Saturday, April 12, 2008
More Things Learned
Tom pointed out to me that in last week’s blog entry, I neglected to mention the most important thing he learned that week – Belikin Beer will be delivered right to our door, a whole truckload if we want it. We’ve been buying beer and water at the distributor ever since we arrived in Belize. Last week, Tom was working out by the road and the Belikin delivery truck drove by, and the driver apparently recognized Tom as someone who buys cases of beer at the distributor. He stopped, and asked Tom if he knew he could have it delivered. Tom explained that he usually only gets a case every couple of weeks, and that he goes to the distributor because that’s where it’s the cheapest. The driver said it didn’t matter, because a case is the same price off the truck as it is from the distributor, and they don’t really care if they stop to drop off one case or 50 cases. So, despite the fact that we’re out in the sticks, we’re on the route to the big lodges up the road, so we now have our beer delivered right to the door, and soda too if we want. All we have to do is put the empty cases out by the road so the driver knows to stop, and the empty cases become full. How cool is that?
The other irony of technology in the wilderness we’ve found is that our vet in San Ignacio will diagnose and prescribe treatments for the animals via email. We can’t make an appointment because we can’t use the phone, so we’ve been trying to catch him every time we go to town. However, he’s been going to Belize City to be treated for a back injury, so we haven’t managed to find him. Tom finally suggested that I email him our questions with pictures, and see what he said. Stout has had a little lump on his foot, and we bought ivermectin for Beli that I wasn’t sure was the right stuff, so I sent him questions about those two things, and within 24 hours he’d responded with a very detailed answer, and a prescribed treatment for Stout. We think the vet should start his own website and he’d probably get rich.
Over the past year, we’ve had a number of people ask if they can hunt on our property because we have a few trees that attract gibnuts, also known as pacas, also known as the Royal Rodent because, we were told, the meat is so good that when Queen Elizabeth visited Belize, she was served gibnut. We’ve told everybody who asked to hunt that it was fine with us, as long as we could sample the meat if they got anything. Either nobody has actually shot a gibnut on our property, or they shoot them and eat them before we get any meat, but in any case we had not tried the meat. We buy our meat at Running W on the Western Highway, and one day when we were there Tom asked the guy who runs the store if they ever sell gibnut. Dennis said no, but the next time we were in he told us that he’d talked to his boss, and was going to get us some. When we went in this week, we were told that while they didn’t have a fresh one yet, they’d found some in the freezer and had smoked them, so Dennis and Escandar, the owner, gave us a half a smoked gibnut. Escandar told me to cook it just like a ham. I didn’t really believe him – how could a rodent be like a pig? – but he’s right, smoked gibnut is just like a ham, from the taste and texture of the meat right down to the skin and the fat under the skin, which is delicious if you live by the “pork fat rules” saying, and probably somewhat nauseating if you don’t like fat.
There’s a lot of meat on a gibnut; the half we had weighed almost six pounds and the bones are fairly small. Tom and I ate the hind leg for dinner one night, then we all worked on the ribs for lunch for two or three days, and as I write this the shoulder and front leg are in a pot cooking into a lentil curry soup. Escandar says we should use the cages we have here to raise gibnuts for meat, and we’re actually thinking about it even though we know that if we’d ever told anybody we were going to move to Belize to raise gibnuts, we’d have been told that were nuts – which may in fact be the case, but I guess we’ll see.
This week’s big project on the property has been the sign. In keeping with our wood motif, we’re hanging out boards with wooden letters, similar to park signs in the US. Since each board takes a while to put together since we’re making all the letters for both sides out of wood, we’re doing them one piece at a time, and we started with “ROOMS.” On Tuesday, Tom finished one side and hung the sign out to see how it looks from the road. He left it there for a couple of hours while he made the letters for the other side, and then went out and took it in to finish. As we ate lunch, we were joking that the tourists are now going to start pouring in because we have a sign. As we were finishing lunch, the woman who is working on a property down the road pulled in and asked if we had rooms available because she had some friends coming in from San Pedro and they needed a place to stay. So, despite our joking, the sign did pull in some guests, who stayed for two nights. The morning they were leaving, I took the boy who was with them out for a ride on Tony. As we were coming back up the road, he looked at the sign and asked “Is Rooms the name of your business?” A logical question for a kid, I guess, but we’re trying to hurry to get the rest of it done and hung by the road.
The other completed project is a people gate next to the vehicle gate across the driveway. We’ve had a gap there since we moved the big gate away from the road, but we wanted it blocked in case horses get loose. The hibiscus is already growing in along the barbed wire, and it’s actually starting to look inviting.
I never posted a picture of the second completed guest room. Tom and Selwyn finished the second bed for that room last week. The far bed in this picture is made out of milady wood, and the closer one is made of jobio.
The jobio wood is beautiful, as you can see in this closeup. All I can think when I look at it is that it makes me hungry; it looks like a chocolate caramel vanilla swirl ice cream!
These beautiful Shower of Gold orchids are growing in the sapodilla tree off the porch of Tom’s shop. We’re not sure if they were put there by the original owners of the property, or if they’ve just grown wild there.