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19 September 2017

Fresh Food

This nondescript doorway is one of the entrances to the public market that connects Bluefields to the surrounding communities.  Through this door comes food that is freshly caught in the bay or produce that is grown on the jungle farms that are only accessible by boat.  Well worth a visit.

12 September 2017

Town to Town

Most of the towns on the east coast of RAAS, Nicaragua have developed not on the Caribbean coast, but on the shores of the inner bays and lagoons which are all connected by miles of natural canals.  These protected waterways allow for safe commerce with all kinds of boats.  If you enjoy boats there are lots of unique ones to see when going from town to town.

05 September 2017

The Green Season

False Bluff is green throughout the year.  During the rainy season it becomes vibrant green.  Most tourists visit Nicaragua during the cold months which is also the dry season.  They miss out on the nature when its at its best.

01 September 2017

Good Days and Better Days

Is there such thing as a bad day at the beach?  Most every day at False Bluff is good, some are just a bit better.

Nice calm clear day, you can even make out Cayman Roca in the distance offshore.

29 August 2017

Above it all, part 6

     If you stand just under the front lip of K and L's house porch (which is at least eight feet off the ground), you can see the outlines of the path that he has laid out. The pathway leads right to the edge of the Caribbean, which you can just see here.  

     He's already lined the south edge of the path with baby coconut palms.

22 August 2017

Crab Soup Festival

Its that time of year.  Every August Big Corn Island, in the Caribbean 40 miles off the coast of False Bluff, celebrates their emancipation from slavery by having the Crab Soup Festival.  I've only been able to make it to one so far.  The day of the parade drummers in trucks start circling the island at about 3am.  It's a very festive atmosphere for a couple of days.  

The greased pole.

Maybe a little to festive, some late night vehicle damage done to Casa Canada during the festival.

The end of the Crab Soup Parade.  Turn your volume down.

13 August 2017


     a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? 

     If the waves stop rolling to shore, can you hear the butterfly go by?

04 August 2017

Above it all, part 5

     K and L's house at Las Tortugas, part of False Bluff, is shown here partially under roof but with the parging on the cinder block not yet begun...and what a difference these two things will make when done! 
     There is less than one-quarter of the below-house space enclosed (where there are the stairs, the well, and room for storage). The rest of that space, that ground level open space, will be living space used almost as much as the enclosed space that's "above it all."

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     And Cesper Fox, the builder, is taking a break on the living room windowsill which faces the Caribbean.

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30 July 2017

Small gifts....

     I enjoy walking along the beach at False Bluff and collecting pumice. The stuff washes ashore - often after having been in the sea long enough to have the residue of sea life still attached.  And it comes in lots of different sizes, shapes, and even colors. 
     Some of the pumice I collect returns to Virginia and ends up being small gifts to people who can't share in the actual pleasure of the walks along the Caribbean.
     I like the finding and the collecting...and I like the giving.
     There are a couple of things in this bowl that aren't pumice but from among the pumice I've selected enough pairs of pieces to share with four people.

     Grownups and children alike enjoy tossing a small "stone" into water and seeing it float; and the stuff has practical uses as well. 
     Since TSA won't allow a nail file on board a plane and since an emery board is good for about four fingernails, I carry a piece of pumice to use on my just fine.

26 July 2017

Vacuuming in Virginia


     It will once again be dog hair but for now it's cat hair and feathers.
     I don't have a TV. In fact I haven't watched TV in about 20 years unless I'm a captive audience in a waiting room or a restaurant somewhere.  
     But I do have an entertainment center and it's occupied by tiny birds that fly and sing and eat as long as there's light.
     And shed feathers - I assume, even when there's no light.

     The small bars across the front keep the birds in but don't do a thing to keep the feathers in.


     The feathers don't fly around but instead simply lie or float along the floor and are barely noticeable unless they're moving. This is the average size...

21 July 2017

Let there be light...after those cell phones get charged

     Being able to turn a light on at False Bluff - in fact, electricity itself along this section of Nicaragua's east coast - was and is a historical  event. 
     I was ecstatic: flick a switch and a light comes on.
     Lights? Ho hum...  
     Nobody else was interested in the lights but as fast as possible everybody plugged their phones in.

13 July 2017

Mourning Emma...

Not enough time sweet girl. 
Not nearly enough time
2007 - 2017

"...but often in the loneliest 
hour of the night, I find you there waiting to welcome me to the dark."

"Humbled by eternity so near 
I hold her like a shell to my heart's ear."

July 12, 2017
Excerpts from poems by 
Mary Elisabeth Thayer

12 July 2017

False Bluff put in some perspective...

      This photograph was taken nearly in line with where the canal comes up close to our first house. The two leaning coconut trees in the left part of the photo are a bit south of the house that K and L are building at the north end of False Bluff (see several previous posts). 

     Another photo, taken while actually standing on K and L's lot, shows the same two leaning trees from another perspective.

     So in these two photos, first looking south to north and then north to south, is shown less than a third of our front yard - the beach itself, of course, is public so we don't count it as our front yard 'tho it is only a step away from what is.

07 July 2017

So much for watching the zinc rust...

     I've been a fan of fiber cement building products for decades (through familiarity in renovation projects) mostly in the form of lap siding. There are "historic" districts in cities throughout the United States and when an old house needs centuries old siding replaced, cementitious lap siding is almost always approved...although the faux wood grain fiber cement siding shown below is not usually acceptable...

     At False Bluff I used 4' x 8' sheets of Plycem fiber cement panels to side our first house. The stuff is impervious to termites, to rot, and to the damage done by the always present salty sea air. Plycem is also increasingly available in much of the U.S.
     I was really happy to find that Plycem lap siding, like the Hardieplank I'm used to, is now available in Bluefields where most of our False Bluff building supplies originate - not just 4' x 8' sheets of the stuff. Here a poster touts that improved Plycem is available at a Bluefields hardware store and is now Plyrock, whatever that means.

  One of the huge steps in the "evoluciona" of cementitious building supplies on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast isn't siding but the availability of cement fiber roofing. 
     Imagine a 1/4" thick roof formed to mimic ceramic tiles, impervious to most anything the tropics can throw at a roof! 

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03 July 2017

Spare parts and fish eyes....

     In the old days (and sooner or later they're all old) both men and women often wore something known as "mourning jewelry" to help remember their dead loved ones. This was a practice that pretty well went out of fashion when photography came into fashion...but some of the old jewelry is pretty amazing.
     All sorts of materials were used and colors, such as black enamel, were important. Many of the pieces included a lock of hair from the deceased that was often braided and put behind the glass of something like a brooch or a pin or a pocket watch.

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     I'm using bone instead of hair but I'm not using the bone in jewelry. 

     I've had both hips replaced over the past couple of years. Leading up to the first surgery I told the doctor I wanted the hospital to give me back what he was going to take out. He asked up the chain and was denied - and the pieces he removed were destroyed even before I could file a grievance with the hospital (the hospital and I went round and round about that a bit).
     Leading up to the second surgery I tried again and was successful: the hospital said I could keep pieces of myself. I was intending to use the top of the hip bone as the top of a cane, but what pathology gave me instead were pieces sliced like cheese, only a little thicker. 
     There are lots of recipes online for bleaching and drying bone. Bone beads, old and new, have long been part of the jewelry business. I tried several of the recipes after I brought my spare parts home and none of them bleached or dried my bone the way the internet claimed they would...but that's the internet. 
     However, I ended up using some of the pieces after months of recommended 'treatments' in the form of eyes in the fish of a cane I had custom made in Bluefields - even though the pieces aren't the clear white I've seen represented in bone beads. (The post on this site about the cane is dated April 2, 2017.)
     I don't use the cane. I don't need to use the cane because my hips are new. But I'm going to commission another cane on my next trip to Bluefields. I have several slices of bone left and fish eyes are small.
     And when the time comes to mourn me - which I hope my kids will do for a short time - they'll each have something to remember me by.

     Exposed to light and air since being installed in the cane, the fish eyes are growing paler and I have to sand them periodically as they continue to dry.

30 June 2017

Long buried driftwood

     ...being uncovered by the ever present breezes.

25 June 2017

Above it all, part 4

     The work on K and L's house is ongoing and what a great place it will be to spend time in...especially the days spent sitting on the deep porch overlooking the Caribbean. Keep in mind all of this is 8' above the ground!
     Two ways to get to the porch from inside the house...the south side of the house to a walkway heading east toward the sea (with a hint of the Caribbean seen through the trees)...

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     And from the east facing, or sea facing, part of the house where the porch is nice and deep and runs the full width (north to south) of the house but will look directly out to the sea...

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21 June 2017

It's nearly noon

     Right in the front yard, our very own live sun dial giving us not only the time of day but coconuts as well.

17 June 2017

What we watch...

     Years and years ago when I first began to contemplate what is now False Bluff, I read and read and read whatever I could find.  And one of the things I found was an ongoing interactive conversation among people either already in Nicaragua or people like me - thinking about it.
     But there was almost nothing at the time about the east coast, the Caribbean side, which is where my interest lay from the beginning of this adventure...except for Big and Little Corn Islands. That situation hasn't changed too much over time. Some, but not much.
     But one guy from the United States routinely wrote about the Caribbean side where he was living in Puerto Cabezas (or Bilwi). His name was Allen and he is remembered still by a statement he made often enough that it has outlived him - a statement in response to a question he had apparently been asked a lot about what he did there: "Watch the zinc rust." Zinc is what metal roofs down here are called...almost always...and rust they do, almost fast enough to see.

     At False Bluff we watch something different, and not just because our roof isn't zinc:  We watch the sun come up over the Caribbean.

     Of course, once the sun's up we just get busy with whatever else we want to do with our day at the beach. 
     From this vantage point you, dear reader, can't see the sea but come on down and sit in one of our chairs and it's in your face!