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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas Dinner 2016

This year, our Canadian friends Diane and John invited us to their house for Christmas dinner. We are very fortunate to have such generous friends here in Costa Rica and we've been the recipients of many good meals at their house.

The turkey was perfect:


Lineup of selections - potatoes, ayote, sweet potatoes, stuffing, salad, plus cranberries and gravy.


Left to right: Carlos, John pouring wine, Diane, Travis, Carol, Lance.


I made Nanaimo bars but, well, the center didn't set properly. Oh well, they still tasted good.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Orchids and Christmas Eve, 2016

This is our sixth Christmas Eve living in Costa Rica. We have blue skies, Christmas winds, and the temperature where we live at 2:00pm is 82F/27.8C. The Christmas winds refer to the trade winds that blow fairly strongly at this time of year.

An orchid I purchased about two years ago from someone who was moving to Florida has finally flowered for me. It had no name tag on it so I've just been waiting to see what the flowers looked like to help in identification. They are gorgeous and I believe this orchid is one of the diverse genus of Dendrobium. It has inflorescences (flower stems) coming out the top, sides and bottom of the basket, cascading down a foot or more and covered in small yellow and white flowers.  In my blog post of December 4, 2016, "After Hurricane Otto", I asked for assistance in identifying this particular orchid so hopefully someone can help.

This is what it looks like. In the early morning light, the entire basket appears luminous.


These are the small yellow and white flowers up close:

The flowers up close. 

Here are a couple of photos of two phalaenopsis that are presently in bloom. Phals are so dependable and seem to bloom almost constantly.




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Beach Day - 2016

A couple of weeks ago, a group of expats from Atenas and San Ramon, Costa Rica, met at Playa Dona Ana for a day of sun, ocean swimming, relaxing, chatting and just enjoying living in Costa Rica.

I made a short video of our day there. The monkeys were particularly bold ... I've never seen them coming down on the ground to grab pieces of bananas before. 

If you wish to watch the video full screen, click on the Youtube icon.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bread Making

I decided to make a loaf of bread today to go with our dinner salad this evening. Bread making has not always been successful for me at our elevation here in Atenas, Costa Rica. But I had recently purchased yeast and I found this recipe which looked easy to do with minimal work.

I added garlic to the dough and fresh oregano from my garden to the top before baking. Here is the finished product:


Lance said it is like the fresh bread served at high end restaurants. This loaf was crusty with soft innards. I had to let it rise longer then the recipe says ... so go with your bread making instincts. I think I will make this once a week.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


We are presently lingering between the green and dry seasons. Each season is roughly six months long. Recent mornings have been very cool and we are still experiencing some rain. This morning seemed perfect to get some laundry washed and hung out on the line. The humidity was low, the sun was out, and we had a good breeze. I hung two loads of laundry out and all was well until the clouds came in about five hours later. An unexpected rain shower made us run out to get the half dried clothes off the line and into the house. Five minutes later, the rain was over and the sun came out. I put some of our laundry back out on the line and the rest are draped over various pieces of furniture. We do not have an electric dryer and don't need one. Most of the year our laundry does just fine on the line.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

After Hurricane Otto

Where we live in the central valley, the only effects we felt from Hurricane Otto were a few rainy and chilly days with little wind. However, northern areas of Costa Rica were terribly hard hit. The Tico Times Times has up-to-date information if you are interested in reading about Otto. Hurricanes are rare here but this one crossed over Costa Rica to the Pacific coast from the Atlantic. Costa Ricans came together immediately to provide relief to the affected areas. They also reached out to the expat community for help and they responded immediately.  One of my fans readers commented on a recent post: "And, please don't stop posting. Many of us are living vicariously through you!" That's an amazingly flattering thing to say and thank you. Much appreciated. I hope I can provide interesting posts. Yesterday was a dry season day - warm, blue skies all day. Today is a green season day - started to rain last night and has been gently falling since. The last gasp of the rainy season. Good day to make some soup for dinner.  Our landlady arranged to have the half-dead passion flower vines removed from our pergola and roof, along with the shade cloth. All the grass underneath had died off because it was too shady, resulting in a muddy mess when it rained. Sod was laid and it has grown rapidly. What a difference this has made. Now the area is bright and sunny and much more inviting. I've hung all my orchids from the pergola and will hang another hammock under there also. I guess the light change has benefited at least one of my orchids. I noticed all these flower stems (inflorescences) coming out of an orchid that has never flowered before. They are coming out the top, sides and bottom of the basket. When they are fully opened, I'll take more photos and hopefully someone can identify the orchid species for me.