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 nails...works 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! 

Image result for fiber cement roofing

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.

Image result for mourning jewelry with hair

     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.