Saturday, January 14, 2017

Beach walk

We walked the beach the other day, low tide is in the morning, and we realized it had been quite awhile since we walked to the boca. We found new rocks added around the mangrove tower, and upon further inspection, saw why. Actually, we knew when they built it, it may not work the way they invisioned, but...they built it anyway, and now it needs reinforcements.

Not sure what this pump boat is doing, but we heard they (not sure who "they" are) wanted to change the mouth of the river...good luck with that.

Perry thoroughly enjoys a beach walk. He doesnt act near this crazy when we are walking on the road or sidewalks. Crazy dog.

One more pic, even tho we dont live on the beach anymore...we still get gifts from the fishermen. So many of them live in town, or up the street, and walk by our new house. The other day, as we were walking thru town some fishermen we only know by face, stopped us and asked if I wanted these shells. Most of them had critters inside, so I soaked them in bleach water and washed them all, some still stunk, but what a score!

Weeks are flying by, much in the works. But also lots of lazy days, life is good semi retired on the stay tuned, the adventure continues!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Holy Bamboo

When we walked recently we looked for these bamboo "pits", because I'd seen pictures on Facebook of this bamboo process, I thought they were washing it, and after doing some research, I had it kinda right. Here is what I found about treating Bamboo to use for building.

Drying bamboo poles requires more time than wood of similar density. This because bamboo possess hygroscopic materials (compound that easily absorbs moisture) that may contain 50-60% moisture content.

When bamboo dries it contracts and shrinks. This shrinkage starts from the moment the bamboo is cut, and can reduce the diameter of the bamboo poles with 10% to 16%, and its wall thickness with 15% to 17%.

Green bamboo poles should not be used in construction. Since green bamboos are subject to shrinkage, joints and terminals may loosen after just a few weeks. Green bamboo is also more attractive to insects and microorganisms, than dry bamboo.

How to Dry Bamboo Poles?

The most common way to dry bamboo for commercial purposes is "air drying". Once the bamboo poles are harvested and chemically treated, all poles should be stacked and stored under cover.

Important factors when drying bamboo:

  • It is most important to keep the culms away from direct soil contact to prevent fungal or insects-attacks and to avoid the humidity of the soil affecting the drying process.
  • It is recommended that only mature bamboo culms (over 3 years) are used to avoid collapsing of the bamboo poles, due to excessive and non-uniform shrink-age of the culm.
  • Remove infected culms from the storage area.
  • Avoid rapid changes in moisture content, for example by drying round bamboo in direct sunlight for a prolonged time. This can cause cracks in the bamboo poles. Split bamboos do not pose any problems and can be dried in the open sun.
  • Provide good ventilation (air circulation).

  • Vertical stacking gives faster drying and less chances of fungal attack. However, a good support system should be in place to avoid the poles from bending.
  • Horizontal stacking is generally preferred for large stacks. Stacking should be done on raised platforms, or placed on a thick plastic sheet to avoid soil contact. Use separators between each row of bamboo for better air circulation. The culms at the bottom of the stack may crack or bend due to the weight of a stack, therefore don't pile up the bamboo poles too high.

  • For uniform drying, the bamboo poles should be rotated in the longitudinal direction every 15 days.
  • Post-harvesting transpiration is a technique used by peasants or indigenous communities. The procedure takes place on the bamboo plantation, and does not only dry the bamboo stems, it is also a traditional way to preserve bamboo from insect infestation.The freshly cut bamboo stems are placed on a stone (to avoid soil contact). The stem is placed upright, leaning against another bamboo tree with branches and leaves attached for about 3-4 weeks. This way, bamboo stems lose their humidity progressively true natural ventilation and transpiration true the leaves.
  • Storing bamboo in water is useful when bamboo needs to maintain its pliability or when it needs to be processed in its "green" condition. Storage in water causes leaching of starch (sugars) and is also used as a traditional bamboo preservation technique.

    Love that I get to see such interesting things, and live a life that affords me plenty of time to "stop and smell" ALL of it! It's another beautiful day here, awoke to sun and blue skies, that means Pool time this afternoon! Hope y'all are warm, stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Sunday, January 8, 2017


On our prayer walk the other day, we wandered down to the beach and saw another marvelous sight. If you'll remember last year we had lots of sand wash away, and many of these ramadas were broken, or washed away too. Not much was done, repair what could and wait for the sand to return, until some money allocated after the earthquake made this possible.

These ramadas are shade for fishermen working nets, weekend resturants for the locals to support themselves, storage for boat stuff as well as shade for tourists. Entire busses will pull up on a Saturday morning and unload tons of people from the "inner cities". The beach goers can usually rent a hammock and get a plate of lunch for a couple dollars, not bad for a day at the beach.

We are truly impressed with Ecuador. We dont pretend to be versed in the politics of the country, but we have become fans of Socialism, as we are seeing it. Our friends and neighbors have healthcare, and houses and the rebuilding is not over yet, on the contrary, it has only just begun. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

This week

One of our favorite things to do is sit out front with coffee and fresh bread in the morning. We get to visit with Nexar, and Maria if she is with him, and anyone else who comes by. We also get to see interesting, and often funny things as we sit. 

Veronica checking out the palomitas, and Maestro buying fresh crab for $10

I had another English lesson, I realized they had not practiced (I havent either) and when the little brothers showed up, it was apparent the lesson was over for the day. I told them next week we would do the alphabet, and I came up with a good way for them to practice, listen to English music. Its a great way for them to hear correct pronunciation. (Me too)

Busy making Que Dios te Bendiga signs for the new houses, and made a gift for the expat who helped us evacuate the night of the terremoto. We ate dinner with her on Christmas eve and i realized I could make the perfect gift for her. She loves this cobalt blue color, and has a beautiful large patio over looking the ocean in San Clemente Norte. Cant wait to give them to her.

Getting things more and more put away. Trying to get in to the swing of watering all these plants. Rainy sason hasnt quite started yet, and I now have all these houseplants (they are still in their nursery bags, so not easy to water indoors). Made this twine trellis, for the maracuya (passion fruit) and mandevilla vine to climb on. As I helped them take hold, I found a morning glory, it would have been wind and salt burned by now at the other house, so Im excited to see if I can get flowers. Lots of things looking really good, a couple plants I need to continue to watch. 

January has started with a flash, where has the week gone? Much in the works, pool time today, and visiting with friends. Our sunset walk last night was highlighted by the greeting we got from Zadkiel and Domenica...

Some cool stuff going on around town, so stay tuned...the adventure continues.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Feliz Ano

Wow! What a year! Something came across Facebook wanting one to describe 2016 in one word was Rollercoaster. We have had our ups and downs, and been severely shaken, what a ride! We had a great day and night visiting with our town friends, watching the festivities come alive, and waiting for midnight. The party was really just getting started at midnight, and we hung in there until after 1am, we were troopers, but sleep came easy, even with the noise outside.

New years tradition is to purchase or make paper mache people or characters, write down regrets, bad habits etc and put those inside, then at midnight they burn them. This pop up store set up over the Christmas weekend, and were open all week. Prices ranged $5-$25.

There were many fires around town, Mike caught this one, tho we didnt burn an effigy. Probably should have...

We are tired today, but not hung over, which is sooo nice. It is very quiet today, the tourists are still here, and will pack up and slowly leave for home. The neighbors have done their sweeping, either last night before bed, or like me, this morning with my coffee. It was a mess out there! Much fun was had I'm sure.  

Hope you all had a happy and fun New years eve, and we bestow many blessings upon you in the coming year. As for us, I'm going to make crockpot dogfood, and I feel a nap in my not too distant future. Tomorrow is a new day, so stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big God

To be quite honost Mike and I have had some rough patches this year, someone recently came into our lives and helped us realize what was missing. God. We have not had a church home for many years, the 2 1/2 years we have been in Ecuador are no different, so it stands to reason we have been without any  "spiritual guidance". Our church/religion/faith has changed a LOT since our early married days, and now our "church" is Ecuador, and our "faith" is being restored in people by their Love. (religion, we learned is a dirty word)

Something we decided we could do to help our neighbors, was to pray over their neighborhoods. We like to walk anyway, why not silently pray as we walk, letting God dictate the words and blessings over the houses as we go. Yesterday was our first "prayer walk".  

(Praying over our "old" neighborhood)

It started out with wanting to see the Romero's new Miduvi house, we took Pan de Pasqua (think fruit cake, but better) a clay nativity figure Mike and I made, and a sign for the new house. My new saying, "que dios te bendiga" May God bless you. We took extra pan de pasqua, and gave them as we felt "led". I promise I wont get "preachy", may never mention God again, just needing to tell the whole story.

( 2bed, bath, kitchen, living room. Have to ask if plumbing is extra.)

Another idea we have is to help beautify our city. We will ask other gringos to donate to the cause...and buy paint. With so many new houses going up, they kinda make the old ones, well...look old. But a gallon of paint, even at $6 is still a very frivolous expense, so after the new year, I'll put it put there and see if we cant get the town painted and pretty by Carnivale. Because February is ...right around the corner! Urgh! Where do the days go??? 

(Wonder if the tent will become "guest quarters")

I know many of the children will help, heck I can ask the girls who I have coming for English class this morning. This is their second lesson, and since adults saw it on Facebook, I have several who want lessons after new years too. So...stay tuned, the adventure continues.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ecuador Christmas

Christmas is a much smaller holiday here, than in the US. The kids get a parade and festival, with each school age child getting a ticket for free popcorn/cotton candy and a balloon animal. That was last week in the center of town.

These boys loved Nexars moto.

 During the week there were numerous pageants at the schools, and cute pictures showed up on Facebook. 

Domenica and snowmen friends.

The skinniest Santa

Like wrangling cats, lol

We had Santa come early, saturday afternoon, as we were getting ready to leave for the pool, the girls I taught english to, came and dropped off pretty wrapped boxes for under our tree. The boxes are empty, but a cute gesture.

Again this year we spent Christmas poolside, Kimberly at The Cottages catered a dinner for the guests and a few friends and we had a wonderful day. 

On our way home, we saw many of our fishermen having fun in Centro, so we put away our sunglasses and wet bathing suits, and joined them for a while. It turned out to be a much later night, than we had aticipated, and being old...well yesterday was a whole lot of relaxing. 

The smell of fresh bread is wafting thru the walls, and Mike has made me coffee. Life is good, and another year is getting ready to wrap up, who knows what 2017 has in store for us! Good or bad, stay tuned...the adventure continues.