21 February 2015


     A few years ago I was walking in Bluefields with a friend and pointed out a couple on the other side of the street.
    'Gringos'  I said.
    She corrected me with a smile.  'No.  Now we call them internationales.'
    On Big and Little Corn Islands prices are high and available land is disappearing, especially land on the water.  So, more and more internationales are looking in and around Bluefields.  I mean, who wants to live in a gated community on the other side when the right side's the up and coming place to be?
     A couple of internationales were guests at False Bluff just before Christmas.  She's from Argentina, he's Dutch, and they've added Nicaragua to the list of places they call home: they bought property about a kilometer north of us before they returned to London where they live...just in time for the birth of their baby in early January.

     And their new son has a Miskito name...true internationales.

(I thank the photographers of these photos.)

20 February 2015

Why the hell...

...am I in Virginia right now?

     It's 3 degrees in Richmond!

10 February 2015

Watching the grass grow

     Years ago when I first began learning about Nicaragua, there was a guy from the U.S. who lived in RAAN (the opposite of RAAS) who frequently posted on a Nicaraguan blog (that didn't survive) about his hobby of 'watching the zinc rust.'  This was a joking reference to how fast metal roofs were eaten by the salt in the constant Caribbean breeze.
     Since we don't have metal roofing at False Bluff, what we do instead is watch the grass grow.
     An earlier blog post here tells of my determination early in the project to get a particular type of grass to grow here: http://falsebluff.blogspot.com/2013/05/bermuda-grassmaybe.html.
     It's a particular grass that grows all over Big and Little Corn Islands and in a very few places in Bluefields....which is where our grass at False Bluff got its start. The effort began with tiny pieces I pulled from a crack in the sidewalk along Bluefields' main street - about as much of the grass as could be stuffed into a shoe box.  
     Planted at the base of a few coconut trees, which is where it seems to thrive, our small start took hold and spread; and we then stole hand-sized pieces from these locations to plant elsewhere.
     And here it is, growing strong and spreading, unfazed by the salty breeze...

03 February 2015

How to grow sugar cane

     As part of our ongoing gardening/learning experience, we planted two rows of banana trees between the Caribbean and the garden in an effort to reduce the damage of the ever cool but salt-laden breezes. The banana trees are producing but their leaves suffer from salt damage and that'll eventually reduce their ability to produce.
     So, between the banana trees and the Caribbean we've planted two rows of sugar cane. The thin leaves of the cane don't seem to suffer as much from the salty breeze and when fully mature the plants are almost as tall as the banana trees so we're hoping for protection for the banana trees as well as for the garden.
       Cut some stalks of sugar cane. Strip the leaves off and slice the stalks into pieces about eighteen inches long. Drop these pieces into a shallow trench, or in our case two shallow trenches. 

Here's trench one being filled with the pieces of cane...


     Then cover the pieces of cane (Lillian is supervising).

     And wait a couple of weeks...