26 January 2015

Housing...an option we can use at False Bluff

Nicaragua has a house-building option I've never seen before. It's what I call a 'kit house.' A buyer can configure the rooms and porches of these cement-based houses in most any way s/he likes, sometimes using block to add to the pieces that come with the kit. And so, at least based on what I've seen in RAAS, there's a pleasant amount of variety in the interior layouts - and thus the exterior shapes - and in the porches.
The pieces of these houses are manufactured in the western part of the country and are, according to engineering specs, capable of withstanding some pretty severe weather. Since we have such easy access to False Bluff from Bluefields, building this type of house in our Caribbean setting is a nice option....and the price is right.
As of just a couple of years ago you could buy the basic kit, including shipping to Bluefields, for about $2500: one bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bath. The kit prices may have gone up since I asked, but they're probably still eminently affordable.

In one Bluefields neighborhood a favorite house of mine, unfinished, has three bedrooms - with the standard living room, kitchen, and more than one bath - and under roof with a really nice porch, the owner had managed to spend about $10,000.

Also unfinished is this house. I don’t know how many bedrooms or baths this one has but it's got a nice layout. In this house it's easy to see how the finish coat covers all the seams, just the way a finish coat would cover seams in a house built entirely of block.

21 January 2015

Here now: red bananas

     In a blog post I uploaded just over a month ago were three pictures of a tiny new red banana tree taken over a three-week period; and another picture showing a nearly adult red banana tree photographed under the new power lines (where many of our banana trees are planted since they pose no threat to the power lines).
     In that post I wrote that for some reason red banana trees grow taller then their yellow banana producing cousins...and that since we didn't have any red banana trees producing yet, the picture of the red bananas in the post was not of bananas at False Bluff.
     That was all in the December 14 blog post. Things have changed. The bananas in this picture are now hanging on the tree under the power line that was shown in that December post.  

(photo taken by Jose Gonsalez)

15 January 2015

Limes, already

     The lime trees at False Bluff have been in the ground less than four years, seedlings planted when they were about a foot tall...and they're producing.  I made limeade from two of these.  Excellent.
     Soon we'll have oranges and a host of other fruit.  

     Not yet, but soon.  I took some 'moro' blood orange seeds to a friend in Bluefields who had almost a hundred percent germination. We divided the seedlings among three of us and the ones at False Bluff are growing well. I really like the thought of orange juice from blood oranges in a few short years (this picture does not show our fruit or juice).

10 January 2015

Tropical Caribbean living?

     I just read this article about lessons the author had learned while living on a tropical island for two years:


     Among the lessons not mentioned in the article, a major one is access. 

     Did you know that sometimes people have a hard time getting to an island on which there's no airport?   And if you're going to live on an island with an airport, you might as well live in New York City which, while not in the tropical Caribbean, has both an island and an airport...and any kind of light bulb you might want (see article).        

    Sometimes people heading to an island where there's no airport - for instance Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, or most privately owned islands - can't reach the 'get away' because the sea's too rough for the 'get to.'   In fact the access problem is a reason some people who've purchased an island get rid of it, usually to someone so caught up in the romanticism of island life that access is the last thing considered before that new owner signs on the dotted line.
     Unless an island is privately owned, most islands are tourist destinations; and that's great for the tourists because even tourists need a destination.   But sometimes, if you're really planning to live in a place, tourists aren't the best neighbors.   After awhile, even the people who are the island's original occupants get tired of tourists despite the money the tourists spend.
    But if you're really thinking about a tropical Caribbean life for yourself, rest assured that there are options that present the good things the article mentions minus the things like watching tourists adjust to "Island Time" or not being able to get just the right lightbulb. 
    Nicaragua's Caribbean coast presents all the good things mentioned in the article - and more.   
    It's the up and coming option for those looking for what's good without much that's bad. 

01 January 2015

Orchid nursery: in bloom

     An orchid in one of the pictures of the orchid nursery that's located right behind the kitchen (see October 4, 2014 post),  is blooming...and in this case a picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.