28 December 2016

Still life

     ....in sand, on a cloudy day.

25 December 2016

Die Hard

     Been reading opposing media stories recently, some claiming "No, Die Hard is not a Christmas movie" and others claiming, "Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie."
     I never knew this was in doubt: Die Hard is a Christmas movie....about the best ever.

24 December 2016


     Cold hibiscus tea on a hot day with sweat rolling off the cup.

19 December 2016

False crawl

     .....is not the same as False Bluff...not at all.  When a female turtle crawls out of the ocean onto a beach, but for some reason does not nest, that's a false crawl.
     This, then, is a false crawl at False Bluff.
     Or maybe not a false crawl at False Bluff.
     Well, it's definitely at False Bluff.  What's not known is whether it's a false crawl.
     (It's too near the end of the year for this kind of stuff.)

False Bluff TTG: Swamp lily, in bloom

     ...up close and personal. This hardy, non-invasive plant would grow in the sea if the tides would allow it. 
     Resistant to salt spray and beautiful. It's fast growing; makes a handsome clump along the edge of the beach or along a walkway. It will be another ornamental we'll be offering from the plant nursery.

15 December 2016

Shades of green

     ...on a dead and downed coconut tree.

11 December 2016


      Definitely not something we'll be growing in the plant nursery, there are many species of orchids that just hang in the trees at False Bluff. 
     Here's one in bloom beside the canal just about at eye level as you go by in a boat.

08 December 2016

La Galleria

     A good meal in Bluefields even when the power is out.

04 December 2016

False Bluff TTG: hibiscus in bloom

     From bud to bloom, Just a few of the hibiscus in the nursery collection.

29 November 2016

Cesper Fox, a renaissance man

     As are so many of the people I've met on Nicaragua's east coast, Cesper is the epitome of a renaissance man. 
     He's an artist with sheet rock, fashioning these flamingos from sheet rock mud that were built over pieces of metal studs. They surrounded a support column and were more than twelve feet tall.

     He's building a house from the ground up for the Mayor of Kukra Hill, including roughing in electricity and plumbing.

      And a much smaller house at False Bluff (obviously not complete) although most of his structural work is unseen, underground.

     He's a loving and involved dad.....

      ...and a hell of a cook-fresh fish in cream sauce.

26 November 2016

24 November 2016

20 November 2016

Thanks mom!

     With temperatures dropping in Virginia, it's difficult to think of this without a shiver. But at the end of a hot day, when you're wearing boots you won't take off because you love them so much, Mom and a bucket of water are pretty wonderful.

16 November 2016

False Bluff TTG: more plants we have

     Some of the plants that we'll have available for sale at the nursery were already growing at False Bluff include the sea grape and the coconut palm.
     We're taking full advantage of the plethora of sea grape seeds by providing a 'shade cloth' tent and simpy throwing the seeds onto bare dirt. As a result we have several hundred sea grape seedlings.
      This shows not only the tent with seedlings; but, in the background to the right, some of our hibiscus...including a double white of which I could not get a good close shot.

     Each of these baby sea grape plants will go into its own pot before the tent is cleaned out to make way for a new batch of seeds to germinate...and so the cycle continues.

     And as long as coconut trees produce coconuts we'll have a never-ending supply of baby coconuut trees.
     Neither the sea grape nor the coconut palm have showy flowers but both are beautiful stewards of sandy soil with roots that stretch for great distances.
     And, of course, although not available at False Bluff until we planted it there, there is the zoysia grass that thrives right up to the edge of the beach and remains bright emerald green during both the dry and rainy season (and about which I've written so many times before).

12 November 2016

# 15 - our very own transformer

     Having power lines in the back yard was too good an opportunity to not take advantage of - not that we had any choice about the installation of the power lines.
     People have asked why the lines were installed where they were...along the nearly barren Caribbean coast, often in swampy areas with guy-wires needed just to keep them upright. With the amount of maintenance that's going to be involved, why bother? Hard to see this leaning pole...because it's leaning into a bunch of trees just about in the middle of the photo. And it was too swampy to get much closer. 
     Well, I suppose we could have gotten closer if we'd wanted to wade thru the swamp but...you can do that when you come to visit and get us a nice close up.

     I've been told that the reason for the placement of these power lines (and perhaps this has been driven by funding because I don't know who provided the money) was to make electricity available to communities that have never had it, that might never have it, absent this installation.
     False Bluff is not a community so we had to buy a tranformer to get our electricity-as will many other owners along the beach. So far two of us have installed transformers; and at False Bluff we've got most of the house wired too. Momentous times!
     Never thought I'd have my own transformer but here's #15 in the back yard on the day...

     ...it was lifted toward heaven like an offering to the god of power.

09 November 2016

False Bluff TTG: some plants we have

     It's been easy to find hibiscus, many of which came from Catarina, a small town on the west side of Nicaragua. The town itself is pretty much a nursery because almost everyone in town grows and sells plants. The place is an incredible experience for a visitor, visually and otherwise - especially a visitor who's also a gardener.
     So at Catarina we got some hibiscus we didn't have and we'll collect and offer these and other hibiscus despite the fact that the hibiscus isn't very resistant to salty conditions: it's lovely for planting in leeward spots and thus worthwhile.
     But probably because Catarina isn't located on a salty piece of land, it turned out that none of the plants I was looking for were available...getting hold of salt resistant plants is proving to be a bit tricky.
     However, we now have the following 'mother' salt resistant plants (these aren't pics from False Bluff TTG since our plants aren't blooming yet, but were instead just pulled from the web):
  • Pink muhly grass, white to follow
Image result for muhly grass
  • Oleander, two colors so far
Image result for oleander plant at the beach
    • Rosemary
    Image result for rosemary plant at the beach
    • Lantana, several colors and two different growth habits 
    Image result for lantana plant growing in the sand


    04 November 2016

    Old neighbors, new neighbors

        K and L - formerly neighbors in Virginia and soon to be neighbors at False Bluff - checking out their new "home away from home."

         Actually their view will be a bit different from the one above: shown below is part of what they'll see from the house they plan to build, with Cayman Roca just visible on the horizon. 
         And yes, the sky really is that color.

    31 October 2016

    FALSE BLUFF TTG, a plant nursery

         When I began the project at False Bluff I had the naive idea that, because of the splendid weather, anything I planted would grow splendidly; and the verdant growth that was already there supported this idea I had.
         What I hadn't taken into consideration at all was the salt: salt in the air, salt spray, salt that coats everybody and everything, salt that soaks into the sandy soil.
         Turns out there's a limited number of landscaping plants - whether they bloom or not - that can withstand that sort of thing; and so, much of what I planted didn't do well or just plain up and died.
         Granted, when I began to plant things away from the beach many of the plants that I wanted to grow at False Bluff ended up thriving, although the 'thriving' depended entirely on the plant's salt-resistance. For instance, the ylang-ylang trees had to be planted hundred feet from the edge of the Caribbean; and hibiscus very nearly that.  
         However, I learned that once the plants were put in their comfort zones, they did what I thought all the plants I wanted to grow there would do...they thrived. But I wanted plants right near the sea, along the beach, that were as ornamental in their own ways as hibiscus is.  
         Therefore we're opening a nursery that specializes in plants that will thrive close to the sea despite the salt - plus a collection of hibiscus that will put on their show a little farther away from the beach.  
         This photo shows one of several rows of plants where our specimen, or mother, plants are lined out. These are the plants that will provide cuttings and divisions to create more plants, plants that will be for sale to people who, like me, want to be able to grow pretty things right near the Caribbean. (Additional space is devoted to the propagation from seeds of such things as sea grape.) 
         This is only a small part of the nursery...


    27 October 2016

    A clump of coconut trees

         The building lots we have for sale are at the north end of False Bluff and the space where they have been surveyed and are laid out has been pretty well cleared. 
         Near the first of the lots is a beautiful clump of coconut trees, just as nature planted them years ago. And, of course, at the base of each of these trees our favorite zoysia grass has been planted.

    23 October 2016

    Friends arrive in Bluefields....

         Long-time friends, one-time neighbors, arrive at Bluefields airport.

    18 October 2016


    Forgive the horrible picture.  What you are actually looking at are two bats that are roosting in the farm house.  They squeezed themselves in between a wall and a board.  Its good to see they are around and hopefully they will stay in the area, not necessarily inside the house.  We have talked a lot about building some bat houses to keep the mosquitoes down but we will need to design masonry ones since the termites go after any dead wood.  One more task on the list of things to do.

    11 October 2016

    Choppy Sea

    In some of the previous posts you have been able to see what the Caribbean looks like most of the time.  Usually around 4am the sea is quite calm and flat.  As the day progresses the sea becomes choppier.  It's always nice to be able to walk along deserted beach.  The day I took these pics the Caribbean was the choppiest I'd seen it in a long time.  Still beautiful either way.

    04 October 2016

    Evening on the Bay

    Great view of Bluefield Bay in the evening from one of our favorite places to dine.  The Pelican Bay Restaurant is on the end of the point that makes up the Pointeen Neighborhood.  Not only does it have great waterside seating but also great food.

    27 September 2016

    Final Bit of the Canal

    Just a couple minutes of video from the end of the boat trip from Bluefields, through the lagoons, and the final bit of canal.  At the very end you can see the farm house and a straight walk will take you to the Caribbean beach.

    20 September 2016

    Spiffing up the Guest Dock

    The guest dock looking good with some fresh boards and freshly cut grass.  This view from the dock is looking west into the jungle towards the lagoon.  After traveling along our shady canal you know you have reached the farm when you are back in the sunshine.

    13 September 2016

    Connected to the Country

    Bluefields is the capitol of the southern state R.A.A.S.  Its a great town and we fly into it so we can boat out to the farm at False Bluff.  During most of the years we have been staying in town it has not been connected to the rest of the country by a road.  Everything and everyone would would either fly in or boat in from the port at Rama.  Construction on the road started a couple years ago and has reached Bluefields.  Hopefully this will only bring positive changes to the town and the surrounding jungle.

    16 August 2016

    The changing scenery, 2

         Photos in a recent post showed how the fast-growing palm trees are changing the scenery we see when we sit upstairs at the house.  Along with these highly visible changes in the front yard - between the house and the Caribbean - are the equally highly visible changes along the walkway.  
         When a boat comes up our canal, docks, and offloads its passengers...they either take the public pathway we've provided that goes directly to the beach....
         Or, if they're coming to visit us, they walk along the non-public pathway that's lined on both sides with palm trees that we've planted...and on one side, the house side, with a very low visibility 'fence' that serves as a guide rather than as a prohibition.
         This series of photos begin with the two immediately below, one of which is the view from upstairs, looking toward the sea, before we put up the fence...and the other of which was taken at ground level -  also before the fence.  

         These next photos, however, were taken after construction of the fence. The unobtrusive waist high fence outlines the walkway that goes pretty much from our main dock all the way to the north section of False Bluff....and it's really easy to see from these photos, taken walking toward the house and also in the other direction toward the dock, just how the growth of the trees is defining the walkway.