Raising the Water Tower

Five Tips for Raising Water Towers

1. Think creatively. When one lives on a primitive island that lacks cranes and pulleys, it helps to think outside of the well when raising a tall water tower.


2. Be Positive. Marvin said, “Don’t worry! I’ve raised water towers many times. I never use machinery.” Also, it helps to be a good boss using clear directions.

3. Have a basic knowledge of physics. Plus, it helps to have strong ropes, thick gloves, and many strong men.

4. Know when to let go and NOT to let go of the ropes. It could save lives.

5. Celebrate the raising of the water tower! Gaseosa! Coca Cola!

Enjoy the video of Marvin Raising the Water Tower. It was an amazing feat of strength and ingenuity.

The Water Tower from Debbie Goehring on Vimeo.


We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

We spent the past week painting three rooms in our house. It’s not an easy task remodeling or building anything in Nicaragua. The environment is harsh, termites ravage wood, everything is done by hand, and supplies are limited. But, we’ve come a long way in the two and a half years since we’ve lived here permanently.

IMG_1660 Our couch is still in Marvin’s workshop. When it arrives, I’ll hone my upholstery skills. Then, I’ve designed a glass and iron coffee table for Marvin to make. IMG_1662 The kitchen is slowly coming together. I’m designing kitchen cabinet doors that are punched tin, allowing air to circulate. IMG_1663Ron made me a sewing table. My library books are waiting to be delivered to several schools next week. Looks like I’m going to be very busy, but that’s the way I like it.

IMG_5966Most of our living is done outside, so we have a large wrap around porch for our hammocks and rocking chairs.

Before Construction

8Our pink living room.

10My pink den and workroom.  15The pink kitchen. YUCK!

Our House Through the Years

12003-2004 when we rented our little beach shack for a year.  22009 when we bought the beach shack. Renters had painted it Barbie doll pink, inside and out. IMG_1295Our house today. Whew! It tires me just looking at all the work we’ve done. I think it’s time for a mini-vacation. So, we’re off to the beach for a few days. See you soon. 🙂

Poco y Poco

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Little by little, we improve our beach cottage. The great thing about living in the tropics is that we don’t need much indoor space. Most of our living is done outside. Lourdes, our 10-year-old neighbor said, “I want to come to your house and sleep in your grass.” A lawn is a novelty in these parts. Usually, the locals machete all the grass and weeds around their houses down to the bare, sandy soil.

Our hammocks are swinging in the gentle breeze. Come visit us sometime. We will even let you roll around in our grass.

Construction Chaos

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The Motley Crew

Construction Chaos

          Here is the naked truth about building a house on an island, in the middle of an enormous lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America. Two words sum up our experience, construction chaos! One would think that hiring a construction crew, purchasing materials, and overseeing the entire process would be simple. We did. After all, we weren’t novices in building a house. We built a timber-framed house using a portable generator and hand saws when we lived in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. However, one needs to take into account that we are not in Gringolandia anymore. Without a Lowes, a fluent command of the language, tropical construction knowledge, a daily weather report, and an unlimited supply of cash-on-hand, building in the tropics can get downright comical.

Our motley crew tried to be patient with our wild gyrations and mimes of; “No, it is not straight. We want it straight and level. What do you mean that our wood is illegal? Why are they delivering our new fence posts at 4 o’clock in the morning?  What is the Spanish name for screws? You mean to tell me that you went all the way to Managua to buy a bathroom sink? They only had one bathroom sink in all of Managua? The sink is blue, the porcelain is chipped, and I wanted a white sink. Can you return it? How do you say polyurethane in Spanish? Where are your shoes? You need to wear shoes on a construction site. You have never used power tools before? Is there an Orkin man in town? Where can we buy an aluminum ladder? We have to make one? The termites have eaten…what? No, more to the left, no… I mean to the right. Oh, forget it. Let’s call it a day, we’re exhausted.”       keep reading, there’s more

Living Like Gilligan and the Gang

Just sit right back and hear a tale...

When I was a child, I dreamed of exotic travels around the world, building a log cabin deep in the woods, living on an island surrounded by coconut trees, and writing a book.

I grew up watching Gilligan’s Island in the sixties.  Although all of my girlfriends wanted to emulate Ginger or Mary Ann, the professor was my idol.  I had no interest in baking banana cream pies.  The professor’s creativity and ability to construct a modern life out of rudimentary driftwood and the assortment of odd garbage that washed ashore fascinated me.  He built water lines out of bamboo poles, telephones out of coconuts, and a bicycle made out of the old boat motor parts that the shipwrecked gang would pedal to generate electricity.  Someday, I fantasized, I was going to live on an island like Gilligan’s.

Rest in peace, Mr. Schwartz. I’ll try to carry on your legacy by sitting right back and telling a tale..or two through the coconut radio.