Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More of Roatan Life

We had some "pets" on island as well as guests. First and foremost were our handsome island mutts, Abby and Carly. I say that lovingly. Many of our readers know Abby well, but Carly had passed on prior to the beginning of our North American travels and adventure. We often laugh that they had dual they were "born" to US citizens in Honduras but had travel documents to travel from Honduras to Florida when we moved back to the states. It will be hard for those of you who actually knew Abby to imagine that she and er sisters were actually seriously good watch and guard dogs on the Roatan property. Once retrained in Florida, they were some of the most gentle beasts one could imagine. Abby was eventually to travel to all 49 states available by coach travel with us before finding it too hard to travel on last year.

Carly had a tendency to stay by my side when on island, either that or run away depending on what she felt like at the moment! Abby, then and later, never left Marilyn's side given the opportunity to stay by her. Marilyn swam out in the sea once and faked a drowning to see what Abby would do....Abby swam out and towed her was just a sign of a dedication that she maintained up until the day she passed.
Then there was the Island Ninja Turtles...
And the Gold Fish Sharks "in the mote."
There were a number of good sculptors on island and whenever we got the chance we purchased "art" to support them and add to the flare on the property and especially in the gardens. The "cayman" below was done my Medmelvin Bodden. He was quite the character. His pieces were available for a price and a bottle combination. The cayman for example sold for 150 dollars and a small bottle of Flor de Cana rum. The piece was about 7 feet long if memory serves and had to be moved by two people, but it took more like 4 people if it needed to be carried. It was carved out a solid piece of mahogany. It still resides, as far as I know, at the Cape Coral house.
The Mahi mahi below was (is) my favorite piece. When I saw it by the roadside art stand near the house I tried to get back and buy it as quickly as I could, but it was gone when I got there. Our friend and realtor Mary had gotten it for us as a housewarming gift. Best gift ever! Still have it. Always will.
This piece, mostly hidden by the ginger plants under the cashew tree, was carved from a tree trunk. It depicts an island woman carrying a basket of fish and produce on her head. It had some insect damage even when I picked it up, so we left it right there when we left. But I miss it ever time I look at this picture.
This piece depicts the island lobster diver. Young men, literally "kids" dive too deep, too often, and stay down too long to supply warm water lobsters to the market. Many of them get the bends and are seriously hurt in the process, but it is the island way...and there are many island ways that are slow to change. that is both the wonder and the problem with island life in general.

When we decided to convert the property to a business property, we wanted a logo to represent what we hoped to do, and this is what we came up with- the Sea of Green Mermaid. My son Derek (see his website) designed the print logo...And Medmelvin Bodden carved us the actual mermaid for the 3-D entrance sign:

We became good friends with some of the people who worked on the house and casitas and pool as time passed. We enjoyed having them to the house for family style picnics. Our dogs, Abby and Carly were actually named for Carlos, the head mason on our projects, and Nelson Abbott, our contractor. The guys weren't real big on having dogs named after them at first- until they became convinced that naming them for them was a form of honor that we felt towards them. It became "cool" in short order.
This is Nulfito and family. He helped me with the gardening and landscaping and he was amazingly knowledgeable and helpful. You might think that gardening on an acre and a half is no big deal and a person could easily do that by themselves. Well, maybe in a temperate climate, but not in the tropics. A banana tree can grow a foot a day and some of the vines several feet a day. The gardening alone was a full time job. We always made sure that those that helped us build the property benefited from whatever the property was able to deliver. And we made sure that the children had the means to go to school. School on island is not a given, like it would be here in the states.
I've selected a few images from our gardens- it may give you more of an idea what kind of plant material we were actually managing. In the tropics, plants are grown in "layers." The trees are the top of the canopy. There are plants that are grown in the trees, like some of the orchids. There are plants that are grown under the trees. Then there are the shade lovers that grown under the plants that are under the trees. Each plant must have the light levels and moisture level that it requires to grow well. We grew fruits, nuts, citrus, vegetables, flowers and all other manor of plant life. Most of the images will be of the flowering plants for obvious reasons, although the first image below is a small pineapple plant.

For edible material we grew the pineapples, breadfruit, guava, sour sop, mangoes, papaya. limes, cashews, black and green avocados, bananas and plantains (about 500 plants just of the bananas produced ready to eat fruit nearly every day of the year), hog plums, yuca ( a potato like plant used to make tapioca), almonds, and several kinds of coconuts. Iknow there was much more than that, but that's what comes to mind right off the top of my head. And flowering plants? Hundreds of varieties if not more....

Slide show of plant life:

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