Sunday, May 28, 2006

Our House

Ivan, Benny, and Udo painted our house last week. It hadn't been painted since before we moved in six or so years ago and was looking pretty faded. Now it is looking fine in a light gray color, with grass green trim.

How the guys managed to not get paint all over the very inquisitive dogs is a mystery to me, but they pulled it off.

The tree at the far left is the Wayak√°, that was blooming recently. The two trees in the middle are Flamboyant trees. I'm not a fan of this tree, which looks dead most of the year, but the dogs love the huge seed pods. The tree at the right is a Tamarein. It also stays green all year like the Wayak√°. I trim it from time to time, so it doesn't look shaggy like it would in the wild. Posted by Picasa

More Interesting Bonaire Vegetation

I've posted pictures of a number of the different flowering trees and bushes. Here is another interesting bushy type plant that is making its presence known these days. This cotton type bush seems very hardy and quickly fills in the space when other bushes are cut back. I'm not sure where it came from and if it has any useful purpose or not.

There are a bunch of these plants along the road just north of Hato, and then seem to be spreading like crazy near our house too. I think I'd call it more of a weed than a plant or tree. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Holiday Today

Today is Ascention Day, a holiday here on Bonaire. We took advantage of the day to go to the office to catch up on some non-work work this morning.

We sent off our latest quarterly report / prayer letter to the TWR office in North Carolina. The team there will be sending it out by snail mail in a week or so. If you would like a sneak preview, or if you aren't on our mailing list, email me and I'll send you a PDF version.

I also mixed and mastered a bunch of music that I had recorded a few weeks ago. Our recording studio is a school room now, but we went in on a Saturday, armed with a couple mics, a small mixer and a USB sound card for my laptop. There are 11 piano tracks, and 26 songs/hymns with piano and two singers. It isn't exactly hit parade stuff, but will get lots of use during the various services and small group meetings at the evangelical church in Rincon.

Dog Days

May 25 will go down in Swanson dog history as a red letter day for one of our dogs and as a day of infamy for another. The puppy has figured out how to get onto the table in the carport.

Said table was the last remaining refuge for this dog, when she needed an escape from crazed puppy antics. Hence the woebegone look you see below.

Can you guess who the puppy is looking at? It's not me obviously! Later in the morning, we turned the tables on the pup by moving the chairs so he couldn't use them to hippity hop his way onto the table top.

The other dog can easily hop up from ground level to gain access to that all important sanctuary. But, the biological clock is ticking, and it's only a matter of time until the pup regains that all important table top access. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This week's Blooming Trees.

About a week ago, I posted some pictures of the Brazil wood trees in bloom. Here are a couple other trees that are beautifying Bonaire these days.

The Wabi, a type of Acacia, was blooming back a couple weeks ago.

I find it interesting that such a nasty bush/tree has a pretty phase.

The Wayaka in front of our house is blooming like crazy this week. There are lots of bees buzzing around it too. This tree is pretty large. We have some smaller Wayaka(s) on the side of the house and in the back, but they don't flower as I recall. They do stay green year round, which is great.

There is a fruit of sorts that appears after these flowers. It is kind of pretty too. We've seen humming birds around this tree in the past, but not yet this year. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 12, 2006

TWR Joint Americas Staff Meeting

Yesterday we had a joint staff meeting with our co-workers at the TWR office in Cary, NC. It was a lot of fun, as you can see from our smiling faces. We used one of our internet connections and an IP speakerphone for the two way audio, and our other Internet connection for a shared "white board" session.

We could both see this white board, which was covered with yellow post it notes by the end of the meeting. Posted by Picasa

Here is how our director, Joe Barker, describes it. "Bonaire and Cary held a joint staff meeting, with Lemuel Larrosa and Ann Chastain joining us remotely. What did we accomplish? We threw up ideas on the screen that expressed components of our purpose in TWR. From our role, in our corner, we contributed words that express our purpose within the big picture of the Americas region of TWR."

We'll be refining these ideas and thoughts during the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hotel Bonaire Rubble

A crew has started clearing away the rubble across the street from our offices and studios. They are using one loader and two dump trucks so it is going to take a while.

But it is looking nicer over there already.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Washington Park Photo Safari

Sandra and I drove through Washington Park back on April 29, and climbed a couple hills. We saw this Trupial sitting on top of a cactus.

I also took some pictures of the flamingos in the salt flats on your right near the park entrance. It is on my club photo site and is called "flamingopan."

One of the hills we climbed was to the west of the road, at the top of Yuwa pass.

We'll be back to this area, because it is so different from almost anywhere else on Bonaire.

Many of the rocks seem to have formed into giant crystals of some sort, and are breaking apart in big chunks.

Here is a really cool chunk that has fallen off of an outcropping. Posted by Picasa

Playa Chikitu

One of the really picturesque spots in Washington Park is the beach, Playa Chikitu. I used to body surf there a couple times a week back in the late 70's with Ron Zensen, but don't do it any more. This is a long distance view looking towards Playa Chikitu, from my favorite hill west of Rincon. Posted by Picasa

More Blooming Trees

Some of the Brazilwood trees were blooming the other week. They aren't quite as vibrant as the kibrahacha trees, but a nice treat none the less.

Some of the Brazilwood trees bloomed a couple months ago. The Kibrahachas popped around Easter, and now a second batch of Brazilwood. It has been an unusual year, with cooler temperatures and more rain than usual. It has been great for biking and hiking, but it seems to be drying out and heating up now. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Washington Park Entrance from Lasana Hill

I took a panorama looking north from the Lasana hill top too. It is on the club photo site and is called "lookingnorth". Here is a zoomed in view of the park entrance.

Here is the normal view of the park entrance at the same resolution as the panoramic photo. There is a marked hiking trail to the top of that small hill to the left of the Park buildings. We haven't climbed that one yet. Posted by Picasa

On A Clear Day....

Here is the view looking west from my favorite hilltop (Lasana) located between Rincon and Washington Park. I first wrote about this hilltop on April 11.

In this shot, you can see Rincon on the horizon. The bump at the left side of the hill is called Seru Wekua. I wrote about it back on Feb. 19. (check the archives list on the right side of this page)
I took two panoramas from Seru Wekua, called "SlacbaaiToGotomeer" and "playafrans2slacbaai."

It is fun now to look back from the other side of the valley. This shot is part of a panorama called "lookingwest1."

Here is a closer look at Curacao in the distance. My panoramas can be found on my club photo site. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 04, 2006

April 30

April 30 is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It used to be known as the Queen's birthday, but is now known as the Queen's Day, or Coronation Day, or Dia de la Reina...

Queen Beatrix assumed the throne in 1980, on April 30, which was the late Queen Juliana's birthday, so the name of the holiday has changed but the date is the same. May 1 is also an international holiday, so we had a long weekend this year.

April 30 is also known as Rincon Day here on Bonaire. They have a huge street fair all day. Here is some of the crowd that was in Rincon on Sunday.

There were many live performances throughout the day, on three stages. Many were of the traditional folkloric styles. Posted by Picasa

I have a few more pictures on my club photo web site.

We also went to a hill overlooking Rincon and shot a panorama of the whole town. This photo is in the panorama folder on my club photo site and is called rinconpano1.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cactus 101

The Tuna, or Prickly Pear cactus is one of the reasons it is difficult to hike cross country on Bonaire. We look for gulleys or washed out areas when we are climbing the various hills. It is easier to pick our way through the rubble than to try to get past the thorns and spines of the typical Bonaire undergrowth.

Here are two different types of Candle Cactus, hairy and not so hairy.

This one was at a scenic overlook spot west of Rincon. Posted by Picasa