Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's the Critter-of-the-Day Club

Well, I'm trying to get away from posting about the bugs, snakes, and such that we are finding out there - but really, it's hard for me to resist, 'cause I find it so much fun!

The lovely specimen above was found by David, and is about 1.5" long. I'm not a big bug fan, but I do think the markings on this one are kind of pretty.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Making a warehouse a home . . . making a home a warehouse

For the past month, the kids and I have been spending a great deal of time creating a home out of one huge room, since we are living in the warehouse/bodega until our permanent house is built. The only problem with this (well, maybe just one of a few problems) is that in addition to needing a house, we also need a warehouse. So, the building has to serve both purposes at once.

Happily, we also have a 20' shipping container on the property, and we use that for some storage throughout the year. Once each year, however, we receive an entire 40' container of donated items, as gifts for the pastors with whom we work, and for children in our area. (This container is supposed to arrive before Christmas, but this year the arrival was delayed, and we're just about to receive it.) Not only do we have to have space to unload the contents of the container, but we also need to have room to sort these items for distribution.

So, now that we've almost got this warehouse looking like a home, we're going to figure out how to shift things around, to use our home as a warehouse for a month or two.

I'll try to post pictures soon - I've been waiting until I could get some nice ones, so my readers aren't appalled at our living conditions. The situation isn't so very bad, really, but I just haven't been ready to show it to the world! ;-D

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DON'T LOOK - if you don't like snakes!

Yes; another day, another creepy, crawly, slithering, biting critter. Don't say I didn't warn you, okay?

I wasn't even going to put this one on the blog. I mean really, it isn't even poisonous, so why bother? But after taking pictures and all, I thought I might as well put them here.

The story behind the snake:

The girl cats (we have three) live in the team house, where the older children currently have their bedrooms. Recently, the girl cats have been delivering gifts to Rachel and Bethany's bedroom with alarming regularity. The gifts have included dead mice, scorpions, and lizards.

This morning, the girls awoke to find the cats playing with a small snake in their bedroom. The snake wasn't moving, so the girls scooped it up into a shallow dish and brought it to show to me. We do think it best to try to identify the snakes here, so we are aware of which are poisonous, you know.

So, the girls hand me this dish with the snake, and tell me that it is a dead snake the cats had in their room. I take the snake, and am looking at it quite closely when . . . it MOVES!

Well, I think I might have screamed, and the snake definitely flew through the air (along with the dish) and landed on the floor. Since the snake was stunned (again), the girls scooped it up into a larger container (with a lid, this time). No live snake loose in the house = a good thing, I'm thinking!

We've been looking online for an identification for the snake, but meanwhile one of our workers has told us that it is locally called a "garbage snake" because these snakes are often found burrowing in the trash. It is also not poisonous, so we can be grateful for that!

Now, here's the snake:

Eventually, I believe, I will post on something other than bugs and snakes. I sort of hope it will be soon. :-D

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I know I'm going to give you the wrong impression here

Really, REALLY, we are having a great time in our new home, and we are feeling quite at ease and happy with the life we are leading. I wanted to say that before reporting our second scorpion sting. I also need to add a disclaimer: Gus has given me permission to share this story.

Okay, here we go.

You first need to know that our new home has two buildings, but only one of those buildings has a working bathroom. Gus was in his bedroom, in the building with no bathroom, and he felt the urge, so he grabbed his handy roll of toilet paper and headed off into the woods.

After, umm, well, you know, he reached for the roll of toilet paper. If you grab a roll of toilet paper, intending to unroll some paper, you might grab it by sticking two fingers into the hole in the roll. Anyway, that's what Gus did, and he got stung by a scorpion that was hiding inside his roll of toilet paper!!!!!

Now, Gus doesn't know whether the scorpion had just crawled in there, or if he'd carried it from his room, hidden inside the roll, but what he did next shows an incredible degree of quick thinking while in a "crisis." Gus reports that he first used the toilet paper for the purpose for which it was intended, and then he searched for, found, and killed the scorpion (which had fallen to the ground after stinging him). Additionally, he carefully and intentionally killed the scorpion without squashing it, thinking that I would want a picture for the blog! What a trooper! I just hope you're all appropriately appreciative of his efforts.

Gus is fine, by the way. We're all fine, but we're learning to be cautious!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fighting off an invasion!

Rachel discovered the invasion attempt, and ran for the bug spray. We didn't run for the camera until later, so these pictures weren't taken until the invasion was at least partially foiled. Rachel wants me to assure you that the time the ants tried to invade the team house was much worse than this invasion. Just so you know.

Bethany took the pictures. I'll show the side of the building first, then some closer shots, so you can get the idea, but you really need to click on the pictures (for the larger versions) to see what we're trying to show you. It's hard to take shots close enough to see something as tiny as an ant, while taking the shot from far enough away to see that there are lots of them.

On a lighter note, my dish drainer was also invaded this morning:

Building strong immune systems, that's what it's all about! ;-D

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yes, we do have power!

I'm sorry I haven't written about it here earlier. Russell traveled safely to San Pedro Sula and back last weekend, and purchased the new generator. It is working great, charging up our batteries and running our freezer and washer. Here's what the power schedule might look like, on a normal day (HA! Like we have such a thing as a normal day around here!):

6 am - I get up and plug in the refrigerator, and maybe check the news and emails on the internet (this is using power from the already-charged batteries).

7 am - Gus gets up, and starts the generator. Once the generator is running, we are charging up the batteries and we plug the freezer directly into the generator.

8 am - After breakfast, we switch from running the freezer to running the washing machine. The batteries continue to charge.

11 am (or so) - The timing depends on how many loads of laundry we have to wash, but once the laundry is done we unplug the washer and plug the freezer back in.

1 pm - After lunch, we turn off the generator, and unplug the freezer and the refrigerator.

5 pm - When he comes in for supper, Gus turns the generator on again, so that the batteries are well charged for the night. We probably run the generator about 2 hours or so at this time, and we make sure the refrigerator and freezer are plugged in during this time.

So, we now have power (though slightly limited) all the time, as long as we keep up on the charging schedule. Once the solar panels come, we'll have that power source, instead of running the generator all the time.

So far, so good! Thanks for the prayers!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oh right, like I needed to know this . . .

We have rattlesnakes on our property. Last night Bethany was walking between our two buildings, at twilight, and she almost stepped on one! It was a teensy snake, about 2 feet long. I'd share a picture, but by the time the boys had killed it, the snake was pretty mashed up.

Lovely. I'm sure to sleep better now, knowing this.

Edited: I decided to include a picture of the tail end of the snake, with the mashed up parts cropped out. Here you go:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Our Power Station

I'm still dealing with minimal power - it would seem that we will be purchasing a new generator tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a quick picture of our power set-up. We have batteries, battery chargers, an inverter, and miscellaneous other equipment that is a mystery to me.

Scary looking, isn't it?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hopefully just a blip

We've been living full time in our new home since Christmas Eve, and we've been successfully running a generator to charge our batteries, from which we run the inverter to power the items we consider electric necessities.

But - yesterday the generator broke down. It is in the shop now, and we are praying that it will be repairable, but we aren't totally optimistic. It was a lack of oil in the engine problem, which can be a life-ender for these machines.

I am using the last bit of power available to me now, to cool down the fridge one more time, and let people know that we might be disappearing from the internet again for a bit of time. Please pray with us that the generator repair will be do-able. If that does't work out, we'll be purchasing a new generator, but budget restraints (and lack of availability in Honduras) will almost certainly require us to purchase a smaller, less powerful, and less reliable generator than the one we have been using.

Thanks for praying!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our first scorpion sting!

Yesterday morning, while moving some boxes (as part of the unpacking process), Rachel encountered a scorpion. It was apparently on the box she picked up, and she was stung on the inside of her forearm, not far from her elbow. We have seen many scorpions on our property, and had been advised that the variety we have here isn't especially dangerous.

Thankfully, this indeed turned out to be the case. Rachel was in some significant pain for an hour or so, and the rest of the day her arm didn't feel right - she compared it to the after effects of a strong electrical shock (she shocked herself last year, on a damaged refrigerator cord, so she knows something about this). The actual sting was a tiny red mark, and her arm didn't swell at all.

We're grateful to know that the danger from these scorpions isn't great, since we have so many of them about!

Russell squashed the scorpion, so I don't have a picture to show you. Maybe next time?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm back!

Today, after what was (for me) a very long interval, I am reconnected to the internet! I will still be needing to be careful of how much time I spend online, as we get our permanent power situation settled, but I'm thrilled to be able to get on at all.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us during our time of transition. I'll try to write a real update soon, with all the details of our move.