What we love most about hosting guests in our B&B is the international flavour we experience. Our last guests were from Turkey. They are both studying mathematics at university in California and they also just got married, so they decided to take their honeymoon in Costa Rica. They spent 2 nights with us before heading back to Turkey where they were anticipating their second wedding ceremony with their family and good friends.
Can and Ezgi enjoyed the natural setting and were hoping to spot a Quetzal, but it was not to be. They did find success with the fishing though. They both caught a trout each (at this size - almost a kilo/2.2 lb - one fish feeds two people, but we always ask if they'd like to catch our dinner, too, and they were up for it).
And I couldn't resist taking a picture of Bobbie McGee... she is still a very active puppy. She's jumping up a little less, and we're still working on training her not to jump up at all. It's proving more difficult than expected because she just loves people so much, but she is calming down somewhat. Thank goodness she's so light and small. Her head barely reaches my knee height. Our guests are always super understanding and somehow Bobbie has a way of casting a spell on them... by the end of their stay, they all want to take her home! Can you blame them... just look at that face.
We have had a few days last week where it didn't rain at all... and a few days where the mornings have been beautiful and sunny, but most days, at some point in the day or night, it has rained. Yesterday, it felt cool and damp so we had a fire burning in the fireplace all day long. It was nice and cozy. It's strange to read about the heatwave that is hitting Southern Ontario the last few days while we're here bundling up. It rained so hard at one point that we discovered a small leak. So today, Kevin went up on the roof to investigate and did what he could to seal it. Then, while he was up there, he decided to vacuum the skylight. After the beetle season we had in March and April, there were a few the got caught between the clear plastic sheets. Now, when we look up from the living room, the skylight is nice and sparkly clean.
Since the plums are growing fast and furious, I went up to pick some more... and yes, I made another pie. This pie making is becoming a bit of a habit (not sure if it's a good one or a bad one).
I also planted some seedlings in the greenhouse to keep the cycle going.
We are hosting more guests next weekend. They are from San Jose, Costa Rica. And only speak Spanish. Wish us luck!!
Back to work.... and rain
We entered the first week of July with fun and food with all the birthday celebration... and lots of sunshine. This last week, it was time for hard work and yes... rain. It appears our "little summer" came early (in June) and now the real rainy season has shown up. And with rain comes dirty, silty river water. And, it's important to keep the ponds as clean as possible.
Having moved the big fish into a smaller pond (across from the guesthouse), it was the perfect opportunity to clean the big pond before transferring the medium-sized fish into it. Kevin was thrilled to discover that all his preventative measures throughout the year has paid off! The metal grate collecting all the dead leaves at the opening of the aqueduct and going up regularly to clean the grate... the two green nets in the sediment pond that slows down the flow of water and helps settle the sand quicker instead of it flushing through to the fish ponds... the regular maintenance of closing off the water flow when the river gets too silty... all these practices have made a huge difference in the quality of the water in the ponds. Cleaner pond water equals a healthier environment for the trout. But, there's so much less thick mucky debris at the bottom of the ponds as well, which makes for easier cleaning. Just to compare, before all these measures were in place, in our first year here, it took Kevin, Martin and his son, Nacho, a full week to clean the big pond. Last year, it took Kevin, Martin and Jiro (pronounced Hiro) three full days, which felt like a great improvement. Last week however, the men managed to clean the entire pond in five hours!! That's simply amazing!
The men use hoes to displace the dirt and muck. The create channels and let the incoming water flush the sediment down these grooves. However, and it's hard to explain, but sometimes this sediment is so fine it moves like a cloud, then just settles back to where it started. Think of when you're sitting at the beach and your body is on the edge where the sand meets the water. If you play with the sand it moves around, but doesn't actually go anywhere. Well, the same phenomenon happens here. Kevin thought that if he had a type of plough to move more of the sand/silt at once, it might make a bigger dent faster. Remember his invention from last week, well, he got to try it out. He said it was still hard work to push it through the sticky mud, but it did speed things up quite a bit. Here's an action shot :)
While Kevin and the boys were cleaning the pond, I was collecting peaches and plums from our orchard. I'm not sure, but I think that it's possible that plum trees skip a year, because we didn't get any fruit last year. I thought perhaps our trees had died. But this year, our trees are full of fruit. And the peach trees seem more abundant this year, too. Last year, I was always too late in picking the peaches... the birds seem to peck at them before they are perfectly ripe. So, this year, I decided to pick them even though they aren't 100% ripe to avoid the same scenario. However, unripe peaches don't make for a nice treat. What to do, what to do? Well, I've cooked the peaches and plums together and made pie filling. It started to smell good, but when I tasted it, I think I can safely say that it was the most delicious combination I've ever eaten. It's so yummy. I've not made the pie yet, so Kevin is getting impatient. I've been making other standard (fail-safe) recipes for our guests and there's only so much dessert one can consume. So once our current guests leave tomorrow, I will make my honey some pie! Stay tuned for the results on next week's post!
I also went to visit our good friend, Annika, on Thursday, in San marcos. Her husband, Roger, is in the U.S. at the moment and I thought I'd stop by for a visit. We had a lovely chat, as always, and then she proceeded to offer me a bagful of garden goodies. I came away with green onions, a bunch of tangy oranges (which I will make marmalade with), cilantro, a gorgeous mango (yum!) and a type of pepper I've never seen before. Annika called them Christmas Bell peppers, and when I asked my best friend (Google), it also called them Bishop's Crown. These peppers are a mixed of sweet and hot. The flesh part of the vegetable is sweet, but the seeds are hot! So, if you're not keen on spicy chili then just remove the seeds. I fried them up in olive oil and sautéed them with onions and mushrooms before mixing with rice, cilantro, cranberries and almonds. I just love the look of them and they are so delicious! I've saved the seeds and will try to grow them in our own garden. Thank you, Annika!
So all in all, a productive week. We currently have honeymooners from California (originally from Turkey) staying with us this weekend. Yesterday, we didn't get any rain all day for the first time in almost a week, which allowed the river and ponds time to clear up a bit. When the water gets really cloudy, the fish don't feed, which is normal, but always a bit of a concern. Now they're feeding again, which is great. It's also nicer for guests to see the property looking its best in the glow of beautiful sunshine. Unfortunately, we have no control over Mother Nature and to be fair, it is the rainy season.
Kevin is giving our guests the tour of the property as I write this and I hope the heavy clouds will hold off from opening up and drenching them. They really want to see a Quetzal... oh, which reminds me, I completely forgot to mention in last week's post that Kevin saw a Quetzal the morning that our previous guests arrived. The next day, when he gave them the tour, he was mentioning how he'd seen one the day before and just as he said that, a male Quetzal landed on a branch not 10 ft away. The Quetzal seemed to enjoy the attention as he posed for them for 10 minutes or so. They had time to take lots of pictures. It doesn't happen often enough, but perhaps that's what makes it so magical when it does. So, fingers crossed our honeymooners get their wish and see one today. You never know.
A week of celebration
First thing last Monday morning, we caught 60 trout!! The numbers are increasing every week. We've upgraded to a bigger cooler to fit them all!
We also hosted a nice family of four from California this week. Here is their son, Baron, catching their dinner... then he was nice enough to catch ours as well.
We had a lovely week of celebration. It was Kevin's 50th birthday on Thursday and we were invited for dinner. Our dear friends, Rafa and Minor, prepared the most delicious Indian curry meal. We don't get a wide variety of ethnic foods here, so to have an Indian was a real treat! Then on Saturday, we had our friend, Tony, who is celebrating his birthday on Monday. Our other friend Violeta joined him... but as you can see, I could not get her to look at the camera, no matter how much I pleaded. I served up some homemade pizza... all veggies were from our garden. Then we had strawberry/rhubarb/blackberry pie and apple crumble with custard for dessert. It's not the standard birthday cake, but no one seemed to mind.
Kevin's been really busy all week installing an electric fence around the two smaller trout ponds to stop the otters from helping themselves. Then, he transformed this trolly into a sand pusher. This little gizmo will be used to clean the ponds. Normally, Kevin and Martin use hoes to scrape the sediment lose from the bottom of the pond into the river. But that's hard work and he thought he'd see if this 'plough' idea might work better. They'll be cleaning the ponds next week so we'll soon see.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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