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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Mystery to Solve

This sign is erected on highway 3, very close to Alida's Pizzeria. I have Googled Cristina Cabezas Zumbado and can find nothing. She must have been an important person in Atenas. This sign is quite large.

Can anyone help?



Saturday, August 24, 2013


On Thursday, the 22nd, we received 3.4 inches of rain, the highest in a single day where we live in Vista Atenas for this month of August. We were in Atenas when it started, just as we were finishing lunch. By the time we got home, it had reached our house. I had laundry drying on the line and managed to get some things unpegged and into the laundry basket but just left the sheets and pillow cases as they were already soaked.

I figured they would get a nice rinsing from the lovely tropical rain and the sun would dry them the next day. Wouldn't they smell wonderful .... wrong! I forgot about the bats. Currently, we have many of them doing bug patrol every night. We haven't actually seen them yet but they leave their calling cards everywhere. Everything got rewashed the following day.

When our garden trash removal guy, Mario, and his workers were here on Wednesday we showed him where the upper level berm had given way earlier in the week and caused the flood in our house. "No problemo" and five minutes later they had dug a ditch and filled in the berm. Thursday's mega rainfall showed their handiwork had done the job to prevent more flooding, although some soil erosion was seen and husband Lance went up the hill to do a bit of repair work.

You can read Lance's monthly weather reports for where we live at Paul and Gloria Yeatman's monthly newsletter, Retire For Less in Costa Rica. Paul keeps weather records for San Ramon, where they live. They live at a higher elevation then we do and it is interesting comparing the weather between the two places.

The repaired berm after Thursday's rain
Lance doing a bit of repair.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fun In Costa Rica

Late yesterday afternoon, we had almost two inches of rain fall in a short period of time. It was an extremely intense monsoon-like rainfall.

Our house sits at the bottom of two slopes. The top is where the mango and banana trees are, then there is a slope to another flat level, and finally another slope down to our house. There are berms on each flat area that are supposed to direct water into the deep ditches along the property side.

This time, the rain was so intense that the berms could not hold it all and torrents of water started washing down the lower slope, flooding the back of our house and actually coming into the house through the back door. There is a square drainage hole near the back door but it could not cope with the influx of water.

This is the drainage hole:

You can't see it in this photo, but there is a pipe outlet at the bottom edge of the hole.

In no time at all, this outlet was incapable of coping with the rushing torrents of water and quickly overflowed. There was a lot of plant debris filling the hole so I leaned over to get my garden trowel which was stuck in the soil, thinking I could clear the hole and help it drain faster.

As I reached over for the trowel, I fell into the hole - right arm and shoulder first. Lance was out there too and both of us were already pretty wet from the pounding rains, but now I was totally soaked from head to foot.

It was like something from an "I Love Lucy" episode. We were laughing so hard - it was pure unplanned slapstick. Lance pulled me from the hole and I ran inside to discard the wet clothing and take a shower. Then I started sweeping out water from the house ... one great thing about having tiled floors and no carpets is that cleanup is easy. We used all the old towels and rags we had to help mop up the water in the house.

This morning's laundry consisted of our wet clothing from last night and the towels .... all needed several rinsings to get rid of the mud and plant debris. My garden trowel is MIA .... presumably sucked into the drainage hole vortex.

The last I saw of the trowel. The drainage hole is under water to the left of the trowel.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Best Time of Day

I can't make up my mind what time of day I like best in Costa Rica. The mornings are special. We are usually up with the birds, and they start singing when it is still dark. Neighborhood roosters start even earlier. The sky starts to lighten up around 5:00 am.

Genny, our cat, is affected by the early bird sounds also and she doesn't let me stay in bed beyond 5:00 am most mornings. Cats are so persistent.

So up I get, pull up all the blinds ... I like to see what the mountains look like in the morning. Put the coffee on to brew ... and that's another thing ... drinking coffee that is actually growing all around us. It still amazes me, after a lifetime of drinking coffee that I never felt any connection to and had no idea where it came from. Now, if I am up early enough, I wave to the coffee workers in the truck going up to the coffee fincas and they always wave back to me. Wish there was some way to tell them I appreciate what they do. Award winning, fresh, local coffee is available everywhere here at a fraction of the price we paid for it in Canada.

Mornings are the best times to get chores done because the green season rains might be happening in the afternoons or, in the dry season, it just might be hotter for an hour or two. I always do laundry in the morning and also grocery shopping. It's also the best time for me to work on my horse and cattle paintings.

Afternoons are special also. For me, this is hammock time or else pool time at a neighbor's house. I spend more time outside all year around than I ever have in any other place we have lived in. The large roof overhangs on houses here ensure lots of outside living space. Genny the cat has never spent so much time outdoors before either. These days, for her it mostly involves a walk around the perimeter of the house, a stroll to the front gate and long siestas on the patio chairs. Now and then, she will manage a walk up the hill to the mango and banana trees

When an afternoon storm occurs, it's fun to be sitting outside .... the sound and light show, the pounding tropical rain and the fresh smell of the earth and the pure cool air.

The sun sets around 6:00 pm here, more or less all year around. Sunsets can be spectacular. It gets dark very quickly - one minute light, the next dark. If we are going out for dinner to a restaurant in the evening, then we experience the pleasure of sitting in an open sided restaurant, with the sounds of the tropical night around us and at times stunning displays of lightning, quite often sheet lightning from over the Pacific Ocean.

So, I guess I cannot pick one special time of day that is my favorite .... I like it all.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Bananas - Bananas

Here is a video I made of our gardener, José, and his helper harvesting a very large bunch of bananas from one of our trees. We shared them with José and our neighbors.

You can also see some of our mangoes ... they weren't quite ripe when I made the video.