Friday, October 24, 2008

First week on Finca Ipe

we decided to stay in the little town of Orosi and take spanish lessons. They were intensive and after a week we were speaking much better. Beth is doing much better and we´re working hard on the farm now. Farm life is good. We´ve been here for a week now doing odd jobs around the farm in the mornings. Getting up at 5 or earlier is getting easier and easier. So far our jobs have included turning 25 foot long compost piles, cleaning out a water tank, hacking of dead leaves from banana trees with a long piece of bamboo with a blade on the end, and probably the most difficult and most important task for the farm that we´ve done so far was building a bamboo gate for the driveway. Beth and I did it solo and we´re really proud of it. The gate has a thick rectangular bamboo frame held together with screws and that was given to us. We were asked to make the bamboo support beams (5 in all that had to hold up the gate). The catch was that we couldn´t use any screws. So we measured our bamboo, cut it, and then used a hack saw and chisels to carve out each end so that it would fit snuggly between the horizontal frame pieces. Took us about 10 hours over two days. The next thing to do is cut down palm fronds and weave them in between the vertical supports and then mount some wheels before somehow carting the whole thing up the hill and putting it in place. I have never worked so hard physically, but surprisingly I´m feeling good and enjoying the process of things. I had no idea how strong bamboo was!

We´re in the city for the day just running some errands which revolve around finding second hand american clothing that we can destroy working on the farm, the internet, and getting peanuts to make homemade peanut butter. And it just occured to me that maybe a snake bite kit would not be a bad idea either. Last night during dinner a snake of an unknown species (not totally unknown, just to us. we didn´t discover a new species or anything ), at least a meter long was crawling on the bamboo support beneath the tin roof just above the kitchen sink. Oh, did I mention that the house we´re staying in on Finca Ipe doesn´t have front or side walls. The bedrooms do, but the whole house is pretty much outdoors and it´s beautiful. Lots of bamboo and a fantastic feel. Anyways, that should help you to imagine how the snake was moving around so freely. So we flung it down the hill and finished dinner. I asked Derek the owner of the house if they usually killed snakes that came inside. And he was like ¨usually´´, but this one didn´t look threatening enough. Ahhh!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2 Weeks in Orosi, Costa Rica

Orosi is a beautiful valley of coffee fields and small farms surrounded by mountains. Each morning the sun shines bright and with my pants and rolled up long sleeve shirt I´m sweating early in the day, but I don´t want the bugs to get to me so I´m not giving into the temptation to wear shorts. haha.

We decided not to head to Puerto Viejo after all. It´s funny the way things go, but after calling the number of the hotel that was listed in the book and getting a wrong number, I looked it up on the internet and tried again. That number was wrong too! I couldn´t believe it! And the other hotel listings were more than we wanted to pay, so I didn´t book a room and we decided just to head over there the next day. Well, that night Beth ended up getting ill (don´t worry she´s much better now. probably at 80%. Looks like she had a little bug and maybe some dehydration.) So we ended up staying in the hostel since. So now we´ve been in Orosi for about a week. Not a bad place to be.

Before Beth got sick we took a nice walk through a couple little neighoring towns and did a 6 hour mountain hike that was really beautiful. The trail (really more like a dirt road) was lined with dense jungle along with intermitent coffee fields. The kicker was that after 5 hours the monsoonish rains came. By that time Booster had been in our litle backpack for a few hours. He was just laying in the bottom with his head out the zipper. Imagine that! I put on my rain jacket and it fit perfectly over the bag and my under arm vent that zipped open provided the boy with fresh air without getting a drop of rain on him. So as the rains fell (picture the hardest rains you´ve ever experienced without letting up for hours) we made our way down the mountain and soon the trail turned into a stream. We were getting nervous when it started to lightning. We decided to stop at some sort of large warehouse farmy thing and before we got there we ran into a woman and her like 3 year old daughter walking with only umbrellas (the little girl had her own and wasn´t even holding her mother´s hand. Picture it!). They told us just to head the way we had been going and ignore the 5 inches of water that was rushing down the mountain. And after seeing this girl doing it we figured we could too. So down we went. (As a sidenote, while it was lightning I thought back to our time watching Man Vs. Wild and what he did when it rained. I suggested to Bethanie that we find an open spot and get down just like he did. And she was like,¨Okay, but I don´t think bear was standing in a river when he gave that advice.¨ Oh yeah. Truestory.) We probable spent 10 or 15 min. milling around under some trees for cover hoping the rain would let up before we ran into the woman and her daughter. And then after taking her advice we hit the town 5 minutes later. It was crazy how remote we still felt and really we were only five minutes from town. At this point we got so stoked because of what we felt we had accomplished and we treated ourselves to some take out costa rican food and headed back to the hostel for the night. What fun!

So, now that Beth is getting better but is still not 100% we´ve decided to make the most of our time and we´ve enrolled in a 1'week intensive Spanish course. We´ll start tomorrow and have 3 hour lessons each day and then do a lot of independent study on the side. We are really excited about it, so wish us luck! A few other people at the hostel are taking courses and they warn us that no miracles will happen in a week it is time and money well spent. So we´re stoked.

And by the way speaking of the hostel, right next door to it is a beautiful lot (with fruit trees) for you to buy and retire on. I spoke to the owner yesterday in Spanish and he´s selling 6047 or there about square meters for $50 per meter. So for a little over $300,000 you´ve got a few acres. They will need some irrigation work to prevent all the siting water after the rain and you would have to stop his brother from letting his horses graze there (if that bothers you. They´re actually quite enjoyable to watch and if any animal is going to wake you up with the sounds they make a horse neighing is much better than a cock crowing. Trust me on that. There are plenty of roosters around here and most of them don´t know when the day begins so you hear them from 1 am well into the morning).

Well, we head to the farm to start work on Saturday, Oct. 18. Wish us luck!