Posted by: guatemalabedandbreakfast | February 14, 2012

Guatemalan Snow

Some years ago I rented a house in the northern part of Panajachel. Northern as in not on the edge of Lake Atitlan.

In the garden I had 8 coffee plants and they were quite big for coffee plants. I suppose they had not been trimmed for a very long time.

It was so exciting to see those little green buds start to grow.  Of course when the time came and those little green buds were red and ripe, we picked them, the gardener and I, and soaked them for 3 days. We then  squeezed the coffee seeds out of those buds, and spread them out to dry.  After a couple of weeks we started crushing them in a bag to crack the outer casing….then they went out into the sun again because there is another thin skin which needs to dry and be rubbed off and blown away… finally the coffee was ready to roast and the end result was not bad. Not the best coffee I’ve had but not bad.

Here are my two conclusions:

First: Considering the amount of labour and time it takes to process coffee beans, I think it should be priced at about $150 an ounce.

Second: The loveliest thing about the coffee plant for me,and the most surprising is that after all is said and done, after all that hard work, this lovely bush puts out such an array of white flowers that if you happen to be driving past a coffee plantation on just the right days, it looks like the sky opened up and dropped a whole lot of that thick white snow that clings along the top of every branch.

A branch of coffee flowers in my garden


Posted by: guatemalabedandbreakfast | February 11, 2012

The Way of a Couple of Quilts…

When I’m not looking after B&B guests, I do many things in my spare time: Painting, sewing, cooking…. and I tend to choose the complicated version…

Some things though are really beyond nuts. Get a book out entitled: Dear Pam Teach Me Your Quick Quilting Techniques and choose a quilt that has 3,885 pieces in it to fit a Queen Size bed.

My first task was set: My first quilt. I should have started with a cushion cover maybe? Anyway, I got down to it,  decided that I would do a mix and match of Guatemalan fabrics and other bits of fabrics that I had put away because I was one day going to do something with them….

Once I got all the initial pieces of coloured fabrics put together which I did with the sewing machine, the next task was to place it on batting and choose a fabric to back it with, put it on some sort of stretcher and start quilting.

Problem. The whole thing was way too thick to quilt which is the simple technique of going in and out and doing a nice neat little running stitch around each piece.

It took me a while to decide on how I was going to join the three layers and when I did, I decided to do french knots. How pretty is that? You run your hand over the quilt and you get a textural happening as well as the colour happening for the eyes.

Excellent, well, maybe. It took two years to finish all those French knots and one year after that for my daughter to announce that she is getting married. Mazeltov!! This is what quilts are for, you make them and they get handed down and hopefully she will hand this down to one of her children one day.

In the meantime…I have two more kids and the second quilt is on its way from decorating the living room to going onto my bed until it’s time to give it to the second child and then plan on making the third quilt. By that time I will be a very old woman!

By the way, this second blue quilt only has 3,550 pieces to it. Hopefully, the second child will not feel that this quilt is any less than the first…

Posted by: guatemalabedandbreakfast | January 14, 2012


That is the question.

Over the years, its become much less of a problem to eat in restaurants around the lake without getting the dreaded tummy problems.

For me, serving breakfast at my bed and breakfast, it is of course paramount that everything be safe to eat.

Living in the highlands, one learns to disinfect all the vegetables that you come home with and resist the temptation to eat a piece of fruit on the way home. You can’t just wipe an apple on your sleeve and eat it, you have to think that the fruit and veg have either been washed in a small stream near the fields which carry refuse from houses and toilets and so forth, or have been touched by hands that have not been washed.

In restaurants that are aware of maintaining their tourist trade they use purified water and disinfect their veggies with several products that are available. Usually, putting the veg and fruit into a bowl of water with the solution (Sanavidas i.e.) for about 20 min is enough.

There are plenty of nice places to eat in Panajachel and I give my guests  a list of restaurants where the food is good and you are unlikely to get sick.  Here are a few:

Restaurant Casablanca

Patio Restaurant

Two Deli Restaurants

Vietnamese meets Maya

Dos Mundos Hotel Restaurant

Atlantis Restaurant

Tapas Restaurant opposite the Circus Bar


Posted by: guatemalabedandbreakfast | January 9, 2012

Getting ready, set and go

Lenny Actively Surveying the garden

Its quiet now after the holiday season. Catching up on all the little things that need doing before the new lot of guests arrive at Jenna’s B&B.

We’re not in the river any more, but that’s another story, a hurricane story.

Snowbird time is upon us and Jenna’s will be busy from now until the end of the Easter holiday season.

I’m hoping that this will be a good opportunity to write about daily life here in the highlands of Guatemala. The place the call the land of eternal spring.

Relaxing outside with company

I once had a father and daughter come to stay for a few days. When they went back home, I got an email from the father telling me that he had given the taking of photographs in the hands of his teenage daughter. When they got home he realized that 80% of the photographs in Guatemala were of Lenny!!

I will be writing about other things and stuff to do, not just about Lenny. I promise