Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We're now listed on Darn Good Digs!

Thanks to Earen, Sara, and Margaret, and Sarah, all former Moonracer Farm guests, we've just been listed as the first Belize establishment on the Darn Good Digs website. Our new listing can be seen here. Thank you, ladies!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Liz: At Home In The Jungle

From Liz: Their journey here to Moonracer Farm

(At the Tropical Education Center - Prior to their arrival at Moonracer Farm):
I am happy to report that although the screens had holes, the bed was missing a slat and the mattress was a 2" foam pad, and although there were crocodiles in the pond 50 feet away (about the same distance as the bathrooms) and we found a black scorpion crawling across the floor of our room after dark, we survived our night "roughing" it summer camp style without any major problems. The kids had a great time, the dad rose to the occasion and the mom experienced a case of grumpiness the next morning, which passed after a good meal and some meditative time next to a beautiful river.

We took a night tour of the Belize Zoo and saw some animals up close that are hard to see in the day, like a big jaguar and a harpy eagle. The tour started with the opportunity to hold a boa constrictor which Patrick and Otis were brave enough to do. Our guide, one of the zookeepers, howled up to the howler monkeys, starting an outburst that lasted until we were well away. I have to confess here that I am not a jungle type of a gal. Deadly poisonous snakes, fire ants and mosquitos that could be carrying a nasty disease like Malaria or Dengue Fever don't excite me. So, about halfway through the tour I wanted to be home with the kids tucked safely into bed. While Otis shared the sentiment, Patrick and Sofia had a great time on the tour and we recommend it.

You might be wondering at this point why I wanted to go to the Belize jungle. That's what I was wondering the next day as we bumped our way over miles of rocky dirt roads that felt about 10 times worse than any dirt roads I've been on before. If you wonder why it is so expensive to get around Belize, it's not just the high cost of gas but the cost of spare tires and parts for the cars. We passed a village on the way to Moonracer Farm that is without power. Our guide told us it was scheduled to get power but then the entire village voted for the political party that lost the election and now they don't get power. There are poles along the road up to a point but no power lines. Perhaps that's also why the road is so bad. Our guide said it was because they would just get the road fixed and graded and then the heavy rains would come and wash the dirt away, leaving rocks and holes. Big rigs coming through to pick up oranges and deliver things make the problem worse.

Finally we arrived at our destination, Moonracer Farms, a lovely place in the middle of the jungle where you can pick fresh oranges, grapefruit and bananas right off the tree to go with breakfast. The cabin was immaculate and cozy, the screens in perfect condition, the beds comfortable, and the hosts are friendly and understand (and welcome!) children. We had a wonderful homemade meal that reminded us of home, pasta with a garlic and cheese sauce along with vegetables and chicken. Today, sitting on the hammock on the porch listening to the birds and monkeys, watching hummingbirds fly around just outside the screen, and seeing the kids happily exploring a new place and learning about the jungle, I'm glad we came.

Patrick with boa at the zoo

TEC - docks near rooms

TEC - Crocks in ponds

Bumpy roads

From Otis: San Ignacio Lizard Farm and Ka'ax Tun Park

From Otis, one of our recent visitors. This is what we are encouraging our guests to help us with, seeing Belize through their eyes. (Thanks so much Otis, you are great!)

Visiting the lizards (iguanas) was pretty fun. If you poke your hand towards the baby iguanas' tummies they will whip their tail fast at your hand. The grown ups will puff up and fight each other for territory. I liked Moonracer Farms. There is no electricity and it's fun there. I saw army ants. The army ants can kill scorpions and even a chicken and bigger. They are powerful and scary. My dad lifted me over one of their marching lines and we drove over a big line in the truck. And you just have to love Marge's cooking. You have to try it. You're going to love it.

We went to a jungle park with caves and vines you could climb up. My dad wouldn't let me climb very far because I can't climb but there was a boy named Melver who could climb super high. But his dad climbed higher and higher, all the way up the cliff. In Marge's outdoor kitchen, Melver can climb up to the rafters and walk on them and higher. There are caves you can go into. There are pottery shards in many of the caves that the Mayans left. There are really big creepy crawlies you're going to have to watch out for, like spiders and bats. The bats eat fruit so don't worry about them. Tom has a machete. It is really light and sharp. I got to try chopping down a tree with it. The rest you have to discover for yourself.

Sofia at San Ignacio Lizard Farm

Baby Green Iguanas

Mayan Pottery Shards

Otis Climbing

Melver's Dad (Julio) Climbing

Julio, Tom & Marge

Friday, February 10, 2012

Emerging butterfly

A few days ago, we noticed a wiggling cocoon on one of the palapa posts. As I was standing and talking to Julio a day or two later, I noticed that the top of the cocoon had broken and the butterfly was coming out. Here are the pictures, in order, of the butterfly emerging.

Red legged honeycreeper

We found this little bird on the path between the cabins. It had trouble staying upright, couldn't hop or perch, and was a little twitchy. Because of its long bill and green feathers, we originally thought it was some sort of hummingbird, but eventually determined that it was too big. I posted pictures on FaceBook, which were shared by our nature-loving friends, and we found out that it was a juvenile red legged honeycreeper.

We put it in a bucket so it was away from drafts and fed it sugar water and squished papaya. Within a day, it was hopping around and eating on its own, with the favorite foods being papaya and very ripe banana. I made sure to keep the dogs in the house and just left it perched a table in the kitchen with a good supply of papaya, banana, and water. It didn't move much for a few days, and then started hopping around the table and sometimes fluttering to the floor. In about a week, its feathers had grown, and I went out one day to start lunch, and it was gone. We're pretty sure it flew the coop since no predators could get it in the kitchen, and we didn't find it fluttering around on the floor or outside the kitchen. Now we're keeping our eyes out for a tamer-than-usual honeycreeper, although they seem to like to stay higher in the trees, so it's likely we'll never see it again.