Fruit, furniture, and properties going and gone!

The last few days have been very busy and exciting with lots of travel to Bahia and legal errands to run etc… The two lots we recently purchased and closed on this monday were spoken for before I got them up on our website (!) and we have one more coming available in the same area but further removed from the river and closer to town – hopefully we’ll close on that this monday.  Details to follow once we’ve closed.
At the roadside Ecuadorian equivalent of a US lemonade stand…. the neighborhood kids set out the local harvest of Chirimoya for sale…  I got about 8 of them for $1.00 and didn’t feel the need to try and bargain any lower…

These are the most delicious fruits… kind of tastes like a hybrid of an apple and a pina coloda!

I spent much of yesterday riding around on the motorcycle calling on fallen down for sale signs and talking with locals about properties for sale and things in general. Hopefully something will come up soon… since we sell at very reasonable prices… things tend to move quickly and we’re about out of properties!
Today I spoke with Miguel, the fellow who made the furniture for our house. We talked about a few new designs, the potential of adding bamboo to his repertoire, and working together to build/distribute the wares. This would be excellent because Miguel makes a high quality product using local materials and local workers. So satisfying to see this handcrafted work and know that its having a positive effect on the community!
Here are some of our chairs…

and here they are with the cushions Lynn added to make them comfortable… we’re also working on finding some local suppliers to make nice comfortable cushions for Miguel’s wooden and soon to be bamboo designs!  

Miguel and his wife also did the woodwork on our balcony and we’re very happy with how it turned out!

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Celebrating a long hard day

Today was full of travel, negotiation, meeting new people, and getting things done. I went to Bahia and closed on another piece of property (details forthcoming). To celebrate, I went to my favorite beachside ceviche stand in Bahia and had a huge ceviche mixto (that’s shrimp, octopus, calamari, mahi-mahi, oysters, and more shrimp drowned in lime juice, cilantro, and some hot sauce)… My mouth just watered writing about it.

I’ve noticed that they are re-surfacing sections of the road between San Jacinto and Bahia making travel between the two areas even more pleasant.

Lynn is already off in Quito getting ready for our field work (see It will be great to be back in the rainforest again… As this blog has become more of a default “Tom and Lynn and occasional properties for sale” blog I’ll try to keep it going as much as possible while in the field. Lynn was a little sad to leave the coast as the frigate birds are beginning to show their red neck pouches and its just plain fun to watch the season change (even if ever so slightly) here on the coast. We can’t wait for the whales to come!

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Long day at the house… nice evening on the beach

We kept busy today on laptops, phones, and getting… count ’em… three! grub-driven compost bins set in motion. It was great to be around the house but we still needed to get out and enjoy the evening on the beach to explore its natural wonders. It’s not hard to find peaceful entertainment
in the shells…

soft sand…

aesthetically pleasing foam (I’ve never really thought of foam as aesthetic… but this foam was very much so)

and the colorful geological past of the Ecuadorian coastline…

All amidst the waves and setting sun.

Thanks world.

Ode to the Ceibo

Not really an ode, but a really nice photo we took of a local Ceibo. We think that Eduardo and Paula (see services) should compile a tour of the best Ceibo’s on the coast… stopping for fresh fruit drinks, ice cold coconut waters, and some nice local Manabi snacks under their shade. Sounds like a high quality day to me!

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Flowers, designs, and teasing it out

We’ve been busy around the house, on the computer and on the phone… It’s amazing how miscellanea accumulate so quickly when immersed in the full clip hustle of everyday life for years at a time. We’ve been dedicating serious time to combing out the dreadlocks of to-do’s in hopes of a smooth future. It feels good. In the meantime, we’re also taking care of our yard… Lynn’s out watering right now.

Here’s our Bougainvillea starting to bloom in the front…

and out dulcamara growing heartily on the side yard…

I ordered and received the plans for our new catamaran, an SC435! We’re going to start simple and work our way up the design ladder to more complex critters… but this looks like a great and fun start and a fun payoff… here’s a video of a fellow in Croatia that built one: click here for you tube video

Straight from the horses mouth

This a photo of a horse tooth Lynn recently found on the beach near our home. I found a cool overview of horses (click here if interested in horse teeth) and it looks like this might be a horse that went extinct toward the end of the last ice age… more research required but fun all the same.
In other news… our first chili pepper came in and…

draft videos from a Rapid Inventory (with the Chicago Field Museum) I participated in as a soil/water/rock scientist have just been posted to the web. They’ll probably be pulled off vimeo soon and placed at a permanent “expeditions” exhibit on the museum website. This was an amazing inventory in a very remote region of Ecuador and Peru and took place in 2007. The first video is an overview and the second is my bit… Thanks to the video editor for pulling this together.

Video#1 Rapid Inventory Program from Billy schmidt on Vimeo.

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Catamarans, sunsets, and composting miracles

Today was a very busy moto day. I started by completing the next steps for acquiring a new investment property that we’ve decided on. I met one of our past buyers and helped set him up with a cartaker for his new property and checked on the home of another past buyer. 

I also spoke with the local Ecuadorian Coast Guard regarding license requirements for small sailing craft. Turns out that it should be quite easy with minimal paperwork required in Bahia (about 30 minutes away). 
As fate would have it, I ran into Walter, a boat-builder/fisherman in the midst of building his own fiberglass fishing boat. Excellent. Over the next couple days we’ll be coming up with a plan for building my first beach cat! I’ll be hunting down suppliers for rigging/sails and am very excited to create a small business that employs locals, builds a regional coastal sailing community, and provides high quality beach cats to those who are interested! 

Here’s a photo of Walter with his fishing boat under construction.

Last night lights went out again as the road to Crucita gets finished up… an impromptu candlelight dinner was a very nice result

This evening on the beach we found some soft coral that had washed up and was particularly well lit by the…

setting sun.

Tonight became  particularly exciting by Lynn’s discovery that the creatures turning our food scraps into rich compost are black soldier fly larvae!!! That’s exciting because alot of folks have found that these larvae are incredible composters, the flys aren’t attracted to humans or human homes, and the crazy little larvae harvest themselves from the compost… i.e. they walk a plank into a container where they’ll wait to be fed to the neighbors chickens!  We’ve spent a good chunk of the evening exploring their virtues…. motivated by the fact that they do best at temperatures above 68F… which is where we stay most of the year here on the coast.  Check out this video and prepare to be really impressed… best not to do this while snacking on pasta, rice, or any other size/color-related food… or really any food….

Fossil hunting and, of course, food

The food fetish continues and I can’t say I’m not really really deeply happy about it! This plate came out after we decided we had nothing in the house to eat!! Gotta love a thorough fridge search and resulting culinary success.

For our late afternoon break from our laptops we wandered on the beach especially because right about now low-tide and evenings are beginning to mix in such a pleasing way. We played with the rock layers including this telling grey layer… ashes from an ancient massive volcanic eruption way in the highlands… You can even see the sulfur concentrated as a yellowish tint in some sections… beautiful and hauntingly powerful.

We proceded to grab onto hunks of sedimentary strata and drag them away from the looose slopes to pick through them in search of ancient shark teeth, fossil shells and fishes, and whatever interesting thing we could come across. We found one fossil fish candidate and decided that we’d need to return with some serious tools and give it a proper search through another evening. Here’s Lynn picking through the layers…

The stroll back was wonderful with a good strong wind blowing (too strong for paragliding today). Again, we had the beach to ourselves until we crossed the path of two nice ladies who appreared to have shown up for the evening from Portoviejo. Back to laptop grinding and hopefully some good eating!

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Headed south

After the paragliding… I landed and Lynn and I met up with our friends Eduardo and Paula (see to head past Manta and enjoy the coast a bit. We stopped on the drive for a “coco helado” which is an ice cold coconut full of coconut water.
We had the vendor chop it open for us so we could get at the coco-meat. The coconut experience cost 70 cents and was delicious.
We then continued along the road between Crucita and Manta (which can use some serious work in some places). The military has a base in the area and own most of this area. It’s actually quite an amazing landscape covered in Ceibo trees, purple flowers, and low brush.

South of Manta we stayed along the “Ruta del Sol” through the towns of Rio Cana…

Santa Rosa…
and the town of Cabo del San Lorenzo

Overall it was a great drive. We can’t wait to get our own vehicle around here so we can continue to explore the ins and outs of coastal Ecuador.