Monday, March 31, 2014

Feelin' Wavy

I see beautiful water every day but I don't hear it all of the time. Water people need to hear as well as see and feel the water. I guess if you are a mountain person, you need to smell the trees and hear the, that's just a guess, if you're a mountain person, tell me what you really need. I like mountains, but I don't need them. Hills will do. With water rolling to the base of them. Like here.

It was the luring, crazy winds of afternoon that drew me beachward
And it was waves like this that kept me around for awhile

We were all headin' for the barn
Ensenada Honda seemed so calm and quiet
Ok, we weren't all headed for the barn
Always a pretty sight
Then I had to come back this morning, addiction can be a beautiful thing. The waves weren't as booming, but they were still beautiful. And there is a force here, a life force that opens a day in ways better than...a lot of other ways.

Spindrift (which might be my second favorite English word in the world)
All that glitters...glitters.

I was low in the morning sky sundazed and while I thought I was going to swim a bit, the water felt cold without much warmth on it yet. Home again home again. Wave on. Wave off.

Have a more than man-made Monday. Do something mystical.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cold on Culebra

The achoo! sniffle have tissues nearby sort, not the temperature - though I've been cold here plenty of times - yep, I'm a weather wussy and proud of it. While well on its way out today, enough germs linger to have me stay close to home(s), except today, the sun is shining from the start, blinding me at the moment as if it is closer than it should be.

A perfect cold, like a perfect storm, is a combination of things, most of them not so good but somewhat fascinating nonetheless. With a perfect cold, the weather should come in a matching outfit, bleary, smeary and not nice at all.

Only a little blue was left in the sky as I went to feed my own critters. Perfect. I think my own cat and the housesitting cat felt a little sorry for me, cuddling close, which in a perfect cold is a must ingredient.

Water spouts formed. Not enough to suck the perfect cold from me, but it was imaginable.

Did I mention towering thunderheads? See the lower thunderheads? Then there were these massive monsters. Surely the sky would open up like a whacked melon.
It didn't. There did arise a wind that literally blew over one of the chairs on the deck (mild drama being another prerequisite for the perfect cold). About 2,852 raindrops fell, swooped enough by the wind to have to shut the door. Thirty minutes later it happened again. By then, I'd decided that the only thing needed now was soup. And I just happened to have some.

This was frozen, leftover homemade soup that I just keep adding to each time I feel the need for coddling myself. Because I also don't know how to make soup for one person, it never actually quite goes away. This time I added some marinaded tofu, some jalepeno and some potatoes. It already had squash in it; but I have some potatoes, so it got potatoes. It just gets better and better.

I like to eat soup out of a mug. Probably because I am a messy eater, usually with a book in one hand. Or one lapside. Mugs are steady and sturdy and if necessary, a spoon isn't really needed. Try that with a bowl. No, don't. So two mugs of soup later, I felt the momentary goodness soup gives and then climbed back into bed. I'm sure there was a sunset somewhere, but with a perfect cold, you don't really care.

And now today I can breathe through my nose. The sun is warming my legs. The soup is back in the freezer. And life is good. But I still wish it would rain...

Have a seasonal Saturday. Do something saturating.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Free Range Friday ~ The Rollercoaster Garden

As many are aware, growing food in the tropics, which seems like an ideal environment, can be a little tricky. Especially if you live on an island that has a lower, smaller footprint than any neighboring islands. Thunderheads will build up up dramactically, puffing themselves hundreds of feet into the sky, glowering with rain menace on every side and in one minute they are gone. Now the sun is shining, the sky a strenghthening blue. While over on Vieques or barely out at sea, rain will be pouring down, out of reach, out of conserving, out of usability. That is the tropics of Culebra.

Through the magic mangroves

So close and yet...

Yes, those are waterspouts! rain for us
There are many here who still try though, and with high success. In a place where you don't just jump in your car and drive a quick drive to buy good food, the best alternative really is to grow your own. Herbs, tomatoes, lettuces, squash, hot peppers, we'll give them a go. Even garlic (which is still thriving, by the way).

I planted squash, cantaloupe and cukes in my compost bin. This is one of them, probably the squash but I'll find out (if the iguanas leave the blooms alone). You can see by my not at all dainty foot how huge the leaves and bloom are.

Gardens feed the soul and the body

Cukes? Melon?

The blossom from the day before had closed, this is another from early morning today.

 Two kinds of basil, rosemary and mint. This was to be a gift until the chickens/iguanas/horse? got to it and it had to be started again, too late to give. Yet.

Nancy's NJ garlic is thriving, along with spring onions and...something else that is doing fine but I forget what it was. Radishes? No. Ah well, another surprise if they make it that far!
I do know what these are, aji cabellero peppers, the Puerto Rican pepper that looks and tastes like a Thai pepper. Small, red and fiery! The ones I grew before lasted through about 4 years. Really. Then one day they all just died. I gave the stalks a proper burial for performing over and above the call of duty.
The wee herb garden gift above was to be for my friends David and Debbie, they of the banana crepes. Instead, I came home yesterday to my porch laden with gifties of fruits and nuts and chocolate and a beautiful herb garden, all herbs I don't have. David loves to cook, Debbie loves to garden. It works. And I get the beauty of what is created.

My  basil like this got eaten up. Iguana? Chicken? Who knows, but hooray and thank you!

Dill, marjoram, mint, and something I'm not sure of.

Then, coming back from feeding my own chickens (who don't have a chance to wreck anything) I saw this. Debbie does really cool things with twines and found objects. This was hanging in one of the trees, as if it had been there forever.

At first I thought it was yarn she had intricately woven. But it isn't that.

Rather, it's fishing net or line of some kind, with a lot of sea growth on it. Luckily it became art before it became the death of some hapless creature in the water. I love it!
David and Debbie represent the best sort of visitors. At the beach every day, they pick up all the trash they see. They patronize our markets, our restaurants, and our local businesses (like D's Garden). They are here for the beauty, the quiet and enjoying time with each other. They know there can be longish waits for service and set their expectations accordingly, knowing Culebra business owners aren't really set up to feed/serve/wait on some of the very large crowds we've had lately. Kindness begets kindness, and that's how we (should) roll.

My supervisor
Food for the body. Food for the soul. I can't grow everything I eat in my yard, but something is better than nothing. There are those who do grow almost everything they consume and I have a deep, good kind of envy, knowing the harvest includes a hell of a lot of work, but oh! To have on your plate food that has no worry of poisons, a much better flavor, and that came from your own hands - and back and knees.

Plant something.

Have a find food freedom Friday. Do something fruitful.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From Beach to Reach to Happy 2 Times

Yesterday friends Mark & Tina, with all their gear finally arrived and installed, listened to the wind and set out for their next destination. I mostly care about them crossing the Mona Passage, since Tina and I spent a good 45 minutes or so writing notes to put in wine bottles (which had been laboriously emptied over the last couple of weeks, for the sake of scientific experiment), where they will be tossed in the drink. The one written from the cats will most likely be answered first.

Of course my camera battery died. Oh wait, I have that phone thing!
While I waited for them to come around the headland there was plenty to occupy my attention. Five or six pelicans right in front of me were putting on a not quite Esther Williams routine. Chickens walked the walk. The water was gorgeous.

And what a wonderful clean up Mario did while working for the bomb guys (this group does not like to be called the bomb guys but I call 'em like I see 'em). I love that instead of just sitting watching equipment, he gathered up his own equipment and beautified the area. Now, let's keep it beautiful!

Imagination station

Zinc boat (yes, these were used - and still are for fun races)

Dinner with friends at Dinghy Dock is always a treat, for the belly and the heart. Thanks, David and Debbie, thanks Chef! thanks, Ben...awesome server as always.

I've never seen this dish done and not be wowsome. And perfectly cooked too.

The other day was World Down Syndrome Day. Paul posted a wonderful video which led me back to another video. If you need some smile miles, here you go!

And here is the Pharrell Williams original

Go ahead and get off your seat and play these while you watch. Dance! Get happy!

And because I'm in a video sharing mood (I could stretch this out over a few days, but why?), here's some dessert. Thanks, David A who shared it and David A who made it!

Have a warm-hearted Wednesday. Do something watercolored. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Ivan's White Bay Campground & Stress Free Bar

I've known Ivan for close to 20 years and while I don't get to Jost Van Dyke often enough, time with Ivan is one thing I make sure I have when I am there. There were no cabins when I first met him, only a basic campground and the unique a bar as Ivan himself.

Ivan 2009. We were shimming in a corner post on one of the cabins.
All the rest of these photos are taken from the website for the campground and bar, photographer unknown. Somewhere I have a LOT of other photos of this place but their location is a mystery for now.

Every year a little more decoration gets added but I don't think anything's been taken away.
While this is a campground and the interiors are pretty much basic - roof, walls, bed, table and a tiny fridge - the cabins could be quite a lot more, so the idea is inspiration here more than anything. Plus, I just like thinking about the place.

The cabins have been built one at a time over the years.

You can check out Jost and Ivan's for yourself. While Jost can be really crowded at times, there are also sleepy times of the year. Depending on your energy level, you can choose the time that suits your style. Sitting around playing music can be just about anyone, from an anonymous tourist to a celebrity musician. No one announces it, it just a lot of things on tiny islands.

I keep saying every year 'gotta get back to Jost'. Hopefully this will be the year I do that. In a sleepy time.

Have a teeming with tininess Tuesday. Do something tri-colored.