Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Provenance of Food

Since the provenance of our food is a big deal to me here, this is what went into a Caprese salad: 

Fresh cheese from 7 Miles, delivered wrapped in a banana leaf, made by our neighbor's mother with milk from the cows which Tom helped the Mennonite's horses tow up the hill when they were being returned from having run away.

Fresh basil from our neighbor's garden.

And, local tomatoes purchased from Gloria with the new shelves.



Thursday, October 27, 2016


In our ongoing Hurricane Earl cleanup, we are finding a few things, and one of them is a fruit tree that not only we didn't know we had, but we also didn't even know that this type of fruit existed.  This is a sincuya...I think, at least according to Google. I'm not sure if it has an English name.  It's sort of like a sour sop, but the flesh is orange, and it tastes and smells very sweet and pleasant.

When Moonracer Farm was first titled, it was an orchard.  Through the jungle, we find rows of fruit trees of all sorts: citrus, mango, avocado, sour sop, custard apple, sapodilla, and, obviously, things we've never heard of like sincuya.  I don't know if this tree never fruited before, or if we just never looked at the right time of the year until now, when we were cleaning hurricane deadfall from around the tree and Julio made us aware that the fruit on the ground was tasty. 

#belizefood #tropicalfruit

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hand cranked car ferry

Yesterday we went shopping in Spanish Lookout, which meant a ride across the Belize River on the Baking Pot hand cranked ferry. It goes back and forth all day, three cars at a time. We also bought some of the avocados on the cranking platform!
#lifeinbelize #travelbelize

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chicken update

I know I said a month or so ago that we were getting great enjoyment out of watching all the pretty chickens and roosters, but as the roosters have matured, the balance between the value of having pretty roosters around and getting a good night's sleep has tipped, and the good night's sleep is winning.

We started with 11 roosters, and we are down to eight.  Two went into the village to become "seed roosters," as the locals call them, because they are big and beautiful and very interested in the hens.  The third went into a frying pan and then our stomachs, and was delicious.

One of the things that makes it possible for me to eat the roosters, besides removing annoyances that crow around the clock, is the fact that "local chicken" tastes better than chicken purchased at the store, or even than the broilers we have raised specifically for meat.  The meat is slightly chewier, but that is actually a good thing since the texture matches the stronger flavor.  This means cooking them differently, and simply throwing one in the oven to roast doesn't really work, but with so many other ways to cook a chicken, I don't think we will have any problem eating our way through the remainder of the roosters, most of which are now destined for the pot.

Now, instead of wondering if I can eat them, I am developing my requirements for deciding the order of go into the pot.  The really loud roosters are going to go first.  They will be quickly followed by the roosters who are really hard on the hens, and fortunately some of the worst crowing offenders are also the worst hen offenders, which makes the decision easy.  One rooster, who is big, relatively quiet, and relatively easy on the hens will probably remain to be my seed rooster.  We have two other small roosters who might make the cut because they are quiet, pretty, and, in the case of one of them, actually comes to the defense of the hens, even though I know that might change as the pecking order changes.  The order will be somewhat determined by how many people I am feeding, and the size of the roosters.  However it works out, I am not planning on buying chicken from a store in the near future!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Different perspectives...

The vet came this morning to do annual shots for all - 4 horses, 2 dogs, 1 cat.  $202.50US.  Usually I crow over how cheap this is compared to the US, but this morning the vet told us that there is a rabies epidemic killing horses and cows because most Belizeans can't afford to immunize their livestock.  So now I am sad and don't want to crow.

This worries me on a few of different levels.  First, it is sad for the livestock that they die a painful death from a very preventable disease.  Second, it is a public health threat.  Third, people who can't afford to immunize their livestock will start killing bats to alleviate the problem, which will create a bunch of new problems.

It is frustrating, because I can't even think of a solution, besides, perhaps, the government offering free immunizations to those who can't afford it...but then perhaps those people can't really afford to have the livestock, so why enable them?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Surf & Turf, Belize Style

Surf and turf, Belize style...all gone before a photo...marinated skirt steak from #RunningW, #BelizeAquacultureLimited shrimp sautéed in local garlic and homemade butter from #WesternDairies cream, with zucchini and onion sautéed in #GloriousBelize coconut oil.  You can't really blame us for eating it before the camera came out!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Still helping with Hurricane Earl cleanup...

When we first moved to Belize, we would go to the market and buy a little bit here, and a little bit there.  Very quickly, we realized that one of the vendors was more friendly to us, and was giving us better prices, so we started shopping almost exclusively with her.  I soon realized that if Tom goes to the market without me or a detailed list, Gloria knows exactly what I want and makes sure Tom brings it home.  She also saves things she knows I like under the counter, and presents them to me with a twinkle in her eye when I stop in to shop. Needless to say, we've become friends over the years.

When Hurricane Earl hit our area in the beginning of August, the entire market flooded.  The river came up fast, and Gloria got her refrigerator out with a few small things, but didn't have time to get her display shelves out and they floated away.  She has been displaying her produce in wooden crates since then, but mentioned a few weeks ago that she really needed new shelves.  Tom, who loves a good project, offered to help build some for her.

Last Sunday afternoon Tom took the necessary lumber down to the market and built these display shelves for Gloria, with the help of Gloria and her partner Blad. Tom and Blad had fun, and Gloria got exactly what she wanted. And I can't wait for my next trip to the market to see them loaded with produce!
#lifeinbelize #belizetravel #hurricaneearl

Yup, it was dark by the time they finished.

Let the loading begin!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Huge Road Improvements

Moonracer Farm is at Mile 9 on the Chiquibul Road, which means we are nine miles south of the Western Highway at Georgeville via bad dirt road, occasionally impassable with anything other than a high clearance 4WD vehicle.  We are also very near the junction with the road that runs directly into Santa Elena through San Antonio and Cristo Rey, which until this summer, was about twelve miles of bad dirt road with short paved portions in the two villages.  If we were going to San Ignacio or points west, we would take the road through San Antonio; if we were going to points east, we would take the Chiquibul Road.  We chewed up a lot of tires, had a lot of maintenance bills, and got really used to driving vehicles with lots of bangs and rattles. 

Just this summer, the government paved the road between Cristo Rey and San Antonio. We still have three miles of dirt between Moonracer and San Antonio, and there are still a couple of miles of dirt between Cristo Rey and Santa Elena, but the paved, improved road between the two villages is really, really nice. I never thought I would say that; when we bought this place ten years ago, we liked the privacy and isolation fostered by the bad roads, and actually spoke out against paving when it was brought up six or eight years ago. 

But, with many hefty vehicle maintenance bills, not to mention aging bodies, we really like the paving and use that road almost exclusively to drive to the Western Highway, no matter which way we are heading.  We also recommend the San Antonio/Cristo Rey road to our guests, and we are happy to not be greeting literally rattled guests when they arrive. With the three remaining miles of dirt between here and San Antonio, we still have the remote jungle feel, but we are much more accessible.  So, for once, here's to progress!

This is where the pavement used to end outside of San Antonio.

If you look closely, you can see red lines in the road, like it might eventually even have a center stripe!

Road improvements included big ditches that will, with any luck, keep the road from washing out as it did when it was dirt...complete with big, heavy concrete bridges for driveways.

Project isn't quite done...but it's close!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

If you want a Belize map...

One of the most frequent questions we get from future guests is what map of Belize they should get for their visit.  We used to refer them to a fairly expensive paper map, until we were referred to the app.  It's a free app you can download on your devices, and it works as a GPS whether or not you are online. It is also crowd sourced and frequently updated, so it is as complete and accurate as any map we have found, including both roads and hiking trails.  Just make sure you download the Belize map while you have Internet access. Moonracer Farm is already on the map, so you can get driving directions from the airport!
#belizetravel #belizejunglelodge

Monday, October 10, 2016

It never gets old

Despite having lived here almost 10 years and having a keel billed toucan nest over the house, we still run outside to see them when we hear them croaking.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


At Moonracer Farm, I tend to focus on serving wholesome, healthy, vegetable based meals. But it's hard to argue with bacon pizza. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Small, small world

We had some drive up guests the other day, a man from Colorado with his 13 year old son, and his mother from New Hampshire. Shortly after they arrived, we started to chat, and found that Susan, the mother, has horses and drives.  After a few more minutes of chatting, we realized that we have a mutual friend in NH.

After just another minute or so, Susan's face suddenly lit up, and she looked at Tom, and said, "I know had bouncy shafts but won anyway at Lorenzo!"  She then described Shawn, the horse, Tom's turnout, and a few other details from that show, which showed that she was who she said she was, even though Tom didn't remember the bouncy shafts!

We then proceeded to bore her son and grandson while we relived the glory days of Tom's driving, and developed a long list of mutual acquaintances, human and equine.

You never know whom you will meet at Moonracer Farm!

Shawn and Tom at Walnut Hill in 2004, after the bouncy shaft incident.  

#smallworld #travelbelize

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Horse hauling, cow hauling?

Life in Belize...Tom went down the hill from 7 Miles into Barton Creek to talk about getting Internet for the school kids in the village (another blog post when the story is finished...).  On the way back up, he had to halt at a switchback because a Mennonite was using his two horses to haul a trailer containing a feral cow and her calf who had run off and were too wild to lead home, and the load up the long steep hill was too much for the horses.  So, Tom backed down so the Mennonite could back his horses to the switchback where it was wide enough for Tom to get by, and Tom pulled ahead.  He hooked the tow rope to our little blue truck and the doubletree of the horses' harness, and gave them a little extra pull until they were on the flat.