26 December 2015

Bearing already

     We've planted hundreds of coconut trees over the years and are still finding places for more.  Now the trees we've been planting over these years - are beginning to bear. 
     This is what the trees looked like about a year after they were planted (looking along the walkway that leads from the dock, heading toward the house with the Caribbean to the right).

     Here are the same trees in 2013.

     And in 2015 here's what they look like heading down the walkway toward the dock, away from the house...

     Among the earliest planted along the walkway is this one, the first to bear.

     Here's a close up of a machete-shaped (but green) part of the tree that will flower and then produce those huge seeds we know as coconuts.

     (Visually, coconut trees are integral to Caribbean beach life. Growing, bearing coconut trees however are a mixed blessing as I've written in earlier posts. Picking up and moving just the fruit of thousands of coconut trees is a huge chore...and with more trees being planted, constantly, the chore will grow.  But we may have solved the problem of what to do with the coconuts once we collect them from our big front yard.)

16 December 2015

The way a coconut tree grows

     Each new frond of a coconut tree unfurls upward from the center of the tree in a tightly wrapped spear shape...

     And then opens into the shape recognized all over the world.

     Here are a few more of the young coconut trees that we've planted in the last few years.

09 December 2015


      I've met some incredible people in Nicaragua and one of them is Socorro Woods who is an academic, a feminist, and a friend.

Socorro Woods: Mujer, negra y feminista
     Educated all over the world, among other degrees she holds are a degree in History and Native Administration, and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University in Canada. (I can't recall what degree she earned at a Czechoslovakia university she attended...sorry, Socorro.)
     Socorro published her first book in 2005. "I've Never Shared This With Anybody" is a study of Creole women's experiences of racial and sexual discrimination and of their need for self-recovery. It's a compelling read.
     While I was in Nicaragua recently Socorro disappeared from Bluefields for a couple of weeks - she went to New York where she'd been invited to speak before the United Nations.

     With the assistance of Nadine Jubb, she prepared and presented a paper entitled "Guardians of Autonomy and Human Rights: the Roles Played and Challenges Faced by NGOs and Civil Society in Promoting Autonomy in the Caribbean Autonomous Regions of Nicaragua."  
     Her paper was delivered to an International Research Seminar organized by the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations about non-governmental organizations in autonomous regions. Socorro's lived most of her life in one of Nicaragua's two autonomous regions and knows well how autonomy works - or doesn't work.

02 December 2015

Roof repair

     On the only dry and sunny day in two weeks, the roof got fixed.
     Not too long after our roof was first put on we had some really heavy winds and, since these blew through before we'd put the netting on, they flipped parts of the new roof around and up.....  The net went on after the damage was done, kind of like many other things in life (see January 8, 2014 post). 
     Not too long after that we noticed some leaks had developed along the peak. The netting was preventing additional wind damage but wasn't fixing the damage that had already been done. According to local lore the roofing material we use has to be cut when the moon is right - weather conditions don't matter much, just the phase of the moon. 
     The new roof fronds are unloaded in a light mist, an intermission in a day of steady rain (that white pole sticking up in the background is the gate across our canal).

     The roofing material is piled up until the next morning - beside a bench with a bag full of rope that'll be used to help keep the guys who'll work on the roof safe...and to get the stuff on top of the house.

     Bright and early the next day - and for once in weeks the day actually turned out to be bright - two guys went up and moved the net aside in order to get at the area that needed work. 

     Once that was done, the ground man began feeding the fronds up a ladder, one piece at a time; and the new roofing, the palm fronds that were going to stop our leaks, was put in place along the peak and then netting was dragged back into position and tied down.

     I've removed old, and installed new, shingles on a couple of roofs...and the clean up turned out to be worse than the actual roof work - which is metronomically soothing. But roofing with palm fronds makes clean up quick and easy:  rake and burn and we're in a part of the world where burning piles of leaves can still be done.