Twenty years later…..

Happy Birthday Jim:-)

Twenty years ago today, we sailed away from Granton harbour in Edinburgh on the good ship Charmer. Since then we’ve sailed thousands of miles together, met wonderful people and seen amazing places. The friends who waved goodbye that day, are still our friends. The new ones we’ve met along the way have changed our lives. The plan ( did anyone say ‘plan’?) was to be home in Edinburgh circa 2002, so we are a little behind schedule. Instead, I wake up to the sounds of howler monkeys most days, and look out at the Caribbean. We work, sometimes it feels like torture, to make Tesoro Verde the kind of place where people feel welcome, and can share our adventure. I am looking forward to the next one (!)

Your smile makes my day, every day, love you……. H

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The Potting Shed

is how we, in the UK,  would describe a small structure somewhere in the garden. Traditionally the home of the gardening tools, plant pots, seeds being sprouted. Somewhere you’d go to hide from the stresses of the real world maybe.

In plan form it started as a storage space, but as the construction progressed, it has morphed. Included in the design are plans for a mezzanine sleeping platform, a tiny kitchen, and the possibility to add a deck and a second floor. It will be the perfect space to put friends and family in, even ‘workawayers’, and I suspect we’ll be sleeping there at some point in the future. But not this year. The rent for friends and family will be very reasonable. Tetley Tea Bags, Branston Pickle, Marmite, Cadbury’s Twirl or Flakes….. is everyone getting the message here?

The roof should go on this week, it will need secure doors and windows, and then we will fill it to the gunnels with all the ‘stuff’ filling the upper construction site :-). And when that upper house gets more ‘liveable’, space will become available in the Potting Shed, for our less intrepid visitors……

Monkeys & Skyways

Three of the four monkeys often seen at Tesoro Verde….

When we first bought this piece of land overlooking the Caribbean, we didn’t have a definite plan of what to do with it, other than plant bamboo. It had been a finca, or farm, several decades back and then left untended. Most of it was infested with a several metres tall plant called paja mala (bad grass). There were very few trees at all, and consequently, it wasn’t an attractive prospect for the monkeys to cross feeling safe. We decided to change that, and from the start almost ten years ago, we either planted trees, or allowed them to grow. I coined what I think is a new word, skyways, ie planted rows of trees that allow the monkeys to cross our land. It means we get to see them close up. Howlers, Tamarins, Capuchins. We see troops of them most days. They are too wary to come close to the buildings, we will never leave out food for them ( I prefer to encourage plants that they can forage for themselves ) and so far it seems to be working. In dry season, as the leaves fall, we notice at least half a dozen sloths everyday, and in the wee sma’ hours, the night monkeys pass by on their regular route. Olingos are frequent visitors, Tayras, Woolly opossums, Armadillos. Jim once even saw an Ocelot ( sooo jealous!). My ‘best’ sighting was an Anteater carrying a baby. This month saw us opening for business as a BnB, and our guests so far seem to love this place. We’ll try to build on what we’ve done so far….

Photo credits; Howler & Tamarin; Kyle Noble. Capuchin; Fraser Andrews

 

 

 

The big concrete pour

Our team arrived early on Friday morning, keen to get going before the sun burned off the mist. They were magnificent, hoisting thousands of pounds of cement ( BY HAND!) over a twelve hour day. I kept them supplied with food and drinks all day, that was pretty much a full time job too. Jim finally stopped ‘polishing’ at midnight, declaring he couldn’t move another muscle. It’s taken the three days since for him, and the rest of the crew, to recover. Thanks everyone, magnificent job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Waiting to start..

Waiting to start..

the first load..

the first load..

mixer to wheelbarrow to bucket to wheebarrow to site....

mixer to wheelbarrow to bucket to wheebarrow to site….

everybody ached for the next two days...

everybody ached for the next two days…

sun didn't let up

sun didn’t let up

cement mixer broke down :-( briefly

cement mixer broke down 😦 briefly

levelling the concrete

levelling the concrete

'polishing'

‘polishing’