A day done the Tico way
This morning I went to the Copey Learning Center to help paint one of the rooms. A new volunteer is arriving on Friday and she'll be teaching one class while the other volunteer will be teaching the other class (at the same time, so they need separate rooms). We needed to clean up a second room and paint it. The walls had been done, but the trim still needed to be done and I offered to do it this morning. Seidy came by and decided to sand the far wall that had just been re-plastered and put a coat of paint on it. It was her first time painting. While we were painting, people kept coming in to say hello and ask Seidy for this or that. It was the strangest thing: they would walk in, pick up a paint brush, dip the brush in some paint and just start painting the wall next to Seidy as they chatted. This happened at least six times. Then Lorena with her young baby on her hip came in, picked up a paint brush and started painting, too. Really? Seriously? She was wearing really nice clothes and shoes... with a baby on her hip, no less! Just getting the work done quietly is unheard of. People don't have any sense that it might be disruptive to interrupt someone while they're working. On the one hand, it's pretty odd and challenges my OCD (I've discovered I suffer a little from obsessive compulsive disorder.. who knew? I can feel Kevin rolling his eyes just about now), but on the other hand, it's amazing that people can be so relaxed and not all caught up in things having to be perfect. Connecting with people is what matters most around here... and that's pretty nice.
So that was this morning. Then, this afternoon, we had a community board meeting. We were assembling to discuss the plans to extend our Rio Blanco community center. The municipality has given money for materials, but not for labour, so we have to find ways to raise money to pay for a few people to do the work. We looked at the engineer's plans and boy, did it ever create some lively discussion... all in Spanish of course, with our friend Cindy translating when Kevin and I didn't understand. The men broke out into one group to discuss where the bathrooms and storage room would go. The women had their own ideas. THREE HOURS later, we all came to some agreement. Man, oh, man... I love our neighbours and friends... but everything becomes a social occasion and the chatting gets started and the talking in circles, too. This is just the way it is. Mostly, we love it, but not unlike the corporate world... sometimes a meeting really could be done and over with in 20 minutes if we were more focused... there's my OCD again... hmm, clearly, I need to relax.
Proper English day
It was a proper English day today. High of only 17°C/62.6°F. It appears our Little Summer has vanished and the proper rainy season has arrived... right on cue. It's an overcast day (we're normally blessed with sunny mornings, even in the rainy months) and it's quite windy, too. We managed to do a few outdoor chores between rain showers. Kevin and I took the ATV up to the pasture with a big blue bin and collected some cow manure for our compost. Then Kevin planted three sweet mandarin trees while I got busy in the kitchen.
I took a nice big bunch of rosemary that had been drying in the greenhouse and I ground it all up.
It filled 2 large jars. Love the smell. I put the twigs in our fireplace and I'm sure the aroma will be lovely... our very own pot-pourri.
Then I thought it was a perfect day for Shepherd's Pie and Potato and Leek soup.... but remembered I had no potatoes. So, instead, I made cauliflower and broccoli soup, with homemade bread crumbs (the rosemary came in handy). I have to say... it was pretty yummy!
Since we had some very ripe bananas that needed to be eaten, I made two loaves of banana bread. The rain lashed down... on and off all day. We sat down and enjoyed some hot soup... maybe later, we'll dig into some warm dessert with a cup of tea. Even an imperfect day can be made perfect. It's what you make of it, eh.
Little trout business
When we first bought our property, we weren't exactly sure how (or if) we could create a viable business with the trout. The man who created the tiered pond system had one of the first commercial trout farms in the area. It was his success over 20 years ago that spawned others to give trout farming a try. And many, indeed, make a good living as trout farmers. There is only one true commercial farm that we know of in the immediate surroundings. There is another about 20 km away, and it has all the newest processing machinery and apparently they supply to many restaurants in San Jose (as rumour has it). We're not the least bit interested in running a big operation; however, if we could find a way to cash in on a small 'boutique' or 'artisan' business, that would suit us nicely.
Today, we had our first business transaction with our dairy farmer/friend, Roberto. He makes high-quality cheese... and he also smokes trout... for his clients in San Jose. Smoked trout is becoming more popular and there appears to be an increase in demand, which is awesome for Roberto. Roberto usually buys his trout from that big trout farm 20 km away. He has to drive all the way there and back so he wondered if we were in a position to sell some of our trout. As a matter of fact, we'd love to sell him some of our trout. We can make a bit of money and perhaps start a nice partnership helping each other out.
We've been looking into getting a smoker ourselves to provide options for our guests (not to mention we love smoked trout ourselves) so maybe we can help Roberto with production as well. Early days yet, but opportunities abound if we're open to them. At the moment, Roberto is looking for 10 kilos per week of trout fillet, which translates into approximately 13 large fish. We currently have a little more than 200 large trout in our big pond and 750 medium sized trout in a smaller pond. We don't want our large trout to get too much bigger (meat gets less succulent when they reach over 3 kilos). So, for now, it seems like a nice little project. Roberto is buying the whole fish (not gutted), but if my filleting skills improve, perhaps we can offer fillets later.
Since all our trout are female, they produce eggs. We've been researching trout caviar. It looks like there's a market for that delicacy as well. We'll be looking into it.
It feels good to know we have options.
Kevin continues to work on 'his' wall. This project started out with both Martin and Kevin collecting fairly large rocks and lugging them up the bank from the river. Unfortunately, Martin has been suffering from back problems lately so there are certain tasks requiring heavy lifting he cannot do, leaving Kevin to fend for himself. So, whenever Kevin has some spare time, he gets a little more done... one load of rocks at a time. It's hard work so he's not rushing it.
The wall will allow us to fill the gap (where the blue tarp happens to be in this picture) and have more solid and even ground to walk beside the house. Also, it will allow us to safely put a ladder up when we need to check the roof or chimney and not slide down the bank... sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Currently, any ladder would be balancing on a hope and a prayer.
Happy Birthday to our Frankie!
Back in late April, we had a fire in our carport. No one was hurt, thankfully, but there was quite a bit of damage. Kevin not only rebuilt our ATV (scroll down to July 23 post if you want to see pictures of the ATV transformation), but he also rebuilt the carport. Here are some 'after' the fire pictures to compare with the 'rebuild' pics. Another good job done... yay, Kevin! We're happy we can put the fire incident behind us. Life moves forward... as it should
A day in the life... our life
I spent most of yesterday and this morning writing, which felt good. It's been over a week since I made any headway with my book, so it was good to get back to it. Meanwhile, Kevin pruned some of our lemon trees. The trees are prolific, but the branches are getting really tall and we can't reach most of the fruit, so what's the point. A good pruning will help keep the tree healthy and help produce bigger, juicier fruit. Well, that's the hope anyway.
Tonight, Kevin went to play football (soccer). Albarito asked him to join their teams during the Championship. They were really impressed with Kevin's skills last time he played (even though Kevin feels rather rusty and self-conscious). Last time, there weren't any substitutes to fill in and give the players on the pitch time to rest so it's a long and tiring game when you have to be on the whole game. And indoor football is much faster than outdoor football because the pitch is smaller. Everyone's running all the time. It's nice that he can get out there and kick a ball around and have some 'guy' time no matter the outcome.
And I'm quite happy sitting here... writing. It's been cool today and rather windy (feels like a fall day) so I have a fire in the fireplace burning nicely, a glass of wine and my Frankie keeping me company... it's all good
Give me a sign
We had some unexpected visitors today. People do that here... just pop by. Martin came by with a friend to show him a sick tree that we have on the property and to get his advice (apparently he's an expert). This man brought along some of his family (I'm guessing?). We were not formally introduced. I came down to greet them while Kevin and Martin were explaining the situation with the tree. There were three other people just hanging around, all Spanish speaking, of course. I did my best to communicate. Then, one of the young women tried to explain that she's deaf. So, although very rusty, I started to sign to her. Her eyes widened with a glimmer of 'glee'. So between my mediocre Spanish, my rusty sign language and a splash of English, it made for an interesting exchange. I didn't catch their names, which is too bad, but the deaf girl works in Copey, packing blackberries. Maybe I'll bump into her again. I'd love to practice sign with her.
Boy, am I ever hurtin'! The sun was shining, perfect temperature to be outside so I worked in the garden... weeding... getting the beds ready for more seeding (runner beans, celery, cucumber)... I was stretching, lunging, squatting for 4 hours!... but now I can barely move. And as much as Kevin is trying to convince me it's the 'good kind' of hurting... I beg to differ.
Oh, almost forgot
As I was writing the previous entry, I failed to mention that I'm now perched in the leather swivel chair, at a clean and tidy desk in the newly painted office area. I just love the feeling in here now. Having said that, I've decided Kevin is right and I should paint the back wall an accent colour, just to give a bit of oomph. I'll continue with the blue hue that I've used as an accent in all the other rooms. Every room has its own look and feel, yet I've used many of the same colours, just in a different way. Anyway, this room inspires me to write... I've not written any part of my book for over a week, so it's time to get cracking! I will post pictures once I've completed the entire transformation.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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