30 December 2018

Salt tolerant oleander

     One of the most disappointing things I learned after starting this project was that most of the blooming flowers I had associated with living at the beach don't grow anywhere near salt water, hibiscus and bougainvillea in particular.  I had envisioned cottages close by the Caribbean surrounded by brilliantly colored flowers.
     There are few bloomers that can tolerate the salt in that lovely Caribbean breeze.  Oleander turned out to be one of them.  A big problem was that I couldn't find either oleander plants or cuttings for sale on either side of Nicaragua.
     However, we finally managed to obtain and root a pale yellow which has been growing in our nursery for a couple of years now.  And also a pink, shown below, which is thriving. 

     As for the pink oleander, the buds are almost as pretty as the blossom itself.

     The oleander's color palette is limited though some gardeners are working on changing that, developing both brighter colors and double flowering plants.  We hope to eventually add some of the newer varieties.  

25 December 2018

How sweet it is

     When I'm not at False Bluff I'm most often taking care of business in Bluefields, a port city eight miles away.  On one of my walks through town I passed a table loaded with these packages.  I was half a block away when what I thought I had seen stopped me in my tracks and sent me back for another look.  When I asked the sidewalk vendor (of whom there are many in town) what the stuff was, packaged four to a plastic bag, he replied "dulce" which confirmed what I thought it was:  pure cane sugar.

     Over the next couple of days I ended up buying much of his stock, planning to bring some back to Virginia and giving some to friends in Bluefields....most of whom told me they hadn't seen this stuff sold locally in years.  In preparation for returning to the states, I wrapped the already packaged blocks of sugar again, taping up each four-block package as shown here.   Made it through customs at the Bluefields airport heading to Managua: no questions, no problem.  Made it through customs at the Managua airport heading to Miami: no questions, no problem.  Panic and supervisors at customs at the Miami airport heading to Virginia but all those concerned finally agreed that pure cane sugar wasn't going to cause a problem.

     Unwrapped, this is what the blocks of organic pure cane sugar look like.  Much of this is for sale in the states as one pound cones instead of the one pound blocks I brought back.  Here in the states we call it cane sugar...but it's got more than a dozen other names - depending on whether you're in Australia or in Laos or India or Panama.  In Nicaragua it's known as "tapa de dulce."  And dulce it is

     I brought eight pounds back to Virginia; and after unwrapping them from their street-vendor-plastic packaging, I individually re-wrapped four one pound blocks in wax paper and then in tissue paper as gifts to people who will use the stuff wisely.  Or not.

22 December 2018

This is how bananas are made

     Baby bananas are begin above the flower.  The flower slowly disappears as the bananas get bigger and closer to ripeness.

16 December 2018


     ...the previous post shows a footbridge over the river that runs beside a small village we visited recently.  Although there are a few trucks and some dirt bikes, most of those who live here travel by foot or on horseback (or muleback).  

12 December 2018

A different sort of bridge

     On a recent trip down NIC-71, we visited a small riverside village off to the side.  Out first plan was to picnic and swim but recent heavy rains made that an uncomfortable prospect.  So we wandered a bit through the section of the small community that was closest to the river and actually made it across the river...although not by swimming.
     We got to the other side by walking across this bridge - a footbridge for those with two or four feet.

07 December 2018

Coconuts are not created equal

     Some are green...

     ...and some are yellow.

     Under their colored outer coat, they are all brown and hairy.  I have been told that the different varieties of coconuts are good for different things, but not much of what I've been told has sunk in.

01 December 2018

A new roof

     Although this type of roof is supposed to last for up to fifteen years, early on we had some wind damage which shortened its lifespan.  And although we had patched from time to time, we were losing the fight.  
     So in June we just put a new one on.  From the outside there's very little visible difference.  From the inside it's more obvious and for the first few weeks after the new roof was put on the scent of the fresh leaf was like new mown hay...a treat we could smell before we pulled up at the pier.