Grasp Hair & Pull!

Water drop
Well, we finally know what it’s like to run out of water! We went through a dry spell in Saba, with little to no rainfall, which to vacationers, was probably heaven. But to us residents, it was not so exciting. Every day, Joel would go out and check the level of water in our cistern, watching it get lower and lower. For the new readers of our blog, you can learn more about the perils of relying on nature for water in this previous post.

Conservation Newbies
Now I admit, we are still neophytes at this water conservation thing. We thought we were doing really well at first, but come to find out, it was unusually wet for the first few months of our tenure as Saba residents. So we have to go back to the drawing board and really learn some new water conservation skills.

How Big Is Your Cistern?
As we talked to our more experienced island friends, we realized just how inexperienced we are at living off the land. For example, Cedric told us that in his first house, his family of 4 lived with a 3,000-gallon cistern. To put it in perspective, our cistern is 6,000 gallons – so we have double the water capacity with half the people! Cedric laughed as he reminisced about he and his wife telling the kids, wash your hands – but be careful of the water! When Cedric built his new house, high up in the mountain, he included a 40,000-gallon cistern! No more fears of water shortage there!

No, this is not a post about Britney Spears! Actually, it’s another of my own foibles with identifying plants and animals in Saba. This time, it’s about my own fruit trees. You’d think I’d know what I was eating – especially after two years of eating the fruit from my own trees, but sadly, it isn’t so.

Remember Cedric, who came and cut the coconuts for us with his trusty machete? Well, Cedric is an experienced organic farmer, in addition to being a master builder. Cedric used to do a lot of farming, using all natural processes, including composting. He sold his vegetables and fruits to the local stores at one time, but not much of this happens anymore. In fact, there are many people who have vegetable and fruit gardens in Saba – many of them growing produce organically, but it is fast becoming done more for personal consumption than wholesaling.

Hey Herd o' Sheep!I am beginning to question my ability to identify the wild or not so wild life in Saba these days! Let’s take a look at my track record: I thought a cattle egret was a heron and I thought a soldier crab was a hermit crab – and I can’t count the number of my fish identifications gone wrong. But really, I though for SURE I had this one in the bag. It seemed like a no-brainer! I’ve walked by these guys a million times in the 2 years we’ve been coming to Saba. I’ve stopped to feed them, to talk to them – even watched the babies grow over the past 4 months. You’d think I’d know what they were.

RBTT Bank & ATM!!Just about everything we are used to is different when living on a Caribbean island in another country. Banking is no exception. We like our bank here in Saba – everyone is friendly. You know your tellers – you see them outside walking their dogs and at the grocery store. I’m not used to that coming from mainly large towns & cities in the US –it’s really nice.

The big difference? Administration. Everything is different and requires planning ahead. In the US, Joel and I would manage our lives around the Monday – Friday business week. We are used to calling for things and having them instantly e-mailed to us – or getting things in the mail pretty quickly — except for anything healthcare related! 🙂

Doh!Well, it happened. We got hacked. It’s pretty amazing how many people are out there waiting to put viruses into the internet world — it’s pretty sad, actually. On Friday night, Joel and I learned that a malicious virus was put onto our web server and all websites had to come down. Being the blog-obsessed person that I am, I came across the violation first as I was trying to get into our various websites.

After asking to speak to a supervisor at GoDaddy, who provides our virtual server, we learned the cold, hard facts of hacking. Apparently, this happens at least twice a week. It can happen to anyone who has a website — and does not matter who your hosting provider is. What it means is that if you have to have your web server “repurposed,” which is kind of like wiping the hard drive of your computer clean. In laymen’s terms (for my benefit), it means your up s–t creek, without a paddle. All your work gone. All files, gone. All blog topics…gone.

Heather eyes our palm trees
In July of last year, before Joel and I moved to Saba, there was a little “incident” with the beautiful palm trees lining the stonewall surrounding our yard. We got a call from our caretaker, David Johnson, telling us that the electric company had cut them down because they were brushing some electrical wires outside the house during hurricane season.

Disappointments or Life Lessons?
At first, I was shocked – we have an amazing 20 foot traveler’s palm and 4 beautiful small palms that bloom with red berries right in the middle of the trunk. These are the trees that I dreamed of every time I sat in my New Hampshire home, dreaming of being in Saba. We actually have a rare, flat yard with grass – and surrounded by flowers planted by the previous owner, Phillip Rowland. Many times, Joel and I have found ourselves appreciating the ability to sit on our lounge chairs in the yard, with privacy & shade from the palms, while gazing out at the ocean. Or being able to do yoga outside in the yard without attracting a crowd of tourists wondering at my desire to fold up pretzle style. I am grateful to Phillip and our caretaker, David, for having the vision and commitment to keeping the yard the flower-filled hummingbird sanctuary that it is.

Okay, I haven’t yet commented on anything in the media, but I wanted to share an opinion about peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P). In case you haven’t investigated it yet — it’s the downloading of free music, movies and other media (sometimes legally, but more often illegally) from millions of users around the world. I can remember in the late 80’s that I used to swap cassette tapes with friends so that we could copy each other’s music collections. This is kind of like having millions of friends to share with.