I woke up at 2:30 am and checked Bobbie's crate... nothing. Kevin woke up at his usual 5:30 am... and there she was, all snuggled up among her blankets.... YAY!!! She's not hurt... just a bit subdued. We're assuming she got distracted (she loves people and is easily enticed to hang out and have fun). She may have followed a car or someone walking back to Copey from Martin's restaurant. If that's the case, she had quite a hike home... but she found her way back, which is AWESOME!!! So happy and relieved. Just letting you all know (didn't want to wait a whole week before I mentioned it).
We sold the last batch of trout in the casita pond last Monday - 150. The men cleaned the pond before we transferred the 1,000 fish from the big pond into the empty casita pond. I say 'we' because I was part of the team this time. I was in charge of drumming an empty pail with a stick. The idea is that while Martin is catching the trout with a net on the far end of the pond, and Kevin is counting and filling up the trailer, I'm walking back and forth at the other end of the pond making noise to entice the fish to swim toward Martin. It really does help save a lot of time. Once that was done, the men cleaned the big pond.
Then on Tuesday, we started the process all over again, but this time transferring all 5,000 trout from the cedro pond into the big pond. I was in charge of keeping the pails full of water, ready for the fish that Martin was catching and once the pail was full of fish, Kevin and Jairo would lug the heavy pail to the trailer hooked up to the ATV (quad) and would drive it down to the big pond and release the fish. We timed it and it took 45 seconds one way... it's so important to limit the time the fish were in non-oxygenated water... it was all time-sensitive. While they were releasing the fish, I was filling up a new pail ready to start again. The whole task of moving 5,000 fish took 3 hours. We found our rhythm and things went really well. Good job done!
This week, we will be selecting the larger fish of the 2,000 in the chicken pond and transferring them to the cedro pond. And so it goes. The trout are looking big and healthy. And it appears the electric fence is also doing its job... we've not lost many along the way.
In other news, we hosted three lovely young ladies for two nights. They are from Washington, DC and had been travelling around Costa Rica for the last night days. We were their last stop before flying home. They bonded with Bobbie McGee quickly, especially Bridget. Unfortunately, Johanna (the one on the far left) really wanted to see a Quetzal, but no luck this time around.
Read their guestbook comment here.
Tonight, we're a little worried. Bobbie was hanging out with me for most of the day, but when we went for our daily walk at about 2 pm, she went through the front gate and we assumed she went to visit Martin and Clara at their restaurant. It's Sunday, after all, this is her routine. She goes for a visit and then comes back a few hours later... and always before dark. It's now 9:30 pm and she's still not back from her adventures. This is unlike her. Kevin went on the ATV to check to make sure she wasn't hurt on the road somewhere, but it's too dark to really see anything. She came to us as a stray and we do our best to provide a good home for her, and dearly hope she returns. We miss her already. Mostly, we hope she's safe and not injured. She is getting a little older and maybe stretching her boundaries... just like any teenager.
Another busy week at Hush Valley Lodge. Last Sunday, we welcomed Nickie and Alex, a young couple from Chicago, Illinois. They were with us for two nights. On Monday morning, they witnessed the draining of the casita pond and the catching of the fish (which we do every Monday) for Roberto. After that chore, Kevin gave them the tour of the property, then they fished for their dinner, and after lunch they went on the coffee tour in Santa Maria.
You can read their guestbook comment here.
After we are done with cleaning the trout on Monday mornings, we dump the entrails into the river where other animals will feast on the spoils... usually, we can count on the vultures to make the rounds. One comes around to check what's available and flies away... within minutes there is a volt of vultures resting in trees along the riverbed. As scavengers, they scope, they dive, they dine, then they leave... they're pretty efficient. I think they've caught on that Monday is an all-you-can-eat buffet at Hush Valley Lodge. If you look closely, you will see black shapes on the branches... and this is just one tree... there were many more in surrounding trees.
On Wednesday, Kevin and I drove down to San Jose to buy a laptop charger. Mine was on the brink of disrepair. I couldn't move my computer without the wires disconnecting, which was worrisome and annoying. We found an Apple-equivalent store called iCon and bought a new charger to replace my defective one. Yay!
Thursday was clean-up day. Friday, we welcomed Isabelle and Guillaume - both from France, but currently living in New York. Although their English is perfect, I did get the opportunity to practice my French, which is always fun.
They, too, caught their dinner... an activity that is always a big hit.
It's not unusual for our guests to add doodles with their comments in our guestbook, but Isabelle outdid herself... she drew a whole storyboard with 'inside jokes' that no one else will understand except for Kevin and me. So, I won't bother explaining all the images, but I will share her creativity:
We said goodbye to Isabelle and Guillaume this morning. I quickly cleaned the guesthouse and did the laundry and welcomed Monserrat, Jefferson, Ariel and Victor. We had met Monserrat and Jefferson a year or so ago when they came to visit with our mutual friends, Diego and Fer. We received an email from Jefferson earlier this week asking if we could host them for the day. They came for lunch (yes, they caught some fish) and enjoyed an afternoon of eating, relaxing and walking around on the property. It was great to see them again, and lovely to meet their friends. Monserrat's father operates a coffee plantation and processing plant in San Marcos. They sell their coffee to Starbucks and they are one of the few farms that grows Geisha (a coffee variety). Geisha has a really smooth taste with no bitter after taste. We love it. We're thinking we might try to grow a few plants... Monserrat did mention that this particular variety would most likely do very well at our elevation because it likes the cooler temperatures. Good to know!
Here are Ariel and Victor having caught their trout. Ariel's is the biggest trout, we think, that's ever been caught at Hush Valley Lodge. It was huge!
As you can see, it's been another busy week. We're emptying the casita pond of all the remaining fish tomorrow. This week, we'll be transferring the fish from the big pond into the casita pond... then transferring the fish from the chicken pond into the big pond... and then some of the fish from the cedro pond into the chicken pond. And of course, we have more guests arriving later in the week, as well. Never a dull moment.
The weather has been glorious: blue skies mostly with a slight breeze. The days have been hot and the nights have not been too cold. Our guests have not needed to use the wood stove. We've had misty rain a few times, which is great for the grass and flowers, and lots of rainbows, too. I don't hear anyone complaining.
Lucky in love
As I write this, it's Valentine's Day. And the usual symbol is a big red heart, right? Well, we do things a little differently around here. For as long as I've known Kevin (almost 12 years), he's been finding me 4-leaf clovers. It's a thing. He has a knack that I've never seen before. Hawk eye, one might say. I have quite a collection. In fact, our wedding theme was "lucky in love" and we gave our guests a pewter 4-leaf clover good luck charm. Our invitations had the 4-leaf clover design, etc. Well, Kevin continues to be the master of finding them. A couple of days ago, Kevin found this one floating on the surface of one of the pond. It was all dried up, yet so perfect. It's always a good omen, some good luck is coming our way!
Speaking of love... look at our baby girls! We found Bobbie McGee with her hind legs on the floor and her whole torso on the couch next to Frankie... both watching a bit of TV. Bobbie loves Frankie so much... every once in a while she would give Frankie a kiss. Frankie, although she plays it tough as though she can't be bothered, but I once saw her kissing Bobbie back, so she's a real softy after all. I just love this picture of the both of them.
As for the rest of the week, well, it was rainy. Rain in February is very unusual. We had three days of wind and rain. At one point, it looked like a snowstorm... the light, white mist mixed with the wind created an odd phenomenon... except it was 25C/77F outside. And then, I drove over to our neighbour's house, 5 minutes down the road, and it was bone dry. So bizarre! It's like we had our own private weather pattern. And we felt quite lucky because this time a year everything could use a good dowsing. Everything is all green again. Yay!
It's my sister's birthday today, so I'd like to give a shout out to Lyne and wish her a happy day and year! Love you.
At the beginning of the week we welcomed Capt. Rick and Renee from Ohio. They stayed for two nights to relax after a hectic trip in Costa Rica. While they were here, Capt. Rick (Captain in the coast guard) fished for their dinner and here he is with his catch...
(You can read his guestbook comment here)
Once Capt. Rick and Renee left, we took the opportunity to get some yard work done: watering the grass and plants around the guesthouse, weeding, and general clean-up. We try not to bother our guests with that kind of stuff to provide the most serene experience possible. However, the guesthouse has been booked solid since before Christmas, so there's been little time to maintain the grounds. It felt good to catch up.
Then on Thursday, Kevin and I decided to take a break, hop on the ATV (quad) and go for a ride. There's a road between Copey and Santa Maria that leads to a coffee plantation and apparently a German community. After three and a half years, we finally decided to check it out. Considering how close it is, it's hard to believe we haven't yet explored the area.
The road is very rough, fit for an ATV or a horse. I'm not sure how they drive any trucks up the steep, rocky terrain. It seems completely impossible. And to think some of our guests feel our road is scary. They ain't seen nothing.
It was fun to get off the property and discover something new. We didn't find any particular community, there were houses sprinkled here and there, but no village per se. In these parts, a village consists of a school, a soccer field and a church at the very least. And we saw none of those.
From this perspective, it seems like the road is flat; however, we're driving down at quite a steep angle. I had to dig my feet into the foot rest and engage my core to keep my balance and to prevent me from sliding right into Kevin. Riding an ATV is quite a workout, but a lot more fun. We're always dead tired when we get home.
The tiered coffee fields looked impressive. We saw tiny coffee plants that one would think are too small to produce fruit, but they were full of small red berries.
This is the view of Santa Maria in the distance from the top of the mountain.
On the way back down, we stopped on a bridge to admire this lovely, clean river. And then we headed home. It was a lovely little journey.
On Friday, we spent the afternoon getting new tires installed on our SUV. We also got the oil changed and new filters and so forth. Our baby is running like new. It felt like a productive week, getting things checked off our to-do list... with a little R&R, too.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
Click here to pick up your copy of Anne's book! It's all about their adventure and the establishment of Hush Valley Lodge: from leaving their middle-class suburban lifestyle in Canada to reinventing themselvess in the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica. Check it out and if you enjoy it, please spread the word! Thanks!