Sorry I missed writing last week, but it's nice to know so many people noticed! So, to catch you all up, we've been busy, what else is new.
We had a lovely young couple from Philadelphia stay with us last weekend for a few days and then a couple from England. Both were super nice.
Rebecca and Peter travelled by bus from Puerto Viejo to San Jose, then from San Jose they needed to take a taxi and be dropped off at the Musoc bus station where they would take another bus to Santa Maria. We had made plans to pick them up at the bus station. We received a call at about 2:30 pm from Rebecca saying that the cab driver told them that the Musoc buses were on strike. He told them the best option for them was to take a bus to Quepos on the Pacific coast. The strike was news to us and my first reaction was "Noooo, don't go to Quepos, that's 3 hours away from where we are!" I gave Rebecca instructions to see if the Quepos bus might be driving by La Trinidad on the highway (I highly doubted it) but that was the only thing I could think of. If it did, then we'd go pick them up there instead. We hung up and I waited for Rebecca to call back with an update. We felt completely helpless. At about 4:30 pm, Rebecca called back to let us know that the cab driver was playing with them by giving them bad information. He went to great lengths to try and convince them, too. That little trickster! Finally, they decided to ignore him and go into the bus terminal, only to find out there was no strike. They missed the 3 pm bus... so, they took the 5 pm one, instead. I met them at the bus station at 7 pm in Santa Maria. We felt so bad that this happened, but it's these little side-step adventures that create the good stories (it was blog worthy... case and point). They agreed.
Here they are catching their dinner on the second night, after spending the morning at the coffee plantation. We're glad they made it and experienced a typical rural environment because let's face it, it's quite a bit different to the beach.
Monday morning I drove Rebecca and Peter back to the bus station so they could catch their flight back home from San Jose later that day.
I then rushed home and cleaned the guesthouse, did the laundry, and all the usual prepping that takes place before guests arrive. At 2:30 pm, we welcomed Maite and Guy from London, England.
We quickly learned that Guy is an avid cold-water swimmer. He asked if it would be okay for him to snorkel in our pond. Other than the fact the water is REALLY cold (Kevin can attest to it since the "fork incident" two years ago where I accidentally dropped my fork in the pond and Kevin was brave (crazy) enough to go in and retrieve it), we had no issues with Guy going in for a dip... in fact, we thought it would be entertaining... we haven't been this amused in awhile.
So here's Guy doing thing...
So, we can all agree Guy is THE guy... crazy maybe, but pretty inspirational nonetheless.
As we looked on, Maite was telling me how she was going to exercise the following morning, get all warmed up and then plunge right in. She challenged me to join her. Um, okay (my insides were screaming "noooooooo"). I can't turn down a challenge, now can I?
The next morning, bright and early, we followed Jillian Micheals' workout video (I had never done this before... I was told it was only 20 minutes... pfff, 20 minutes, easy peasy, right? hahaha... why am I still sore three days later is all I want to know!!). Thank goodness Maite knew the moves because having my laptop sitting outside, we couldn't see the screen (well, I couldn't) nor could we hear the sound. I cheated and just followed Maite.
Well Maite promised we'd be hot and sweaty and we achieved that goal without a problem. When we were done, I was kind of looking forward to going for a dip.
Man, that water is COLD! My reaction says it all, doesn't it? Kevin put a thermometer in the water and it was 11°C in that moment. Brrr.
But, take the plunge, I did.. I had to prove it to myself that I could do it. And Kevin would have never let me live it down, if I hadn't. To be fair, I was only in the water for about 15 seconds and I felt so numb I couldn't even muster enough strength to get out. Guy had to pull me out (Thank you, Guy). Kevin was too busy snapping pictures (and probably laughing).
Guy is convinced that I will develop an addiction... it was a really interesting experience and I did feel really invigorated, but funnily enough, I haven't yet felt compelled to jump back in. I'm still thawing out :)
Since Maite was unable to catch her fish with her bare hands during her plunge, she had to catch it the old fashioned way.
This past week has been full of excitement and fun and our guests continue to enrich our lives.
If you're interested in reading what our guests have to say about their experience with us, you can do so in our Guestbook.
Oh and on a completely different note... Kevin and I have gotten into the habit of watching the Great British Bake-Off. I'm now thinking I might want to learn to make pastry dough to expand my dessert repertoire? Kevin has offered to be my taster and try all samples... bless him. I'll keep you all posted on my baking attempts, of course.
We said goodbye to our French guests, Marie-Pierre and Philippe, last week. It was exactly one year ago to the day that they stayed with us the first time last year. And it was so nice to see them both again. It was like seeing old friends. They invited us to come visit them in France and we just might take them up on their offer one day. We love France!
My friend, Elly, gave me a pink-purple rose on Tuesday and to be honest, I'm not really a rose kind of gal. I prefer wild meadow flowers... no thorns. But after thanking Elly, I instinctively brought it my nose, not really expecting much. Well, its fragrance nearly swept me off my feet. It reminded me of how roses used to smell when I was a kid. I don't think I've smelt anything so strong since. This rose has a citrus-y smell to it, too. Absolutely gorgeous. I brought it home and every couple of minutes I bring it to my nose. It's now all dried up and its fragrance still lingers. I just love it. So thank you, Elly!
And today, I was cutting the grass under the electric fence around the large pond (to avoid shorting it). And as I was nearing the end, I found this little creature. It's called a Orizaba Silkmoth and it's huge! I'm not sure how it died, its wings are a bit torn, but otherwise it was completely intact. You can see it has cool transparent windows... nature is so awesome!
After Kevin and Martin finished fixing the mess the mudslide caused by adding cement pipes in the canal, Kevin decided to build some sturdy steps up to the pasture. He used thick, sturdy oak, so they're built to last. Martin helped Kevin secure the side pieces, then Kevin measured and cut each step (custom work at its best) to fit perfectly. The whole project took about 10 hours (stretched over 3 days). Now the grass beneath the steps can grow again. These steps lead right into the pasture where the bulls' shelter is located. They are used several times a day (and appreciated without a doubt).
For our readers who have stayed with us, just so you can visualize where these steps are located, they are just beside the big pond, just behind my nemesis (the outdoor oven).
We had a few windy days last week. More windy than usual for this time of year. We heard a snap. We couldn't figure out what it was until I walked up the foot path to the island garden where I noticed a branch in the pond.
We have a dead tree with two long branches that stick out against the sky. This is the osprey's perch, and we think some kind of nest. The osprey sits on top for long periods of time scanning the ponds, waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and snatch a fish. Well, one of the two branches broke off and landed in the pond. I've circled in red the length of the branch that fell. I let Kevin know and he was able to reach the branch and dragged it out of the pond (dead branches are pretty light)... then he used a net to scoop out the bits and pieces that came down with it. No damage was done, thankfully.
And on Friday, we welcomed guests from Grimsby, Ontario, not far from where we used to live. It's always interesting to meet people we might have never crossed paths, but get to know one another in a completely different country, thousands of miles from 'home'. Terri and George were great guests and since they love Costa Rica (they've been here 3 times), we hope to see them again someday.
This is Terri having just caught her dinner. This trout is about 3/4 of a kilo (1.65 pounds or so). Nice!
They left this morning, making their way to Manuel Antonio. And we're busy cleaning the guesthouse, prepping it for our next guests who arrive tomorrow (repeat customers from France... can't wait to catch up with them!)
Check out what they wrote in our guestbook here:
We had another busy week of catching up with projects that are best done when guests are not here. During the rainy season, we had a small mudslide between the pasture and the area next to the large pond. As the mud slid down the embankment it filled up the canal. This is an emergency overflow canal. When we get heavy rains, it collects the rain water that streams down the hill as well as collects the spring water that seeps out of the mountainside. It's an effective way to avoid sopping wet grass. All this extra water is filtered back into the ponds, too.
It was useless for Kevin and Martin to repair the damage until the rain stopped. And once the rain stopped, we got very busy with the B&B... so this project was put on hold. This week was the week.
Kevin and Martin dug up the canal, wide enough to fit these large concrete cylinder pipes. Eight pipes connected together. Then they covered the pipes with dirt. It looks really messy right now, but soon the grass will grow over the area and none will be the wiser. Good job done, boys!
In other Hush Valley Lodge news... we have peaches!! I was driving up the driveway the other day and noticed all this peaches in our peach trees. We barely had any last year. They're not huge, but I'm so impressed we finally have peaches. Maybe all that pruning Kevin did last year and the organic fertilizer we fed the trees is yielding some reward!
Oh and a little update on Bobbie McGee. She's growing. She's still not all that big, and she doesn't weigh much... all that running around the property keeps her slim and fit. We had her spayed in January and she's recovered from the surgery without too much fuss. She's about 6 months old now, and although we are still training her not to jump up on people, we've noticed she's calming down a bit. Although the jumping can be annoying (thank goodness she's not a big dog), our guests seem to instantly fall in love with her... she mesmerizes them with her charm, apparently.
She continues to be an outdoor dog, we've stayed strong and resolute with that decision, but when the French doors are wide open, she sometimes inches her way in and lies at the foot of Kevin's feet. She just wants a bit of company, so we give in... or we take it as a sign to go outside and play with her. When we drive off in the SUV up the driveway to go into town, she runs after us. By the time we get to the gate, get out, open the gate, drive through, close the gate... she's caught up to us. She follows us down the hill and as we cross the river she stops and heads back home. The first couple of times we were worried she wouldn't turn back. But now we're not concerned. It's a bit of a game. When we arrive home, she's usually curled up on her mat or in her crate. She knows where her home is.
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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!