Sunday, September 6, 2015

Day 35 (last day)

Day 35

Today is my last day and we spent it going to the Blue Mountains. We stopped for jellies on the way and went all the way up in elevation to 4,000 ft. It is another world up there. It was cloudy and cool with coffee berries covering the hills. On our way up it started pouring and I left my window down enjoying it as it was the closest to a shower that I have had in a long time. We went to "Dennis' Coffee Farm" which is ran by a Rasta family and when we were able to see them roasting beans over a fire and had a brief 'how to' on the roasting process. We had some cups of coffee and I ended up buying two bags because it was delicious.
When we got back to the house I packed my bags - I am shocked that I managed to fit everything.
That night was so much fun; Emily, me, and the boys had thumb wars, tickle fights, played barnacles (BS), crazy 8's, and ended with arm wrestling!

Before the casing is taken off they look like peanuts

Great cup of Joe

View from the coffee farm
Where they roast the beans

The next morning at 4am Agape made me ginger tea and toast with honey. It was hard to say goodbye. I got to the airport at 7 and had to say good bye to Emily and Kwao.

This was the absolute best trip that I have ever been on and I came home a new person. The Adams family is so warm and loving, I felt at home the very first day that I got there and they will always have a place in my heart.
They have shown me how to live a sustainable life and how to keep treatment free bees. I now plan to keep bees where ever I end up and for now plan starting an apiary near my school garden.

Thank you for following my journey, but this is just the BEEginning to something greater.

Day 33 and 34

Day 33

My doctor is coming over today. That's Jamaican culture for you!
The boys have been telling me they are going to tell him all about how I stand and walk on my foot even though he told me not to, should be fun haha :)
Next door at Strawberry Fields they were making pizzas and Emily and I couldn't resist. I could do vegan were it not for my love of cheese. They had to heat up the pizza oven and we enjoyed a nice cold rid stripe while waiting for the pizza to cook. The view was not too shabby.
'brewed in Jamaica'

Look at all of that lovely cheese!
Going back to the house I burned through at least one slice of the pizza. It was so hot!
That night we made our last batch of soap and I talked with Dr. Barnes and his lovely wife. We also made sugar water (2 water to 1 sugar) and made 30 bags to feed bees.
After I read book after book for 5 boys, Kofi was actually on my back. Then we had a major tickling war and it was all of them against me, I held out for a while but then Enoch and and Kofi teamed up and they found my weak spots. It was a really good night and I am going to miss these boys so much when I go back home.

Here are links to some of my favorite songs:
Here Comes Trouble
Don't Haffi Dread
This Magic Moment

Day 34

I'm 22 today! This morning we went up to one of the farms and transferred 10 colonies from their small hives into the larger ones that we built and painted. It was so satisfying to see the finished product of the work we had done over the past month. We also put two bags of sugar water into the back of each hive before we closed them up. While we were out we ate a star apple, ginup, banana, and mango. On the way back to the house we stopped to see the view of the bay from high up on the mountain and it was gorgeous. In the evening I made a big painting for the house and Kwao made a delicious cake after dinner for my birthday. It was a wonderful day :)

Kwao transferring a colony

New Hives and the Land Rover in the back

Banana from the yard


View of the bay from the Mountain side

Day 31 and 32

Day 31

Our last trip to the hospital (fingers crossed). I got my letters from the doctor and on the way back we stopped at the hardware store to get tin to make covers for the hives. We also stopped at the market so Kwao could pick up some pineapples and I waited in the car watching goats eat trash.

That day Emily and I put together 9 hive covers and it took us 3 hours to complete. We had to measure out and cut the tin where we left our share of sacrifices. It was so nice to be able to do some hard work again and I have really started to like building hives. It is really satisfying to see the end product.

Day 32

This morning we went to Annotto Bay for sugar to make sugar water to feel the bees. When we got back we finished up the last 6 of the hives near the house. We tried royal jelly and I think it is so gross! It is thick and white and reminds me of lard with an after taste of honey. But now I know!
We found another queen less hive but were able to give it a comb from a hive next to it. The rest of the day was relaxing and that evening we cut soap.


Days 28, 29, and 30

Day 28

We went into 7 hives today and we were able to take care of all of the queen less hives. Unfortunately we found one hive that had been destroyed by wax moths so we harvested the combs to melt later.
That night we made another batch of soap - Tangerine this time.
On a side note, a chicken has started laying in my room. I found a broken egg on the floor and I put it outside. I told the boys about it and apparently she will be back and keep laying so I should make a place for her to do it. I put a sun hat upside down with an old shirt in it at the place where she laid the last time.

Day 29

Back to the hospital, Hoorah!
We got there at 7am and it was already crowded with people with all different kinds of ailments. I got number 28 which is a pretty bad place to get but while I waited I talked to a lot of really nice ladies and kids. Even though Kwao knew some people and got me through the wait faster, it still took 7 hours to get my blood pressure and temperature checked, see the doctor, get a new hard cast, and have another round of x-rays, Turns out that I actually have to come back on Friday to get a letter from him so that I will be safe to travel. I don't want to go through customs and be suspect of having a cocaine cast or whatnot.

Day 30

Not that today wasn't great but I have been terrible at keeping my journal and for the life of me cannot remember what happened today.

But I can tell you that my new cast SUCKS. It is uncomfortable, my calf endlessly itches, and if that not all, it is bright green.
Oh and the chicken came back and ironically decided to lay in the wicker basket that Melchizedeck made.
Our beach :)

Me helping strip off Moringa leaves for dinner

My new roommates nest

Day 27

Day 27

Today we were tourists! We went to Ocho Rios for the day and would you believe it I actually wore a skirt. I did not shave my arm pits though, I am kinda digging it so far. I am actually loving no mirrors and no worries on how I look - but it was fun to get ready for one day :)
On our way we stopped for jelly (young coconut) and then headed to the craft market. I got some cute overpriced 'tings' to bring back home and then went to the vegetarian restaurant across the street that Agape suggested I try. (Since coming here I have decided to be vegetarian again and there are very few vegetarian options outside of the house) I had veggie run down and a hot cup of Jamaican coffee which was perfect - Emily and Hannah went for Jerk Chicken. I was impressed with the store as they sold local products from all around the island. I bought some soursap juice which was made in St. Mary - my parish! After lunch I went outside to sit and wait for the girls to come back. I met a lot of very nice Jamaicans while waiting. I have a very good opinion of the culture here - people have been nothing but nice and they are very family and community minded.
After I got picked up we went to Dunn's River falls and I climbed up and down about a billion stairs on my crutches to get down to the beach and back.  I crossed the water to get to a better beach and managed to keep my cast out of the water. I technically went in - at least my left foot did. The way up was grueling and I was literally dripping in sweat from head to toe but it was all worth it.
Before we headed back we drove through Fern Gully which is beautiful. Dense, green, and full of tall trees - it felt like we went back in time.
Where we got our jellies

"Getting in the water"

The falls with Emily on the left

Sandy Sock! Fun

Day 25 and 26

Day 25

This morning we went into 6 hives near the kitchen and found that 4 of them were queenless. Now we are looking for hives who could donate a comb of eggs, capped brood, and some worker bees to raise them. The queenless hives can make a queen out of an egg by feeding it royal jelly for the rest of its life (normal worker bees only get 3 days of royal jelly) and by elongating and making its cell vertical. We have to make sure that every stage of bee (egg, capped brood, nurser, and worker) is present in the hive so that the cycle can continue and there won't be any gaps in population.

We found a LOT of honey today. One of the queenless hives had 21 partial combs of honey - we had to take one :)

That night we made lemongrass soap. After dinner I made the mistake of eating pollen which it turns out my body is not a fan of. Not even 10 minutes later I found myself vomiting. I'm sticking to honey from here on out!

Honey we harvested - YUM!

Day 26

To be honest I was late writing about today and all I can remember is that we went into the bees this morning and we able to give two combs to two of the queen less hives and now we only have two more to worry about.

However I have not wrote too much about what it is like to live here so now is a perfect time.
Essentially the entire yard is the house and to go to each room (your room, the bathroom, kitchen) you have to use the "hallway" which consists of a stone walkway outside which connects everything. The "living room" is outside of the kitchen and is my favorite place to hang out. There is a bench underneath a giant mango tree which is great for reading and there is a breeze from the ocean which is a relief on hot days. The boys like to use the bench for making bows, arrows, cutting sugar cane, and making all sorts of inventions. In the center is a brick oven that they made and has to have fire in it all day to be ready to use for dinner. All around us is green and it is hard to believe that we have neighbors, it feels like we are far from civilization. The boys have to rake the yard every day to keep the plants were they are and to stop them from taking over. If you go up past the kitchen and up to the road the workshop is up there and that is where we make the hives and keep the bars of soap.

Walkway from my room to the Kitchen

The "living room" with the brick oven

Enoch taking aim at Cutie (the dog)

Lets talk about food.
I thought that being Vegan would be hard and we would only eat salads for every meal but I was so wrong. I am not sure I could be vegan at home, but it is so easy here! Agape is an amazing cook and I don't feel limited. We had fresh baked bread nearly daily and she makes a mean pesto pasta and to die for sweet and sour tofu. My body feels excellent and I haven't had processed sugar or food for a whole month.
A lot of our food comes right off the land. Here is a list of the things I can remember that are growing here:
Avocados, Nuni, Mangoes, Ginup, Bread fruit, Plantains, Bananas, June Plums, Almonds, Callaloo, Knees Berries, Stinking Toe fruit....

Breadfruit after being roasted in the fire

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day 23 and 24

Day 23

Bees again this morning!
We were able to go through 5 hives and I was even able to inspect one hive all on my own. I am enjoying bee keeping and am feeling much more confident working with the bees.

We made another batch of soap tonight - getting close to finishing them up! Once they are done Kwao and Agape are going to start selling them to the local community and hopefully expand around the island.

A side note - Dreads are really growing on me (not technically though)

Day 24

We could only do one hive this morning because bees from other hives started to fight and rob the hive we had open. If we tried to open any other hives they would have also been attacked. When I was taking off my veil I still had a girl taking a ride on me and she stung my in the hand when I pulled it off.

Number of stings : 4

Things have gotten into a rhythm - bees and soap.

Tangerine soap that night. After that we played a card game called burns which is really fun until you realize how it got its name. The loser has to be hit on the hand by everyone else! We were done playing after we found that out - nice try boys.

Lining the mold with parchment paper

Agape making one of many yummy meals

Sweating buckets but loving it

Only slightly swollen