Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Seasons and States

St. Croix experiences two seasons: wet and dry. Right now it's wet or the hurricane season. This weekend we experienced two days of rain, a rarity for the typically sunny St. Croix.

Two days of rain is the closest we get to Autumn. Rain on St. Croix is more often a passing shower, not unlike the sprayers in the produce section of the grocery.

The island gets misted and not much more. This weekend's storms rained hard, long and even thundered. I would not be surprised if in the next day or so, the islands north of us and the U.S. mainland don't have a named storm on their door step. Such was the case with Gustav, which passed here as a big rain, before gaining strength, wind and a moniker.

At our house the only thing Gustav left in his wake was tadpoles in our birdbath. A short sighted rainfrog laid them in our shallow birdbath newly filled with water. I checked this morning a few of them are still swimming having survived a night's deluge without being washed over the edge.
We shall see what chirping, globe-toed amphibians they become.
Today, at HaypennyRest, the temps are mild and the sun has reappeared.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Running on Empty

No, this isn't a blog about the high price of gasoline. I'm a fan of public transportation and wish we'd invested more in this ideal during the '70s. And I know, everyone's curious, I filled up at the Shuama on the corner of the Sunny Isles intersection and gas was $4.35 ( I think). My bill, to fill up the tank of a Jeep Wrangler was $50. For small vehicles, those darn things can drink gas. But I digress, this blog isn't about the current fuel crises.

A steady stream of bad luck, snafus, lengthy 'to do' lists at home and a work have left me worn out. I live on an island and I'd love to spend an afternoon at the shore not dwelling on unfinished tasks.

It's a great feeling, then, when you're feeling empty to hear from long distance friends. I received shout outs from a few folks last week and goodness knows I needed 'em.

These are photos of the flamboyant trees around Haypenny Rest
I snapped a photo last week while enroute to work. I needed to make sure I captured their vibrant orange flora at full peak for each day more and more blossoms have tumbled to the ground. I knew if I did not make this photo dairy a priority, their luster would slip away from me, and I would regret it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Long Distance Well Wishes

This blog serves as a shout out and thank you to previous Haypenny Rest guests, Cindy and Barb. I received a care package of wonderful goodies, beautiful photos (that I had hoped to feature here, but am experiencing technical difficulties) and well wishes. I am greatly appreciative of the time and effort they took to send us a little joy in the mail. Last week was a tough week, a true Friday the 13th, and their gift box was more uplifting than they may know. Thanks, ladies. Much appreciated.

The trade winds are dying down, the rains more frequent and the streets of Christiansted quieter. The "season" has ended and the residents remain. The sleepiness that is St. Croix is sleepier. If warmer weather and emptier beaches sounds inviting, St. Croix may be a great place to visit this summer. Need an escape from the rat race? We might be just the right destination.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Hiatus both does and does not explain my absence from the blog. According to Webster's the word means 1. a break in an object, 2. a lack of continuity. Meaning 2 broadly explains the absence itself and not the reasoning behind it. Perhaps definition 1 is a better fit if the object is my reality, my sense of routine and calm and normalcy.

The last post dates about the time I suffered a loss and an even greater loss has occurred since. No matter how frequently we hear warnings in the form of platitudes, the kernel of meaning is lost amongst the din of everyday living. The message meant for our ears unheard, white noise.

One of the few people who actually read my little ramblings on a regular basis left this world too soon and I never thanked her appropriately for all her encouragement.

I wonder if we suffer more from the actions we take or the ones we do not?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sailing the BVI--part 1

On a clear day in St Croix, one can see the islands of St Thomas and St John the other US Virgin Islands (USVI). They look like blue-gray shadows on the horizon. Most days they lie hidden behind the clouds. St Croix feels isolated that way unlike the other USVIs and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which float in close proximity to one another.

We have learned that sailing charters and charter rental are common in the BVI because the 60 something islands and cays that make up the BVI lie so close to one another, except for Aenegada (in the far north). Sailing charters to the BVI (or the USVI for that matter) are not common on St Croix. At present only one company offers sails to the BVI. A weekend ago, we tested the waters.

On Friday evening we boarded a 45' catamaran, Kindred Spirit, for a 4 hour plus trip to the BVI with Norman Island as our first stop. About half way across the open ocean of the Caribbean Sea, the lights of St Croix dim and the lights of the other USVI and BVI are distant glows. One feels a bit alone, especially in the darkness with high black waves crashing against the boat's hull. A disquieting feeling that yields when some invisible line is crossed and the ship sails into the tranquil waters of the BVIs.

Tired, ocean spray splashed, and recovering from malaise and a Dramamine hangover, we are encourage to disembark and dingy over to the William Thornton, named for the self-taught architect of the U.S. Capitol Building and BVI resident, better known as Willy T's a permanently moored freighter serving as tavern. I think its somewhere before midnight, but my time line is fuzzy due to seasickness and aforementioned meds.

Willy T's is infamous for offering free tee shirts to female patrons who walk the plank topless. This publicity campaign was recently halted after many years due to liability issues. The crowd we found aboard would probably have done a group plank splash if allowed. I am only certain that the throng of wasted merry makers suffered either a group wretch later and most certainly a group hangover in the morning. Willy T's served canned beer and shots doled out in a wooden ski while Michael Jackson and AC/DC blared from the speakers. Perhaps the Thunderstruck anthems in homage to the two 20 something Aussie bartenders that seemed to be in charge of the ship. We stayed till near close, people watching, until we motored back to our boat, climbed in our berth and promptly fell asleep.

I don't have any photos of Willy T's but they do have a website which features the ski shot. I did not see the naked woman who seems to be waiting on patrons in the web photos. http://www.williamthornton.com/more.html

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Long Haitus Complete (I hope) and Published Work

Long, too long absence from the blog over, I hope. One recent professional event, I'm rather proud of is the publication of a story I wrote on the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Aquaponics Program. Aquaponics is the science of growing fish and plants together. UVI has the world's most established program. I wrote a feature article for The Growing Edge Magazine. An article intro may be found on the Growing Edge website.

My thanks to Growing Edge editor John Baur and UVI Aquaponics director Dr. James Rakocy.

I purchase some delicious lettuce from the UVI farm store and plan to get over there soon to take advantage of their tomato crop. Fresh veggies on an island with no fresh water sources are a real treat.

More STX adventures soon--

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Work Weary and Goat Rescue

As with my last post, a whole week ago (gasp!) I'm still working too much and doing too little of everything else. I don't have to tell all of you that once you've sat at the computer for more than 8 hours you cringe at the thought of turning it back on---even for something you enjoy.

But enough complaining, here's a mini adventure. I rescued a goat.

Diagonally across from our driveway is a steep hill with the most beautifully bent tree. The arc created by the wind could never be duplicated by human hands. Everyday, I marvel at that little tree. The area from the tree hill back to the west is known as Martin's Farm. Sometimes, a herd of goats will trickle over the hill to graze on the green grass and scrub. The goats are not always present, but I consider them a treat when they are. No, ye naysayers, they do not smell and since I've recently been up close and personal with one of the flock, I can testify that they do no smell from long distances or from short. Goat is a West Indian menu staple, I'm sure that's where these goats wind up.

Back to the rescue. I was departing one afternoon this week and noticed a goat at the road's edge. I could not tell if it was out or inside the fence, so I stopped to investigate. The goat, a chocolate brown ewe was both out and inside--her head was stuck in the fencing. Ms. Goat strained to get a something green and leafy outside the fence. She managed to get her head through the squares in the metal fencing, but due to curved horns, could not bring her head back out.

I crossed the road and walked up to her. She began to flail. I knew that I could free her. I never doubted that I could, I just did not want to get gored in the process. Aside--I grew up on a farm and am not afraid of livestock, but fully aware that herbivores can hurt.

I placed my hand on the goat's head and, ahem, grabbed the goat by the horns. I twisted one way, then the other and managed to smash my pinkie, but freed the goat. She didn't realize it at first and stared at me for a good minute. I cheered, you can do it, go, go. And then she back up and ran over the hill to find the others.

My good deed for the day.