Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Too Busy to Blog, or We’ve Gone Completely Crazy

We’re out of the camper and in the cabin!
Warning: This is going to be a long one. We have a lot of pictures, but my lack of blogging in the last week is not due to nothing happening, it’s due to so much happening that I just haven’t had the time. Over the past week, we’ve even had three days that I can think of where we didn’t even turn on the computer and the satellite to check email or the online news, which is very unusual since we try to stay at least a little bit in touch with the rest of the world.

Not much happened last Thursday or Friday. Tom spent Friday in Spanish Lookout, getting some maintenance work done on Tinkerbell, and I stayed here with Selwyn and did a few little jobs. As of Friday night, our plan was still what I said in the last blog post – we were going to hang around here and work on the shower in our bathroom.

That all changed at 7:00 Saturday morning. Tom and I were still in bed, and we heard the sound of the bike tires on the driveway gravel. We sat up, and Selwyn was parking the bike. Tom yelled out and asked Selwyn if he realized it was Saturday; he did, but he said he had a favor to ask. Tom asked for a minute for us to get up and dressed, and then he went out to talk to Selwyn. Selwyn, it seems, had gone home Friday night, and had been awake most of the night thinking about how he had to get his life in order. He had worked for Blancaneaux for five or six years, but between the time he left Blancaneaux about a year ago and the time he started working here in late February, he just did odd jobs and he and his family scraped by. Since Selwyn has been working here, he’s starting to feel a little more settled. He has a steady paycheck, he repeatedly tells us he really likes the job and the work, and he realizes that with as much of his heart as he’s putting in the job, we’re going to stick with him and do even better for him when we’re up and running. The conclusion he came to at 5:00 Saturday morning was that he could start to do a few things that were extras he dreamt about when he didn’t have a steady, long term job.

He decided that the first thing he needed to do was get Junior and Ali their own bed, so he and Hilda aren’t sharing the bed with all three kids. He knew we were thinking of going to San Ignacio before too long to get a bed for ourselves, so the 7:00am visit was to see if we’d consider doing it that day. I’d already mentioned to Tom that I was thinking an unplanned trip to San Ignacio on Saturday might be in order so we could get a bed and a stove, so when Selwyn asked, we were already halfway to spending the day in San Ignacio anyway. The three of us ate breakfast (yogurt pancakes with papaya honey syrup, if you’re curious about breakfast in the jungle), then packed up to head out. We hit a minor snag when Tinkerbell wouldn’t start, but I realized that the “wait to start” light wasn’t lighting, and Tom put that together with the fact that the mechanic had replaced one of the glow plugs on Friday, so it didn’t take long for Tom to pop the hood, confirm that the glow plugs weren’t seated tightly, make the fix, and start her up.

We ended up spending most of the day in San Ignacio. Our first stop was Cayo Foam, where we bought a king size mattress, and Selwyn bought a double for the kids. In town, Selwyn bought a bouncy stroller thing for Kristalee, because he’d been thinking about it but had been putting it off, and suddenly realized that he could do it, and if he didn’t he was likely to miss the chance entirely since she’ll be walking before too long. We made the rounds of the market and stocked up for produce for the week, and then went to San Ignacio Commercial Supply, and we bought a stove. We had looked at a really nice Maytag with a convection oven in Spanish Lookout, but they’ve been waiting for their Maytag shipment since February, and it still hasn’t arrived. At this point they aren’t even telling us any estimate of when they expect it, so we decided to just get something else. We ended up with a Mexican made Whirlpool stove, and bought it based on a feature that would never have been on my list of requirements, but which I think I’ll really like in my very small kitchen – it has a tempered glass top which can be pulled down over the burners to increase counter space if I’m not using the stove, and which goes up and acts as a back splash when the stove is being used. It has six burners and a griddle which fits over the middle two, and a regular oven. The broiler is in the oven, so the underneath drawer provides much needed extra storage. The other feature which made us choose this stove over the Maytag was that this stove can be plugged in for the automatic ignition, but all the burners and the oven and the broiler can also be lit with a match or a sparky. The Maytag burners could be lit without power, but the oven needed power, and I was having second thoughts about having to keep a battery charged and the inverter on just so I could use the oven. The Whirlpool doesn’t even have a clock, so while we tested it plugged in with the automatic ignition, I think we’ll probably leave it unplugged most of the time.

We dropped Selwyn off at his house in town, and pulled into our driveway around 4:30. Wilton had seen us go by, so he peddled over to tell us to check our email because Sharyn, our neighbor, had left a message. I remember thinking that I’d do it in a minute, but then Tom and I became obsessed with getting the mattress in the cabin, and getting a frame built for under the mattress so we could sleep in the cabin Saturday night, and I never did check email. Neither of us could bear the thought of spending one more night on the barely double-sized air mattress in the camper when we knew we had a king size orthopedic bed on the property. We were definitely tempted to just throw the mattress on the floor and sleep that way, but the thought of scorpions gave us even more incentive to build a bed to get the mattress off the ground. I fed all the animals, and Tom went to work. He managed to design and build a bed with lumber we already had, and it took until 9:30, but we did it. Saturday was our first night in the cabin! We had a quick salad for dinner in the camper at 10:00, and then spent our first night in our new house. I found out the next day that Sharyn’s email had been a request to have dinner together on Saturday, so I felt a little bad about that, but most of the guilt went away when we both woke up Sunday morning with a lot less achy-ness than we’d become used to from sleeping on the air mattress for the past four months.

Because it felt so good to be out of the camper, we got up early Sunday morning and decided to continue the quest to get moved in to the cabin. No more “dos semmanes mas!” We spent most of the morning installing screens, and Tom went to work putting a temporary floor in the kitchen so we could put the stove where the shower will eventually be built. We moved the stove in, and Tom went to work on the gas. Everything went smoothly until we got to the test stage. The stove wouldn’t light. We tried it with matches, we tried it with the sparky, and we finally plugged it into the inverter to see if it would light with the electric ignition. Nope, even when we ran the battery out by clicking the electric ignition over and over. Tom took it apart, tested all the fittings, and tested the propane line, all with no success. He figured out that no gas was getting to the burners, but couldn’t figure out why until he fiddled with the safety switch on the top, which is designed to shut off the gas if the tempered glass top is down, and realized that it wasn’t moving. When he looked at the fittings, he realized that when the piece that hooked the propane line to the stove connection was screwed in, it blocked the safety valve and locked it in the closed position. Like a lot of safety features, it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but also like a lot of safety features, it’s easily bypassed, so Tom just took it out and hooked the propane line directly to the stove. Voila! The burners, the oven, and the broiler all lit without any problem, with and without the electric ignition. Of course the glass top – the deciding feature on purchasing this stove – is now sitting on the floor next to the wall, but I was able to cook dinner in the cabin on Sunday night, and yesterday we purchased a different fitting so Tom can reinstall the safety switch and we can put the glass top back on the stove.

Cooking dinner in the cabin on Sunday was a little more like camping than camping in the camper. We don’t have the plumbing hooked up in the cabin yet, so the water in the kitchen sink came from a garden hose fed through the floor, and at that point my storage and counter space consisted only of what’s around the sink. However, we uncovered our kitchen table and moved that into the cabin, and pulled out a few of our real dishes, and by the time we sat down to a cabin-cooked dinner on our dishes at our table, the cabin was feeling like home. Monday was my mother’s birthday, and even though she’s been dead for two years now, I clearly heard her voice as I was washing the breakfast dishes on Monday morning, saying “Margie, you’re too old to be living like this, but whatever makes you happy.” My mental reply was “Mom, I’m happy, and you don’t need to worry about me,” but I have to admit I did feel some guilt at causing my mother post-mortem anxiety, even though it felt great to be in the cabin! In any case, Tom and Selwyn finished the ceiling on Monday, and they are putting in the plumbing today, so by dinnertime I should have a sink where water comes out of the faucet when I turn the handles, and a toilet that will flush without having to fill the tank with a hose. The toilet is hooked to the septic system, but I might still be draining water from the sink into a bucket until the drainage lines are installed, but that’s not a big deal to me.

Horse stuff
While Tom and Selwyn were working on the ceiling on Monday, I decided to take Esmerelda out for a ride. We’d been so busy that it had been a week since we’d been out, so I figured that even though we have so much to do to get in the cabin, I needed to pay a little bit of attention to the horse. She isn’t gaining weight as quickly as I would like, so in addition to a lack of time, I’ve been hemming and hawing about riding her, afraid that work will work off the few pounds she manages to gain. But, I decided that a good long walk might put a little bit of muscle on her back and rump – and I just wanted to ride. I cleaned her up, de-ticked her, tacked her up, and headed up the trail that runs from the back of our property into the Pine Ridge. We came out of the jungle and into the scrub pine, and crossed the Pine Ridge Road, heading for a fire trail that runs back to the forest reserve gate not too far up the road from our property. Esmerelda had been very relaxed, and I had dropped the draw reins – which I’m still using, “just in case” – and had the regular reins on the buckle. We were heading through an overgrown field towards a ravine, and I was thinking that we’d trot a bit after we were through the ravine because the footing is nice packed sand and there are lots pine logs, downed by the beetles, and Esmerelda seems to like to trot through the poles, jumping anything over 18 inches or so.

About halfway through the field, I felt Esmerelda starting to suck back a little bit. Then she stopped, planted all four feet, and looked into the brush with her neck up and her ears pricked, snorting. I scanned the brush and didn’t see any movement, or anything remotely scary, even to a horse – and Esmerelda generally isn’t spooky anyway, and we use this trail fairly often. If she sees something she thinks is scary – which could be a tire on the side of the road that wasn’t there the last time we rode by, or a chopped off stump, or an oddly moving palm frond – she may tense a little and bend away from it, but she doesn’t spook or freeze. I patted her neck and gave her a good thump, and she didn’t do anything. I took another look in the brush, and all of the sudden she reared back, spun 180 degrees, and took off back up the trail in a full out gallop. I gathered up my regular reins and pulled, and I don’t think she even noticed. I bridged the reins, braced my feet in the stirrups, and pulled for all I was worth, and she just took the bit in her teeth, pulled back, and kept galloping. I grabbed one rein and tried to pull her head around to my knee, and she just veered off into the bushes, still galloping, so I let her straighten her neck and get back on the trail – which she was following – before she fell or I was scraped off on a tree trunk. I was thanking the horse god that Karin had taught me how to ride the runaway Ricky, because after living through Rick’s runaway stage, I don’t generally panic when a horse runs away with me, and if I’d panicked on Esmerelda, I’d have been in trouble. The road was coming up fast, and I knew there was a spot where the trail takes a 90 degree turn to the right, goes about 20 feet up a pretty steep embankment, and then takes a 90 degree turn to the left, so I figured that if I could get the draw reins straight, maybe between the reins, the turns, and the embankment I could get a little bit of control. The draw reins were almost up to her ears, and hanging pretty low under her neck and chest, but I managed to grab them in a spot where I could get enough even pressure that she had to respond, and fortunately the short side was on the side where we had to turn. She made it up the embankment in one leap, but between the leap and the draw reins, she unbalanced herself enough that she stopped galloping, and I was able to pull her around and stop her.

I put us back together, took a correct grip on both sets of reins, and headed back up the trail. I didn’t really occur to me to do anything else; why would I let her think she gets to go home if she runs away with me? We minced back up the trail at a walk, and as we got closer to the spot where she’d spun, she started sucking back again, and again planted her feet. I kept a good grip on the reins, but kicked her, smacked her with my whip, and didn’t let her turn. She was quivering all over, and she kept trying to rear and spin, but didn’t get any further than the bushes on the side of the trail. After about 10 minutes, I decided to get off and lead her through the ravine; I thought maybe she’d think the horse eating monster would get me first. She followed me, but was completely unwilling and I felt like I was dragging a horse that wouldn’t move her legs. At one point she stopped again and I ended up giving her a good slap with the whip to get her moving, but I kept a good grip on the reins and after we were through the ravine she started moving forward again as we climbed up the other side. At the top, I got back on and she was fine. We walked 25 yards or so, and then started trotting the poles, just as I’d planned. We even did a little bit of cantering on the sand fire road, where she really impressed me by jumping a pretty deep ditch across the road, completely effortlessly and right out of stride. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking there, since she hasn’t been trained to jump, and when we first taught our event horses to jump ditches we always trotted up to the well marked ditches before we expected them to just canter over, but she’s been so willing and able to jump little logs, I guess I just assumed she would figure it out, which she did. The whole ride back, she was completely in control, and didn’t even threaten to run away again.

I got back and told Tom and Selwyn what had happened. I was in the midst of saying I had no idea what came over her, and Selwyn said, “Um, Margie, making her go through that field and the ravine might not have been the smartest thing to do. From what you said, I think she probably smelled a cat. Probably a puma, since the jaguars aren’t out during the day.” I sort of shrugged and commented that a small cat wasn’t going to hurt us, and Selwyn – who tries really hard to be nice and polite – did another “um” and explained that pumas, here at least, are what we call mountain lions, which have been known to attack horses and people. Oops.

I didn’t have long to dwell on my recklessness, because as I was changing out of my riding pants I heard a “halloo” at the gate. Our clothes are still in the camper, so I looked out the window and saw three horses at the gate. I figured it was our neighbors from the equestrian lodge down the road stopping to say hi, so I put my riding pants back on and went down to open the gate for them. It wasn’t our neighbors; it was a Mennonite farmer from Barton Creek and his two sons. They were trying to sell one of their six horses, and they’d heard that we had been looking for horses, so they stopped by on their way home from San Antonio. They were riding two greys and a bay, and told me that the bay was for sale. He was a nice looking horse, and the son was riding him with a rope bridle and a saddle pad, so I yelled for Tom and Selwyn to come and take a look and gave the Mennonites a drink of water.

We looked him over, and they told us they wanted $800BZ for him. Tom jumped on with the saddle pad in his shorts and sneakers, and rode him up around the second cabin. He happily rode away from the other horses. I wanted to see him move because he has a little bit of a puff on the inside of his front left tendon, but Tom didn’t want to trot or canter him without a saddle. So, the farmer got on, tapped him with a stick, and trotted and cantered him up and down the driveway. He looked sound at all three gaits, and he looked and acted extremely gentle. They said the reason they’re getting rid of him is that he’s so laid back they can’t pair him with any of their other horses when they drive him because he slows them down too much. We had a quick conference, since we weren’t really looking for another horse right away, and decided that if they’d come down a little in their price, we’d take him. He’s not a horse we’d buy in the US – he looks and acts like he’s probably some sort of draft/quarter horse cross – but for here, where Tom isn’t riding enough to work with Glinda regularly and where we may have guests who don’t ride as much as we do who would like a simple, safe horse, we figured he’d work. And, getting this horse would keep us from buying the stallion we looked at, which we know would be an investment in time and training and maintenance. The farmer came down $50BZ, and said he’d leave the horse if we gave him a ride home, and we could stop by on Tuesday after getting the money out of the bank, since Monday was a bank holiday. So, that’s what we did, and ten-year old Tony the Pony has joined the herd. And I think he’s actually big enough that some of my US horse tack will fit him!

My brother Tim, in California, sent a note out to the rest of our family telling us that he’d been surfing Monday morning, and had paddled out away from some of the other surfers. He suddenly realized that they were all paddling like mad towards him, and he looked around and saw the perfect wave heading in his direction. The other surfers didn’t get there in time, so Tim took a solo ride. In his email, Tim said that he considered the wave a gift from my mother on her birthday. I didn’t put two and two together immediately regarding the horse, but as soon as Tom read Tim’s email, his comment was that Mom sent Tim a wave, and she sent us a horse. We don’t know what Matt and Pete got, but we hope it was good! Thanks, Mom.

Dog stuff
We were supposed to get passports stamped on Monday, but couldn’t because it was Commonwealth Day, a national bank holiday in Belize when all government offices are closed. We didn’t realize Monday was a holiday until Friday, and we thought briefly about going to Belmopan then, but Tom had already planned to take the truck for work in Spanish Lookout, and we read news reports that protests were planned at government buildings in Belmopan for Friday, and anyone who had business that could wait was being discouraged from going to the capitol city that day. So, we had the previously described exciting Monday at home, and headed for Belmopan on Tuesday morning. On the way to Belmopan, we stopped at Beli’s breeder’s place to tell her that we would pick the puppy up on our way home. We got our passports stamped for the fifth time, did some errands and ate lunch in Belmopan, and headed back out the Western Highway to pick up the puppy.

When we got to the breeder’s house, she met us at the gate, and before we could even say hello, she said that she would like to sell us two puppies, for a discount, and proceeded to give us the spiel about why it would be better for us to get two puppies rather than one. Tom and I hadn’t even talked about getting more than one puppy, besides an offhand comment Tom made at one point about how if we got two puppies, one would be named Belikin and one would be named Stout, since that’s what he likes to drink. We stood and listened to Lena. Tom looked at me and asked me what I thought, and I told him that he knows I’ll always take more dogs since I enjoy having a pack, but that I hadn’t even thought about getting more than one now. Tom asked Lena what the second puppy was like, listened, and then…said we’d take him. So, we came home with two seven week old puppies, Beli and Stout. They’re completely adorable, and rode home on our laps. We were worried about how Mel, Nock, and Lou would receive the new arrivals, and while none of them acted like we would have predicted, all three of them were fine with the new puppies. We were afraid Mel might roar at them or bite them if they bothered him, but he’s just very interested in them and prances around trying to play with them. We thought Nock would probably want to play with them, but she seems to have put herself in the role of mama dog, and she sort of supervises them and barks or growls if they do something she considers inappropriate. We were afraid Lou would be jealous of them, but he seems to think his role is to protect them from Mellow, so as Mel is prancing around and trying to play, Lou is stalking around putting himself between Mel and the pups and grumbling.

We didn’t get home until six last night, so we took two of the cat cage gates and propped them against the wall, put some boards and cardboard (cartoon boxes, as Bol calls them) on the floor, and made a little puppy corral in the cabin. So far, they’ve been very good about not making a mess inside other than a few little puddles, and every time we’ve taken them out they do something. We went to bed around 9:30, took them out at 2:00, and they woke us up at 5:00, but we think that’s pretty good for little pups. Since Tom and Selwyn have been working on the plumbing in the utility room, which is right next to the cat cage that I cleared for the dogs, Stout and Beli have spent most of the day in the cage. We took them inside with us when we ate lunch, and they just played a little bit with each other and with the big guys, and then took a nap under the table with Lou. I dumped the 100 gallon horse trough and gave the horses water in a big bucket, so tonight we’ll drag the trough inside and that will be the piddle proof puppy pen. They’re big enough that it probably won’t be too long before they’re able to climb out of the trough, but if things go as well as they’ve gone last night and today, they should be house trained by then. We’re finding that it’s much easier to house train a puppy when there are two or three people around 24 hours a day!

Being a puppy is hard work.



The Chicken News: Not Good
We gained two puppies, but we lost two hens. We held steady with the three hens until Monday night, the second night we spent in the cabin. Nock was very restless that night. We’d found a scorpion before we went to bed, and around midnight Nock jumped out of bed and headed for the door. When Nock jumps out of bed, even I wake up. Fifteen pounds of Jack Russell manages to hit the floor like 150 pounds of rocks. Tom put the flashlight beam on the door, and saw another scorpion in the corner, so he grabbed Nock, gave her to me to hold in bed, drew his machete on the scorpion (scorpion lost) and threw it out the door. We figured the combination of moving scorpions and sleeping in a new place for only the second night was making Nock restless, and we know she’s appointed herself our night time guard. Then she hit the floor again around 3:00 am. I woke up and heard the chickens squawking. I shook Tom awake, and when he heard the chickens he took the light and his machete and headed for the chicken cage. He was only gone for a few minutes, and I saw the light heading back towards the cabin. He came in, muttering about wishing he had a gun, and got the keys to get his wrist rocket sling shot out of the camper. He said another hen was dead, but the killer, a possum, was still in the cage. He went back out, and I could hear rocks zinging off the cage wire, but Tom came back in a little while and said he couldn’t get the possum to come down to meet his maker. He took the two remaining hens and put them in one of the rabbit hutches for the night, shut the door, and propped another door in front of that to try to keep the possum in the cage.

In the morning, he went out to try his luck with the possum again, but couldn’t find it in the cage. We put the two hens back in the cage for the day, planning to get them out and keep them in the hutch at night, and headed off to Belmopan. When we got home last night, he went to get the hens, and another had been killed during the day. We don’t know if the possum came back, or if it was well hidden in the cage all along. In any case, the lone hen is now living in the rabbit hutch, and we’ll probably give her to Hilda, Selwyn’s wife, when she gets back from visiting her parents for a few days with the kids. Before we get more hens, we’ll build a chicken wire hutch to keep in the cage so the chickens can be locked in that at night, and so they have a safer place to go during the day. We can’t just use the rabbit hutch and let them run loose during the day because the dogs would kill them, but we can’t leave them in the cage at night because the possum will get them. In our effort to get the cabin up and running we don’t have time to do it right now, but we’ll probably try again in a few weeks.

Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones losing chickens right now. Our neighbor Elizabeth came by with her mother on Sunday to see if we had any more scrap chicken wire because her mother’s 15 chickens had been killed and she needed to reinforce her chicken coop. We gave her some wire, so I guess we’ll both be building reinforced chicken coops. And I thought all I had to worry about with chickens in the cat cages was that they’d get out and our dogs would get them! Elizabeth’s visit solved a mystery for me however. I’d ridden Esmerelda past their house last week, and Anthony, her three-year old, stood in his yard and was yelling “something something something caballo!!” over and over again. I understood “caballo,” but between the fact that the baby was crying, other kids were yelling, dogs were barking, and I don’t always understand three-year olds no matter what language they speak, I couldn’t figure out what he was saying, but I could hear him shrieking it as I rode all the way up the hill. I asked Elizabeth if he’d wanted something from me, and she started to laugh. Yes, she said, he did. Abner, the baby, was crying, and apparently it was getting on Anthony’s nerves. He was yelling at me to take the baby away on the caballo! I asked Elizabeth if he thought Abner would stop crying if he had a horse ride, and Elizabeth laughed again and said no, he just wanted me to take the baby away, and he figured on top of a horse was as good a way as any to get rid of his crying brother.

Other Random Bits
Selwyn’s brother Gilroy made Tom and I laugh the other day. He’s going into the Belize Defense Force and is starting four months of boot camp this weekend. Tom asked him how long he’s wanted to be a soldier, and his answer was “As long as I’ve known myself.” How’s that for a cleverly ambiguous non-answer?

The fire in the Pine Ridge is out, according to the news, which is probably right since we haven’t been smelling smoke. The news story also said that the fire was devastating because it burned parts of the Pine Ridge that have only recently been reforested after the devastation of the pine bark beetles, and the trees that were burned weren’t mature enough to be producing pine cones, which would have helped reseed the pines after the fire. As it is, the rangers say it could take up to 25 years for significant regrowth.

I’ve referenced the cabin over and over, but here’s the progress summary: The main room is just about done. The chopped up last board still needs to be fitting into the ceiling, but other than that the ceiling and walls are done, and we have our bed and kitchen table in that room. The kitchen has a sink and a stove, and Selwyn built me a sturdy counter with a shelf for next to the stove yesterday, so I actually have a little space to cook. Tom and Selwyn spent today working on the plumbing, so I have real running water that drains down the drain and out of the cabin. Tomorrow or Friday I’ll work with them to put in some shelves so I can move all the food and cooking stuff out of the camper, and maybe I’ll even have enough room to get a lot of my pots and dishes out of the boxes in the second cabin. They also got the plumbing run to the bathroom, so we have running water in the sink which we can’t use because the drain isn’t quite hooked up, and we can flush the toilet without filling the tank from a garden hose. I think we’ll carry last weekend’s plan over to this weekend, and work on the shower then. And, somewhere in there, they’ll get the gray water lines hooked up to the soakaway so we’re not running the drains into the jungle. The other room in the cabin is still a workshop, and needs to have the wall and ceiling installed before we move our bed to that room, but before the wall goes up, Tom wants to get the electrical wiring done so we can put the batteries and the inverter in the utility room between the bathroom and the kitchen to run the cabin electricity, and we’ll move the very noisy, very annoying generator out from under the cabin and just feed the batteries with an extension cord when we run it. We also have a ton of other stuff to do, like getting both 1000 gallon water tanks moved to the old chicken coop and plumbed so they feed the 200 gallon gravity feed tanks, and eventually running electrical wire from the utility house where we’ll put the generator, after the utility house has a roof, and…you get the picture. We're living with five dogs in what's basically a studio apartment in a shack with only the water and electricity we create. We have a lot to do, but we’re making progress - but go ahead and call us crazy!

This picture doesn’t do the view down our driveway justice. The white flowers are very impressive (and also, we’re told, good to eat when they’re fried, of course), and they’re the national flower of El Salvadore, although I don’t remember their name. The red tree is a flamboyan, and they’re brilliant orange and really stand out along the road or on the hillsides. We have three of them along our front line.

This is a flamboyan tree up close…

…and this is a closeup of the flamboyan flower

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