Thursday, October 27, 2011
Most of the job was done on Saturday, and by Monday lunchtime Julio and Angel were tying down the roof cap. We cheated a little and used some old zinc roofing we had taken from one of the cabins because it leaked, but we didn't think the horses would mind that their roof isn't totally authentic.
The individual horses haven't taken to the barn (or not taken to it, as the case may be) as I would have expected. Nessa, the oldest of the four and the mother of Elphie and Lodo, wants nothing to do with it. She won't even go in a stall. This doesn't surprise us because we know Ness doesn't like change, but it does surprise us because she's one of those horses who just likes to keep herself clean, and we thought that giving her a place to get out of the rain or sun would have made her happy. Glinda, who is basically a feral pony and who always likes to be in charge of the other horses, doesn't go into a stall on her own, but once there she's pretty happy to just chill in her own space. Elphie and Lodo, neither of whom has ever seen a barn, think it's the coolest thing ever, and we'll look out during the day and see them standing in or around the barn even when they could be out grazing with Glin and Ness. We expected them to be the ones that wanted nothing to do with it, and they both seem to like it. This isn't the first time we've guessed wrong about our horses' reactions to things, and, in fact, I think I'm almost always wrong so I don't know why I thought this time would be any different.
Part of me loves it because it's a little bit of a challenge to learn to cook with wood. First, I have to figure out how to make a fire, and make it the heat I want. I'm learning things like sometimes the best way to make a fire a little bit cooler is to add another stick of wood. It's somewhat counterintuitive, but it works. I'm also learning to have a little bit of patience, which goes against my natural tendencies. I can't just twist a knob and make the stove hotter and make whatever I'm cooking get done faster. Instead, I have to fiddle with the fire to make it hotter or cooler, and then wait while the heat of the comal adjusts. This usually involves shuffling around whatever I happen to be cooking so that the stuff that should cook quicker is over a hotter part of the fire, and the stuff that should cook slower is over a cooler part. All of this works, but none of it is instantaneous. And, I'm learning that lots of stuff just cooks better over wood heat for some reason, and that even though I feel a little out of control and can't make the instant adjustments I want to make, the results are worth the wait.
I also like it for a few random reasons. For example, I almost always leave my tea kettle on the comal, so whenever I want a cup of tea, the water is already hot and I don't have to wait for it to boil. [I know, we're back at that patience issue.] I also love cooking scrambled eggs on it; they're almost creamy when they're cooked over the slow even heat. And, I like the smell of the woodsmoke. I think it makes me remember all the camping trips I've been on, throughout my life, where I always thought that food tasted better when you were camping because you were so hungry from being active all day. Now, I know that food really does taste better when cooked over a wood fire. And, while I sort of hate to admit it, I like to play with fire.
Speaking of wood fires, we're still working on the wood fired clay oven. We're using local clay, and adding it layer by layer, and it takes forever to dry and it cracks. Then we add another layer to the top, wait for it to crack and dry, and then add another. Julio tells me we're almost at the stage where we can test it out...and then I'll see what I like about baking in a wood fired clay oven as compared to my traditional oven!
I've been surprised how many people have stopped by just to see the firehearth. It's become a tourist attraction in itself. Even better, we had one of our native Belizean neighbors stop over to see what kind of rocks and clay we used, and to ask where we got the rocks and the white mal. Tom told him, and asked why he wanted to know. The answer: his wife now wants a firehearth just like mine!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
We've heard differing opinions as to what it is. It looks like a spearhead, but it could also be some sort of farming implement. I asked a archeologist friend, and he said they just call them "bifaces," because they can't agree on what they are either.
As to the ethics of picking it up, washing it off, and bringing it in the house - we just figure that it isn't doing anybody any good lying in the mud, probably eventually to be broken when a horse steps on it as it's balanced over a rock or hard root. We understand that all artifacts are the property of Belize, and we would never try to sell it or somehow benefit from finding it. And, they're all over the place anyway. We found this yesterday, and today as I was picking up dropped avocados from under the tree, I found the butt end of a similar artifact, broken about halfway up. And we weren't even looking for either of these finds!