Here is the daily temperatures for the month of March. You'll notice that I did not record on the 15th or 16th. I was so focused on spending time with the kids, it appears I completely forgot to keep record on those two days. Having said that, you can assume the temperatures were basically very similar to all the other days. I'm amazed at how consistent the weather and temperatures are from day to day. Not much variation. Interesting. I would say March is a great month to travel, certainly in our area. Basically, it's beautiful every single day with very little rain, the nights are very comfortable, and there's little wind to speak of. The locals say it was a typical month. Nice!
Let it rain!
It was a beautiful day today...again. Kevin came inside after feeding the baby Trevorettes at lunchtime and said 'I think it's going to rain... I can feel it in the air'.... well, I looked up and saw no indication whatsoever, not a cloud in the sky. But I know better than to doubt Kevin's intuition. We walked over to Martin and Clara's restaurant to deliver some fresh eggs as a Holy Week gift. We got there and it was packed. I don't think we've ever seen their place so crowded. Holy Week is by far the busiest week for them during the year, and busy it was! We didn't go to eat, just to visit. I played a game with Tamara and we did our rounds and talked with Nachoo, Paola and Diana. Martin was running around, paying attention to all his customers. He saw us and came right over to say hello. The sun was blazing hot. It was a gorgeous day, which was great for Martin and Clara. About an hour later, we said our goodbyes and headed home. As we were walking down our driveway, that misty rain cooled us off. It felt divine. It's not unusual for the mist to fall without any clouds overhead. Then, it came, about an hour later, the skies were still bright, but the wind picked up and the rain started to fall. True and proper water droplets, none of this light mist. And it poured for about an hour. You could hear the trees, grass and flowers say aaaaahhhhh! It was our first, real proper rainfall in many months (well, it did rain in early March for two days, but not like this... this was a serious downpour). The rainy season doesn't officially start until May, but we're not complaining. We love our sunny days, no question, but we equally love the rain, too. We miss it, actually. I don't miss the cold and snow, but the rain, yes, I admit, I do. So, Kevin's gut feeling was right on the mark. He's very rarely wrong. He's much more accurate than any weather man.
Coming up for air...
Well, I'm afraid there's not been much to report these past couple of days. Both Kevin and I have been feeling rather lethargic and hunkered down. We've done very little work on the farm... and when I say little... I really mean none, except for our have-to chores like feeding the fish and chickens... but other than that, our butts have been stuck on our respective couch and chair. Kevin has been building more soccer teams (football... for our European and Spanish-speaking friends) on his internet games. For those who don't know, there are organized internet games where people can build a team, buy and sell players, act like a manager and follow how their teams are doing. I'd never heard of such games until Kevin told me about them, but I'm learning. I can only imagine there are the same kinds of games for hockey or basketball. What do I know?
I, on the other hand, have been glued to my seat, tapping on my keyboard... writing my book. So, I dare say, I have been working and feeling motivated. It feels incredibly satisfying. Our French doors are open, the sun is shining... couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting. I'm loving the whole experience, so much so, I'm having a hard time tearing myself away. I do have to, however, before atrophy sets in or bladder explosion, whichever threatens my health first... so Kevin and I have gone for walks on the property, checking on our water tanks (thankfully, all three are full) and on the baby Trevorettes (they're happy in their new pond and I swear they've grown in the last week).
The book, which will fill in the gaps of how we got to this point in our adventure, will be available electronically for eReaders. I'm really quite excited about it.
Let it be known, on this day...
After the hike, while Kevin was giving our friends a tour of our property, Roberto heard the call of the Resplendant Quetzal. Then he looked up and there it was! I stayed behind to get our dinner ready, but Kevin called me from his cell phone to tell me to come and have a look. I washed my hands, grabbed my camera and ran up the garden. I joined the group and looked up. It was sitting on a branch several hundred feet away, but there was no mistaking it was a quetzal. The long green tail and head, with bits of blue... it was magnificent... more beautiful than I could have imagined. I wish I had a zoom lens so that I could capture it. I think I'll have to seriously consider buying one or continue missing some great photographic opportunities. Seeing it though, whether I can prove it or not, was fabulous... it only took 7 months of being here to finally see one!
** Thanks to my mum for mentioning my typos (I had originally wrote 'tale' instead of 'tail', which I do know the difference, but was obviously not paying attention. And I also wrote the quetzal has a red head... which it does not. It has green plumage). Sorry for the mistakes. I obviously need an editor! :)
Semana Santos (Holy Week)
Here in Costa Rica, they celebrate Easter for an entire week. It started last Sunday and will wrap up on Easter Sunday, March 31st. Costa Rica is predominantly catholic; however, the younger generation is straying from the flock. The people I've spoken to say they believe in God or something more, but can do without the church-going tradition. Having said that, Semana Santos is THE most important holiday, even bigger than Christmas. The kids don't have school, the shops are closed for most of the week and people spend their time visiting and eating. If you're strict about it, you don't eat any meat, only fish, during the week, but again, few people seem to follow this rule anymore.
Today, we invited our friends, Adriana and Roberto, Adriana's sister Leidy and her boyfriend Andres to come for a hike on our trails. We had a lovely walk, then came back and shared some dinner. I had made some fresh ceviche this morning and served it as an appetizer... then I made three different kinds of pizzas. Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we left just enough room for the lemon and cranberry cake with a nice cup of tea.
We made and shared tamales at Christmas with Adriana and Roberto and now we enjoyed a lovely get together for Semana Santos. I see a holiday trend happening. We love their company... such good friends!
Wishing all our family and friends a very Happy Easter.
Found and Lost
This stray dog, whom we call Feliz (which means Happy) has been visiting us since we've lived here, but in the last month or so, he's been hanging around our place pretty regularly. He does belong to someone, but his owner apparently doesn't pay much attention to him, so he is happy to visit us and our neighbours. He alternates between 3 homes in the neighbourhood. For the past few weeks, we've been finding him sleeping on a mat under one of our chairs outside our back door. We feed him every morning, he comes and goes and returns every evening... so we feed him dinner as well. We brush him and put flea and tick formula on him, remove his burrs, etc. He was becoming a fixture around here, and we were enjoying his company, as was Frankie. Well, we haven't seen him in 4 or 5 days now. No one has seen him. Everyone thought he was with the other neighbour. So, we're a little worried for him. We hope he's simply found another family who has shown him some kindness. We should know better than to get attached to a stray... they roam... that's what they do. As long as nothing bad has happened to him, we're fine with it. We're just hoping he's not injured in the forest and needing some help. He's such a sweet guy, we miss him.
I could have taken quite a few pictures to document the events of the day, except my camera battery lost its charge!
Here is what I cannot share through images:
1. cutting back a very tall hibiscus plant (I sure hope it lives).
2. baby trout getting transferred from the concrete container into a small pond. As the water was being drained, the Trevorettes were so clear, it would have made a fabulous picture, not to mention watching them swim out of the conduit to their new home.
3. another cow found on the other side of the makeshift gate near the aqueduct system. Then, the cow walked along the river. We figured she would cross over to her owner's land. 15 minutes later, she managed to climb the riverbank and was standing on our path, munching our flowers right outside our living room window.
Note to self: MAKE SURE the camera battery is charged!!
Other than that, it was just another gorgeous day. We haven't had rain in a very long time. We had a few dark clouds hover our property for a few minutes, but they didn't stick around for long. The grass is starting to yellow for lack of moisture. The fireflies are coming out in the evenings, which apparently means that rain is coming. The rainy season starts in May... so, another month and the earth's thirst will be quenched. It sure will be nice.
A book in me?... perhaps
Well, talk about a lazy Sunday... we haven't had one of these types of days in a long while. It was great to have time to sit down and write for 12 hours non-stop. I've decided I'm writing a book. The creative juices are definitely flowing. This morning was absolutely beautiful and I just wanted to sit outside all day. Unfortunately, it's incredibly difficult to see the computer screen in the bright sunlight so I devised a makeshift shade maker by balancing our large umbrella on a chair in front of me. It kind of worked, but it wasn't perfect. I stayed outside writing until my battery depleted. As I plugged my laptop back in to recharge it, I settled inside the house to write some more. Every once in awhile I'd get up to stretch my legs by doing the laundry, hanging the clothes on the line and so forth. Kevin took it easy, too, watching the Long Way Round... and now the Long Way Down (with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman). Witnessing their motorcycle adventure is always fun and inspiring. We have to remind ourselves that we've taken on a pretty amazing adventure ourselves.
Feria de cafe
We said goodbye to our guest, Joy, and her friend Zaul this morning. I drove them to the bus station where they were travelling to the Caribbean coast. Later, Kevin and I met up with Catalina and her friends (Viv, Steve, Oscar and Loreth whom we had all met at her birthday party way back in November) at the Feria de cafe in the small town of San Pablo. We met a few coffee plantation farmers from the area - one in particular from Copey who would like to offer tours to our guests. We will meet up again in a week or so to discuss the possibility of partnering... could be a mutually beneficial arrangement. After we were done with the fair, we all ended up at Catalina's house. Her husband, Gogui, was working on the coast this weekend, so she was happy for the company. We had some coffee, carrot cake and fresh coconut. It was very relaxed... it's very easy being with these people. Everyone is so friendly. We invited them all to come to our place on April 7th... the day of the Rio Blanco Fun Day. Hopefully, they can make it.
My first taste of ceviche
Joy, our current guest, was telling us about some ceviche that she had in Guatamala. Although we've been here for seven months, we've yet to try it. Ceviche is a popular dish in the coastal regions of Central and South America, typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with chili peppers. Seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro are often added. I've heard it's delicious and since I'm quite happy to eat sushi, it's not really a stretch for me to eat this concoction. Kevin is not really that fussed about raw fish, so I don't really think it was ever on his radar to try it. I must admit, I've been somewhat hesitant to trust the freshness of the fish in some of these restaurants. Having said that, we have trout right outside our door and I know where it comes from, know that it can't be any fresher so when Joy offered to make it for us tonight, I thought it was a great opportunity, not to mention a lovely gesture. The lemon juice actually changes the chemical composition of the fish as if it somehow cooks it. The fish becomes white and flaky, not raw at all. Joy added some tomatoes, cucumber and carrots as well, so it had a really nice crunch. It's like a salsa sauce... and it didn't taste fishy at all. Even Kevin enjoyed it. Thank you, Joy, for teaching me how to make one of the typical dishes of my new country.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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