This is not the season to see quetzals, but considering we've seen three in less than a month, perhaps the seasons are changing? This time, we saw a quetzal AND we had enough time to grab my camera (thanks to Kevin). Without a telephoto lens, it doesn't look like much, but at least there's proof! He stuck around for several minutes, just sitting on the branch, singing his song. So beautiful with its bright blue feathers, green head and red breast (although we could only see the back of it)
Today, we went to our good friends' place for lunch. Rafa and Minor are always amazing hosts and they cook a mean Indian meal. It's such a treat as we don't get to eat Indian food very often. Everything was so delicious.
Rafa and Minor have eight rescue dogs, and they all greet us when we arrive. They're all different with their own personalities. Always entertaining. And then there is one cat... this cat... his name is Socrates. He's really lovely and I couldn't resist taking this picture.
It's been a quiet week... no animal tracks, no interesting animal sightings, just the regular tending to our trout business. We've been experiencing "little summer" for the last week and the rains have subsided considerably. The sun has been shining most of the day, lately. Really lovely. We've spent the last few days doing some spring cleaning. We opened up all the windows and French doors to create a cross-breeze. I took everything out of the cupboards, washed all the dishes, the pots and pans, and got rid of any canned goods that were passed their expiry date. Kevin spent a few days reorganizing his tools in the garage. Good job done.
As I walk Frankie up to the gate three times a day (if she had her way, she's lounge on the couch all day long), I pass by the avocado trees. I noticed quite a few avocados were ready to pick... here is today's harvest... 100% organic and so delicious! We try to remember not to take our abundance for granted. We feel very lucky.
Not just footprints...
Last week I wrote about seeing danta tracks. Well last Monday, Kevin was standing by the kitchen sink, looking out the window. He was waiting for one of our workers to walk down the driveway at the end of his daily shift. All of a sudden Kevin shouts "Danta!! Get your camera... hurry!" I scrambled to my feet, looking for my camera (it never seems to be ready at hand in such crucial moments). I finally located it and ran out the door. I ran up the driveway trying to catch up to Kevin who had gone up ahead of me. I reached Kevin just in time to see the danta scamper up the hill in the pasture. All I saw was her shiny, black rear end. She was big!! It was so exciting. I started snapping pictures, but my lens doesn't zoom in enough, so I'm stuck with this black blob in the middle of the frame. I won't win any photography contest, but I feel obliged to at least show some proof of our sighting. I'm sure my heart skipped a beat with all the excitement.
The nutria (otter) is back... and if there's one, there's usually a whole family. Otters are greedy and can clean out a trout pond in no time. All our ponds are protected by electric fences except for two (except one rarely has any fish). As our trout business has grown, we've needed to expand and use more ponds. The casita pond (directly in front of the guesthouse) usually contains the largest sized trout (about 1 kilo). The nutria usually prefers the smaller fish... easier to catch and eat. Since it's best not to take any chances, Kevin decided to install an electric fence around this pond as well. It took him about two and a half hours to cut the wood pieces, measure the metal wire, dig a hole to hold the pole in place, connect the terminal that releases the electrical pulse to a long cable from the carport to a tree, and down the pole. To keep everything dry during the rainy season, Kevin added a metal cover over the electrical cable, which is wrapped around the metal wire to create conductivity. All the electrical cables are out of the way so no one trips over them. He did a great job and we haven't lost any trout.
Dentist, danta, trout... oh my!
It was Kevin's turn to go to the dentist. Two weeks ago he went for a cleaning and the dentist mentioned that he had two small cavities that required filling. His appointment was on Tuesday: in and out in less than an hour, and only $72 U.S. Kevin hates going to the dentist, but he said it all went well and he felt no pain.
We buy baby trout two to three times a year based on our clients' needs. Kevin calculates how many we need to buy: he takes into account how long it will take for the fish to grow to a certain weight, and he adjusts the feeding schedule accordingly. Kevin and Martin also ensure the ponds contain the right sized fish by a "selection" process. Basically, when they fish, they deliberately choose the right sized fish, allowing the smaller fish more time to grow.
This week, we bought another 5,000 baby trout. These fish will be ready to catch at half a kilo in about 7 to 8 months, just in time for Holy Week (Easter), and ready at 3/4 of a kilo in about 9 to 10 months. Our client Gonzalo came by on Friday to check on the current fish stock that we've been growing since November for him to approve their size (we sell trout at half a kilo to Gonzalo, and 3/4 of a kilo to our other client, Roberto). Gonzalo said the fish were perfect and he'll be coming on Tuesday to catch 200 kilos. And so this cycle begins... we will be catching fish for Gonzalo every two weeks. We currently catch fish for Roberto every week. Different ponds with different sized trout. Kevin has developed a great system and it's all working out well for everyone.
Kevin picks the baby trout from the Trout Institute of Costa Rica (Incopesca) about 45 minutes away. They are individually counted and put in these plastic bags. Since trout won't survive for long in non-oxygenated water, time is of the essence to get them back to the farm and into the concrete tank where the water is oxygenated. It's not unusual to lose a few fish in the first week after transport due to stress, but so far we've had no losses.
The danta is back. We woke up one morning and saw their tracks going up the hill by the avocado trees. There are two sets of tracks (a large size and a smaller size). We're guessing that it's a mama with her baby. They come up from the river, and wind their way up to the pasture. I wish we could spot them during the day, so I could take a picture. I've had to borrow a picture from the internet of a mama and her baby (that baby is kind of adorable, don't you think?) However, I did take a picture of the tracks they left behind, and a close-up of a "footprint". You can clearly see the three-toed imprint in the dirt.
And yesterday, Kevin was down by the casita pond cleaning the gate and he looked over, down by the waterfall garden, and saw a male quetzel sitting in a tree. Now, that's pretty darn special: a very rare sighting indeed for this time of year. Again, I've borrowed an image from the internet as Kevin didn't have a camera at the time. The pleasure of spotting one of these elusive birds never gets old! I'm sorry I missed it.
We hosted a gentleman last December, Allen, from Oregon. He stayed with us for four nights and loved the area so much that he decided to move here with his cat, Charlie. When we learned that he was interested in renting a house in Santa Maria, we introduced him to our friend, Tomas, who was moving to San Jose with his family and was considering renting his house in Santa Maria. They exchanged information and sorted out a one-year lease. Allen arrived last week and needs to furnish the house with appliances, bed, and other household items. I met up with him last Saturday to show him around the shops in Santa Maria and San Marcos where he could buy what he needed. I bumped into him on Wednesday in Santa Maria while I was running some errands, and it seems like he's settling in nicely. It's always a bit overwhelming at first... learning to navigate a new culture, a different language, and letting go of our North American expectations. But that's all part of the adventure, isn't it! We're happy to have a new neighbour and friend among us.
On Wednesday, I joined two other English-speaking volunteers to judge the regional spelling bee. The kids were awesome... they went 23 rounds!! Then they each had to do an impromptu speech and then an interview. It was thorough, that's for sure. We had a lot of fun. And I think the kids did, too. The best part of my day was catching up with my good friend, Catalina. She is an English teacher at the high school where the event took place so we got to spend some time together. It was so lovely to see her.
Yesterday, our little one-room school organized a bingo fundraiser and about 60 people showed up. It's always nice to see our neighbours no matter the occasion. Playing bingo is a great way to practice our Spanish numbers, too. We were given popcorn to keep score (a lesson in keeping it simple), and the caller had these funny little sayings that we didn't understand, which made it even more difficult to follow, but we had a good laugh. Oh, and the food was good!!
While all the people were playing bingo, these pups were sitting outside waiting patiently together. Super cute.
Last, but definitely not least, today is the most wonderful day of the year (for me). It's Kevin's birthday today... the day he finally catches up to me. For four lovely months, we are the same age. Happy birthday, sweetie!
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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