Tuesday, July 30, 2013

House in the woods

My friend Eliane has two cottages on her property in Martinique. One was built using wood and twigs that were found growing around the property while the other was built from mostly store bought lumber and clay roofing tiles. I was very impressed. They were built by a Canadian from Montreal who is occupying the very rustic cottage above. It took him three months to build the twig house.
Notice the concrete footings for support.
The roof is made from sugar cane tops. I asked if it leaked and was told no.
I can only admire the patience and skill of the builder.
The outdoor shower, I asked about the toilet and was told that there was a dry one nearby.
Clay tiles form the roof of this cottage.
This cottage was made from store bought hardwood. The door was a mixture of twigs and hardwood.
These houses have given me inspiration to build similar ones using local materials. I think bamboo, khus khus grass (vetiver), sugar cane tops and planting trees as the four corner posts. Hmmm food for thought!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day July 2013

 Malay apple aka pommerac, plumrose, cashew, french cashew, wax apple, otaheite apple, and malacca in various parts of the world.
 Carambola aka five fingers, star fruit

    Mangoes aka fruit of the Gods are in full season chez moi
 Yesterday at Holders Farmers Market where I sold some of my fruit.
 Red chinaman's hat in bloom for the first time

 Milkweed (asclepias) with a monarch caterpillar happily munching away
 White dendrobium never disappoints me.
 Radermachera  aka tree jasmine family bignoniaceae in bloom
Petrea volubilis
 Flamboyant aka Royal Poinciana, Gul mohur, (delonix regia) has started blooming around the garden.
 Night blooming water lily
Sandy baby just wondering what I was up to around the pond.

Hello and welcome to Garden Blogger's Bloom Day where gardeners around the world post what is blooming in their gardens. I have a bariffle (a Bajan word for plenty)  of fruit in season at the moment Mangoes, Carambolas and Malay apples. Mangoes are keeping me busy and those I can't sell I am freezing them for later use. The garden is now coming into bloom the explosion of colour by the Flamboyants will be seen in another week or two. 
To see more of what is blooming in other gardens around the world please visit Carol at may dreams gardens
Have a great week gardening!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Homestead update

 My windows have finally arrived, after months of looking for someone to make them for me I finally found a firm by the name of Brother's workshop to do them. They were delivered on last Saturday!
Sash window with jalousies
 Of course there was bad weather approaching. Luckily I had some temporary shutters built to keep the rain out on the windward side.
 They are made out of cedar wood and replicate the plantation style shutter windows.  I am quite pleased with Brother's workshop located in Grazettes Industrial park.

 We managed to install two and will finish installing the rest later in the week after the bad weather has passed. After they have been screwed into place the walls will be plastered to seal them in.
Light fixtures are installed
The ceiling fans are up  with one more to be installed whenever it gets here.
 Today we were expecting tropical storm Chantal. She passed the island with only occasional showers and headed up the island chain. My friend in Martinique said that the storm was not very strong and all is well there. I was very happy to hear that.
My window hoods have been repainted and are now awaiting installation.
Baby Sandy has now been accepted by the pack and is now sleeping indoors with them.  The first night he kept such a racket that he pushed the baby gate down and went to sleep under the bed where we are camping downstairs at the moment. He sleeps through the night without a squeak coming from him. All I am thinking about in bed  is how much cleaning I might have to do when I wake up or what will I be stepping in. He has been pretty good so far and I have been taking him out last thing at night and first thing in the morning.  I can't wait until the bedrooms upstairs are completed. That will take another two to three months or so.  Meanwhile during the day I am kept  busy mopping up puddles and scooping up his poop. I have placed newspaper in areas on the floor  and he has been doing it there when he can't make it outside. I am convinced he is a poop and pee pee factory. I might have to get him some diapers LOL

Monday, July 8, 2013

Morning walk

 We wanted to go for a brisk walk on Sunday morning, day seven of our ten day sejour. Eliane our host took us to one of the most pristine areas in Martinique to walk and was a mere five minutes drive from her house. It was in an area called  Didier and home of the popular L'eau Didier. We walked by streams and mini water falls gushing out of the mountain side, fellow walkers some with their dogs greeted us with numerous "bonjours". 
 The area was magical. Elephant ears with gingers surrounded by ferns were growing naturally along the roadsides. 
 Carved into the sides of the Piton du Carbet mountain, the road was narrow and meandered with many curves. I was so busy snapping away when I realized that my sister Sandra and Eliane were way ahead of me and I had to play catch up.
 The vegetation was stunning, heliconias brightening the lush green surroundings.
 Pagoda flower a clerondendron added another dazzling display to the scenery.

 Bamboo was another popular vegetation seen along the road.

 Tree ferns were plentiful and at home in their natural habitat.
 I was wondering what several of these buildings were used for along the roadside. I found out that they were parking garages for people who owned cars and lived in the valley below.
It was a treacherous drop from the road and only accessible by steps in most places.
 This Tibouchina was covered in blooms.

 Steps leading to the many homes in the valley. There must have been about a hundred of them here and I mused that the residents were probably the fittest on the island. Imagine taking your groceries  down these and having to climb them several times a day. I am tired just thinking about it.
 Mangoes can be seen scattered along the road.
 Wow look at that rooftop down there! I wondered where was the access to this house? Imagine visiting someone here for the first time.
 I was surprised to see a vehicle down in the valley. I later discovered a very steep road  leading down to the household.
Since Martinique is a volcanic and mountainous island, many mountains sides have been shrouded with these wire nets. These are a protective barrier to prevent dangerous rock falls. This is a serious problem on the island and has made it difficult and expensive to purchase viable land.
 The headquarters and manufacturing plant for L'eau Didier 
 Pumping station for spring water that is bottled under the L'eau Didier lable.

 Didier tunnel the entrance and exit to the walk.
 Sleeping hibiscus or monk's cap
 We walked for about three hours perhaps two in reality but for me it felt like three. I look forward to doing this whenever I am next in Martinique. Thank you Eliane.

                                                       more to come............