We said goodbye to our last guests of the season. Hush Valley Lodge is officially closed until November 1st. We're so grateful to all those who have come to visit us and made our first year so memorable! We've had a superb time learning how to be good hosts... and to all of you who read our posts and continue to support and encourage us on this amazing adventure, well... words can't express how much it means to us!
We will take these next two months to prepare for an even better second year. We have a few projects on the go and some improvement ideas up our sleeve... no rest for the wicked, as they say.
The reason we close at this time of year, for two months is because the rainy season hits the hardest at this time... our guests were very lucky, although it was overcast it didn't rain at all yesterday, nor did it rain this morning. They left at 11:30 am. It's now 2:00 pm and it's pouring out... it hasn't rained this hard in a very long time. And so it starts.
Our last guest of the season left us with kind words... we appreciate the lovely feedback.
Delightful, delicious, amazing – thank you for your hospitality and amazing attention to detail. You have shared your home with us - that is the impression I have been given - Thank you.
Nice and peaceful plus good company included!
Peace of body and mind! Great place, well-managed and with respect to nature. Company was stimulating and food outstanding. Will come again!
Rogilio and Su
Well, we've been up since 6 am and we haven't stopped all day. I met our guests (two couples from San Jose... one of the couples is actually Roberto's (dairy farmer/friend) second cousin. I was introduced to him and his wife through a fundraising project. They wanted to come and see the Copey Learning Center and our one-room school in Rio Blanco to see if there is any help they might be able to offer. I brought them to the Center and the school where they met the volunteers and teachers, and observed a class in session.
Then I drove them to Hush Valley Lodge where they enjoyed some lunch (Squash and Carrot soup, salad and fresh homemade bread and butter). Later, I prepared dinner (fresh trout filets marinated in olive oil, lemon, lime, white wine, rosemary and a pinch of salt), carrots sautéed in maple syrup and orange juice, potatoes mixed with a dash of, well, Mrs. Dash and Parmesan cheese... baked in the oven and some green beans. I cooked most of the day. One of the couples was supposed to sleep at another hotel in Copey, but they decided to all share the guesthouse. They appear happy, which is all that matters.
It's 7:30 pm and we've just sat down. We're enjoying a nice cup of tea and some lemon/cranberry cake. Yum!
We haven't stopped all day. Kevin was up ultra early again this morning to work on the ponds. Martin, Hairo and he finished cleaning the big pond, added the water, transferred the baby trout into the big pond, then transferred the big trout from the pond near the chicken coop into the pond where the babies were located. That's a whole lot of transferring! But it's done now, which is great! The big trout will be a lot easier to catch now in the smaller pond. As for the babies... well, they looked so big in the small pond, but now, in the big pond, they look tiny... they have lots of room to grow now. And grow they will. Kevin is completely exhausted.
As for me, I finished cleaning the guesthouse: made the bed, ironed the pillow cases, vacuumed, dusted, filling up the tins of sugar, coffee and tea. I always check all the appliances to make sure everything is good working order. I also make sure there's enough fire wood for the wood stove in case our guests choose to light it.
This afternoon we went to San Marcos to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables for tomorrow's lunch and dinner. I have a busy morning tomorrow, too. I have to wake up especially early to start my bread, lemon/cranberry cake and cut up all my vegetables so they're ready when I make the soup for lunch and sides for dinner. Kevin will be catching two fish, so I'll need to gut them and he will filet them. Then I will be meeting our guests in Copey at mid-morning. Maybe I'll rest on Sunday.
A month or so ago, I planted some Basil. Or so I thought. I decided to pick some today as they're growing so nicely. I snipped a few leaves off to smell them and they don't smell anything like Basil. They have a very strong lemon scent to them. Huh... I'm not a Basil expert, but I'm pretty sure this ain't it. Or perhaps it's a different variety... don't get me wrong... I really love the fragrance and I put it in my sandwich today and it added a delicious flavour. If anyone out there knows what this is called, please let me know! I'd really appreciate it.
Before I start with today's entry, I know there are some of you (mother!) who will be wondering what I/we did yesterday, and why oh why I didn't write anything. Well, it just so happens I did write. It rained quite a bit all afternoon so I hunkered down and wrote my book... after I went to my weekly Spanish class and before I taught my English class. Sometimes, when I'm writing my book, I simply focus on that and feel I don't have much to write about here. But there's no need to panic, I assure you I'll be back within a day or two... sorry for the inconvenience (mother! hehehe).
Okay, now to tell you about our day. Well, it feels a lot like we've come full circle. When we first arrived here on our property last year, the ponds were empty. They looked like big craters, full of muck and guck. We didn't want them filled with water because we wanted to see beneath the surface and make sure if there were any repairs that needed to be done, that we could address them right away. Last year, the retaining wall needed to be fortified with cement and cracks filled, and that was all done within the first couple of weeks – before filling the ponds up with water and fish. Today, however, we emptied the main pond so that we could swop the big trout (only 87 left out of the 300 that we started off with this time last year) for the 740 baby trout (well, not so baby anymore, but we still call them 'the babies'). So, we (meaning the men) emptied the pond to catch all the big trout with a net. They transferred the big trout into the small pond near the chicken coop. Then the men cleaned out the big pond (might as well do it now while there's no water... seemed to make sense). Tomorrow, Kevin, Martin and our other friend, Hairo, will fill the big pond with water again and empty the pond where the baby trout currently live. They will catch the babies and transfer them into the big pond. It's a lot of work, but the babies are getting too big for the small pond (they need more elbow room) and it's also getting hard to catch the big fish because the large pond is too big for just 87 fish. You should have seen us trying to catch 17 fish for Roberto on Monday! It took longer than we'd hope. Hopefully, now it will be easier and quicker.
While the men were working their buns off, I was pruning the overly tall hibiscus plants up the driveway. The moon is in the waning cycle so it's safe to prune. Some of these hibiscus are huge! They're not your everyday little, delicate plant. Then I washed the sheets and towels from the guesthouse, topped up the sugar, coffee and tea, in preparation for our guests' arrival on Friday. Tomorrow I'll clean and dust so everything is all buff, tidy and shiny.
Kevin has finished the stone wall; the one right beside the house and above the river. The soil was eroding and there was very little room to walk on that side of the house. With the new wall, Kevin's managed to stop further erosion, which is great! He's also been filling the gaping trench with dirt found on the property. He's got half of the trench filled... just the other half to do now. So, just to recap, Kevin walked down to the river, picked out some medium sized stones and lugged them up the bank. He did this countless times. That alone was hard work. Then, he had to mix cement and sand to 'glue' the stones in place. And he had to do all this as early as possible in the morning to allow it to set before the rain came in the afternoon.
Everything feels strong and safe. I'm seriously impressed.
Sometimes things resolve themselves in our day-to-day life and I forget to give updates. Sorry. Our little friend, 'Deirdre', as Kevin calls her, was with us for four days until Clara was able to reach her owners. Clara told them that their dog had been staying with us (outside) and to please come and get her. They came by a few hours later (last Tuesday) to pick her up. I was out so didn't get to meet them, but Kevin says they were nice, happy-looking people and were so happy to see Deirdre. We haven't seen her since. She was a sweet, lovely creature, but we're glad she'd back home where she belongs... that's always the ultimate goal. And no one is happier than our old girl, Frankie!
Beautiful morning! I opened all the doors while I was cleaning the house... such a nice cross-breeze. I sat outside and peeled and cut up all my fruits and vegetables so they're ready whenever we want them. I had some coconut water straight from the nut... so sweet, so delicious... then I smashed the nut and scooped out all the white flesh. One of Kevin's favourite treats. And I just finished making banana bread (another one of Kevin's favourites. Productive morning so far. The sky is clouding over and I predict the rain is on its way. I think I'll write this afternoon.
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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!