Apr 28, 2009

We will never forget you Mama Faye

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Mrs. Faye Johnson, affectionately known as Mama Faye.

Mama Faye was Colette's grandmother by marriage. She was beautiful, fiercely intelligent, feisty and an inspiration to all. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten. Her loss is a loss shared my many and we share our sadness with her family, her community and everyone whose heart she touched.

Apr 21, 2009

Bats, Birds, Books ....oh and one little Agouti called Ben

"Bats have no bankers and they do not drink and cannot be arrested and pay no tax and, in general, bats have it made."

John Berryman (1917 - 1972)

These adorable, but slightly menacing creatures are Pygmy Fruit Eating Bats. They have a condo in a palmetto tree outside our window. They don't live there full time, but hang around (ha ha) every two or three days. Maya has been standing on a pile of crates to get photos when we can. Catching them with their eyes open is difficult. Catching them with their mouth open is even more difficult if they don't happen to be eating at the time. The little grey ones are babies and we've been watching them grow. As mammals, they nurse and we have caught this happening and it is absolutely fascinating. Welcome to our world. We're bats about Belize.

This is Chilli. Chilli is a Red Lored Parrot who found his way from the rain forest near the Macal River, to San Pedro and then back to mainland Belize. He currently resides at Belize Bird Rescue. His wings had been cut back badly but after their expert care he is now free flying and they are hoping he will soon find a mate.

Belize Bird Rescue does more than rescue and rehabilitate birds, their kindness and hospitality attract all sorts of stray people and animals.

This is the rather inappropriately named, Hunter (the dog), with Ben (actually Benjamina) the Agouti. Ben was brought home as a newborn, with umbilical cord still attached, by one of their other gentle but giant dogs. Agouti are eaten as bush meat in Belize. Luckily no one has told Hunter that.

This is Colette helping with early morning feeding. Ben may look very cute and truly is scrumptious, but she is a wild animal. Having spent time at Belize Bird Rescue that might be difficult to believe, since Benjamina has full run of the house, which can be somewhat disconcerting as she has a habit of rearranging things, but she is free to come and go as she pleases and will hopefully mature and attract a mate herself.

Ben is becoming less dependent on her milk feeds and seems to enjoy solids, such as this juicy piece of mango. It is so nice to live in a place where you can pick mangoes off the tree. Have we mentioned that Belize truly is paradise on earth?

We need to get back to the bird bit though. Somehow the cuteness of Benjamina overwhelmed us and she got in on this blog much too early. Belize Bird Rescue has hundreds of birds, many of them chickens. This chicken and her little baby seem to understand that a chicken's place is in the hen house.

But many of the chickens don't understand that fact. This very handsome and rather large cock (sorry we couldn't help ourselves) practiced his crowing outside Colette's window every night. She claims it was reassuring but got back to San Pedro with big bags under her eyes. As she denies that she consumed far too much wine and stayed up far too late with her wonderful hostess Nikki, putting the world to rights, it must have been this very large cock that ruined her beauty sleep. (oh we really must stop with the childish innuendo)

Sometimes the situation became somewhat Hitchcockesque, as the chickens and the odd turkey settled for the evening. Trust us when we say that you didn’t want to be the first one walking down these stairs in the morning.

And the turkeys were definitely odd. This is the author Joan Fry (who incidentally should not really be mentioned in this part of the blog but she’s nearly as cute as Benjamina, so we’ll let her off) with her friend Lee and an odd, un named turkey.

Truly though, after this picture you might start to understand that there really are chickens everywhere at Belize Bird Rescue. And thank goodness for that.

Without them we would have no eggs as we are very fussy about eggs and there really are none better than those grown on a healthy diet, free range and organic. Big kudos to Jerry and Nikki for ensuring that we do not have an eggless existence.

Oh deer. Oh deer indeed. Somehow they’ve ended up with a pair of deer as well. Bambi you would think, but these are trained attack deer and Colette saw exactly what they were capable of, when she bravely threw Nikki under the pounding hooves of one very pissed off young buck. Fortunately there was a hose nearby and Colette can certainly hose a deer down in self defence....is there a song coming on here? Hose a deer, a female deer...Actually it was the male deer who attacked and he is scary and strong.

For those of you who prefer views to animals, this is the view you wake up to at Belize Bird Rescue.

And if you are really lucky, this fantastic cowboy (and he is truly fantastic), Alyson, will take you out for a ride in the rain forest. Colette and Joan Fry joined him. Difference is, Joan is a horse expert and gets to ride regularly.

Colette loves horses but doesn’t get to ride very often and embarrassingly actually managed to find herself hanging from her bra from her saddle. Her horse was very patient with her.

Now before we get to the book section, we have a few more gratuitous photos to add.

Gratuitous and indulgent still life and a saddle similar to the one Colette dangled from by her bra.

Gratuitous yet amusing picture of chicken in parrot cage.

Gratuitous but somewhat heartwarming picture of Buddica and Maya.

Completely gratuitous shot of three stunningly gorgeous people. Kathleen, Colette and Andre.
Now onto bookish things.

Joan's book signing in Belmopan sign with Joan and Jerry being propped up by a sign.

Joan dressed in her riding gear for a horse adventure. We're not sure we've ever seen anyone in Belize get dressed up so fancy to ride a horse.

Joan is interviewed on the Morning Show by Senator Aiden Salazar. Colette's behind the scenes version of the 'monkey dance' stopped them both from falling asleep. Early mornings are not Joan's forte'.

San Pedro welcomes Joan with a banner. (with very tiny writing)

Miss Tammy turns over her Hummingbird restaurant to cook some of the wonderful recipes from Joan's book,
How to Cook a Tapir - A Memoir of Belize. Of course, the amazing Tapir is now an endangered species and we would never cook one, but the rest of the meal rocked.

San Pedro's Mayor, Elsa Paz, meets Joan and receives her own signed copy of the book at Page's Bookshop.

We'd like to thank everyone who made Joan feel so welcome back in Belize and all of our wonderful friends who continue to supply us with chocolate and bring us the little things that make life a little bit easier. Much love.