love and support. It helped. I was calm as I waited about 48 hours after my test shift for confirmation. I’m convinced it was your collective energy of belief that held me in a peaceful state of allowing.
I couldn’t resist the title. There is a full moon lunar eclipse in Scorpio tonight.
Let’s see what’s going on in the garden.
A proper understanding of how big my house and garden are hit me about two weeks ago.
When we moved in, we were both employed, and we hired someone to trim and repair things as we needed. We did a little remodeling and painting but little if any preventive maintenance.
Now that I’m here all day long with little extra cash for hiring help, I’ve taken a close look, and there’s A LOT of work to be done. I was overwhelmed for about a week. The result was not work, but reading.
I read my journals from Mexico. I remembered I know how to garden, which was reassuring. And that I can fix all kinds of things with just sticks mud, sweat and perseverance. I was reminded that a good deal of what I accomplished while living in Mexico, I did alone. I give him most of the credit, Felipe is a rock star, but he was often working; he had his fires to put out or was too exhausted to care about every need of our homestead. I could not have done without him, but I did become quite self-reliant.
If you don’t journal, I recommend it. To have a written history available to you, biased or not, is invaluable. Buoyed by my records, I got back to work.
The first thing I did was clean and organize the bodega. I found essential tools I thought I was going to have to buy. The machetes need sharpening, I’ll give it a shot with my stone, but I think they need a pro. I hope to find an afilador with a bicycle attached to his wheel! I promise a picture if I do.
Tools unearthed in the bodega!
Then I rounded up all the bricks, roof, and floor tiles I could find and carried on with covering the beds in plastic to kill weeds before I plant on the new moon.
More overwhelm set in when I realized how many weights and bags it would take and that I still had to cut all the posts and PVC for the row covers. I’m doing this with my jeweler saw. Yes, you can cut rebar with a jeweler’s saw, but I hope the hacksaw I found in the bodega will be a better option. I’m going through a lot of blades.
Yesterday, I took the day off and trekked out for supplies, including a stop at our local thrift shop. Finding this excellent gardening hat and long socks for my boots helped get me back to the beds today. They make me look like Gilly, but, this is a killer hat, and no boot rash is a big plus.
Tomatoes in the tofu boxes, and volunteer chilis and papayas.
Something I’ve learned about housing and gardening is: there will be trial and error.
A few examples:
Our roof needed repairs, and it was cheaper to put a new roof on top of the old one. They’re both made of corrugated roofing sheets. The original is fiberglass, and the top layer, the one we installed, is corrugated tin. Felipe thought it would be too hot for an animal to nest between the two.
Guess what bats hate: wind. Guess what bats love: heat. Our roof is a bat condo. I got a sonar bat repellant, and it works-mostly. I also installed a bat house. It’s unoccupied. Why live in a box when you have a condo?
The previous owner left us many fabulous trees. But now they’re so huge they’re blocking out the sun of the citrus trees. I’m left with a sad dilemma of what wonderful trees to cut down. I’ll start with some serious pruning. Hopefully, it will be enough.
Mother addressed the issue of my surami cherries gone wild. She’s ruthless!
The bushes blocking the house, my cherries before mom.
The bushes after mom!
The small kitchen garden is now in full shade, and little is prospering. It is a winter garden. The tomatoes, which will not grow without enough sun, are too big to transfer. I’m hoping the herbs will not need to be moved…vamos a ver.
If you look closely you can see plants that are not nut sedge. Site next years winter garden.
My final garden fancy for the week.
Years ago, I got it in my head that Central America should have Papasan chairs. I wanted to grow bamboo in Mexico and start a cottage industry. Felipe wasn’t hot on it, probably because he was working a grueling full-time job, growing his own crops, and raising pigs. But, I still think it’s a grand idea, and 3 years ago I bought these black bamboo plants.
The crowning glory of my garden.
This plant was about two feet when I bought it, and is now over 20 feet tall. And it has over 20 corms. It looms in my sunset view and makes me happy every time I see it. I have four others. When the dry season returns I will cut enough to dry and learn to bend bamboo.
I struggle with images. I see things I want to keep and share, but I feel when I capture a moment, or I’m thinking about taking photos I’m no longer as present as I want to be.
Moss Brick, I love moss, this feels like the kind of present I want to be.
Today I walked to the store. I didn’t take my phone, no soundtrack, no texts, just me walking, being in town. I saw so many amazing things!
Different Bueys, Another day.
I was bummed I didn’t have my camera.
This is what I saw:
five young boys on a buey cart bickering over who got to drive, a red aproned woman sweeping her dirt stoop of bright yellow flowers that fell in the night, men selling flower plants, carrying them in big sombreros on their heads. Imagine this full of flowers 🙂
I bought these lovely roses from them. They actually smell like roses!
It was so beautiful! I’m sorry I can’t show you. The flower guys would definitely have been up for a photoshoot.
Some of the magic was the ambiance. We had a slow, lush rain last night. It was early, people were just starting to stir.
It’s the first week of rain, right before we go full-blown tropical. It was still, and fecund, like a secret on the cusp of revelation.
From my balcony after the rain.
Here are a few more moments I saved this week.
A portrait of Nicaragua’s national bird. The Guardavaranca.
There are many guardas on the path! I see at least 2 every time I walk.
I try to get to the beach once a week, it’s a 15-minute walk. I lived here for 3 years and hardly ever went to the beach. There was always something that needed to be done, or I was lazy. A couple of months ago I realized living near the ocean without making it a regular part of your routine argues a life not well-lived.
Me and my friend Isabel at the beach for sunset this friday, our weekly ritual.
There was a huge swell! No surfers, which is unusual. Isabel had to reassure me we would not be swept out to sea. As cancer, you’d think I’d be more ocean-friendly.
Sunsets in Nicaragua deliver. Playa Jiquiliste, Nicaragua
Coming soon, garden updates!
What’s your take on taking pictures? I’d love to know how you manage your media and stay in the moment.
When I was a child my mother and I made May Day Baskets with construction paper, and pipe cleaners, Quite a bit like these.
Early in the morning, I’d pick violets and dandelions. Some springs there were bluebells. Mom popped corn. We filled the baskets with flowers, popcorn, and candy corn, then left them on our neighbor’s doors, rang the bell, and ran away.
It was so fun, I hope someone still does this, please tell me if you do.
This has been a long winter, even in the tropics with no snow and plenty of sunshine. The last six months of life have been a series of painful and difficult changes, for me and many others, I think it’s a collective shift, for growth. The growing pains have not been metaphorical.
Finally, it feels like spring. Renewal, light, and hope, are creeping into my thoughts.
I’m celebrating by starting the garden!
First I moved about 30 wheel barrels of compost to the bed I will plant when rains come in earnest.
See the wheel barrel way at the end? It’s a big bed. The board is a little bridge to get me across an irrigation trench.
I took a break in the heat of the day and walked to the store behind a wood cart pulled by two huge, gorgeous bueys. I could have gone around but remembered both the sun and moon are in Taurus today, so allowed the bueys to put me in that slow steady energy.
On my way home, a boy and his mother were selling simple handmade petates. The boy ran up to the houses seeking sales, the mother trudged along with the bulk of the mats balanced on her head. The petates weren’t woven like ones I have seen before, but long strands of grass bound together for sleeping on the ground.
I doubt these are compelling images for most, but I so enjoyed doing it that I had to share them. The compost is beautiful. It smells delicious. After I put it down I broke the chunks with my hands and spread in over the bed.
I finished as the sun was going down. I felt exhausted in the best way, a little weak, with a spotless mind. I felt clean, though I was filthy. I lay back on the bed and watched the sky go dark. For the first time in a long time, I felt how much I love my life.