Monday, October 29, 2012

Trading Of The Cocks......

As our six little hens began to mature, farmer Clyde noticed that three of them looked different.  They developed large combs and beards which made him wonder if perhaps they were cocks instead of hens?  With enough noisy roosters already in the neighborhood, we certainly didn't want any crowing right outside our windows all night long.  A friend suggested inviting the crowing cocks to dinner but Clyde wanted nothing to do with killing chickens.  He considered driving them to some dark, deserted road and letting them go free to live out their lives on their own.  Then he came up with another idea.

Across the street our Panamanian neighbor Victor raises chickens as a way to feed his family.  About forty chickens run freely in his front yard and Clyde has seen a feather plucking operation over yonder.  So Clyde approached Victor and asked if he'd be willing to trade two cocks for two hens to which he gladly obliged.  Clyde happily returned to our yard carrying two new adult chickens to add to our little family.  Clyde first met Victor when he came over and asked if he could take our old toilets, sinks, ceiling fans, lights and other stuff that we put out by the side of the road.  Clyde was thrilled to see them hauled off to Victors house so he didn't have to take them to the dump.  Victor seems to have a source that buys junk for money and soon realized that the new gringos in the neighborhood were pretty cool. 

The pack of six chickens are now allowed to roam freely on our property, eating bugs, worms, grass and whatever else they might find along the way.  Venus our doberman has accepted her new feathered friends and seems to ignore them now, for the most part.  Although I do feel a bit like a hillbilly when I open the front door and chickens try to come into the house.  But this is Panamá and most of the locals raise chickens, so when in Panamá why not live like the locals do, chickens and all.

Clyde here: 
Went out to take some pictures of the new chickens and they were pretty camera shy.  I kept chasing them all over the yard.  Pretty soon Venus joined me in the chase and had them herded up for me to catch.  Here are a few pictures of our new "Gallinas".

Venus and Gallina in motion!

Where did that big black furry thing go?

OK, so she is not real pretty........

Kind of fuzzy but here is the ugly one.......

Saw some pretty horses and a colt today on our walk.  They were grazing on the hill near the road with majestic mountains in the distance. 

Looks like dad there in the background
notice the similar face markings

Yes Mom, she's ok.........

Breathtaking scenery, perfect year-round weather and friendly people is why we choose to call Panamá home.  Top it all off with the fact that we're able to retire here and live frugally....along the gringo trail.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Easy Day....In Panamá.....

Today the need arose to have something notarized, which made us think....oh no, how and where can we have this done in Panamá?  We've had documents notarized at the U.S. Embassy, but that's all the way in Panama City, a 90-minute drive at a cost of $50 a page.  So I used the "phone a friend" option of life to see if there was a notary around Coronado.  Unfortunately the answer was no, and turns out the nearest notary was in La Chorrera, about a 45-minute drive.

A few bananas on the way to market

Soon after entering the congested, little city we drove past Banco General on the main drag and spotted a huge sign on the next building.  The sign read "Notaria Sexto" which means "sixth notary."   Have no idea why they put the number in the title, but we were just glad to find a notary. Once inside we approached the receptionist, a young man wearing a crisp, yellow uniform shirt with the company logo embroidered on one side, and black dress pants.  I explained what I needed and he escorted us to another room and instructed us to have a seat at the last desk.  Behind the desk sat an attractive woman dressed in business attire, who apparently was the "notaria."  She reviewed the documents, read them out loud in English as if she understood what they said, and then signed and stamped her name.  She asked for my passport and drivers license for identification and then sent us back upfront to pay our $5.00.  The receptionist upfront stamped a round seal of Panamá on the paperwork making it official, before sending us on our way.  The whole process took just minutes and proved to be the easiest, fastest thing we've accomplished in Panamá in the past year.

While in La Chorrera, we spotted this shoe repair place.  As you can see, they don't have much wasted space.  One worker couldn't even fit in the work space.

This shoe shop goes back about six feet

Over the past year we've had the opportunity to meet up with many wonderful blog followers.  Some visiting Panamá on vacation, others checking it out as a possible retirement or work destination.  This week we were excited to finally meet Allison and Ray, a couple from Virginia thinking about making Panamá their future home.  On Saturday we all congregated at a friends restaurant for the initial meeting over burritos.  After deciding we weren't ax murderers and seemed safe enough, they joined us at our home for afternoon drinks and snacks under the gazebo.  They've been following this blog for months now in preparation for their trip and despite the excessive amounts of rain this week, they seemed to enjoy their stay. We're always happy to share our knowledge with others and enjoy making new friends along the way too.  Perhaps one day they'll join us and the many others that call Panamá their retirement home.

This is our new friend Allison taken
in our Gazebo

This is Ray, he was taking the other picture

Even though the isthmus of Panamá is too far down for any hurricane action, we have been catching the tail end of hurricane Sandy.  Excessive amounts of torrential rain and cooler temperatures have been the story here for days now.  With temperatures around 75 at the moment, I've closed the windows and doors (that we have so far) and may even dig out my winter pajamas too.

Heavy rains lasting for more than six hours a few days ago caused us to lose both power and water during the day.  Suddenly our property was flooded with rain water as our dog trudged her way through mud puddles still chasing after lizards and chickens.

But if rain is our only weather problem here we'll surely take it and let the hurricanes go elsewhere.   Panamá has never had a hurricane but does receive large amounts of rain during it's rainy season.  Fortunately though, we live in the "dry arch" which only averages five feet of rain, compared to the rest of the country that averages twice that. 

Rain, rain go away and send more friends another day, so Clyde and Terry came come out and play in the sunshine....along the gringo trail.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Is A Third World Country?

Tell anyone you're going to Panamá and they'll look at you a bit strange and maybe ask "why?"  When they hear about someone moving to Panamá, for retirement, a job or other reasons, they'll feel the need to warn you.  "You do know it's a third world country right?"  "I hope you own guns because surely you'll be attacked."  "What will happen if you get sick there?"  "Whatever you do, don't drink the water."

 No need for this sign!

Perhaps they think we live in grass huts with monkeys and crocodiles for neighbors?   We cook frogs over an open fire, and eat lizards and bugs out of a coconut shell bowl. When we need medical care we call the local medicine man who mixes a potion of chicken poop, monkey snot and ground up frog sperm for us to drink.  Since there are no stores here, coconut shells tied with grass create a nice bra top.  Large palm leaves make skirts and loin cloths to cover our butts, while we frolic in the grass barefoot.  When the sun goes down we snuggle up in our hammocks for the night and wrap ourselves up in mosquito netting.  No wonder we haven't had any visitors from the U.S. if this is their vision of life here!

No, she does not wear this

Panamá is said to be a "third world" country according to some, although I don't know who they are or what authority they have to make this assumption.  Wondering exactly what that term means I did some research.  The term "third world" was originally coined after World War II and applied to those countries that didn't align themselves with the U.S. or the Soviet Union.  The U.S. was considered "first world," the Soviet Union "second world" and all the other countries were "third world."  And since many of those countries that didn't take sides were poor the term became associated with just that.  So called "third world" countries supposedly had extreme low income, horrible health care and poor education systems.

Although most Panamanians make far less money than Americans, Canadians and Europeans, there are also many that scream money.  We just have to look around the affluent beach communities packed with weekend homes bigger than most American homes.  But they seem to be a bit smarter than us Americans who borrow money for houses.  Here homes tend to be bought by families and passed down through the generations.  Just like the home we bought that was owned by a father and his two adult children.  It served as their weekend getaway for 30 some years where the families came together to relax and party.

Our House that was a "weekender" house
for Dr. Carlos and his family

Most people are in awe when they see the gorgeous skyline of Panama City, which is compared to that of Miami.  A huge, megalopolis with a metropolitan, latino feel, it's full of taxi's, buses and a soon to be subway system.  With a population of over one million, the city is home to 17 universities filled with over 117,000 students. .  The University of Panamá School of Medicine is one of the most renowned medical schools in all of Central America.  There are also four other medical schools in Panama City and one on the other end of the country in the city of David (da-veed).

Panama City Skyline

With nine hospitals in Panama City, the newest and biggest being Punta Pacifica is affiliated with Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD.  It also has two children's hospitals along with several other speciality hospitals that provide affordable, excellent health care.  The country has some 3,500 doctors, 800 dentists, 6,400 nurses and over 7,300 hospital beds to take care of every health care need.  All of the five doctors we've met so far, and our dentist all speak fluent English.

Hospital Punta Pacifica

As for medical costs we've paid as little as $6.00 for a office visit, to $50.00 for a cornea specialist at Punta Pacifica Hospital, without insurance.  We did pick up a policy with Pan American Life Insurance that has a $250 yearly deductible for around $200 a month for the two of us.  Even though we're both healthy, we feel it's necessary to have insurance just in case we're ever hospitalized for something major. We chatted to another expat a few days ago that picked up a stomach virus and was seen in an emergency room.  He saw a doctor, was given an injection and paid the unbelievable amount of $1.75 before heading home.  Both doctors and dentists here give patients their personal cell phone numbers to use whenever necessary.  A friend of ours lost a cap one weekend and called the dentist, the same one that we use.  He asked if he was in pain and did he need to open the office.  Our friend was fine and waited until the following business day to be seen. We pay just $22.00 to have our teeth cleaned by a dentist that spent six years in dental school, just like those studying in the states.

Hospital Punta Pacifica

Recently we spoke with a retired U.S. emergency room physician who lives here.  I asked him what his opinion of health care was in Panamá?  He said that he'd had the opportunity to tour the ER of every major hospital in the city, and that the equipment was the same or better than what he used in Arizona.  I recently had a mammogram here for only $25.00, which was a promotion for October.  The usual price is $60.00 compared to the price of over $200 in the U.S., even with insurance.  The mammogram machine was the exact same one I'd been squished by so many times before.

Operating Room Staff Panama Hospital

Panama City alone has more than fourteen huge shopping malls with thousands of stores, restaurants, grocery stores and other speciality shops with great buys.  Shopping is cheap and loads of fun here, with more selection that I ever had in the U.S. Since Panamá is called "The Crossroads Of The World," products from all over the world come through here and can be purchased for a fraction of the cost we'd pay in the states.  I've bought blouses for 70 cents, shoes for 85 cents, lamps for $4.99, a bathroom light fixture for $7.99, and dresses for $3.99.  We replaced our bathroom fixtures (toilet, sink, towel bar, paper holder and robe hook) for a total of $85.00 with a rainbow of colors to choose from.  We bought 20-feet of granite to replace our kitchen counter tops for only $320 compared to thousands in the states.

Up until a few years ago, the drinking water here was said to be some of the best in the world.  Heavy rains can sometimes pollute it but we drink it constantly and have never had the need to buy bottled water. 

A small portion of Albrook Mall

Outside of Panama City the rest of the country is known as the "interior."  Life moves slower in the interior but since we live just five minutes from the beaches, we're close to a variety of shopping malls here too.  With three large, Americanized grocery stores within a five minute drive, there's no shortage of things to buy.  One store is more like a department store, with three floors of merchandise including an escalator for people and shopping carts.

Super Mercado

As for our safety, we take precautions just like we did in the states.  We lock doors, don't leave valuables in plain view and have a homeowners insurance policy. And we never look down on the locals and always say hi and speak to them in Spanish.  Panamanians are just people trying to live their lives the best they can. They are warm, welcoming people and we never feel afraid in any way.

Although this tiny country is about the size of North Carolina, it's full of lush rain forest, majestic mountains and a combination of white and black sand beaches. The eight month rainy season, also called the "green season" simply means that it can rain during that time.  It doesn't rain everyday, all day and never seems to get in the way of any outdoor activities.  Usually it's just a quick afternoon shower, that leaves as quickly as it comes.  November is the last month of the rainy season and does get even more rain, sometimes all day downpours.  But come December which is the beginning of summer here, everyone heads out to the beaches to enjoy four months of absolutely no rain at all.  The bad news is that the lush greenery quickly turns to dead, dryness which no one likes.  People that live in Panamá actually prefer the rainy season because everything is so pretty and green.

As for infrastructure, the Pan American Highway runs through the country and is a paved, decent road like any in the states.  Side roads in the interior are either paved, dirt, gravel or a combination of both. 

So people, don't fear for our lives here in Panamá but instead fear for your own.  After all we checked out of the working world early and enjoy taking it easy here in the tropics.  While many of your are working one or more jobs to make ends meet, we're living debt free and own nothing to no one.  We haven't given up anything we had in the U.S., but instead added more years to our lives by living in a healthy, carefree environment here....along the gringo trail. 






“Third World” country is not a country that simply is primitive, underdeveloped, or poor, as most people think. In fact, a third world country is actually just a country that is not considered a capitalist country (first world) and not considered a communist country (2nd world).This terminology was originally coined just after WWII with the “first world” countries being roughly all the countries that were aligned with the United States after WWII with more or less common political and economic structure (capitalists); the “second world” countries were all those that roughly aligned with the Soviet Union in terms of their political and economic structure (communists and socialists); the “third world” countries were just everybody else.
This “everybody else” meaning included an awful lot of countries that were underdeveloped or poor. Through time, this has given rise to the misconception that “third world” means only countries that are underdeveloped and poor, even though there were, and still are, many countries

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Boobie Talk.....

Last week I blogged about getting my first mammogram in Panamá, and yesterday we picked up the results.  Apparently the results would have been ready the next day, but when we went to pick them up the tech explained that she needed to take two more films.  Not having the opportunity to take pictures of boobs with implants too often, she forgot that two extra views were needed.  She was nice about it and apologized profusely so we just had to accept this little inconvenience.

Los Mamas esta bien!

The results were packaged in a nice manilla envelope bearing the name of the clinic with my name written on top.  Inside we found a typed up interpretation of the findings along with the actual six films that were taken.  We had to chuckle at this concept.  In the U.S. of course the lab files away the films to compare to consecutive films in years to come.  I suppose we just have to hang on to the results ourselves for future reference.  But we can't complain since it only cost us $25, compared to the price of over $200 in the states.  Perhaps we can frame the pictures to enhance our home decor, which should make for some interesting comments to those visiting us....along the gringo trail.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Americans Invade Canada.......

American expats crashed the Canadian Thanksgiving Bash today, at La Joya de Chicá Mountain Lodge.  Owner Phil offered his place for the shindig, that included guests from Panama City all the way to the beach community of Coronado and beyond.  We really didn't crash the party but received an invite along with other members of the La Chorrera social group, and with members of CASA (Coronado Area Social Association).  Since our Canadian friends enjoyed our American Fourth of July celebration a few months back, we helped them celebrate their Thanksgiving. 

With the maple leaf being the symbol of Canada I wanted to bake cookies with this theme.  But surely I'd never find a maple leaf cookie cutter in Panamá, so I'd have to improvise.  I found a picture online and drew it and cut it out creating a template.  Then I traced the design on to each cookie using a knife to poke holes.  Finally I made red frosting and painted on each leaf design, carefully filling in each leaf outline.  Although this sounded like a good idea in my head, the whole process took over five hours.

The perfect Canada Cookies

The massive downpour of rain didn't keep people from climbing up the hill to the picturesque, mountain getaway.  The temperature was a warm 89F/32c here at sea level, but cooled off to a brisk 71F/22c at the top.  The potluck style luncheon featured a variety of food and desserts to fill every one's belly.  With a crowd of 30 or more, there was plenty of good conversation to go around.  And whenever two countries collide, there's bound to be some friendly banter comparing the good and evil of both nations. Unlike our American friends who moved here for many different reasons, the Canadians moved here mostly to escape the long, arctic winters.  But citizens from both countries will agree that the cost of living had become so out of hand in their homelands, retiring to Panamá provided a good option.

stopped on the way down
the mountain to take this picture

So today we've come together to give thanks for all of the new friends we've come to love and respect.  Those friends we never would have made had we not been crazy enough to move our lives to Panamá.  Now we celebrate our American holidays, along with Canadian and Panamanian holidays....along the gringo trail.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The "Breast" Thing About Panamá......

The very "breast" thing about living in Panamá, is the inexpensive but high quality health care.  Since it's been over a year since my last mammogram before leaving the U.S., it was time to pursue one here.  I asked around and since there was nothing around Coronado, it was either a drive into Panama City or the next best thing.  Over the past year in our travels through the city of La Chorrera, I noticed a sign on the side of a building near the El Rey Supermarket.  The sign listed all the tests available inside including mammogram, ultrasound, bone density, and more. In January while applying for health insurance I was required to have a pap smear done.  The doctor I saw for that test also wrote me an order for a mammogram, which I used for today's procedure.

October is Breast Cancer
awareness month

In a simple, white building on a busy corner in La Chorrera sits the clinic called "Centro Medico y Diagnostico Santos y Mejia."  Once inside the door we came face to face with a receptionist behind a desk, a flat screen television on the wall behind her, and a few chairs on the opposite wall.
She took my name, phone number, age and a few other things and wrote them down on a small piece of paper that she attached to my doctor's order.  Since October is breast cancer awareness month even here in Panamá, they were running a promotion.  Mammograms this month are only $25 instead of the normal price of $60.  Even with very good health insurance in Texas, we had to pay $108 each time I had a mammogram done, on top of what the insurance company contributed.

After waiting a while I was called back by an older woman wearing black pants and a pink polo shirt displaying the "breast cancer awareness" logo. I explained that my Spanish was pretty basic and asked her to please speak slowly so I'd be able to understand.  She handed me a gown and instructed me to remove my shirt and bra before she left the room.  After I undressed I sat down in the only chair in the room.  I was elated when I noticed that the mammogram machine looked just like the one I'd seen in the U.S. so many times.  In the corner sat some boxes of fluorescent light bulbs and other supplies and I almost felt like I was in a closet. 

In a few minutes she re-entered the room to begin the procedure.  Since the paperwork already indicated that I have implants, she explained to me that she really didn't like doing mammograms on women with implants.  In Spanish I explained that I'd had it done many times before and usually extra photos are taken, some showing the implant and some showing only breast tissue.  She seemed to understand what I was saying and we chatted about mammograms being so expensive in the states.

Before leaving I questioned how the results would be revealed?  Would they be given directly to me or to the ordering doctor like in the U.S.?  She explained that I would need to come back tomorrow afternoon and pick them up after the radiologist has had a chance to read them.  I thanked her sincerely for being patient with me not fully understanding everything that she was saying.  She apologized for not knowing any English and I told her it was not necessary since this is her country and it's me that needs to learn Spanish. 

Many women I know in the states refuse to have mammograms done for fear of pain during the compression process.  Although the pain hardly exists, today I was more worried about the pain of dealing with the language.  The confusion and stupidity I'd feel when I didn't understand what was being said to me, or asked of me.  But once again I managed to get through it and survived yet another first in Panamá. 

Either this time of year is a bit cooler at night, or we've lived here so long now that we only think it's cool.  Lately temperatures are dropping to a chilly 75 degrees during the night causing us to snuggle up under the sheet and sometimes even close the window.  It's hard to believe that we live without either air conditioning or heat here, keeping the electric bill down to $30 or so. 

Everywhere we went today the televisions were tuned in to local news blasting information about "Mission Honduras," and "Fiebre Rojas."  Futbol better known as soccer, is the national past time in Panamá and tonight's game against Honduras is a biggie.  Apparently, it has something to do with qualifying for the Brazil World  Cup game in 2014. Vendors are standing in the streets selling flags, hats and other stuff proudly displaying the symbol of Panamá.  All of the country will be seeing red tonight as they park themselves in front of televisions, drink the night away and cheer on their team to victory.

Panama is playing Honduras tonight
at the sold out Honduras stadium

But as for us that probably means a noisy night with loud televisions in our neighborhood, and announcers yelling "scoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooore" over the cheering crowds.  Perhaps a little "Ron Abuelo" rum type of drink, some earplugs, and we'll happily catch some zzzzz's in our tranquil home.....along the gringo trail.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stained And Splattered.....

In a recent post I mentioned that Clyde had found some "espave" wood to make doors.  But soon after he began to work with it, he realized it was soaking wet and wouldn't work for this project.  He scraped that idea and went to buy some dry pine that he spotted in the rear of a hardware store on a prior shopping trip.

The first of the four doors is almost finished, lacking only a coat of polyurethane.  This massive four-foot wide door was designed to look like the interior doors that came with the house.  First we had to spray the door with a solution of boric acid and water as a protective barrier against termites.  After letting it dry we repeated the process two more times before coating it with stain.  I volunteered to stain the door after a subliminal suggestion by my dear husband.  Last weekend while shopping in the Do-It-Center, Clyde said he wanted to buy some rubber gloves to use when staining.  He picked out some yellow gloves in a size large but also picked up some pink ones in a size small.  When I asked why he suggested that maybe I'd like to help him stain the doors, and the pink ones were for me.

The First "Clyde made door"
Still needs some polyurethane

Being such a neat painter I really didn't expect much mess from the stain, but then this is Panamá and not the U.S. Since this is the first time either of us has used stain here, we didn't know what to expect.  Clyde suggested applying it with a brush to assure that it permeated into the lines on the doors design.  My thought was to use a sponge which would be less messy and more like the rag application I had done in the past.  I ended up using the brush as it seemed to get the stain on the door better but also splattered every where in the process.  Covered from head to tow with brown spots, I looked like I had some kind of disease.  After finishing up I had to wash from my face to my toes with terpentine, which burned my skin but removed the brown stain.  We decided that the next door will be stained before it's hung, keeping the mess outside.  Clyde actually suggested taking it down to stain, but I thought it would be quicker and easier to do it while the door was hung.  By doing it ourselves the custom made door cost less than $100, just a fraction of what it would have cost to have someone else make it. 

Several days ago while Clyde was outside with Venus our doberman, he suddenly noticed that her mouth was dripping with blood. Since she chases lizards all day he thought that one probably bit her in the mouth.  He yelled to me to bring out an old towel to sop up the blood, and laid the dog down to tend to her wound.  Once the bleeding stopped he let her go and she immediately went back to chasing lizards in and around the bushes.  Clyde attempted to clean up the blood stains off the cement floor in the car port before they dried.

Later that evening while dining in our gazebo with friends, someone noticed blood pouring from the dogs mouth again, leaving a trail everywhere. Since Clyde had left the chicken coop open giving the birds time to "free range" a bit, a light bulb suddenly went off in our heads.  Apparently Venus had been taunting the chickens again and one of them bit her in the mouth, twice in the same day. Perhaps this will teach the dog a lesson on sharing her yard with another species?

Yesterday we made a quick trip to the vet in Coronado with Venus for her yearly shots.  While there we had the female vet look at her mouth just to be sure things looked normal.  She laughed after hearing that the mighty doberman had a run in with a tiny chicken.  She gave us a prescription of an antiseptic rinse to use on the dogs mouth twice a day for a week.  The vet thought it looked somewhat infected but not enough to warrent antibiotics.  After two shots, a de-worming chewable and the antiseptic rinse, we paid our $64 and headed home. 

Last night while sitting in the gazebo again enjoying some barbequed shrimp, we watched as our crazy dog ran in circles.  She'd bark and jump up at the mango tree, watching the birds and bats fly in and out, then run through the gazebo, around the table where we sat and back to the tree again.  Round and round she ran like a turbo dog on speed, occasionally sitting down for just a minute before jumping up again.  This went on for four hours and the dog never seemed to tire out.  For an old dog she seems to have a lot of energy, at least when it's something that she wants to do.  Perhaps we don't need to walk the dog anyway?  If we just sit on our butts near the mango tree she'll run in circles giving herself plenty of exercise, while we relax.

Another day in Panamá, means another door will open or close, if the carpenter chooses.  And the stain splatters on the wall, are similar to the stain this blog leaves on the hearts of all that follow it...along the gringo trail.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Soon after Clyde began sanding the espave wood that he bought for our doors, he found it to be wet and hard to deal with.  But he did notice some dry pine at a local store and quickly changed his plan

Friday, October 5, 2012

Recycling Chicken Proteins....

And the saga continues about a poor, hungry doberman always looking for something to eat.  She roams freely through her acre of land chasing lizards and some laying chickens that her owner is raising, to cut down on the cost of buying eggs.  Yesterday morning when farmer Clyde went out to feed and water the chickens he noticed that one had flew the coop, shall we say.  And since chickens are followers, one of her sisters tried to follow along but became tangled in the mesh walls of the coop.  The one that escapes first is sort of handicapped, with feet that point in different directions, but she still seems to get around.

Heh Sis, wait for me!

Now, if I can only squeeze through here!

Later in the day I saw that Clyde had plunked down on his butt in the grass, with his cackle of chicks all around him in front of the coop.  Nosing around was his other faithful female companion Venus, his feisty doberwoman. Until now Venus had expressed an interest in dining on the delectable darlings, or so we thought.  But instead it seems as though the ditsy dobie likes the taste of chicken droppings.  A nicer way to say it would be that our dobie is recycling chicken protein back into the soil.

OMG!  I can't believe he let me this close!

Wait a minute, where did they all go?

Under Clyde's watchful eye, Venus was all too happy to give up her freedom and join the chickens inside their coop.  Perhaps we've been going about this all wrong?  When all else fails perhaps we should let the chickens roam free and put the dog in the coop?  She'd probably be happy until she ran out of chicken protein to recycle, while she's anxiously awaiting mango season to come around again.

Just me and the girls

This is alright!  Shade and all the
"chicken protein by products" that I can handle!

After many attempts to introduce our canine to the chicks we picked up a soft, cloth muzzle for her.  This way she could roam with and smell the chickens but we didn't have to worry about her eating one while we weren't looking.  So she either finally got the idea that the chickens are not for lunch, or she disliked the muzzle so much that she gave up the fight.  Whatever the case, there seems to be harmony free ranging at our casa these days.  And as for the price of that first dozen eggs whenever it comes, let's just hope those suckers are made of gold.  Gold eggs may pay for all the days of grief, feed, hay, and other supplies to make the chicks happy....along the gringo trail. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

If One Door Closes.....

If one door closes, then build yourself a new one.  As you may remember when we bought this house it came with steel security doors and screens, but no solid doors that close.  Since we've been living in a fish bowl our neighbors have probably seen some things they shouldn't have seen.  Clyde actually considered hiring someone to make the doors, but the prices sounded too high so he decided to make his own. 

While waiting for the teak wood to be delivered from across the country, he found some rough wood at a nearby hardware store.  A new to us type of wood called "espave" is apparently wood from the wild cashew tree also known as "marañon."  We actually think the other inside doors in the house are constructed out of this type of wood now that we found it.  Since the wood is rough and thick it will give us that rustic sort of look that matches the rest of the house.  And for less than $150.00 a door, it's inexpensive enough to keep satisfy my dear hubby.  With a need for four wide doors the handy man will be busy for a while.  Two of the doors are four feet wide and the other two are a bit smaller.

Found this pretty boy on the way to the store

And although they'll be kept open all the time, it'll be nice to have the option to close them if  necessary. Since the locals like to burn it'll be nice to be able to close the doors whenever they're burning trash, grass, corn husks, kids, husbands or whatever else. 

Speaking of doors, our adolescent age chickens sprung the coop yesterday by making themselves a new door.  From our bedroom window I noticed one had escaped and watched as others followed through the tiny hole in the bottom of the fence. By the time Clyde went out to round them up, four chickens were running around our yard with farmer Clyde chasing them.  We bought a simple cloth muzzle for Venus and are introducing her to the chickens this way.  She seems more interested in poking them with her snout, sort of like she's taunting them instead of trying to eat them.  But just in case she's looking for a snack until we're more comfortable she can meet them wearing a muzzle.

Clyde reached down underneath the entryway bench to throw some shoes on this morning. He had just worn them last week.   Luckily he was paying attention!  There seemed to be just a little bit of mold on them.  hmmmm.... This is Panama!  A little swipe with some bleach water and they were good to go.  But, as you see in the picture, GROSS!

YEP!  This is Panama!
Also, the reason I have a "dry room" for Terry's clothes

Yesterday I spray painted our outdoor furniture to freshen it up and watched as our ditsy doberman tried to climb the mango tree.  She sits under it anxiously waiting, looking up at the birds wondering why no more mangoes are dropping down for her to eat.  Then on her hind legs she jumps, attempting to climb up the tree, scratching her paws on it while barking.  But one might say that she's barking up the wrong tree since there's no mangoes going to fall from it anytime soon.  I just hope that the banana trees don't produce fruit until their much taller otherwise we may never get any.  Instead we may just find a 200 pound dog passed out from an overdose of bananas. 

Is she after the birds or looking for Mangos?

My handy man been creating a sticky mess putting a coat of polyurethane on the inside doors.  These nice solid doors are loved by all that visit, but they needed some cleaning up.  And what better way than to add some clear finish creating a bit of sparkle to the old wood.

Looking a little better!

Clyde the handy house husband has turned in his hammer for an apron and headed outside to grill up some chicken.  With a beer in one hand and a plate of chicken in the other, he'll cook up some delectable delights for dinner.  Some homemade "ensalada repollo" or cole slaw made by me will make a nice side dish. 

So just remember when one door closes make yourself another one.  Open it wide, walk through with confidence and embrace a new adventure on the other side....along the gringo trail.

Life In Portugal....At A Snails Pace....

Yesterday was just another day in Portugal when my dear husband Clyde said he was going to run to the pharmacy for a few things. Time passed...