142. A New Year Begins

New Years GIF from New GIFs Monday 1/1- Being a holiday I had the day off but even so, we didn’t have any plans. Ramie decided early in the day that we should go for a Dusti ride and he wanted to take Skye with us. She has only been for one ride before, and we realized that the set up in the back seat wasn’t ideal for her, so Ramie has made a nice modification to hopefully make it easier for Skye to ride. Part of the problems that Skye was running into are that Dusti doesn't have easily removable rear seats, and that the floor is slippery plastic and has ribs, which makes it hard for Skye to stand on and hold herself in place. We brainstormed for a while and thought about what we could do to make the ride easier for her and came up with a few ideas. Ramie has found a way to make the flip up seats easier to remove and he cut a piece of plywood to fit the space where a person’s feet would go when you’re sitting on the seat, and finally we attached a rubber floor mat to the plywood

87. A Costa Breeze Weather Lesson

As North America starts their summer season, here in Costa Rica we are in the winter or Green Season. What does this mean? It means that the temperatures are cooler compared to what they were during our summer, the humidity will increase and we will start to get rain again. In June we should just start to have a few rainy afternoons, enough to wake up many of the plants that slowed down while it was so hot and dry. This year our June was quite a bit wetter than typical Junes of the past (according to what we hear from locals). There is a guy on one of our Facebook groups who lives within 15 miles or so of Uvita who keeps track of how much rain he gets at his house, and then every month he will post a screenshot of the spreadsheet that compares each month for all of the years that he has been keeping track. Loren also keeps track of how much rain he gets at his house up the mountain from us. Ramie finally got our rain gauge put out in May, so now we are able to keep track of our daily and monthly rainfall totals. If you want to make a guess of how much rain we got in June, now’s your chance!

The Official Casa Costa Breeze end of June rainfall total was 50.13 inches

No, that’s not a typo, that was over 4 feet of rain this month! But remember- September and October tend to be rainier than this, so we can expect to see even more in the coming months. Be sure to keep checking back for monthly rain totals to see what the green season is like in Uvita!

Friday 7/1- Due to our love of the Caribbean and our previous plan to live on a sailboat and spend a lot of time there, we are well aware that in addition to it being green season in Costa Rica, that June through November are also hurricane season. One of the great things about Costa Rica is that hurricanes don’t really hit here. During June some of the rainiest days that we had were during what they call a “Tropical Wave” which, according to Google, is an area of low pressure in the atmosphere that, in the right circumstances and conditions, could develop into a Tropical Depression, then a Tropical Storm, and then finally a Hurricane.

You’re probably wondering why I have chosen today to give you a tropical weather lesson. Well, here it is- today there was a Hurricane/Tropical Storm that was forecast to hit Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Yep, that’s right, the Instituto Meterologico Nacional (or National Meteorological Institute) here in CR issued warnings to the entire country for some severe weather, particularly in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, but with a possibility for bad weather throughout the country. Some schools and businesses closed early as a precaution and so they could send their people home, there was a lot of chatter on the Facebook groups about what could happen, and we of course kept our eyes and ears open for any information and just planned to stay home and hunker down if needed. The expected landfall kept getting pushed later and later in the day, and honestly, we didn’t even notice any bad weather at all. It didn’t even rain a lot or get high winds like we were expecting, overall, it was just pretty gloomy.

I was watching the weather radar, and the Tropical Storm (it never did make it to Hurricane strength) made landfall in Northern Costa Rica and Southern Nicaragua at about 4:00 Friday afternoon, and there was no indication of bad weather before we went to bed.

When I woke up around 4:45 on Saturday morning, I checked the radar again, and the center of the storm had made its way to the West side of the country.

When I remembered to check again around 5:30 Saturday afternoon the storm was off the coast but looking like it had intensified again since I looked this morning. We are very glad that this storm warning didn’t turn out to cause any problems here for us in the Southern part of the country.

I later learned that this was Tropical Storm Bonnie, and that it caused some intense rains and flooding in Northern Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Also, after it passed over the land and ended up in the Pacific Ocean it actually did intensify into Hurricane Bonnie (which I guess is pretty rare). I guess even though Costa Rica doesn’t typically get Hurricanes, we will have to keep up with the weather just in case something weird like this happens again.

Also- CONGRATULATIONS NICOLE, HIEU & ELODIE!  Today we welcomed LUCA to the world! He showed up early and is teeny tiny but will be oh so loved. I can’t wait to meet you!!

Monday 7/4- Happy 4th of July

People always ask us how we spend our holidays here, so of course we once again got the question “What did you do for the holiday weekend?” Well, to be honest, we didn’t do anything special at all. I actually don’t even think we left the house this weekend! I officially had the day off work (working for a US company and all), but Ramie had to work up at the animal sanctuary, so I put in a couple of hours of work anyway. I guess we’re just pretty boring like that (not that there would be anything special going on here for 4th of July anyway!)

Tuesday 7/5- It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen them, but our MN-CR Connection friends, Marc & Jill were back in Costa Rica and called us to see if we wanted to get together for dinner while they were here. You might remember that back in October we learned from Loren and Mike, 2 of our friends from up on “the hill” that a couple from MN bought a house up by them and we met them and hung out a couple of times while they were here right after they bought their house. Today, we got to invite them for a tour of our house and then went to dinner at the little restaurant with the fantastic view of the ocean. After so many months, it was nice to see them again. We got to hear some of their stories of back home in MN, and they got to hear our stories of what’s been going on here in Uvita. It was another great evening with friends. 

Wednesday 7/6- If you remember, a couple of weeks ago Ramie & I built a raised and covered garden from scratch. We knew that we would need quite a bit of soil to fill the planters that we built, so we explored our options on how we could get that much dirt delivered, since we knew we wouldn’t be able to haul it ourselves. Instead of having Geiner’s guys deliver a partial dump truck load in our driveway where we would have to shovel it from the ground, into the wheelbarrow, push it back to the back yard, then shovel it into the planters, we found a company that delivers compost soil in 80lb bags. He would bring as much as we ordered and drop it off in our driveway, but then instead of shoveling it into and out of the wheelbarrow, we could just load up a couple of the bags, wheel it to the garden, and lift it up and dump it in. That sounded like slightly less work, even though it would still be quite the job to finish. We originally estimated that we’d need about 25 bags to fill the planters, plus we had a few other flowerpots to fill, and we wanted to have a little bit extra on hand in case we needed it anywhere else, so we ordered 35 bags. Well, this morning when the guy dropped it off, he brought extra. We ended up buying 45 bags of soil, nearly double what we figured we would need to fill the garden.

While I was working on work, Ramie got to work on moving these bags and filling the garden.  And work his butt off, he did! By the time I was finished working for the day, he had moved over 20 of these 80lb bags on his own and filled the garden planters. The only problem now was that there were about 25 more of these bags in the middle of our driveway, and there was no way that we would need that many more! When I was finished working, we brainstormed what we’d do with all of this extra and decided that for now we would stack it up on the side of the house where it would be mostly out of the sun and rain, and then maybe sell some of it on the local Facebook group. With a little bit of teamwork, Ramie & I filled the empty flowerpots and then moved the remainder of the extra bags, but man that was a lot of work! I’m not quite sure how he did those first 20 all by himself! Now, I got to go play in the dirt a little bit before it was time to go make dinner. We had started a few pepper plants from seeds and had them growing in some temporary flowerpots, so we were excited to plant our first few veggies in our new vegetable garden!

This is the half that was left to move after he had filled the garden
Full and ready for plants!

Thursday 7/7- It was about “that time” again to go do some shopping in San Isidro, and the timing was absolutely perfect. I knew that there were at least a couple of stands at the farmers market that sold starter plants, so instead of trying to grow everything from scratch, I could buy some baby plants to get things jump started. I already had a plan in mind for what I wanted to plant. This was about to turn into my salsa & salad garden! I already have my peppers (jalapeƱos, what we think may be habanero's, and a sweet pepper), but I knew I wanted tomatoes, cilantro, lettuce (maybe a couple different types of lettuce), chives, oregano, spearmint, and lemongrass. Depending on how much room we had left after I had my necessities planted, we’d decide if there was anything else that we’d want to add. I was thrilled that we were able to find everything but the lemongrass at the farmers market this morning! Of course, we got all of our veggies and fruit that we’d need for the next few weeks as well, and then did the rest of our shopping. Along the way, Ramie decided that we were going to try carrots in our garden as well, so he picked up a packet of seeds to see if we could get them to grow.

On the way out of town we saw a vivero (plant store/nursery) that we hadn’t checked out yet. We still needed to find some flowers for our fancy Mexican flower pots, so we stopped to see what we could find. We did end up finding some flowers that we liked and thought would work. When I go to these viveros to look at plants, I am still in awe that so many of the “yard plants” that they sell here are sold as house plants back in MN. I’m not even kidding when I say that I have had (and ended up killing) many of these same plants back in MN at some point in the last 20 years or so! I hope that now since they are in their native climate, I won’t have such a black thumb with these beauties!

Pura Vida!