Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home again, Jiggity Jog

Ahh, so grand to be home! The monkeys welcomed us, scrambling about the Hog Plum Trees in the front yard, munching away on ripe fruit. Smart rascals, they reach out to pinch fruits to find the ripe ones!

And sweet Samantha Najarro, who took care of our house while we were away, had dinner ready for us when we arrived, so welcome after getting up at 4:30 am to catch the 6:30 flight to Bocas . Sam, who is officially house sitting next door, slept alone at our house, keeping it safe, and leaving her friend, Jenn Ambrose, also to sleep alone. Both said they heard new jungle sounds -- all night long -- for the first few nights. While here, Sam even caught geckos to feed Bob, Carl's False Coral Snake, who lives in an aquarium on the porch.

Of course, we're now back at work on our Perpetual Projects, our decadent city days behind us for a while. Carl has been scraping old vinyl from Camryka's ceiling panels, prepping them for new vinyl. I bought the vinyl in David on my recent shopping spree -- along with a boatload of supplies from Pricesmart (Latin division of Costco) and other shops where items are much cheaper than in Bocas. Purchases arrive via Toby's Transport Service, a big truck which makes the 4-hour journey across the high mountains from Pacific to Atlantic, to the end of the road in Almirante, then about an hour by ferry to Bocas where we load all in our panga (open motor boat.)

We filled a couple of 5-gallon jugs with gasoline and exchanged 2 empty propane tanks for full ones and headed south for 8 miles, lucky the sea is calm with such a full boat. At our dock, we call a couple of Ngobe-Bugle Indians guys who live in the nearby village. Happy to earn a bit of cash, they make short work of carrying everything up our 60 foot hill and up the stairs to our home. We really couldn't live here without these good fellows.

And then comes storage. All our years aboard sv Camryka taught us to be hoarders -- if you see it and need it, buy it now, buy 12, since you don't know when you might be back, and it may not be there next time. We only go 2-3 times a year to David for stocking up and once a week, at most, to Bocas for fresh veggies and dairy products. An 8.1 cubic feet chest freezer that operates on 12 volts allows us to buy meats, fish, flour, nuts... in David, and even to buy extra veggies in Bocas. If winds, heavy rains, or lightening make the trip to town dangerous or uncomfortable, we don't go. Fewer trips means less gas, too, as the panga uses 3.5 gallons, costing about $15.

My project this week has been making black mesh curtains for the back porch, the only sewing I've done.The mesh, another David item, typically shades plants at nurseries. Here it blocks late afternoon sun, heavy winds and rain. We've had it on the front porch for 2 years as the house faces prevailing winds from the northwest. But occasionally we get a southerly wind which roars into my "sewing room'' on the back porch. The new screens block the morning sun from bags of ripening oranges, stalks of bananas, and more importantly, shade the freezer for a little less power consumption!

Emilio, Gardener Extraordinaire, chopped down a dead lemon tree yesterday, and he's caught up with mowing cleared areas and trails which got a bit behind during his annual 4 weeks vacation. He uses a lawn mower on reasonably flat ares, a weed eater on steep hills, and, like most of the Indians, relies heavily on his machete for trimming. For four years, Emilio has planted and planted and planted, bringing delightful additions from the villagers' gardens and surrounding jungle. He works unsupervised, has a good eye. Yes, a landscape artist could do better, and a little supervision wouldn't hurt, but, me, I'd rather be sewing ;)