Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Always Round Up!

It's been a busy week around Culebra, well, at least in my unbusy world. Free solar lanterns, Dinghy Dock opened for the season, lots of new things blooming and cooler days. Which helps when standing in line for a free solar lantern.

Another season!
A flash rainbow for a moment of smiling

I didn't know about this giveaway (and still don't know much about the players, except the Mayor and others from the Municipality were there with people I'd never seen before) until I got a text from a friend saying 'Free solar lamps being given away at the basketball court, now'. I was in town on a friend's porch so off we went, that minute. But apparently the word was out because when we got there, there were plenty ahead of us. 

We signed our names on the dotted line, behind a lot of other names. I did some ambling, asking people I thought were more in the know than myself, asking what was the process and where were the boxes of lights. No one knew much but one person did know they were on a truck, on the ferry, and should be arriving soon. No one knew if we were getting a glow stick of the kind that goes in your yard or something with a solar panel. It turned out to be in between. 

The truck showed up. The boxes showed up. 

One at a time our names were read and we went up to claim our lamps. Handy sized, with a telescopic barrel in a barrel light, with the solar bit on top, it can also be used as a flash light, located on the bottom. And it has a phone charger too! 

Most everyone stayed, with lots of visiting going on. It was sort of like Christmas, except instead of Santa calling out kids names, we were the kids. It was a fun couple of hours. Thanks, powers that be, light is always good. Thanks, Sarah, for the head's up!

It's sea grape time. Twice I've seen boaters stop along the canal wall where a tree drapes over loaded with sea grapes. I wanted to ask what they are used for but it's a bit of a tricky business keeping a boat on the wall with fast currents going through, so I left them to it. There are plenty of recipes for them, from jelly to wine. I keep saying one year I'm going to do one of those things, probably the jelly. Maybe I will.

Or maybe I'll go for sea grape margaritas instead?

From SuwanneeRose (link above) - I won't steal her photo but the color is really gorgeous!

For the Sea Grape Simple Syrup
  1. 3 cups sea grapes
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1 cup sugar
For One Sea Grape Margarita
  1. lime wedges
  2. coarse salt and/or sugar, for the rims
  3. 2 1/2 ounces sea grape syrup
  4. 2 ounces tequila
  5. 3 ounces lime juice
  6. splash of Grand Marnier (optional)
  1. Bring the sea grapes and water to a boil in a pot over medium heat, smashing occasionally with a potato masher or a large spoon to separate the fruit from the seeds. Reduce the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Place a mesh strainer over a large measuring cup or bowl. Pour the liquid through the strainer, but don't force the fruit through. Return the liquid to the pot along with the sugar and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Pour it into a jar or measuring cup and allow it to cool.
To make the margaritas
  1. First, pour salt and/ or sugar on a small plate (wide enough for your glass rim). Run a lime wedge along the rim of the glass, then dip it in the salt or sugar.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the sea grape syrup, tequila, lime juice, and Grand Marnier. Shake it up and strain into the glass. Repeat.

Hanging out on the bridge
It's rare for me to walk over our bridge and not appreciate the look and technology of it. But then, I do have a bit of a bridge obsession, as anyone who has traveled with me knows. Rare too is the ability to stand in the middle of the road and take bridge photos. Another Culebra thing.

A couple of weeks ago when walking by the old dock gazebo, there was a big pile of trash and it was looking a bit sad. But now, it's all spiffed up for the holidays, AND there is a freshly painted trash barrel there. So far, so good!

It's really starting to feel like our version of Fall here, the sky in the day is that brilliant blue and at night the air is crisp much less humid than it has been. Ahhhhhhh!

Plying the bay
Just because they make me happy
This has felt like a nice slow build up to the Beaver Moon
(which is full tonight)

Zipping around the bay at moonrise,
viewed from another housesitting hill
Moon over Culebra

Ready for a close up
Don't forget to check out the full moon rise tonight. It's been beautiful for days now and I imagine tonight will be even better.

Have a teachable Tuesday. Do something thoughtfully.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Catching Up in Culebra Time

Technology rules. And I don't mean that in a homecoming queen way, I mean it really does rule! As in, out on the houseboat, how long it takes to upload a photo or video or say, a blog post. Or, more accurately, how long means it is almost never. But here at Housesitting Hill, there is Wifi so here we go!! I think.

First, it's been hot. Really hot. The kind of hot that makes your face feel like it's melting. Because it is. And it's been still. Lake/mirror/flat/beyond calm still. The intermittent breeze comes along and changes everything from your mood to your skin. We've even gotten some showers, usually followed by flat calm and steam rising from the streets. And then there was the wave of Sahara dust, making all that hot flatness stranger still, and grittier. 

Believe it or not, this isn't really a complaint, it's just how it is. I could be living in a jungle or a city or a small town in Nebraska - ok, maybe not a small town in Nebraska, no offense, Nebraskans, no ocean there - and I'm fortunate enough to live here instead. So as ever, look for the beauty, it's everywhere!

I have a lot of kayakers in the bay where I live.
This was a good early morning for them.
A number of these have been on Facebook, but I know there are people who read this who don't use that platform, so if it's a repeat for you, sorry!

I'm always amazed to be reading or cooking, some enjoyable but mundane thing
and happen to glance out the door. Sometimes it literally makes me stumble.
There are some beautiful mangroves, sometimes in front of me, sometimes behind me, depending on the breeze or lack of breeze. Sometimes I don't even realize the houseboat has turned around. These photos are on the same day, at different times. I don't get tired of it. 


After a shower


Late afternoon. I was blinded by the light. 
Where ever in the world you were for the full moon rise, I hope you had a clear sky to see it, it was spectacular. I didn't use my real camera because I couldn't load ifrigging technology never mind 

A couple of oh my glory sky moments.

There was a wonderful market, put on by Proyecto SEVA (this link is the English translation, it can easily be switched to read in the original Spanish) that brought out our local artists, with paintings and textiles and plants and food. I brought home hot sauce from Digna, a boat from Jose (to purchase history is soul satisfaction) and a handcrafted bowl from Walt, made from our local acacia wood. There was much, much more to choose from and lots of people went away happy. This is just a sampling of what was on offer. 

Sue Zinkowsi with her prints and paintings. 

Liz with her hand done mola. She had a few more
really beautiful pieces and I heard they all sold!

Kate always has something for everyone.

Walt and Matt with their crafts. 

I'm guessing these are from plants the kids grow at the school.

It was a wonderful way to start the morning and I hope there is a repeat this winter for all the people who I know wish they'd been able to make this one. Bravo to all involved. 

From another perspective later on in the day, a day that the air was cooler and the breeze was consistently and gently blowing. It almost felt like an early winter day, Culebra style. 

It was clear enough to see the top of El Yunque.
After the days of dust, the clarity seemed even sharper.

It doesn't show here, but there were, on this 3 day weekend,
LOTS of boats zipping back and forth.
Being outside was the place to be.

The sun was still high but the light was changing.

The day drew beautifully to its closing
Most people I know here are outside a lot. We notice and comment on even the slightest shifts in the weather, because we feel them. We barely have to, but do excuse sweaty faced hugs and pay attention when we're not dripping wet. It's a good way to live and it doesn't mean we don't want to stay in the Post Office or any other air conditioned place just a little bit longer than our errand requires; we're weird but we ARE human! So as this season winds down, I won't mind a lowering of the temperature, seeing different things blooming, greeting old friends who will start trickling in over the next month or two or three. For now, it's just keeping my eyes open through the sweat in them and shifting mental gears to the good around me. 

Have a tantalizing Tuesday. Do something tireless.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Views from a New Housesitting Hill

But first! On a walk with a mission, here's a reminder to look around. Lots of things are blooming! 

If I had a yard, I would plant this in any place ground cover is needed. I can't imagine this is a wild plant here, it looks like rose moss to me and that it seems to be in these two thriving patches on the side of the road is one of those little Culebra mysteries I don't need to solve. 

The other surprise is that the photo of the flowers whose proper Latin name is firecracker flowers that I posted the other day also come in yellow. 

High up on a hill, someone is growing some glorious orchids. Any long time reader of this blog knows that the ease of growing orchids here is amazing, basically stick them in or on a shady tree, give them a good spray of water once a day (ore in the case below, whenever the Universe feels like it) and Beauty!

I was still in my looking up mode when I saw this fish, hanging on an old pipe. It looks like he's been content there for a quite awhile, long may he wave.

Ok, the main event.

It's always fun to see the island from a different perspective, something house and critter sitting gives me. With cats and dogs that are mellow, it is easy to enjoy the views. 

I got out here in mid-afternoon and the play of light on the water had me hoping for a good sunset. How good was it, MJ? You'll see.

After playing with the dogs and having some bonding time - that means me feeding them treats - we did a walkabout. I came back to get my camera, they came back to get out of the pretty intense heat. 

Late afternoon view
More playing, cat and dog dinner time, more eating - me, this time, and lots of glances at the setting sun. Of course, it's always when you turn your back for a fleeting second that the magic has occurred and there it is!

There were a lot of light permutations but you get the idea, it was pretty outstanding. 

This morning, with the sun up but the heat of the day not yet kicked in, it was altered once again, a colossal cloud overwhelming the water and town and sky. 

Looking yardward is this perfect little flamboyant tree, in the midst of shades of green. Green from the leaves, green from the grass, green from the bush beyond, protected by the browns of textured rocks once in the earth some other place. I can imagine how it must look in bloom, those brilliant flaming flowers. I can wait.

Hiding from the sun seems like a plan for today, out here in the country. After the walk above, the day before yesterday, I got back and the first person I saw thought I'd gone swimming. It wasn't a good look and that is not being self-deprecating. 

Have an un-Saharan Saturday. Do something soothing.