Friday, May 4, 2007


This is the peak of the roof in the first cabin, with the insulation on the inside. Tom and Selwyn drilled holes in either end of the peak to provide a space for air to flow through after they put up the ceiling.

A few people commented on the insulation in the ceiling that you can see in the pictures of the wall in the cabin. It’s obviously not to keep the house warm, which is its general use in the north. Here, it’s used to keep the heat out, as well as to deaden sound. The metal roof gets so hot that Tom actually burned his finger badly enough that it blistered when he was working on the inside of the roof inside the insulation and brushed the hot metal. One day he was up on the roof working on the water tank and he burned his eyes. Plus, rain on a metal roof is REALLY loud, so the insulation deadens the sound to some extent. A lot of people around here actually prefer thatched roofs to the metal because of the heat and the sound, but both Tom and I don't really like the thought of all the things that live in the thatch always being over our heads.

This is what the metal roof looks like from the inside without insulation. This is in the kitchen addition, and we’ll probably insulate it and install a ceiling eventually, but we won’t bother for now since it’s on the back of the building where it doesn’t get a lot of sun, and it’s only for us, not guests, at the moment.

The other day I wrote about the food we’ve been eating here in Belize. We were talking about it with Selwyn at lunch the other day, and I commented that the default food here is rice and beans, and the default method of cooking anything is to fry it. Belizeans fry anything, and any time I’ve asked someone how to cook something I haven’t cooked before, the response is invariably a shrug and the instructions “fry it.” When I made this observation to Selwyn, he started to laugh, and said that’s very true. When we asked why he was laughing, he said “Never fry an avocado,” and told us that he had been making something one day, and he was cutting up an avocado. The frying pan and the grease were out, so he sliced the avocado and threw it in the frying pan. He said the outside of the slices got a little brown, but the inside turned into a bitter mush. It’s never occurred to me to try to cook an avocado, but leave it to a Belizean to see what happens when you fry it!

Tom and Selwyn have been fighting with the door in the interior wall of the cabin for the past couple of days. Most of the wood here is sold green, so it twists and warps as it dries. When they tried to hang the door, they found that the door had warped one way and the frame another, and the door didn’t seem to be cut exactly square. I’ve heard lots of cursing as well as the sound of the power planer and sander for the past two days, but they finally got the door hung this morning. We put a handle with a lock and a deadbolt on this door even though it’s in the interior because we plan to eventually use both rooms as guest rooms, and this setup will allow either side to lock the other out. The deadbolt will have to be turned around from how it appears in this picture, but one side will get the lever lock for the handle, and one will get the lever lock for the deadbolt, and neither side will be given keys unless the same guest takes the whole cabin.

Tom also did a little bit of after hours work this week and made saddle and bridle racks, so I was able to take all of our tack out of the heaps in the second cabin and hang it in the tool shed, which is now a tool/tack shed. I’ll probably eventually move the tack to the little house by the road, but that building needs quite a bit of work before it will be ready to shelter anything. I figure that moving tack into the tool shed will give Tom incentive to get the utility house done, since I’m sure I’ll take over the whole shed given the time and the opportunity.

The only other thing going on around here has been a fire up in the Pine Ridge. The weather has remained very hot and dry, and when I rode by the ranger station the other day the fire risk indicator was set to “excessive.” Damion, Augusto, Julian, and their crew have been gathering the palmetto sticks, and they said a fire was burning, and then Selwyn told us yesterday that some guys had been wandering around San Antonio trying to put together a team to go up and fight the fire. Selwyn declined, by the way, since he figures he did his civic duty with the water line. Anyway, we’d been able to see the black clouds of smoke to the south, and we’ve smelled the occasional whiff of burning pine. Yesterday, finally, it rained. The black clouds of smoke melded with black rain clouds, and the heavens opened. I was in San Ignacio at the time, but Tom and Selwyn said that as the rain came down, the burning pine smell became stronger as the fire began to smoke more from the water, and the black rain/smoke clouds were tinged with red from the reflected fire – very dramatic. We haven’t heard yet today if the half hour storm managed to extinguish the fire, or if it will flare up again when things dry in the sun today.

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