Not much to report this week, except our big bridge is well on its way. There's big machinery, little orange construction cones (can you imagine how funny that is in this tiny little village where we hardly have a traffic issue, but it sure looks official), and a whole lot of mud.
Kevin and I went to Martin and Clara's for lunch today and we noticed the workers were working on the bridge even on a Sunday. Here are two pictures to show the progress. Pretty serious stuff, eh?
Once upon a time, there was a big storm: tree limbs and branches fell into the rushing rivers. The river that feeds Martin's trout ponds (and the river that divides us from the road going down to Copey) became a torrent. The high winds blew debris around and big logs jammed into the steel bridge, destroying it. That was six years ago.
After the bridge was rendered unsafe to use, the community was forced to drive through the river to get to the other side. When we first moved here, that's exactly what we did. It's a small river (almost considered a creek) and crossing it was (usually) not an issue. About a year after we arrived, the men folk in the community decided to build a bridge with large concrete water pipes and dirt. That's what we've been crossing over all this time. Over time, the dirt has packed down evenly and works perfectly: we've all gotten used to it. From this vantage point, it simply looks like a continuation of the road.
The community has been petitioning for a new bridge since the last one was damaged. In Costa Rica, the way it works is that the high-traffic roads with damaged bridges get priority and our little village keeps getting bumped to the bottom of the list because other more important bridges need repair.... until last November when we were told the budget for our bridge had been approved. What great news! They were scheduled to start sometime in February. It's now June. Costa Rica, baby!
But this isn't going to be just any bridge. They are building a massive bridge; it's even going to have a pedestrian lane! No more walking over the horizontal tree trunk! Check out the size of these i-beams! They're about 4 ft high.
This is where the bridge will go. More or less. The building on the right-hand side is Martin's restaurant.
And this picture was taken from the other side... the road on the right-hand side, going up the hill, is the road to our place... our driveway is about 50 metres on the left. That land directly in front with the trees... that's all part of our property.
There's really not much to see yet, but I'll be taking pictures of the progress and sharing it here. Stay tuned for more updates.
This week, Kevin, Martin and Jairo spent several days clearing part of the pasture, cutting down trees and bushes. Once everything is tidy, they'll be sowing grass seed for the bulls. The area is directly above the hatchery, and the sun now shines through, which is great for the plants in our greenhouse. It's always nice when one job serves two purposes.
Oh, and probably the best news of all... we went into San Jose on Thursday and bought ourselves a new mattress! There's nothing worse than a bad night's sleep... and nothing better than a good one. It felt a little like Christmas.
The shelves in our fridge are made of plastic. About two years ago, a small crack developed on the lower shelf. Since we noticed it, we have been careful not to overload that shelf with anything too heavy, gingerly placing thing as far from the crack as possible. Over time, the crack has expanded little by little. Then, last week, as Kevin put the milk jug on the upper shelf as usual, there was a big cracking sound. And this fracture was a doozy... from the front to the very back. This was not good. Two shelves out of commission is just not useful, you know?
I suggested pieces of wood to replace these broken shelves, and maybe wrapping them with plastic wrap to keep them hygienic. Kevin wasn't crazy with this idea. So off he went to see what scraps he had that might do the trick. If you're not familiar with MacGyver, it was a TV show in the mid to late 80s about a government agent who problem solved and escaped impossible situations with paper clips and other household items. Kevin is my MacGyver: he can fix pretty much anything with everyday items, and it's often better than before it was broken. This time is no exception. Check this out... Kevin found steel rods that fit perfectly in the grooves underneath the plastic shelves. Then he applied silicone to seal the rods into place. He added rods to the front and the back to both shelves for added strength. By strengthening the frame the way he did, there was no need to fuss with the actual cracks. Brilliant!
It was also Art Festival week, and the school kids invited us to come see their artwork and performances. I can't believe how big these kids are getting. When we first arrived in 2012, I joined these kids at school to learn Spanish. These girls were in grades 1 and 2 back then... now they're in grades 5 and 6!!!
Sharon, Nicole and Tamara performed two dance routines and the spectators had to choose which routine they should do in front at the municipal level next week. Both routines were great, but it was unanimous... routine #2 won. There were songs (supported by a karaoke machine) storytelling and artwork, too. It's always fun to be invited and included in our community activities... on a Tuesday morning no less.
Oh... and here are some pictures of Martin's two baby bulls he brought to join our gang in the pasture. We're not sure what Martin calls them, but we're calling the bigger of the two "Cruise" because he just cruises with the others nicely... follows the big guys around. The littlest one, we're calling Rain Man, because although he's really dozy (he keeps his head down, eats and eats and eat)... when he finally takes a break and looks up and he's alone, the gang has moved on to graze elsewhere. And man is he ever vocal!! He moooos loudly. He's so funny. He just can't believe they just left him there. And this happens a lot... several times a day that we've witnessed. So we don't know if he's slow or a brilliant savant (pretending not to notice they've all left, leaving him to graze all that pasture in that one spot on his own).
This is Cruise
And this is Rain Man (you have no idea how long it took to get a picture of him looking up! This is a rarity).
We welcomed two sets of guests this past week, but the third that hadn't confirmed never called to book, but that's okay because the guests that did show up were awesome! Our first guests, Robert and Kris, were super. They're from Texas, but have been travelling around Costa Rica for a couple of months. They've been hanging out mostly on the Pacific Coast so coming up to the mountains was a nice change for them. We thoroughly enjoyed their company. They left on Tuesday morning. I did a quick turnover and picked up our next guests, Ali and Shawn, at the Santa Maria bus terminal. They stayed with us for two nights. Ali and Shawn live in Colorado and are very interested in sustainable living and they were completely engaged with Kevin's tour. They dream of living this type of lifestyle so they had a lot of questions.
On their second day, they were good sports and caught their dinner in the rain...
Just look how big our bulls are now! Can you spot Bobbie McGee? Martin brought over his two young bulls to join the gang. And we'll probably be adding a few more if our neighbour, Abel, has any for us. We'll see. The rain is providing lots of fresh green pasture. This little project is working out well.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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