This week was extra special because my niece, Jocelyn, and 5 of her friends came to visit. They had been travelling around Costa Rica for a month and decided to make Hush Valley Lodge their last stop before flying home. I hadn't seen Joce in over four years so it was high time for a good catch-up. It was amazing to reconnect. And we enjoyed meeting her friends, too! Super people. They were only here for two days, but they got a few good lessons crammed in. Kevin gave them the usual tour of the property, and as a special 'treat', I showed them how to gut a fish and Kevin taught them how to filet and pin bone their trout. They even got a chance to try it for themselves.
Something I forgot to mention is that we bought 3,000 more baby fish three weeks ago to replace the 750 we lost and to account for the extra business we're anticipating. We now have three ponds full of trout!!
We had a lovely couple from Washington State stay with us last week. They own a 140+-acre farm just outside Seattle so they can fully appreciate the work involved to keep any large property running smoothly. They also have to deal with Mother Nature in her own special way. We had a great time chatting with them and exchange stories. What they don't have on their property are trout ponds, so they were happy to catch their dinner.
You can read their guestbook comment here.
And as the rainy season is in full swing, Kevin and Martin have been building an open-sided shelter for the bulls, just above the closed shelter they built a few months ago. The bigger bulls stay out all day and night now and standing in the rain is not big deal, but when it's lashing down, the baby bulls could use a dry spot to relax in.
And I've not reported on critters lately... Kevin spotted this little guy yesterday. I have no idea what he's called, but I love his long, spindly tail.
As for today... I simply cannot wait to host our next guests. None other than my beautiful niece, Jocelyn, and five of her friends will be staying with us for two days. So much fun!!
The beginning of our week started off a bit rocky. On Monday, we had our first real rain. It's been very dry (as to be expected this time of year) and the moisture is welcome. Kevin was checking the river and it became noticeably murky... a sign that it's raining even harder up the mountain. Dirty water is not good for our fish. The muck flows through the aqueduct system and settles at the bottom of the ponds. Kevin monitors the river diligently and, with experience, knows when it's time to shut the gate to the aqueduct. The "pro" is that it stops the dirt from filtering through into the ponds. That's a good thing. The "con" is it prevents any water at all from flowing through and oxygenating the water. That's a bad thing. The bigger fish can last overnight without oxygenated water, but as Kevin found out this week, the smaller ones (3 months old) cannot go that long serious repercussions. He woke up on Tuesday morning to half of our baby trout floating dead. Half equals 750! We were both so gutted. Having said that, being "the glass is half full" kind of people, it could have been worse, we could have lost the whole lot.
The very same day, Kevin realized that he hadn't seen our big bulls (Martin's two and our Jackson) since Sunday. That seemed rather strange. A full 24 hours without any glimpse is unusual. In fact, it's never happened. They might have tried to find some shelter from the rain under the forest canopy. Martin had been clearing some of the dried brush up in the pasture near the fences, maybe they found a way out. We had no idea. So as Martin hiked up the trails above the pasture and searched the forest, Kevin decided to follow the trail next to the river. He noticed some manure and followed it just beyond the border of our property where he found all three munching on green grass beside the river. Had Kevin not found them at this point, they could have easily just kept on going. Who knows where they would have ended up? We're just really relieved that Kevin found them and brought them back home.
To find out where they got out, Kevin spied on them to see if they'd go back to the same spot. True to form, they did. There was indeed a gap in the fence where Martin had cleared. The next day, we went to Santa Maria to buy more barb wire to fix the problem. So far so good. No more rogue bulls.
Tuesday was an intense day. Stuff happens.
On the upside... our tomatoes are in full swing... we even have some beautiful small tomatoes ready to pick off the vine. They have a candy appearance with their smooth and glossy ganache-looking skin (apparently I've been watching too much British Bake-Off haha). And they are so delicious! The green ones in the second picture are much bigger; we're just waiting for them to ripen. Can't wait! Yum!
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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!