Monday, March 12, 2007

Hummingbird bath

Tom was on the road and heading towards the Georgeville dump and Spanish Lookout shortly after 7:00. As I was hanging out laundry, I heard a whop-whop-whop-bzzzz noise in the banana tree. I looked up, and there was a hummingbird taking his morning bath in the dew that had collected on the leaf overnight. The whop-whop-whop was his wings as he hit the leaf, and the bzzzz was his wings as he lifted slightly off the leaf to spray himself. He played in the water for a few minutes, then buzzed off for breakfast in one of the tangerine trees.

Selwyn decided to take the holiday, so while Tom was in Spanish Lookout I filled a bucket with bleach and water and attacked the first cabin. After a couple of years of having the jungle grow up around it, many of the hardwood siding boards were black with mold. Using the bleach and a scrub brush, it was almost like painting the cabin a lighter color and the mold came off very easily. It was a very satisfying job, since it went quickly and it was easy to see progress. After lunch I went to Jim and Sharyn’s to help Sharyn pick out a few saddles, which they’re going to order to have delivered in the US while they’re there next month, and then they’re going to bring them back with them on the plane in May. I realized how little I know about Western riding as we looked at saddle descriptions online, and I really had to think to figure out what mattered. When it came down to it, Sharyn went for the best value Western saddles, which is the right choice for them, although if I had to buy saddles for tourists myself, I think I’d go for the endurance saddles, which seem to be Western/English hybrids. I know a lot of casual riders aren’t comfortable in English saddles, but the endurance saddles still seem like they’d be more comfortable for both horse and rider for long trail rides, which is what we intend to do with visitors. Fortunately, we brought our saddles from the US, so for the time being we’ll just ride in them and hope that anyone who comes to ride is comfortable in an English saddle. And if somebody needs a Western saddle, I know where to borrow one.

Tom returned from Spanish Lookout around 5:00, with the truck so full that he had the back of the passenger seat pushed forward to make more room for the stuff in the back seat. The bulkiest items were two water tanks, one about 1000 gallons, and the other about 200 gallons. This is pretty exciting for us, because it means we’ll be able to have a reserve of water if the pipe isn’t running – which can happen for days at a time with no warning. Tomorrow’s main task will be getting the water tower up so we can put the small tank above the roof and use gravity for water pressure, after we get enough water from the pipe to get a reserve in the big tank, and after Tom hooks up the pump to pump the water from the big tank to the raised tank. We’ll probably rework the water system when we move into the first cabin and get the utility house/shop by the road set up so we can keep the water pump inside, but for the time being it will just be a big relief not to worry whether or not the water will come on every night.

Marta sent over a couple of the tamales we had watched them make on Sunday. They’re a lot bigger than the ones we’ve eaten in the US, and they’re wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks. The banana leaves give them a different flavor which I liked, although Tom didn’t care for it. No matter – now I have a tamale for lunch some day this week!

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