I just realized that we talk a lot about the area and the views but not directly about the property that we are located on. This page is here to address that issue.
Let’s start at the street. As you come up the hill from town, this is what you will see. The prpperty starts at the wall on the left and continues until the palm trees you see beyond the bodega. What bodega? The white building is a bodega. The garage is below, behind the black porton. You enter through the little porton with the brown sign above it.
The front of the property continues on the right side — just looking pretty much like what you see on this side of the bodega. The width is 27 meters. As for depth, it is about 145 meters, continuing up the hill. The front part of the property is terraced with a rustic stone path to get to the actual B&B building.
Once you enter and go up the stairts to the next level, you will encounter a different kind of rock path. I think it is called lada but that is a also the make a a Russian car that was popular in Nicaragua. In any case, it is flat stones set in concrete. In this photo the path is at the level of the top of the wall you see in the first photo, the unplanted dirt on the left is at the level of the bodega and you can also see the rock wall for the next level.
The next photo was taken at the level of the bodega floor. The step paths to the levels are at the right end. You can see all the way to the front of the B&B building in this photo. It is the pink peeking through.
Between the levels to take you far above the street and the trees it is very private and isolated from the street.
In this photo you can see some of the steps. They are built with the same stones as the rock walls so you actually need to look carefully to see them. On the left of the photo you can, once again, see the pink of the B&B building.
In total it is 45 steps to the front of the building and 56 to the back. The regular rooms are located on the front (but up a few more steps). The owner’s unit, the Studio Apartment and access to the terraza is located on the back of the building.
Here you finally get to see a reasonable amount of the B&B building itself and more of the steps. What you see is one of the windows to Unit A. On the left is an avocado tree. In the center is a mandarin orange tree and, on the right, where the steps continue up the hill.
You may have noticed the posts with little black boxes on them. Those are solar-recharged path lights. They recharge during the day, give off a low-level light after dark and switch to bright mode if you (or a dog) walks by. If you get back by 10PM you will be fine but if you drag in at say 3AM, you probably will need a flashlight.
Looking down the level in front of the building you can see the avocado tree on the left and a papaya trunk and part of the mandarin orange on the right. Behind the avocado tree is a macadamia nut tree. Now, I buy macadamia nuts but as far as I can tell, the birds own everything that grows there.
Near the wall on the right are aloe vera plants, basil and mint. Rosemary is growing in the middle of the photo. Down at the other end of this level is a big nispero tree, a small apple tree and a few others.
Heading up the stairs to the top level (that is, back side of the building — there are lots more levels before the end of the property) you encounter a small lime tree with a view toward Santiago Atitlan. While things look pretty overcast, it is a function of a warm morning and then moisture coming in from the coast and forming low clouds over the lake. At this point we are ready for some rain to cool things off a bit. Odds? about 50:50.
As you get to the back of the building, you encounter a banana tree collection. There are a few plants there but the one on the right is not a banana. These are all short because we recently harvested bananas from their parents.
When a banana tree fruits, you can just chop it done. It’s the end of its life cycle. But, from one to maybe five new plants start up around it. If you have more available land, leave one baby and transplant the others. If a few years you will have more bananas they you can possibly eat. Then it will be time to make banana wine.
The rock wall is to the next level. The ditch on the right is irrigation water. We have a solar-powered pump to pump it up the hill for the coffee, fruit trees and such.
Behind the building is a rock wall with way beyond rustic steps to continue up the hill. If you continue up to the left you come to the garden area. Up to the right you will pass coffee, mango, limon, avocado, peach, guava, orange and other trees. Once the trail starts climbing, it is paved with rocks up to the domestic water tank. Beyond that it is more work to continue the climb. But, it can be done.
At the other end of the building is a grove of bamboo. Clearly happy because of the irrigation water. Note that on the left of the irrigation canal is yellow bamboo. On the right is a plant that looks like bamboo but is not. I will once again ask the name and, this time, write it down.
You may wonder why he is using a hacksaw. (I wondered too when Dino was doing the work.) Juan first tried a machete — the “hammer” of Central America. Well, no go. The stems are thick and very dry. It is pretty much impossible to cut one with the tool that people use here to chop down regular trees.
Try two was a pruning saw. Same problem. It would just not bite into the stems. But, the hacksaw works.
I considered suggesting the reciprocating saw but decided there would be a good chance I would end up with an employee missing an arm. The good news is that things are progressing relatively quickly with the hacksaw.
So far we have just given you a tour from the street entrance up to the B&B building. The building is about 20 meters from the front of the property and maybe 20 meters above it. At the property is 145 meters deep and steep enough that it is more like 200 meters of surface area, that is but a small portion of what is here. Here I want to both cover some specifics and also give you an idea what lies “up the hill”.
Let’s start looking at some specifics. There are lots of roses planted in the yard (and waiting to be planted) but there are few in bloom right now. So, for roses, stay tuned. In general, Rocio is in charge of what I call the “useless plants”. That means flowers and I just say that to harass her.
Now, here is what I call a useful plant. Aloe vera. A few months ago, probably during Semana Santa, we had a couple staying here who decided to go down to the public beach, swim and play in the sun. They came back looking very toasted. Juana talked to them and then cut some aloe leaves, scraped out the meat and blended it. She then presented them with a container of aloe vera gel. Probably the quantity that would have cost at least $10 if you could even find it without all sorts of other ugly chemicals in it.
There are currently six of these plants and we plan to cultivate more. Growing in this same area are mint, oregano and basil.
We have coffee growing on the property. Not a lot but some. There are three plants in the front yard and then maybe a dozen planted up the hill behind the building. That’s not a lot (as I remember, a reasonable crop is one pound per plant) and the plants are young but it’s a start. Rather than try to build a coffee farm, we may buy cherries (that’s what you call the fresh bean with the fruit around it) from Juanita and process our own brand of coffee. It’s on the list of projects here.
[This story is to be continued when there is not a thunder storm going on — not a good thing for the Internet connectivity here.]