LAS TORTUGAS

We have a few building lots left. Email us at lastortugasatfalsebluff@gmail.com for information.

30 December 2021

 


A SPECIAL KIND OF ZOYSIA


WHERE IT BEGAN

     So - after clearing, and after beginning to plant coconut trees, the shrubby undergrowth kept coming back…fast.  A lot of time was spent chopping the damned stuff down....a lot of time we considered wasted, since there was so much other stuff to do.



    I remembered having seen a very thick grass that grows on at least one of Nicaragua’s islands. The stuff seemed to inhibit unwanted growth...where the grass grew, undergrowth didn't. The grass would be a beautiful solution to both the brush and the work problem.

Bright green, tough, and beautiful but nowhere near False Bluff. But I found a small patch in the front yard of a school in Bluefields, only eight miles away from our place - a whole lot closer than the island. And what was in the school yard had followed cracks down the retaining wall into cracks in the sidewalk…a public area.  I figured the bit of grass in the public right of way was free for the taking.  And so I did…


     But the amount I considered free for the taking, truly was a ‘bit’ of grass.  I harvested enough to have made two footballs. Then I separated that into tiny pieces and planted each small piece in a box. Rather than two footballs I had two small boxes.

Once the boxed pieces had established themselves, I removed and planted each (still tiny…we’re talking just a few weeks here) on the leeward side at the base of coconut trees, old and young.  The grass has an affinity for coconut trees, massing at their bases; and the leeward position gave protection from the ever blowing breeze/wind off the sea while the grass took hold. This is how it began, one or two small plugs at a time.

A young tree gets one

(The stuff on the right side is a weed grass)



This old tree gets two 


     The grass grows in an interesting starburst pattern, one section extending from one tree, reaching out to knit itself with a section at the base of another tree.  (I’d never seen it at its beginning.)  As each section stabilized, we cut 4” plugs out of the more well developed turf and transplanted these plugs at the base of our increasing coconut tree plantation.  




     And 'knit' really does describe what the stuff does. It forms a tough mat, similar to a scrubbing pad, but it's comfortable to walk on, even barefoot.  Also it turns out the fire ants hate it, so that’s one pest gone; and snakes don’t like it, so that’s another pest gone.  Neither the ants nor the snakes can navigate through it - they have to travel over it….something they don’t do.



     In addition to being very good at holding soil, right up to the water’s edge, it's drought resistant so that when every other low growing plant turns brown during the dry season, this stuff is so emerald green it seems to glow. 


WHERE IT IS NOW


Incredible stuff.....









25 December 2021

Coconut Trees, First In

      We have a sizeable piece of property on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.  When we first ventured there, there were old coconut trees and some sea grape plants…but mostly there was scrub so thick that moving into it was like stepping into an oven…it blocked every sea breeze.  And it was scratchy.


We concentrated on clearing and planting the northernmost section, something done with machetes…and very labor intensive.  Initially we planted only coconut trees.  At first we bought young trees in Bluefields, eight miles away.  But as we cleared around mature trees that were already there, those trees dropped coconuts into spaces we had cleared. And the cleared areas allowed those big seeds - coconuts - to germinate and grow.

So we began transplanting home-grown babies instead of buying plants somewhere else.  And then we set the un-sprouted coconuts in areas conducive to sprouting, supplying ourselves with a seemingly endless supply of baby trees, which we then planted.

And then those baby trees grew big enough to drop more coconuts and on and on it went…on and on it still goes.



And this is what we have now.





07 September 2021

August Turtle Hatch

 Something seldom seen out on the Bluff is a nest of sea turtles hatching.  The Bluff is a beautiful, but harsh environment and very few people live out there.  The people that do live on the Bluff are sometimes seasonal farmers but some may set up camp to walk the beach in search of "treasure".  A beached turtle is easy prey and money.  Most nests are easily located and the eggs are dug up and sold at the market.  This is life on the Miskito Coast.

We occasionally hear rumors of a nest hatching nearby and we have found old turtle egg shells left over from hatches when out walking.  A couple weeks ago we were sent a video of a turtle hatch that occurred at False Bluff.  Windy night time video, it is what it is and not much more details than that.  Hopefully a good sign though!







   

Clearing and Sea Grapes

 When the farms were cleared, some Sea Grapes were selectively left to grow.  The farms had very dense vegetation and there were not a lot of large trees out there except for some old Coconuts.

Since the clearing and the removal of the smaller vegetation the selected Sea Grapes have been able to grow better and have become noticeably larger.  

17 August 2021

Farm Update

Just a quick update.  Pandemic is still going on.  Now its the delta variant.  Looking like this might be endemic.  Been to long since we have been able to travel.  Looks like a trip will be made very soon.  Lots of stuff to get done.  The farms are being well cared for and look great.





03 August 2021

How Much Does the Rainy Season Weigh?

 During a recent conversation someone asked how much it rains on the east coast of Nicaragua?  We talked about the difference between the rainy season (a whole lot of rain) and the dry season (still some rain).  I was informed some smart people had actually calculated the weight of a cloud.  So I had to check that out.

Link - Cloud Weight


The clouds building up during the day provide some beautiful landscapes.



So if you didn't want to click the link above a cloud weighs " about 500,000 kilograms or 1.1 million pounds (about 551 tons) ".


20 July 2021

New Visitor

 Travel has been really difficult during the pandemic.  Luckily we are still getting some visitors out at the farm.  This little one was curious enough to get right up by the house.




29 June 2021

So many places to see, cant wait until we can travel freely again!



 

01 June 2021

Clearing South FaB #3

 Just a final video summary of the clean up.  Everything is looking really good with the selective cutting.  Once the Seagrapes are cleared around they really start growing in quickly.  The coconuts have added some decent height also.



25 May 2021

Clearing South FaB #2

After all the hard work is done its time to get rid of the piles.  Hopefully one day in the future we can implement methods to utilize all the vegetation debris.  The constant deposit of beach trash will be harder to resolve.





The big boss making sure everything gets done correctly.

18 May 2021

Clearing South FaB #1

 Everyone is all vaccinated and hopefully we will able to head down soon.  Lots of work to get done and the list is longer than ever.  Although we haven't been able to travel, work is still getting done.  The two southern farms are still being cleared, cleaned, and planted.




10 May 2021

Fishing Rod Transport

For a town that sits on a bay, it's really hard to find fishing equipment in the stores.  Most of the fishing that gets done is with a hand-line or nets.  There are a few fishing rods around and people are very careful with them.  With all the beach and lagoon we don't have any fishing rods.  We have purchased some surf rods and reels and they are waiting to be carried down on the next trip, not shipped since even break-down surf rods are to long for shipping barrels.

Will be looking forward to family and guests sitting under our coconut trees getting some surf fishing done.


04 May 2021

New Road, New Town

 There will be a lot of changes with the new road being completed to Bluefields.  One of the changes are the new homes and towns popping up along the route.  Rumor had it that there was a new place selling really good Nacatamals so everyone decided to take a road trip to see the new asentamiento / settlement and get some Nacatamals.


The settlement had put a lot of work into building a new school so our family bought some paint and went back out and donated it to the school.



27 April 2021

Early Morning Shopping

An early morning picture of vendors setting out their fresh produce in the Central District before the busy business hours.



20 April 2021

Miskito not Mosquito

When we first started visiting Bluefields the Police Headquarters was located in the Central District across from the jail.  The HQ was a very old historic building that needed a lot of work.  The building used to be the home to the King of the Miskito Kingdom.

Miskito People - worth a read, some really great history in this area.

The building was completely rebuilt and turned into a museum.  It was being finished and getting ready to open during our last visit before the pandemic.  We are looking forward to getting back in town and visiting the museum.


  

13 April 2021

The Cathedral in Bloom

 There are more than one Roman Catholic Churches in Bluefields.  Everyone calls this one "The Cathedral".  It has a very nice open-air church for services, a school with gymnasium, and sometimes hold public concerts.  This if one of the nicer Fire Trees in bloom in the Central District.



06 April 2021

Free Range Benefits

 Some free range benefits.  The neighborhood herd keeps the grass freshly clipped.  They provide speed enforcement in the residential areas.  Help to fill the potholes . . .




30 March 2021

Chap Suey!

 Chap Suey is a popular dish that can be ordered at almost every restaurant in Bluefields.  It fits well into the Caribbean cuisine and is kind of the alternative to the daily serving of gallo pinto or beans and rice.



23 March 2021

Bay Buddy

This fella has learned to hang around the docks and wait for handouts from the fishermen.  He isn't shy and always seems curious when people are loading boats.


Just checking us out before we head out to the farms.



16 March 2021

Building Supply Barrel #2

 Barrel #2 has been packed and is ready to ship down to Bluefields.  A Bluefields native who lives part time in FL has a business delivering empties and picking up and then shipping to Bluefields full ones.  He travels up and down the coast from FL to NY.  Excellent service.  Once in Bluefields he can and does usually deliver the 46" tall full barrel wherever you want it to go.  We provide him with a list of contents with photos and another for the end point delivery.  Some of what went into the barrel, rug, sheets, cookware, hardware, towel rods, ceiling fan, bathroom mirrors...and more.

The above picture shows everything that has been documented and wrapped before you start playing the Tetris packing game.


Finished and ready for pick-up.

09 March 2021

The Pandemic Pause

 Is there an end in sight?  Will the world start to normalize?  Vaccines have been taken and its hopeful the pause button will be released and the play button on the Nicaragua project will be pressed soon.  Trips have been missed and friends haven't been seen in to long.  

But the regular flights are still being cancelled and pushed back.  Even with vaccines there are still questions about testing procedures and quarantines.  The task list is long and so much needs to be done.  We will look forward to regular updates once the forward progress resumes again.

We are ready and waiting . . . 


You may have never seen a travel carry-on bag packed this way.  The above picture shows the hard to get electrical components needed for the cabins electrical systems (plus some small gifts for missed friends).  Its packed and ready to take through TSA check points.  I'm sure it will all make it through customs since it doesn't look suspicious at all . . .