146. A Beautiful Reunion

Reunion Dance GIF from Reunion GIFs Saturday 2/3- Many of you who know me know that once upon a time I was in the military. During a deployment to Iraq nearly 17 years ago (Ugh, I really feel old after saying that!) I got close to 2 battle buddies who I hope will be in my life forever. We were all young girls from MN in a military field where very few women end up and we formed a tight while trying to keep each other as sane as possible during a tough 18 months far, far from home. After the deployment we all ended up back in MN, but only saw each other about once a year. Despite not seeing each other very often, when we do get together it’s like no time has passed and we can step right back into our friendships without any problems. The last time I saw these gals was shortly before we moved down here, and ever since then we always talked about when they would come visit us. That was finally happening! We have been working on planning this for a while, and today was my & Ramie’s d

125. A Check up, Puppy Progress and Another Project

Tuesday 7/11- Today Skye would meet Fabiola, the vet that does house calls. It’s been about a month since Skye’s last round of puppy shots with Red’s vet, so she was due for her boosters, plus we just wanted Fabiola to come meet her and check her out. The first thing Fabiola does when she starts an appointment is weighs the dog. Today Skye is 5.4 kilos (or about 12 lbs). According to the paperwork kept by the prior vet, she has about doubled in size since a month ago. At this rate, how big will this girl get?

We’ve been able to tell that she’s grown since the first time we saw her but didn’t realize just how much! Fabiola said that when she comes back in a month and gets one more updated weight she should be able to calculate a fairly accurate full-grown size. Skye was a real trooper with the shots, getting her ears cleaned and getting her nails trimmed. Skye got a clean bill of health, we talked about next steps, and then it was time for Fabiola to go. I love this at home vetting, it makes things so much easier and more comfortable for the animal!

Wednesday 7/12- Ramie has been doing his turtle walks on his regular weekly schedule, walking on Wednesdays and Fridays. The times vary but lately have been between midnight and 5am and are scheduled based on the tides. They walk about 1 hour after low tide (as the tide is starting to come back in) or 1 hour after high tide (as the tide is starting to go out) which allows them actual walking space on the beach. They may still get wet, but the majority of the walk is on the sand. Turtles rarely come on land during daylight or full moons, so the walks are always in the dark or at least start off in the dark. Ramie has been having a dry streak of finding turtles or nests since they seem to be coming on the day before or after he walks. That's alright though because it keeps the excitement of finding them fresh. It just wouldn't be exciting if you found one or two every time you walked.

Thursday 7/13- It has officially been 2 weeks since we brought this itty bitty pup home with us. It’s amazing how much things with a puppy can change in this short period of time. She is still a snuggler and she still loves to be around her people, but she is coming into her personality a little bit more. She is starting to wander off a little bit, and we are noticing that the rebellious puppy behavior is starting. Now, when you call her to come she just looks at you and keeps walking the other direction. It’s only been 2 weeks and we know there is a lot of work left to get her trained, I’m not complaining, just noticing how she’s changing. She is constantly finding new interesting experiences, we got her first reaction to a cicada on video! 

Today for the first time we put her in the back seat by herself for a car ride. Remarkably she did great! She sat or laid down the whole time, didn’t try to crawl into the front by us, didn’t bark or whine, and really did a fantastic job! Today was also the first time we left her at home by herself. We had to run up to Geoff & Tracy’s for a bit and decided that since we wouldn’t be gone too long it would be a good test to see how she did at home in the kennel by herself. We ended up being gone longer than expected and she was home by herself for about an hour and a half. While we don’t know exactly what she did while we were gone, she didn’t go crazy and tear her stuff apart and we didn’t hear her cry at all on our way out the door or on our way back into the house. These are such good signs, I hope it sticks!

So far she has learned what her ball is, goes to get it when you ask her for it, and plays fetch nicely, she knows how to sit, and we’re starting to work on ringing the bell to go outside. Auntie Tracy has also let us borrow a treat puzzle game that Skye is starting to figure out. We only had to show her the concept once or twice and she was able to figure out that she had to move the “covers” to get the treats underneath. What a smart pup. 

Thanks Auntie Tracy for allowing me to borrow your toy

Friday 7/14- For the last 10 days or so we’ve been watching Ray & Wesley’s dog Izzy for about 3-4 hours most days while they are tending to some medical issues that require daily appointments, so both dogs have been getting plenty of interaction lately. This is great for both dogs because Izzy doesn’t have a lot of experience around other dogs and we want to make sure that Skye is well adapted to being around other animals. After Fabiola brought it to our attention how much Skye has grown recently, we looked at the two dogs next to each other and her growth became more apparent. Skye was smaller than Izzy at the beginning, but now they are almost the same size! 

Well will just hang out here while the silly hooman has to work
Ramie had another project today and here he is to tell you about it.

Hola! I have been wanting to do this project for a few months and have had some people give me quotes and try to schedule the work, but unfortunately they never follow through and actually schedule a time to do it. That seems to be a thing with contractors here, so finding quality contractors to do small jobs is a struggle at times. When Harvin was here last week to help me move my Limoncillo plants I also had him look at doing some stone/cement work around my culverts at the entrance to my driveway. Geoff has had him doing similar work at his house; I’ve seen it in person and he does a nice job so I felt good hiring him to do this work. This time the pay would be hourly. His rate is 3,000 colones/hour or $5.60/hr. I already had all the stones that we would need that we picked from the river for other prior projects, and I would just have to purchase the sand and concrete.

Harvin showed up at 7am and we started discussing the layout, but before we could start working we needed to go buy the materials. Harvin and I went to the hardware store where he did all the talking since I don't know the Spanish names for what we needed. I paid and we walked outside where Harvin had already contacted a person to transport the load of sand to our house. We loaded up and when we got home shoveled the sand out of the back of the truck and started the project. Harvin shoveled the angle he needed in the slope of the hill, mixed up the concrete and started by putting a layer of cement down. While he was getting that part ready, my job was the super important one. Gather all the rocks and wash them.

I had a scrub brush and the hose and just sat with a pile of rocks and cleaned them up. When that was done I moved them to where Harvin could pick the rock he needed and place it in the concrete. Once he had all of the rocks placed he filled in all of the “joints” between the rocks with concrete and packed it in. When this process was complete we took an early lunch break to allow the concrete to set up.

After lunch Harvin grabbed a sponge and a bucket of water and started smoothing the concrete and washing each stone until everything was smooth and clean. We were done with one side and moved to the next and repeated the entire process. We finished up around 3:30pm and I will say that it turned out fantastic. When we were finished, though we noticed that there was one small problem that could easily be fixed,the ditches have not been cleaned out since we moved in and a lot of dirt has washed into them over the last year causing a clogging point between the ditch and the culverts. Harvin offered to dig them out, and since he is here, why not!? He would shovel the mud and dirt into the wheelbarrow and I would haul it away and dump it. Excellent, now that they are clean the runoff will flow much better. We were finally done at 4pm and Harvin asked for a cup of coffee because, well, why not? While we drank our coffees together we sat on the step and practiced learning each others language.

Harvin is great to learn with since he speaks slowly and clearly for me to understand. He helps correct my pronunciation and explains which word or words to use and why. I can understand Spanish but I struggle speaking it, so it's great to have someone who wants to help teach but also wants to learn English so it's mutually beneficial to both of us. In the end it was a total of 9 hours of work and a total of 27,000 colones. I didn't have change so just gave him an even 30,000, or about $56, for his labor today.

This may seem like insignificant pay but it's average for Costa Ricans. Of course giving more is always ok but that could also put you in a situation where your workers think money isn't an issue and start trying to “Gringo” you, or charge more just because they know they can get away with it. In some cases they might even try to change the price after the work is completed. It has also happened to us when buying produce, we now know who we will and won’t buy produce from for this very reason. I personally always get a price from someone I'm hiring in writing, whether it's in a text message or email, that way you have a “legal” agreement in case they try to change the agreed upon price. You really have to watch out for yourself with certain things here because you can run into huge problems hiring workers if you're not careful. There could be a whole other blog on that topic so I won't get into all of that today. For now, I’ll continue to hire Harvin for the small odd jobs around the house that I don’t have the know-how or time to do.

We've had a few rains since it was done and I need to find a way to keep the gravel from washing into it.

This seems like the popular spot for the dogs to lay. First Breeze and now Skye.

Pura Vida!