Dear friends

The gardener and I have lost our beloved daughter Erika. She was a beautiful young woman,both inside and out, and was loved by many.
She founded a wonderful organization called Be the Change.
Be the Change fundraises to give funds each month to different needy non profit organizations on the island.


There is huge campaign going on now to fundraise for her organizationn in her memory.
I would deeply appreciate any support any of you would be willing to give in her memory.


Thank you.

Fools and Trees!


Strange title for my little blog, right? Well, we have lots of fools here on St Maarten unfortunately and not so many trees any more, thanks to the fools..

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." ~John Muir

Such is the case of the latest "chop down the tree" scenario on our island.
It seems that "they" would rather chop down trees rather than try to save them.

Once upon a time...
Once upon a time there was a cute little bar on the boardwalk in Philipsburg called Get Wet Bar. This bar was owned by people who were kind to nature and animals.  The bar looked like this.  (Photos courtesy of Fran Levitt)

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Now it looks like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (photos courtesy of Jadira Veen)

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Why you must be asking right now. Why?
Well, only the fools know for sure.
It seems to be a long saga involving a family feud, the bar owners losing their lease, and money!
Ah yes, money. It's always about money, isn't it?
Greed!  Nothing but greed! Greed and disrespect for our environment.
Those trees have been growing there for years, providing shade  and beauty. They have survived hurricanes but they can't survive the work of fools! Fools by the name of Bishop, so I understand.

Unfortunately our government has never enacted proper laws or ordinances protecting trees and nature. Everything can be filled in or chopped down on the island for the sake of development. Everything can and everything has been.

I am so disgusted I am beyond words.

A Visit to the Community Garden


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That's right, ladies and gents..those are strawberries..strawberries growing on St. Maarten at the Lowlands Community Garden.

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Man, is this a neat place. The gardener and I, and our daughter, Erika, were able to visit there today.
Although it is not open to the public, we were privileged to get a little tour from Elaine, the spirit behind this garden.

The garden is located in the area we call our lowlands, a flat scrubby dry area with sandy soil and mostly unfit for growing much. Through the "miracle" of aquaponics, there is a lot growing in the community garden.
According to their web site,

"Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines aquaculture, which is raising fish in tanks, with hydroponics which is cultivating plants in water.  The by-products from the aquaculture are broken down by nitrogen fixing bacteria, then filtered out by the plants as nutrients, after which the cleaned water is re-circulated back to the fish.

The system uses just 10% of the water needed for conventional growing and therefore, is perfect for use in the tropics."

The garden started about a year ago and they are rapidly expanding. They have plans for a second garden to start soon and they are available to aid other communities to start up their own neighborhood community gardens.
Currently they have about 40 members who receive shares regularly of whatever is grown.
The garden is not for profit but rather is a concept of providing local, sustainably-grown produce to the communities of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten.

And it's all really organic.. NO pesticides!
To find out about CSA membership please send an email to

Their web page is chock full of information and I suggest you take a look.

Here are some pictures of what we saw today. As I said, pretty neat!

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It's a Holiday!


It's a holiday in St. Maarten today. It's Ascension Day.
I remember Ascension Day as a holy day rather than a holiday!
We went to church and then to school or work.
But in the Caribbean, it is a holy day and a holiday it seems. Everything is closed.
Everything is shut down except perhaps the most important place..the French bakery!

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Yes, La Sucriere is open and busy!
And I bought breakfast!
Lovely nice croissants! and a baguette for lunch!
Life is good!

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An Ordinary Guy meets the Gardener..almost!


"Extraordinary Stories from an Ordinary Guy"
This is a blog I have followed off and on for some time.

I first discovered this blog when someone alerted me to a great story on the history of Oyster Pond.

Since then I have enjoyed reading this writer's stories about St. Maarten as well as other stories.
Recently this "ordinary guy" was on the island and contacted me because he wanted to meet the gardener and visit Cannegie Liquor Store. He had read the story about the gardener being in business for 50 years and thought this would be an interesting story for his blog.
Unfortunately he never caught the gardener in the store. One might guess that the gardener was otherwise occupied..maybe in his garden?

But the "ordinary guy"  wrote another "extraordinary" story about his visit to the store. He talked to a long time employee of ours and also to our granddaughter.
Take a look. You will enjoy reading this.

I love this... It's such a nice write up on Diederick and the store... Hopefully on the next visit of the "ordinary guy" we can all meet.

Good Morning from St Maarten!


It's been one month since I blogged. Sorry for that big gap but lots of personal issues keep me otherwise occupied.
I am finally seeing the light of day AND the gardener is taking some beautiful pictures of the garden. Six inches of rain the other week and EVERYTHING is in bloom.

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We have these nuts growing too. The tree is full.
I bet no one knows what they are. Anyone want to venture a guess?

Those of you who are my Facebook friends already know. :-)

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Good Friday on St Maarten


The Caribbean takes Good Friday very seriously.  The islands basically shut down for the day.
On St. Maarten it is one of the days where it is forbidden to open anything, even if there are 6 cruise ships in.  Actually I think there is one in today.

It is also a day where people do not go in to the sea. It used to be considered bad luck to do that because you could turn into a fish. I am not sure anyone thinks that any more but traditionally they still don't go to the beach.
People go to church or just stay home and have a quiet day.

The meal of the day is salt fish, which I hate and have no idea how to prepare. So the gardener will have to make his own if he wants it. Oh wait, we didn't buy any and super markets are closed, so no salt fish today.
Does that mean I can eat a steak maybe?

Good Friday, St. Maarten Day, Christmas are the three days of mandatory closings. On other holidays retail stores can open if they choose but have to pay employees holiday pay.

Government law states:

"Friday, April 18, 2014, Good Friday, is an official holiday. In keeping with the Law on Shop closure, Government reminds the public that all places of business must be closed on Friday. In accordance with Article 3 of the Law on Shop Closure, the following businesses only can remain open on Friday: Pharmacies, as far as it concerns the sale of medicine and medical products; Bars and restaurants; Hotels and guest houses; Stores located in hotels and on airport and harbor premises; Funeral parlors; Gas stations; Bakeries selling pastries, milk, and milk products. No dispensation has been granted for stores to be opened on Good Friday, April 18, 2014."

So let me understand this. I can go to the pharmacy if I need medicine. OK, that's good. I can get gas. I also can go to a bakery for milk, bread, or a croissant.
That sounds good too.
And if I need to, I can go to the funeral parlor.. Hmm, scratch that one.
I can also go to a restaurant or bar. I can go buy an ice cold beer. I like that.

And then there is this.. I can go to a hotel and any store there is open. We cannot totally close down I guess becasue what would the tourists do then.
And best of all, the casinos at the hotels can be open too.
So on Good Friday on St. Maarten I can gamble too.
Nothing wrong with that! Or is there?

 So St. Maarten is closed for Good Friday, but not completely I guess.

Then watch out for tomorrow and Sunday and Monday! Traffic jams! Everyone will be out on the road. The super markets will be open and packed but by Easter Sunday I doubt there will be much left on the shelves.

And Easter Monday on the beaches? Packed! Picnic time! Party time!

Please be sure leave the beaches clean, people! Take your garbage with you!

Easter in the Caribbean! You gotta love it!