Life in the Caribbean Year-Round

by Evelyn Jordon

What is it like to live in the Caribbean year-round?

I left you hanging for over a year. For that I do apologize and offer the excuse that, “It was a busy year!” As I write this, I am 4 months pregnant, getting over a lingering cold, and barely able to walk because of a painful piriformis muscle. (Yes, I’d love a hot tea and a butt massage!)

But Tazboards does not stop because mama needs her rest. TJ is out in the wood shop and I am here, sitting on my birthing ball at my computer, to tell you what’s been going on.

A Quick Run-Down of 2022

TJ and Ev at the Craft Fair
One of the craft fairs we attended

To pick up from our last post, “Hello From Our New Home,” I will summarize the past year in a few bullet points:

  • Our wood shop is fully up and running and your custom orders for Tazboards products are keeping us plenty busy!
  • We participated in several more craft fairs—this time with actual products for sale.
  • We held a total of 14 pyrography classes for the local community, including two online classes.
  • I got SCUBA-certified.
  • We are still married, and now with a baby on the way!
  • I still love GTMO but maybe I have 1 or 2 complaints since my original sunny post. ????

Life on a Military Base

Living on the base is different than just living in the Caribbean, although we do get the lovely sunny weather year-round and the tropical teal ocean waters with the accompanying amazing fishing and diving opportunities.

Diving with a Sea Turtle in GTMO
Diving with a Sea Turtle – that’s Ev in the upper right!

We also get random weird reminders of where we are. There are the barbed wire fences and checkpoints that warn you that you can’t go over there. There are many warning signs saying “No Pictures.” The Coast Guard boats patrolling the harbor have guns mounted on the stern. Everywhere you go, you see people in military dress—policemen, doctors, nurses, all are active duty, which is a new experience for me.

Life in the Caribbean

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, although we do get lots of both. I mentioned a complaint or two that I have here:

  1. The mosquitoes.
  2. The no-see-ums.

Although I haven’t really figured out when the “rainy season” is, we do have periods of lots of rain, and afterwards the biters come out full-force. They get so bad there is a truck that goes around to all the neighborhoods, spraying chemicals to kill them. There was a stretch of a couple weeks one time when there was no spraying. Rumors abounded that the one person trained to operate the truck had quit. Whether that was true or not didn’t change the fact that no one wanted to spend any amount of time outside, ever. Our dogs would barely go out to use the bathroom. They did their business quickly and raced back in the house. I have never experienced mosquitoes that bad, and hope I never do again. I’ll pay the guy’s salary to make sure he stays on the job!

The ocean water is warm. I’ve lived near the water several times in my life, but NEVER in a place with warm water! The colors are beautiful, turquoise, teal, dark blue. It is dreamy to look at. The beaches? I wish you didn’t ask. They are small and rocky, and many have steep staircases down a cliff in order to access. No dunes of white sand. No frolicking in the surf. No going for a long run with water lapping at your toes.

GTMO Beach
The small rocky beach and the gorgeous warm ocean!

But the sea glass is phenomenal. I don’t know why this place is so unique, but there is sea glass everywhere, which makes for some really cool craft projects, or just hours of fun mindless entertainment, gathering sea glass for your growing collection.

The wildlife is also pretty cool. The two most obvious and unique animals are the iguanas and the banana rats, but there are also lots of crabs popping in and out of their little holes, scorpions, mini hummingbirds, woodpeckers, tarantulas, and snakes.

GTMO Iguana
Iguanas are everywhere, usually just lazing in the sun, but watch out if they’re on the move!

The Life of Tazboards

Never a dull moment with our business, although a little down-time might be nice. TJ works his full-time job Monday-Friday, as before, except this time his office is a literal 3-minute drive from our house, and the top speed limit on base is 35mph. So when he gets home at 4:03pm, he gives me a kiss and then heads out to the wood shop. He comes in for dinner around 8:30pm, and then we watch TV together and go to bed.

I am a full-time stay-at-homer, so I work on Tazboards during the day, as well as try my best to keep the dogs happy, the house in order and dinner on the table. And of course once the baby’s born, I’ll do my best to keep him happy as well. (Spoiler! We’re having a boy!)

One of our big goals with our business income was to buy land in Michigan, which we successfully did in December. Thirty-six lovely wooded acres to call our own! Wildlife abounds on the property, and a snowmobile trail runs along the Eastern edge, so once we get a cabin built, we’ll be renting it out to hunters, snowmobilers, and outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore the wilds of the Upper Peninsula.

Land in Upper Michigan
TJ on our land in Upper Michigan

We have pushed ourselves this past year to do more of the things that we love, which for me means teaching pyrography classes, and for TJ means making live edge tables.

More about recent and upcoming projects in a future blog post (which I promise won’t be a full year from now). But for now, suffice it to say, we are happy to be here, excited to share more of our journey with you, and looking forward to making our dreams a reality and continuing to provide you with quality custom cutting boards, butcher blocks, serving trays, live edge tables, charcuterie boards, etc. etc. etc.!