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We have been busy as a funeral home fan in July. That is to say, the “we” in the preceding sentence doesn’t involve any physical activity on my part. Our brother-in-law Joery has taken time out from his salted egg route to help us out. Joery is our resident handyman in Guimaras. Consequently, he’s the driving force behind today’s post “LATEST COVID-19 PROJECTS AT OUR PHILIPPINE’S ABODE.”

The Tale of Maria, Roos, and Ter

First of all, when our favorite brother-in-law on our island province isn’t working on a new endeavor for us, my hardworking asawa is keeping busy with her own undertakings.

Furthermore, it’s not enough that my wife takes care of her Alzheimer’s stricken Father, eight puppies, one niece, one elderly husband (yours truly) but she now has four more additions to our family. More are on the way. While we have a new helper assisting my better half, my spouse still has plenty of work to keep her busy.

The new family members? Two roosters. Two hens. “Maria” is the mother hen. Her two males off springs, just learning to crow, are “Roos” and “Ter.” Maria’s daughter goes by “Milag.” While I encouraged my softhearted spouse not to name her new fowls, she did anyway.

The naming of the two roosters might be related to the naming of two of our canines. The parents of five of our puppies are Prince and Cinderella. We asked our niece and nephew to name the two new females. The kids came up with “Priscella” (combining Prince and Cinderella’s names) for one of the girls.

The second female was merely dubbed “Ella.” I guess the two ran out of inspiration for the second female and merely wanted to reinforce “Cinderella’s” name. (Of course, “Cinderella” goes by “Cindy” most of the time unless we need to get her attention, revert to her full given name, and yell out “Cinderella!”)

While “Maria” lays about five brown eggs a week, the original plan for the two males was to sell them. Thus the suggestion not to name the new additions. That plan has now fallen by the wayside quicker than one-half less than no time. Furthermore, my wife is letting “Maria” sit on a few more eggs that will eventually result in more chicks.

Here’s a look at the new chicken residence Joery built for “Roos” and “Milag.” “Ter” continually picks on his brother “Roos.” “Maria” is always bothering her daughter. Therefore, my asawa wanted a separate abode for the bullied pair.


Before the new chick crib, on the right, was built, “Roos” became ill. He was housed in our dirty kitchen for a few weeks. He became my morning companion. It’s my job to boil water in the morning for our three thermos bottles. “Roos” didn’t like me in there.

He would constantly call out with his own version of “cock-a-doodle-do” and shatter my quiet time. “Roos’s” complaining would trigger barking from our Belgian Malinois, “Killer,” further hampering the enjoyment of my first cup of “Good Day” coffee.

“Roos” recovered and moved to the nipa hut next to our dirty kitchen. His new home wasn’t ready yet. I suggested to my wife that “Roos” leave the dirty kitchen as I found him quite noisy.

While “Roos” languished in the nipa hut, I was enjoying the use of a new cook stove my brother-in-law had made for me. My spouse had earlier purchased a smaller cook stove for me but it developed some major cracks. Moreover, it was smaller than the stove it replaced and I wanted a bigger stove.

Joery reinforced the cement cook stove with rebar. He also wrapped a layer of sheet metal around it. The new apparatus now boils a kettle of water in about half the time than the smaller cook stove did. I boil three kettles of water every morning in about 30 minutes as opposed to the hour it used to take me.


We had a few friends over several weeks ago. Like good Amish and Muslim folk, the men and women congregate at separate tables. Since a couple of the guys are smokers, we sit outside.

One of our foreigner friends, however, decided to venture inside. However, he took a seat at one of our kitchen counter stools, and destroyed it. The seat was already cracked. We’ve replaced the stools with a set from Mandaue Foam. The new stools are all metal.

Moreover, I thought it would be a good idea to have more seating in the patio area. This project occurred to me before the kitchen stool incident. My brother-in-law Joery used some bottles we had stored outside our dirty kitchen for this recycling project. Here’s what Joery built for us. Two concrete benches.

Each bench has a convenient bottle (or can) holder seen on the left.

The two benches sit behind our existing concrete patio furniture. Why concrete? My wife and I both like the minimalist look. Furthermore, it requires no maintenance. In addition, it should be able to handle the weight of anyone sitting on it.  Joery reinforced the benches with rebar. He used plywood for the forms.


After the new bench project, I thought a new serving table would be a good idea. The concrete table would be able to hold a cooler filled with Coke, Royal, Sprite, and a few adult beverages. In the past, the cooler would sit on the patio floor and senior expats like myself would have to bend down to pick up a cold beverage. At our age, it’s not a good idea to bend over. Moreover, it’s never a good idea if you ever find yourself in a prison shower.

Therefore, our hardworking brother-in-law was presented with a new project. The finished table is seen below.

Note the tabletop. This was Joery’s idea. Leftover ceramic tile used in our living room was repurposed along with more bottles. My brother-in-law is quite the creative carpenter.


We haven’t had any outside portable grill since moving to the Philippines over 11 years ago. Consequently, when my wife floated the idea of a portable grill to our brother-in-law, he went to work on the grill seen below.

We love it. My asawa uses charcoal (not Kingsford, but the homemade variety one can buy locally.) She has grilled pork steaks, hamburgers, and hot dogs on it thus far. While we had a stainless steel gas grill back in the States, neither of us wanted to pay the outrageous prices (60,000 pesos) for a new stainless steel grill at our local Ace Hardware. The new grill doesn’t have a cover like the one we had back in the U.S.A, but it serves its purpose.


My wife has been gardening on a daily basis for over 20 years, ever since we got married. She had a small garden back in the States, but in the Midwest, frost can end the growing season by mid-October. Springtime in March marks the beginning of the new growing season. However, in the Philippines, my spouse can tend to her garden 365 days a year.

She calls her plants “her babies.” Since the advent of the COVID-19 conspiracy, a “plantdemic” has now spread across the Philippines, including our island province of Guimaras. A local bartering group focuses on plants and flowers and meets every Sunday. My wife usually has several deals lined up and spends her Sunday mornings with her bartering buddies.

Joery built the two stands seen below with G.I. pipe. Our brother-in-law has a portable welder and uses it for such projects as the grill and the plant stands. All of the material for the plant stands cost around 7,000 pesos, about 140 US dollars. My better half has no problem filling the new stands with her beloved flowers and plants.


The last project covered in this post is one of my wife’s new endeavors. She’s been making concrete flowerpots and vases such as the blue ones seen in the plant stand pictures. She tosses an old t-shirt or towel over a bucket turned upside down and covers it with concrete. Here’s a look at her work area.

My enterprising wife also used an old round dish cover as a form for the basin on the plant stand seen in the next photo. A concrete base and PVC pipe covered with concrete supports the plant stand, on the left.

Me? I don’t have any projects aside from mowing the lawn now with our new Snapper lawn mower. I keep “busy” with afternoon naps and an occasional post on this website. I’m enjoying my retirement years in the Philippines. The local hangout for expats is open again on the weekends, “Olivia’s Kitchen,” and I spend a few hours with fellow foreigners on the island.

Life is good. “Pandemic” or not.

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