We have had so much fun playing outdoors these past two weeks. The rainy season is easing up, and flowers are beginning to bud.
We have been working hard in the greenhouse and on the garden island. We have two new raised beds on the island already growing corn, snap peas, bush beans, melons, potatoes and tomatoes.
In the greenhouse, we are working on onions, more tomatoes, pineapple, celery, sweet peppers, and various herbs.
When our friends/neighbors see what we are up to, they always return with freshly dug starts for us. We have been gifted fig trees, horseradish, thai basil, cilantro, and Chayote.
Chayote works its way into every dish it seems. It comes from the squash family and has virtually no flavor, but the texture of uncooked potato or unflavored apple.You can buy chayote 6 for 1000 Colones, in Dollars thats 6 for a little less than $2.00.
You'll find chayote in salads, soups, desserts.. we even had cilantro, tomato, chayote and cheese omelets this morning. This evening, we baked a pineapple and chayote crisp. The pineapple is too sweet to resist right now, though we have wanted to try a recipe for chayote pie. Evidently, the chayote will act in place of apples in apple pie with very little difference in taste. Can't wait to myth bust that recipe!
We have also been busy reviving our rock garden. We have some spectacular ideas for this new space.
The casita trail had been washed out during the hurricane and left some beautiful river sand. So we built a rock retaining wall and back filled it with sand, compacted and graded it to create a new riverwalk.
We then added several sets of rock stairs for better, more surefooted access to different areas of the sandy river beach. We are using all natural products, river rocks, sand, driftwood and clay with the understanding that a washout could happen again in the future. We don't want to risk foreign material being washed into the river. (Though they are calling it a 50 years storm.)
It is our collective goal to keep things as natural, and organic as possible here at Hush Valley, to protect the beauty and tranquility of what drew us all to this place to begin with.
This next week we will be working on a large river rock fire pit with benches made of wood tat washed up on the rocks. The trees had been peeled bare by the force of the water and rocks, leaving them absolutely beautiful as benches around the fire pit.
We have been collecting plants that were displaced in the storm- loads of orchids, bunch grass, ferns, and other shrubbery and are planting them throughout the rocks cape as well. We even transplanted some aloe in the case of a river beach sun burn.
It was really disappointing to lose the waterfall garden. It was such a beautiful addition to the amazing landscape of Hush Valley, but we are really excited about this blank canvas as well!
In other news: If you subscribe to our email inbox- we will need to have you re-subscribe through this site. The previous email RSS will not allow any changes.
Thank you to all who notified us the emails weren't updating! Please look for the updated subscription box on the main page to receive regular email updates!
Last Wednesday, Costa Rica caught the tail end of Hurricane Nate. Millions of dollars in damage were done to the road system within Costa Rica. The roadways here have always left a little to be desired, but this storm sought out soft spots and made their short comings obvious.
A friend of ours noted 52 slides (large and small) visible between Copey and Santa Maria. A distance of about 8.2 kilometers (5.0 miles).
We have been so impressed with the response from roadway repair and clearing crews, telephone restoration and the power company. The response was rapid, they genuinely cared about getting services restored. The day after the storm, we walked down the road and found crews working on a slide near our friends home in Copey. Not even 24 hours after the storm passed, and at an very remote location in the mountains, there they were- working hard to get passage through.
That being said, a slide down river of Hush Valley knocked power lines into the river. Putting Rio Blanco and Copey out of power. Unfortunately, the parts to repair it were in San Jose, and the road to San Jose had been washed out. The delay meant we were without power for several days while the parts were shipped in via air.
We were surprised to find how well equipped we were to withstand the lack of power. Hot water was still available so showers and dish washing were not a problem. Both the casita and the house have wood burning cook stoves as well.
Once he got the hang of baking in a wood burning oven, Dave was inspired. He made cookies, sour dough bread, quiche, and scones. There is quite an art to keeping the temperature consistent in the oven.
Without power, Quinn and I stayed busy outside. There was a hillside going up to the fish ponds that could get rather slippery. We dug out stairs, but found they, too, were muddy and slippery when it rained. So we came up with an idea.
Just prior to the storm, we had pulled out the cracked concrete bottom out of one of the hatchery tanks, with the intent to re-concrete prior to our next batch of hatchlings.
Quinn and I took the concrete, and made a mosaic like pattern on the steps to help keep the steps stable, and our feet out of the mud. Its not quite done yet, but its close. The sides will have river rock, native plants, and solar lights for each step, as we occasionally need to come check the ponds after dark. Its difficult to see in the picture, but on the third step up, in red, green and yellow river rock (all debris from the storm), there are three letters. HVL. Our little rock hound, Quinn, had this idea and gathered up the rocks.
Hush Valley Lodge fared well in the storm. However, the river grew very large and transformed the waterfall garden, into a rock garden. I guess even Mother Nature likes to redecorate occasionally. Check out these before and after pictures.
There are some amazing looking rocks among all the debris. From above you can see just how many rocks were deposited.
Its exciting to see all of the possibilities of this area. To the left, the brown patch is all soft river sand. This is a rather large area ( though you cant tell in the picture) and would be great for sand volleyball, a picnic area, or a nice river rock campfire circle. The area sits up in elevation from the river several feet, so unless we see another hurricane soon, that area should be nice and dry, and ready for grooming. Any great ideas on how to re-shape the 'rock garden'?
This week we have been busy assessing the wonders of HVL. So many fresh fruits grow naturally here! On the property there are Avocados, peaches, lemons, limes, tamarindo (sweet oranges), and others we have yet to identify..
It inspired us to see what we might grow in the island gardens.
On the island there is a garden shed, with ample water, a huge passion fruit vine, a ghost pepper bush (it's prolific but I've been scared to try them) an enormous rosemary bush and several lovely floral plants. There have been garden beds there in the past and we thought we could revive them this year. We intend to be able to grow most of our own food for the property, and provide healthy organic goods to our guests and neighbors.
Quinn and I planted carrots, beans, melons, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, corn, spinach, watermelon, pineapples, and sweet peppers. They went crazy in the rich soil here! Viable sprouts in four days.
The soil is composted matter from the property. We added ash to it, but nothing else. The locals say to add bones to our compost and it will act like a 'Miracle Grow', but we don't have a lot of bones laying around (thankfully!).
The sprouts inspired us to get to work on the cleaning up the garden shed. Its the rainy season still, but the mornings are beautiful, so we spent several hours each morning working on the island.
This week we will be planting seeds for Cilantro, cucumber, zucchini, golden berries, and various other herbs.
Fresh organic foods make such a difference in how food tastes! We cant wait to be providing our guests, family and friends food we have grown from start to finish.
I like to call Dave a 'Culinary Engineer'. He makes the most amazing meals. Lately, he has been experimenting with baking. The flour here is different, as is the altitude ( 6700-7000 feet!) so it has been a process to get the correct time, temp and humidity for good baking. So far, he has made bagels, croissants, and various bread loafs. This week, he is working on a sour dough start, as we have been told that sour dough does very well here.
Thanks to all who have commented on the blog! I appreciate the feedback, Please don't hesitate to ask about anything you're curious about at Hush Valley, we are happy to answer if we can. I intend to release the blog every Monday, should the internet God's allow it. :-) Lastly, if you haven't seen it, Quinn has his blog available at www.thecostaricakid.weebly.com. He works so hard on his little blog, and has so much to say. Check it out!
Receive our blog
in your email inbox!
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!