Been a while since the last update, here is the latest.

January brought the dry season, well sort of, we still had around 5" of rain in both January & February. March brought less than 2", & this month nothing to measure, a few brief showers. The last few days seem to indicate a change coming in the weather, breezes have picked up & there have been more cloudy days & a drizzle or 2, last night heard thunder for the first time in months.

January was spent cleaning up the mess from November & December, hundreds of downed plantain trees, a real mess. February was rock month, we moved out around 50 tons of rock from baseball size to boulders, the biggest rocks all went in one load & it took 7 of them to make a load with a 4.5 ton truck. All the rock was moved by hand (no machinery here), I had up to 5 men working & the truck man had an additional 3, we built ramps, & sleds to help move them & we rolled the really big ones. I have another 50 tons or so piled & rolled up to the road & hopefully I will get rid of them soon, that will clear up the majority of the front 2 acres, I will save the back acre for now. I still have a few dozen "BIG" rocks around the house & when we get firewood collected we build a bonfire on a big one then when it gets really hot, we pour water on it, sometimes it breaks them, sometimes not, but who doesn't like a big bonfire. My mind set is so different then a year ago, I would have never thought about burning rocks to break them, you really have to relearn here. Some of the books I brought are homesteading books from the 1940's & 50's & they been more valuable then all the newer information I have.

Rains should start within the next 6 weeks & right now is the "burning season", everyone is clearing, cleaning, & chopping their land, trying to get things cleaned up & burned before the rains come. I am doing the same & trying to burn up as many stumps as possible.

I had a good pumpkin (winter squash) harvest, got around 10 dozen from the area around my house, most of those vines have died, but I will put in more with the first rains & will harvest them in Sept-Nov, that crop should be 2-3 times the size of this one with the rains, been getting a few watermelon & cantaloupe & have lots of them planted & they are just waiting for a little rain to get into action. Have maybe 2 dz tomato plants hanging on,1 dz pepper plants, a few okra, & still 2 eggplants producing like crazy (one has over 20 on right now). Had a bumper crop of corn, planted in January, hoping to get a little pig food & they produced great, ate lots & the rest sold off quick as no one here plants corn then. My peanuts came really nice & it looks like a new crop is coming in good right behind the old. I have a hundred or so seedlings of all sorts growing on the porch & planting more everyday, trying to have plenty to put out by late May or Early June.

The pig is getting fatter, he just finished up the last of the pumpkin & started on mangoes a few days ago, right now there are mangoes like rice, we pick them up by the 5 gallon bucket full, he ate 1 bucket full today & started the second, that was on top of some coconut, scraps, & concentrate, he is eating & putting the pounds on now. I am looking for 2 piglets right now to start & have for Christmas.

Problems with the electricity again, been going on since before Easter. I have been eating my stockpile of shrimp, fish, & lobster so that I don't loose them. Life without ice is really not that great. Luckily the past several days it has only been out from around daylight to around dark (if you plan carefully, you still have ice at 5 o'clock). Everyone here keeps a stockpile of candles & most big houses & hotels have a generator. I usually go to bed shortly after dark, unless I am reading, so it is not such an inconvenience other than the fridge, you just have to remember to make ice at night & try not to open it unless necessary.

Today was a great work day, cloudy & breezy, I started a little after 5am & worked until noon, & really should have put a few more hours in, it is rare for me to be able to work outside past 10am this time of year, the sun has been intense, these past few cloudy days have been a real treat. I set fires before dark (the politically correct burning times are very early or just before dark, that way you don't smoke up the neighbors laundry that is hanging out to dry) burning up all the brush I cut & piled today as well as a few stumps I am working on. A neighbor on one side has a new-born baby, so now I have to try & coordinate the time & breeze before I burn so that I don't smoke up the laundry or the little baby, I am getting better but the breeze here is tough to predict.

I have been planting lots of trees the past few months & have one piece of advice about planting trees in the dry season, don't do it, unless you enjoy hauling 5 gallon buckets of water all over the place. Somehow I have managed to keep them all alive (at least the ones I remember where I planted). Lots more avocado, lime, orange, Royal Ponciana's for shade, a few more mangoes (great pig food), dozens of papaya (they only take 9 months or so to bear & they are also great pig food), cashew, grapefruit, calala (passion fruit) vines, really anything I can get. Always planting more coconut, trying to reach my goal of 100 on the property, still 80 or so away, maybe by this time next year.

Looking at the place sometimes it is hard for me to see progress, but looking back at pictures I am truly amazed, in a little over a year I have managed to get a lot done, but I have a long way to go. Looking at the pictures from the last 18 months & the one project that seems amazing now (at the time it was just something that needed to be done) is my "road", 300 feet long & 10 feet wide, we put down a 6-8 inch road bed of rock (all picked up by hand & carried by wheelbarrow, I wish I had kept a count of the wheelbarrow loads), then we brought dirt from where the well had been dug & a few other spots around the property, laid a few inches on the rock & waited for rain, the rain came & packed the road & it held up pretty well, then I had more rock put in a few places, another 6 inches in one stretch through the lowest part of the property, fixed any low or bad spots & now after having 50 tons of rock hauled across it I think I have a road that with very little maintenance will last for many years. Maybe next year (after I see how the November, December torrential rains affect it) I will put down gravel on it, but right now I am very happy with it.

One project that is begging to be done is improving the soil in the garden, I thought I would get to it this year & 2010 would be the year of the super garden, but now it is looking more like 2010 will be the year of soil improvement, maybe I will get some work done on the soil in October, possibly earlier depending on how the crops do (or don't). Last years mediocre crops (or at least I thought), & every variety of soil borne disease known, made it evident that much work was needed. I was really just happy we got the garden cleared last year, I can live with a year or 2 of problematic soil, especially since I am still able to harvest plenty for myself, with a 1/4 acre garden you can lose lots of the harvest & still have more than enough.

I still get 2-3 bunch of plantain a week, plantain does not like the dry & things will increase dramatically once the rains come.

Other than that not much going on, just waiting on the rains, & trying to get as much done as possible before the rains.