Friday, August 30, 2013

Free For All Friday ~ Culebra

If you've ever had a garage/yard sale, you know how, at the end, you just say, ok, I'm done, everything is going! That's sort of what is happening here. Tomorrow I leave for a month in Michigan and there has been some tidying up to do, here there and everywhere (if that signaled a song in your head, it's a good one!). So instead of food, I'm serving up a photographic mish mash of the last couple of days before I head to a colder country. And with sweat pouring down my cheeks, I'm looking forward to just that! As forward as I'll look to coming home. Because home is where my heart is, and my heart belongs to Culebra.

Thanks, Universe! The skies have been so beautiful lately.

Of course you have an opinion!

The police have been making a big presence around here lately. I, for one, say Welcome!

Must feed fish scraps to tarpon! "This is my favorite part of my job," says Michelle.

Cat wins. This time.

I went to Melones to watch the sunset when suddenly 'Hey BAAABY!' rang out. Brad was visiting from St. John and had a crew with him, Brad hugs are like free ice cream in your favorite flavor; it's always good to see such a smiling face (and you too, Leslie!). I left the not so young kids to party on. I had a Scrabble game to play (and got skunked, there WILL be more games!)

Guinea hens in the brush. Not so clear but they move fast!

Weather incoming. Do you see what I see?

Bird on a wire. A crazy bunch of wires actually.

A swim is in order before heading north. We went to Tamarindo, all gussied up due to the hard work of many adults and children. Thank you. I felt under dressed.

We didn't resist a need to Culebracize it.

Capt. Pat. Just because.

And the sun goes down on Culebra town.

Next will be pie in the sky photos and a small town up by big lakes. Or not so small, it's going to be all new to me, except for the welcoming sight of Linda, Mackey and the cats. Am I too old to start a band called Mackey and the Cats? Will someone do that, por favor?

There is going to be a regatta here this weekend, try to get to it if you can. Boris the Russian, Palito from Fajardo and others will be sailing to win. I expect photos!!

Have a frolicking Friday night (and a SAFE Labor Day weekend!). Do something free for all.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hibiscus ~ If You Must Belong to a Club

There is something about the hibiscus blossom that catches most eyes, be it the simple and oh so common single petal red or the dinner-plate-sized multi-colored hybrid. I'm sure those people are out there, but I've never heard anyone say 'I don't like hibiscus flowers.' Their brightness, with deeply colored centers, that brilliant yellow pistil on so many of them; most humans are drawn like kids to swings.

Hibiscus belong to the 'here today, gone tomorrow' family of blooms. From the tightly closed bud to the blossom, and then, once again, closed, a frankly unattractive blown beauty past its prime all too quickly. Almost ephemeral in the rolling seasons, yet seemingly, at least in our tropical clime, always there. Plus, they are edible!

From Hidden Valley Hibiscus:

photo credit: unknown (source)
Tea makers report that all parts of the hibiscus plant can be used, but that the flowers make a sweeter tea, and the leaves make a more astringent tea. Hibiscus tea was traditionally used to soothe or help a variety of ailments, from coughs and skin diseases to high blood pressure, gallbladder attacks, heart disease, and even some cancers. Whether these claims have any basis in science or fact, we have no idea. It is known that hibiscus leaves and flowers do contain certain antioxidants, such as flavanoids, and proanthocyanidins, and have a kind of diuretic effect on at least some animals. There have even been a few recent medical studies with animals on the effects of using Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers as a treatment for certain medical conditions because of these antioxidants, some with successful results.

Over at Zaco's Taco's you can try hibiscus tea or have it in a margarita, just in case you want to experiment before plucking all the petals off your neighbor's hibiscus plant.

Interested in finding out more? Check this out. And remember, there are a lot of varieties  of hibiscus! If they can be grown in the UK, you can probably grow them where ever you are. Well, unless you live in Antarctica, in which case you'll have to do more reading on your own anyway.

Have a try-out Thursday! Do something taste full.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What a Wonderful World

It is always when I'm feeling my spirit spiraling downward with the sometimes almost crushing weight of the state of the planet we've landed on that something like this video from Playing for Change (a very special site) comes along, a lifesaving buoy tossed out by the universe to catch and to hold, to re-make smiles and flash brilliant light into any depth of darkness. Wars and steadily loudening drumbeats of potential wars, the pillaging of the earth for obscene profits don't go away, but fade for awhile in the knowledge that one to one to one we still bring each other joy, that beauty is still to be found spilling out all around us. That's a very good thing.

Have a wonderful world Wednesday. Do something wide-awake.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ The Forestiere Underground Gardens

First of all, a disclaimer - this is not a tiny home, as it stretches over 10 acres, though not all actual 'house' acres. On my way to checking up on some tiny home subjects, I came across this place, first on Root Simple and then on a variety of sites, including the Forestiere site itself.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to find out and was drawn down enough cyber paths to decide this home, this life has something applicable to a movement that embraces minimalism and I wanted to share it.

One day I'll go see this place and take my own photos; in the meantime, I used photos that were available as long as they were not used for commercial or personal profit.

Baldassare Forestiere came to the US from Sicily, landing in Fresno, California, having saved enough to buy some land, hoping to farm it as he had done in his native home. Instead, he realized he'd bought land that was basically hardpan, totally unsuitable for growing much of anything and in a blisteringly hot climate as well. So, in 1906 he started to dig. He dug and built, by hand, for the next 40 years until his death, creating over 100 carved out rooms and courtyards and gardens, kumquats, quinces, dates and grapes among other fruits, with some plantings as unusual as his home, such as multi-grafted citrus trees, bearing oranges, grapefruits and lemons on the same tree. Gardens? Under the ground? Well, in a sense.

He had summer and winter bedrooms, a kitchen area, and a bathing area. He built, with no more formal training than his visual knowledge of the Roman architecture of the Mediterranean, stone arches that have held up for over 100 years now.

There was an overhead aquarium, and peep holes scattered around that let him look out onto ground level without being seen. Oh, I would have loved to have met this man!

Using native stone and hand tools (no explosives), by the time he died in 1946 he estimated he'd spent about $300.00 on materials. Since his death, his family, now the third generation, have maintained and kept the gardens open to the public for tours.

Why did I choose this over a tiny home? Because here was a man in a country not his own, who'd saved enough money to buy land that he was ready to work hard to farm and it had to have been a huge disappointment to discover that original plan was not going to happen. But he turned his back on his disappointment and went, literally, in a direction most likely unimaginable to those who watched what must have seemed a laughable folly. Instead, he created something of rare and unique beauty, raised a family along with his grapes and oranges, pomegranates and other crops and gave a family, a town and a country someone and something to be proud of and preserve.

I don't think many people who live in places different from a suburban or urban norm haven't been asked the how's and why's of making a choice to live off the more well worn paths, and I think most of the time the answer is something Joseph Campbell expressed well when he said "Follow your bliss." He also said, as a friend reminded me yesterday, "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."

So if you want a tiny home, or to dig an underground wonderland, or to live on an island or to live on a boat or a mountain or someplace you have never been, think about Baldassare Forestiere, who turned what he didn't have into what he really wanted. Baldassare said, "To make something with lots of money, that is easy. To make something out of nothing, now that is something." That's not a bad way to spend a lifetime.
"To make something with lots of money that is easy— But to make something out of nothing... now that is something." - See more at:
"To make something with lots of money that is easy— But to make something out of nothing... now that is something." - See more at:'s not a bad way to spend a lifetime.

Have a toil to tangible triumph Tuesday. Do something tenaciously.

p.s. To get driving directions to the Forestiere Underground Gardens, go here


Monday, August 26, 2013


Common sights in different settings. That's almost all I know to say about this.

Can you get more common than a rabbit? But a rabbit on Culebra? Yes, it's an survivalist escapee and will be the last of its kind. Good on ya, rabbit!

Have a more than mandatory Monday. Do something mysteriously  mightier than the minimum.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Let's Do Something Different

Ok, that was a joke, remember where I live? It was Friday afternoon so it was Dinghy Dock, Two Doug's and a Mariel for me. Oh, I could have done something else, but this is my favorite time of year for Friday nights, because there aren't crowds of people. You can hear the music and the conversation at the same time. There's plenty of space to sit or wander and still plenty of people to enjoy seeing and chatting with. 

If you can guess what this is, you win the prize...of being correct.
A welcome musician sits in
I had to leave for awhile since CWIM and the chickens have yet to figure out how to feed themselves. On the way back, these three filled my eyes. Transportation modes of various sorts; we've got it.

Back at the bar, a dinner was served. Culebra, where some intrusive woman stops a very nice man in the midst of his first bite of deliciousness to photograph his food...and he doesn't stab said photog with his fork. I love this place.

I can't wait for scratch 'n' sniff shots. But, if you've eaten this, you can smell it right now, can't you?

I don't know why some times the music, instruments and voices both, climb further inside your soul, each note having a little spotlight behind it, but it happens. This wasn't one of, just joking again. It was one of those times. Shine on, music folk!

Have a self service Saturday. Do something splendidly.