27 October 2023

Not sure how much this will help

Since usually by the time you can discern the details, chances are pretty good you could care less whether you're dealing with an alligator or a crocodile...and Nicaragua has both.   


But to satisfy any curiosity you might have - before you come across one of these - there's a lot of good information to be had in the link below.  As  pointed out in the link, there's a surprisingly lot of difference between alligators and crocodiles.  The best thing to do, though, is to concentrate on how to avoid either: 


21 October 2023

Passion Flower

This plant has one of the - if not the - most unusual blossoms anywhere in the world.  It's in the genus 'passiflora' so named by Christian missionaries because the flower is said to resemble the cross on which Jesus died.  I've never seen the similarity myself but it is an outstanding flower.  The plant was, so the story goes, discovered in the late 1500s in Peru by a Spaniard named Nicolas Monardes Alfaro.  The plant was later introduced into Europe in the 1600s

It's a complicated plant in that although it's usually a vigorous vine it can also be a shrub or a tree.  Among other oddities, the leaves on the same plant can be different shapes.  However, the flowers on one plant don't change colors regardless of the different leaf shapes.  If the vine - or whatever - has one red flower then all the flowers on that plant (in that family) will be red.  

Passion flowers range in color from red to pink to blue to purple to green to white to yellow....or a combination thereof.  I've actually seen only a few but enjoy the ones I have come across - and I've enjoyed the photos of the ones I'll probably never come across.  This one we grow at False Bluff.  It's a vine with not only a beautiful flower but a delicious fruit:

Note:  The link below is to an NIH study on the medicinal benefits of passiflora if you're so inclined.  There are lots of studies, mostly small.  I chose NIH because it's familiar...and that's important to some people.

13 October 2023

What's its name ?

This plant has more names than usual:  Cuban or Caribbean oregano, Mexican or soup or Indian mint although it's also known as Indian borage, Spanish or broadleaf thyme, and Vicks plant.  Got no idea where Vicks plant came from since I detect no menthol scent at all.  

The plant even has two botanical names:  Plectranthus amboinicus or Coleus amboinicus.

But it's a member of the mint family.  It's not a coleus, it's not an oregano, it's not borage, and it's not thyme.

I first encountered it in a friend's yard in Bluefields...shown here:

After a bit of a search online I found it and now have it in Virginia...shown here...

...and here

The color differences shown in the photos is real.  The plant in Bluefields has a slight blue tinge but the Bluefields plant is in full tropical sun and my plant is inside where it's growing well.  

Some people in full tropical sun have been known to turn red.  Maybe plants have a different reaction.

If I had to pick a name based on scent alone, I'd go with strong oregano scent.  Further, the leaves are edible, fresh or dried.  Chopped fresh leaves are said to be good in a salad or a marinade.  It's used mostly with poultry, lamb, or beef.  It's used in stuffing - again, either fresh or dried.  And I understand from people in Nicaragua who are familiar with it, the leaves, fresh or dried, make a good tea.

Its list of medicinal uses is - amazingly - longer than its list of names.

08 October 2023

More supplies heading to False Bluff

We have previously sent large plastic barrels full-to-the-brim of things, new and used, that will be useful in general and specifically to finish and furnish our first two rental cabins which are near completion.  This barrel, which will leave Virginia soon for its trip south,  has the usual mixture of stuff.

Two important items are Westinghouse commercial ceiling fans...the same type of fan that I've used in my home for years.  The current US administration might not want us to have - or to use - ceiling fans of any sort, but we're not going to do without them in the tropics.  

False Bluff is isolated and what electricity we have is provided by solar panels which will support ceiling fans but not A/C.  Each cabin has an almost constant breeze from the Caribbean through really big front windows so those windows plus the fans are all that will be needed.

The fans, by plan and necessity, were the first things to be loaded and I hit a snag right at the start of loading the barrel.  The boxes, taped together, barely fit into the opening but when it came to lifting them plus the barrel I couldn't handle the combined weight.  However, I've got a really nice neighbor who lifted fans and barrel together like he was picking up a tennis ball.

Although the fans were first in they cerainly weren't the only items going.  Other stuff was packed along the sides and across the top of the boxed fans. Finally full to overflowing.  With some shoving, the pillow will 'collapse' enough for us to get the top on and locked.

02 October 2023


Nicaragua has a lot of volcanoes and they're not all dead.  

There are 23 volcanoes in a country about the size of New York state.  Almost without exception the volcanoes are on the western, or Pacific, side of the country.  Of the 23, only two are on the east:  Tambor and Azul.

Tambor, listed as extinct, seems to be near Monkey Point south of False Bluff.

Azul, listed as inactive for about 10 thousand years, is in the coastal plane of the eastern side of Nicaragua...the Caribbean side.  Azul is pretty much engulfed in a dense forest and wasn't even discovered until about 50 years ago by an aerial survey...before any 'casual' use of drones.  

As seen in the photo here, Azul is not too far from False Bluff.  A day trip to Pearl Lagoon is quick and easy - but my guess that actually getting to the site of the volcano from Pearl Lagoon would not be easy.

Here is where the other 21 volcanoes are:

...and a list of all of them:  https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/nicaragua.html