Out for a stroll
Kevin was up every hour last night. He had shut the gate to the ponds since it started to rain quite hard and the winds picked up again. He thought it would be best to take proper precautions to avoid any dirt and mud coming into the ponds. He has no intention of cleaning that big pond again for awhile. Anyway, he was up really early: he opened the hen house and let our Bettys out into their fenced in pen, and cleaned their water and so on as he does every morning.
Fast forward to 11 am... Kevin had been working in the guest house all morning while I was painting. After I cleaned my brushes, I decided to check on my vegetable garden and then go collect the eggs in the hen house. As I was kneeling down by the broccoli, trying to straighten the stalks that had fallen from the wind, I heard our hen clucking loudly... they sounded so close. Kevin walked around the corner, into the back part of the house... he yelled for me to look behind me... and there were 5 or 6 Bettys crossing the bridge into the garden. They were happy as can be, just strolling along without a care in the world. (Thank goodness Frankie was inside the house at the time). Kevin came up to help me catch them and put them back in their pen. I hadn't been up to the hen house yet, so it couldn't have been me who left the door unlocked. I admit, it is something I might do. Kevin is pretty anal about locking doors, so imagine my delight in teasing him about it... he's still convinced it must have been me... but it wasn't... of that, I'm sure (this time anyway). I think his lack of sleep last night was probably the cause. We caught all the hens without too much trouble and placed them back where they can stay safe. And after all that commotion, they still gave us 10 eggs.
Just humming along
It was time to do our nightly chores: feed the fish, put our Bettys (hens) to bed, check on the river and ponds, etc. Kevin motioned for me to come look at something. I quickly, but quietly moved up the path and saw this beautiful hummingbird. I decided to go get my camera, fully expecting it to be long gone when I got back, but lo and behold, he was still flitting around. I took several pictures, but these were the only three that captured any recognizable image. I don't have a fancy schmancy camera for taking bird pictures. I had to blow them up and then take a screen capture. We looked in our bird book and believe this one to be called the White-Throated Mountain Gem.
And what a gem it is!
A bit of weather
We have no way of measuring the strength of the wind, and everyone did warn us of the high winds in December... well, they were right! Today however, the winds were so strong it kind of felt like a mini hurricane. I only say mini because I don't want to sound overly dramatic. I heard a LOUD 'crack' so I went down to investigate. I met Kevin at the bottom of our property near the river where he had just watched one of the large trees snap in two. We are sheltered in the valley so I can only imagine what it must feel like out in the open pastures or for houses perched precariously on the side of the mountain. No serious damage, and lots of fire wood... not all bad news!
Do you know the way to San Jose?
We decided to leave early to get to Price Smart, in San Jose, as soon as it opens at 9 am. Boy was that a great idea! When we got there we saw less than 40 cars. It was amazing! So we went directly to the washing machine area and picked up the one and only one on the floor (Kevin and Paul had returned the first one, but they had run out so we needed to wait until after Christmas). We checked to make sure it was in good condition, got the warranty signed and loaded it up in the SUV. Then we went back to do our regular shopping. At first the aisles were practically empty, which for a shopping hater like me, was heaven. But, by the time we were half way done, people were bumping into us with their carts... so we didn't linger. We got the rest of what we needed and headed straight for the cashier. Kevin was on his best behaviour and didn't prolong the agony. I love him so! Then, a quick trip to EPA (equal-ish to Home Depot). I chose to stay in the vehicle with all our stuff, as a security measure, but it was a great excuse to not have to go into EPA. Better for me... and better for Kevin, too, so he didn't have to stress about me following behind him – groaning and moaning. It was great: Kevin parked the SUV so that I could watch the cars go by with the mountains in the background. And we also parked beside the motorcycle area. That was interesting. There were about 15 motorcycles parked. One guy came out with a boogie board, 3 bags full of stuff and a large over-the-shoulder bag... it was very entertaining watching him try to figure out how he was going get all his stuff together and ride off on his rather small motorbike... after about 20 minutes, he managed to organize himself, using a lot of bungy cords. It all looked precarious if you ask me, but he rode off anyway. I hope he made it home okay. When we left, we ended up in standstill traffic (I secretly thought it was that guy on the motorcycle in an accident). Apparently there was a bicycle race (crazy people) and they closed some of the roads. We sat around in 26°C for an hour. The weather was nice, we enjoyed one another's company and we kept reminding ourselves that it could be worse... we could be sitting in traffic in cold Canadian temperatures and snow.
A productive day
I haven't had this kind of day in a long while. I've been busy these past few weeks (month, really) with teaching, planning classes, reading through resumés, conducting Skype interviews and organizing English Summer Camp... so I've been busy, but I've not been doing my share of the manual labour on the farm, that's for sure. But today, well, I got back on track. Kevin and I both got up early. Kevin is always up before the sun comes up, checking on the heron... yes, the heron is back... and Kevin is determined to do whatever he can to scare him off. This morning, Kevin added more fishing line around the large pond to help deter the bird from coming too close to the edge of the bank. Then he worked on hanging the cafe doors between the guest house and the outdoor shower. We want to add a little extra privacy for our guests when they go in and out. And I painted the second coat on the back door of the guest house Then I washed the curtains, ironed them and hung them up. I also washed the entrance gate. It was absolutely filthy with dried mud and dust. The gate is a forest green, and after a scrubbed it clean, which took several bucketfuls of soap and water (having to go back and forth on the ATV to refill with clean water), I painted it a chartreuse colour (that in-between yellow and green colour). When you look at the paint in the can it looks pretty daring, but on the gate it just blends in with the rest of the trees and bushes. I like it, but it's not making the big statement I thought it would. It looks fresh and clean though, so that's good enough. I was only able to paint one coat on the right side gate (front and back) before it started to rain... I hope it had time to dry. I didn't wait around to find out... I got on the ATV and got myself under cover as soon as possible. It started to pour! I cleaned up, then made dinner. While the pasta sauce was cooking, I fed the fish and put our Bettys (our hens) for the night. It was a nice, productive day. I'll paint the other side tomorrow if the weather cooperates.
By the light of the moon
So, since it's becoming a pattern,
I think I'll mention just how bright our moon is. I have never seen such a bright moon. It's not particularly big, just very bright, especially when it's full like it was last night. When we're ready to go to sleep, the moon is located just above our large pond at the back of the house, but at 4 am it is perfectly aligned with the window on my side of the bed in our bedroom. And I've woken up three times, at 4 am, to a blinding light. It's as though someone is hovering over me with a flashlight and shining it directly into my eyes. It's the oddest thing. Once my eyes focus a little, I realize the light is coming from outside my window... and there it is, that same bright moon. Maybe because the air is thinner up here, everything has a surreal effect. It's really quite beautiful, I just wish it were on Kevin's side of the bed in the wee hours of the morning.
Well it was just another working day for us today. I put another coat of paint on the guest house kitchen cabinets and put the first coast on the back door, as well. And I worked in the garden a little. Kevin worked on the water wheel pump most of the whole day. Then I went to the second English Summer Camp. Today was harder. Yulian (pronounced Julian) who is only 4 and Sharon's brother Thomas who is 5 both had a tough time. Yulian was sad and just wanted to go home from about the minute he got to the centre. I tried, we all tried to cheer him up, but I think he was tired. His eyes were very sleepy. And Thomas was brooding the whole time, too. He got a new bike for Christmas and all he wanted to do was go ride it. Perfectly natural. And Tamara wasn't a whole lot better. She wasn't acting up or anything, she just refused to participate. Oh well, Nicol, Sharon and Kevin seemed to have a great time... and I asked them if they wanted to come back next week and they all were jumping up and down and said yes. So, we'll see how next week goes. Even if it's only three kids, that's fine as long as they're having fun.
Merry Christmas! The best part of my day so far has been Skyping with Phoenix and Jude and my parents. It's hard being away from my kids especially during this time of year. Then, we went over to Martin and Clara's restaurant to catch some fish and have some lunch. I caught a fish on my second try and so did Kevin. Here is Kevin's proof. Martin does not provide fishing rods to fish with, just a simple block of wood with fishing line wound around it and a hook at the end. I find it a bit awkward, but I'm getting the hang of it finally.
This is Nicole riding her brand new bike she received for Christmas. She is one happy little girl. She was smiling ear to ear. She said she got the bike and some pencil crayons. That's it. And yet, she was over
Nicole kept riding her bike back and forth in front of the restaurant. She was having a ball.
It was a beautiful, sunny day. This morning, I conducted Skype interviews with two of our Copey Learning Center teacher volunteer candidates, while Kevin worked on fixing the water pump. Trying at least. Last week, he got the water wheel working, but the pump wouldn't create any pressure through the pipe. If we can ('we' meaning Kevin) get the pump to work, then we can use the water wheel to syphon the water from the pond to irrigate our lawn and gardens. All of a sudden we heard the honking of the postman's motorcycle. He handed me a Christmas card, which came all the way from England... from very good friends of my in-laws (Joyce and David). That was really nice.
Then, I did some laundry. And after that we cleaned the loft. Bats get in between the roof and the wood ceiling and create a mess, so I removed all our boxes from the crawl space and vacuumed, then Kevin sealed all the gaps. Then we removed the clear, plastic skylight and washed it. As we were finishing up, we got a call from our friends Tony and Maria. Tony has the mushroom farm up near the little town La Cima. They asked if they could come by. They arrived about 15 minutes later with a freshly baked apple pie. What a deliciously thoughtful gift. This is what people do... they make things, and pop by for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat and give homemade/handmade gifts. After our visit, we wrapped up some freshly laid eggs from this morning... can't get much fresher than that. It seemed right. And they seemed really pleased and they graciously accepted them. It certainly was not a typical Christmas eve... but it was special in its own way.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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