23 January, 2008

This Weekend Close Enough?

First off, we visited Brad and Christina at their place on the north end of Corozal. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you met them already. They played at Jenni and Nigel's place for Jenni's birthday party.

Brad and Christina's house is something I'll have to explore more of. It's the result of a lifetime spent living simply. That is, they use solar for power, Belize Electric, Ltd. hasn't quite made it to their area as yet, and Brad and Christina say they probably won't sign up for service when it does come.

They have batteries stashed at various places around their house, to power items or lights as needed. Their water comes from a hand-dug well, and is pumped via a manually-operated pump in their house.

Now, their house is a work of art. Really. It has more balconies and openings than you can imagine. It is the most airy and open place around. Some window covers open with pulleys and line, others, hinge out of the way.

It's at least partially "stick-built", using traditional local building materials.
Their Breadfruit Tree
Traditional Stick-Built House
I'm not really sure about the above plant being a breadfruit... I think that's what they said it was, so that's what it is till I'm corrected.

They have a great yard with tons of flowering/fruiting plants. It's one of those close-packed, shady places with lots of twisty paths that are just so cool. They have a good sized veggie garden, that they have fenced off to keep their dogs from destroying.
Veggie Garden
Other Plants
With the veggie picture above, in the background you can see something else. What is that? Why it's a genuine sailboat. A locally-made one at that. I think they've sailed it around quite a bit. It's in the process of being rehabbed.

Incidentally, they were the other couple with Mae and Craig during the "Three Hour Tour" I wrote about. It was Brad and Christina's canoe that was featured. They've sailed that canoe quite a ways around the bay and down to the islands. In fact, they're getting ready to do a two-week trip in it down to a rarely-seen lagoon south of us quite a bit. Should be an exciting trip.

The pictures below show Christina and Dianna talking plants in Christina's lush garden, and show Dianna enjoying the openings and openness of their home.
Plant Talk
One of Many Balconie
Brad and Christina's bedroom is up stairs from the living area and is reached by a steep set of steps (no hand rail) for the adventurous. Their sleeping loft also doesn't have any railings, so it's a precarious feeling kind of place - especially close to the edge.

The quilt you see above the trombone is hand made by local crafts people (I forgot where) out of used fabrics, so it has a genuine time-worn look and feel to it. The other quilt below the trombone is also hand made (and again I spaced on where and who).
Brad and Christina's Bedroom
Hand-Made Quilts
The trombone is just one of countless instruments in their home. Brad is a music teacher at the high school in Corozal. He's one of very few non-native teachers in the entire country. Christina is one of those folks blessed with a beautiful voice. She frequently assists Brad in the classroom.
Stairway To The Bedroom
Brad In The Living Room
Christina offered us some coffee and snacks of some of the great-tasting local hard cheese and crackers with some yummy onion slices from her garden. You'll notice she used an electric coffee grinder... No small feat when you're operating off the grid.

Actually, it was pretty easy. She just plugged it into the inverter and fired it up. Voila! Ground coffee ready for the brew. Their kitchen is as cool as the rest of the house.
Grinding the Beans
Making the Brew
Visiting Brad and Christina was a few days ago. Here's what's been happening yesterday at our place.

I think we're about ready to move into the house. All we need is to get the remaining burglar-bar door installed and the gate, and we're good to go.

Below, you can see painting actually in progress. Dianna and our friend Elsie, who's back from a nice trip to Cuba (Canadians aren't hampered by the ridiculousness of our government's policies toward that island), worked all day (well, part of it anyway) to splash on some primer on the drywall before we got our stove and fridge. What really slowed them down was their union rules about breaks. It seems they get to take as many breaks as they want so progress is sometimes slow.
Dianna Hard At Work
Elsie Hard At Wor
Further signs of getting near to moving in. We took delivery yesterday of our stove, a nice four-burner with oven. It has electronic ignition, so we won't have to use matches every time we want to light the stove. I'll be hooking the gas up to it today. I've got extra gas hose and a tee fitting and clamps to make the connections.

I'd love to say this is our new fridge - but, it isn't. After taking off the wrapings, we discovered the fridge doesn't have an ice-maker. And, it's supposed to have that. So Shanti's will be delivering the correct fridge and taking this one out. Hopefully, that will all happen today.
Our New Stove
Almost Our New Fridge
Yesterday, Franz Osman, el Electricisto (the Electrician), took the bus (for $4.00BZ) from Orange Walk to Corozal to work with me setting up a door-bell for the front gate and four gate lights.

Sounds simple, but it took us all day to get it done. We even drove by last night to see the lights on in the dark. Way cool! They're controlled by an electric eye so it's strictly a dusk to dawn operation for them.

I did take a picture of them lit in the daytime, as we tested the lights. We cemented them in place as the fence posts weren't actually shaped correctly for the lights. Now everything looks like it was made to order.
Two of Four Gate Light
Once we get the gate itself and the burglar bar door in place, and get our dog in place (which we don't have yet), we can move in. All that might happen by this Friday or Saturday. Woohoo!

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