As many of you know, I just spent two weeks in the United States visiting family and friends while Tom held down the fort here. I got home on Sunday, and have spent the week catching up on things around here. Since it’s a very rainy afternoon, I figured it’s time to update the blog, which Tom kept so admirably up to date while I was away.
I arrived home to four more tables almost complete, a pasture that is starting to get green, gardens that have grown (flowers and weeds!), some more jungle chopped away from the cabins, and a colt who seems to have almost doubled in size in two weeks, although Tom can still pick him up.
He’s starting to be pretty independent, and when we put Lodo and Nessa in the cage/barn at night, we have to be careful to shut the door as soon as the two of them are inside because if he sees the open door, he runs outside to play and doesn’t come back until he’s had enough. Nessa takes that time to gobble as much feed as she can since he’s starting to want to share, and we generally just laugh because it’s so funny to watch him playing by himself, but he’s a little bit of a pain in the butt. He also torments Esmerelda, watching for her to get near the fence that separates him and Nessa from the other horses, and then wandering over and sticking his head through the wire like he wants to nibble her. She pins her ears and rushes the fence, then turns to kick at him, but by that time he’s hopping away back towards his mother, and we can just about hear him giggling. We had our first halter and lead rope lesson a couple of days ago, and he was far more offended than I expected, although we’ve never done baby halter and leading training before so I didn’t know what to expect. Tom hadn’t been able to get the halter on his wiggly little head alone, but with the two of us that part wasn’t too hard. He made us nervous when we first turned him loose because he kept trying to scratch the halter off with his foot, and even the itty-bittiest little halter is a little loose on him so we were afraid he would get his foot stuck. Then, as soon as we clipped on the lead rope, we had a rodeo. He backed up and the lead rope followed him, and he went running around the cage. When Tom grabbed the rope, he threw himself backward and onto the ground, then got up and charged full speed into Nessa, who was just trying to eat her dinner in peace. We got him to the point where he would stand with the rope attached to his halter, and we could rub him with the rope, but as soon as we pulled, even a little bit, he had a fit and started throwing himself on the ground again. We finally got him to the point where we could turn his head with the lead rope and halter, and ended the lesson there. He was very glad to have the halter removed so he could go back to being his wild little self!
We were laughing at the similarities between Lodo and of Selwyn’s eldest son, Junior, who also wants to be his wild little self. Here in Belize, the kindergarteners start school in July, before any of the other kids return to school in September, when they go into Infant 1. Junior has been looking forward to going to kindergarten for over a year, and has been collecting the supplies he thought he’d need – books, paper, pencils, crayons, a backpack, a water bottle to fit in the backpack, and some school clothes. The big day finally arrived on Monday, and Junior set off for school with Selwyn’s sister Nellmarie, who is the assistant kindergarten teacher. Selwyn said that part went well, and Junior had fun that first morning, but when he came home for lunch he told Ilda that he didn’t want to go back for the afternoon, he just wanted to bathe and go back to his normal life. Ilda explained that he had to go back to school and he didn’t need a shower, and according to Selwyn they had a little discussion about that before Junior returned to school. Then, the next morning, Junior got up and told Ilda and Selwyn that he didn’t think he’d be going back to school because he’d rather stay home. Selwyn said he wasn’t very happy when they explained that from now on he would be going to school every day, and Junior didn’t really like going from being the big brother with all the freedom of a kid living in the village, to being just another kindergartener who is expected to move with the rest of the herd. But, I just saw Junior at lunchtime today, and he seems to be settling in to his new routine, even if it isn’t quite as glamorous as he expected.
The only exciting wildlife sighting while I was gone was this ground mole, which Recona kept busy long enough for Tom to get the camera and snap a few pictures.
As you can see from the size of the mole in relation to Recona’s head, the moles here are a little bigger than the moles we knew in NY. However, it’s actually smaller than I thought it would be since they make huge mounds of dirt as they burrow under the ground; I pictured something more the size of a groundhog, but it’s probably somewhere between NY mole and groundhog.
Look at those chompers!
Mel managed to live through my absence, although he’s sleeping more and more and moving slower and slower. He has another compression sore on his side, but this one doesn’t seem to be infected, and it doesn’t seem to hurt him at all – which may or may not be a good thing, since we’re not sure how much he’s feeling in his back end. But, he doesn’t have a fever and he still stands at the bottom of the steps arping to be let in the house RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON’T MIND, and he’s not incontinent and he is eating and drinking, so we’re hanging tight for now.
As for my trip to the US, it was great. I found out that I still have a lead foot when driving; I still have no patience with crowds of stupid people; I still love Wegman’s even though the produce is at least twice and sometimes five or six times the cost of produce in Belize; I really miss fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries; I now appreciate light switches and adjustable hot water faucets; and I’m still annoyed with biting bugs, which are actually worse in NY, VT, and GA than they are in Belize, so I really haven’t become accustomed to them while living here.
...and I still like a glass of cold white wine outside by the creek, along with a hug from my niece Collier.
While two weeks was long enough to be away from Tom and home, it wasn’t long enough to visit with everybody I wanted to see while I was there. I’d been a little tense about seeing everybody I hadn’t seen for a year and a half – which I know is weird, and I have no idea what I was thinking – but it didn’t matter anyway because without exception, I picked up right where I’d left off with everybody, and it felt more like I was just returning from a two week vacation than from a year and a half of being out of the country. Nobody changed, with the exception of a few kids who were infants a year and a half ago and are now walking talking little people, and that’s a good change. However, I could have used at least another week in each of the places I visited – Rochester, Vermont, and Georgia – and it was harder to say goodbye to everybody on this trip than it was when Tom and I took off into the wild blue yonder in November 2006. Then, we were off on an adventure and were enjoying the excitement of not knowing exactly where we were going or what we would be doing; now, it was just goodbye to people I love, not knowing when I’d see them again…although I hope it’s not too long! In the meantime, I’ll try to keep the promise I made to so many people about updating the blog more frequently – and if I lapse, feel free to send me an email and remind me.