129. Surprise!!

Tuesday 8/8- Well, it’s that day again. I have made another trip around the sun. I can always count on dad to be the first one to send a text message since he gets up very early for work. Throughout the day I continued to feel the love from all sorts of family and friends sending text messages, calling, and of course, lots of messages on Facebook. I usually always work on my birthday because really, it’s just another day, but decided to call it quits early and was logged off by 1:00. All morning my co-workers were asking if I had any plans for the day and why I was even working, and I told them that all I knew was that I received instructions from Ramie a few days ago telling me that I had to “be available at 4:30” but that is all he would tell me. I spent a good chunk of time between 1 and 4:30 responding to messages and just hanging out. It was getting close to 4:30 but Ramie was not getting dressed up and I was just sitting around waiting for some sort of indication of what I was supposed to be doing. 

I had been trying to figure out what Ramie’s plans were since he told me about them and figured that it might be that he invited our friends Geoff and Tracy to come down to celebrate. My mom ended up calling to wish me a happy birthday at about 4:15, and since I wasn’t getting any sort of signal from Ramie, I told her that I might have to let her go at some point, and we continued chatting. While I was on the phone with her, I heard a car pull in the driveway and then Ramie talking to someone. I told mom I had to go and I went to say hi to our guests, but I was surprised when the two people who walked in with Ramie weren’t anyone I had ever met before. Ramie was talking to the guy and it was obvious that whoever these people were, it’s who Ramie was expecting. They introduced themselves and said “SURPRISE, you're getting a massage for your birthday!!” Ohhh now this all makes sense!!

It turned out that the guy was the husband just dropping off and helping his wife, the masseur, get set up. Unfortunately it had just started to rain so we had to set up in the living room, otherwise the plan was to have it outside by the pool. Once the table was set up and the massage was ready to start the husband left and Ramie went outside and tried to keep Skye busy.

I got to spend the next hour truly relaxing!! I haven’t had a massage in more than 10 years and it felt so good! This was the perfect birthday gift and was VERY much needed after the hellish work weeks I have had recently. It’s true that Ramie usually isn’t great at planning things like this, and he will admit it, but this was fantastic! I’d say he will really have to work hard to outdo himself in the future, but he doesn’t need to outdo himself, he can just do this again and I’m sure it will be just as great!!

Ramie had originally planned to order food for delivery for dinner, but we have never done that here and don’t really know how it works. Most restaurants don’t have their own delivery, but there are services (kind of like Uber eats but without any sort of app) that will deliver food, one of these days we’ll figure it out, but tonight wouldn’t be the experiment. Instead, he decided that we’d just go out to dinner after I was finished with my massage. As we were leaving the house I was given 3 options and ended up deciding to go to El Cardon for some yummy Mexican food. This is the restaurant that Tracy and I went to for our “girls night” a few months ago and we thought was absolutely delicious. We’ve been meaning to go back so Ramie could check it out too (although I did bring him back take-out last time) but hadn’t made it back yet. Tonight would be the night, and it was as delicious as last time. What a fantastic birthday!!

Ramie got a burrito

I ordered a taco plate
Of course a margarita each

By the way, apparently Ramie didn’t think that his plan was as fabulous as I did and downplayed it a lot… but when I told the girls at work the next day what the surprise was, they thought it was just as fantastic and amazing of a plan as I thought it was! It truly was a great birthday gift! Just a note to any of you guys who might try to copy his idea, the only additional instruction I wish he would have given me was to shave my legs. I felt really bad that I was so prickly when she was giving me the massage. 😉  

I had this book on tape (or maybe it was even a record) when I was a kid, and it's been stuck in my head all week!! 

Separately, I couldn't let this happen without mentioning it here, if only for my own memories when I'm old and reminiscing about our adventure here in Costa Rica.  Today I noticed Skye hanging out in several places that Breeze used to spend a lot of time.  Breeze was known to just lay down and look out over her kingdom (our yard), and today I saw Skye doing the same.  Sometimes the the things Skye does makes me feel like Breeze is guiding her, or maybe she's a little re-incarnation of our Breeze.  I don't know, but I feel like Breeze was here today wishing me a happy birthday too!  In case you can't tell, we really miss her.💖

Skye waiting in the carport (of course with her tongue out) for dad
Skye sitting in the front door overlooking her kindgdom
Breeze waiting in the carport for dad

Wednesday 8/9- Nothing real exciting happened today. Ramie had a turtle walk and had another successful day. He was left to take care of a nest while David finished the last part of the beach so he took the opportunity to capture some pictures while he waited.

A set of tracks from one of the turtles

Skye also had her bestie Izzy coming over to play this morning. They are really starting to become good friends.

After the turtle walk, Ramie had to go repair a screen on a house for Loren. He has fixed it once before, but it seems that Airbnb guests like to walk through them. One of the best things about this house is the view. 

Once Ramie got home in the afternoon it was time to relax in the pool. When we are in the pool Skye likes to lay in her spot by the chair.

Thursday 8/10- The majority of this week has been pretty typical and uneventful. Well, other than my wonderful birthday massage that is. That all changed this morning!! Ramie and I were sitting outside enjoying our coffee at the picnic table like we always do on my days off but around 7:30 something strange caught my attention. I heard a sound that was kind of familiar, something kind of like a snort and heavy breathing, and some really heavy footsteps. No, it wasn’t Ramie, he was sitting across from me. I looked up from what I was doing and was shocked to see three very large cows coming up our steep hillside from our lower property and heading straight towards us. O M G !

Where the heck did these cows come from and what are they doing heading straight toward our patio and pool?!? I was stunned and worried that Skye would go chase after them, obviously I wasn’t thinking clearly because Skye is kind of a chicken, and she was terrified and hiding under my chair. Ramie got up and started waving his arms , clapping, and yelling at them to get them to stop from coming any farther into the yard. Once I got Skye into the house and the doors closed I had to get my camera out because without photo evidence, no one is ever going to believe this!!!

Ramie was able to get them to head back to the lower property

How the heck is this possible?! How did they get into our yard!?! Our yard is fully fenced except for the border along the creek, and the banks of the creek are way too steep for a cow to climb up!! We were finally able to herd them back down to the lower property where there was one more just eating away at our plants down there, for a total of 4 cows currently in our yard.

Once all 4 cows were back down in the lower yard and our patio and house were no longer in danger, we watched them happily eating the fresh grass and other plants while we figured out just what the heck we were going to do about this. I didn't want them to destroy our plants and two of them were trying to come up the hill by the carport, getting very close to stepping on our pineapple plants and the tiny cinnamon tree that was finally starting to grow after nearly a year of just barely surviving. These cows need to go away NOW! Ramie and I managed to get them to turn around and start walking away by continuing to clap and yell at them when we noticed that one of the cows started heading toward the corner of our property where there is a small opening between the creek and where our fence connects with Nick the neighbor’s fence. The way this end of our property is set up is that there is nothing separating our property from Nick’s property but some brush, but our 2 combined fences fully enclose both of our yards, except for the creek. This is where the cows went and ended up in Nick's yard.

The whitish cow at the top of the picture is heading towards the small opening that is not fenced between the creek and our yard

We had to figure out where these cow’s belong to get them back to their home, and Ramie knew of one farm that was nearby on the other side of the creek that had cows, but he had no idea how to actually get to it or how to contact the owner. Ramie was just opening up our gate to leave when Alex, Nick's worker, showed up to do some work today. Ramie thought it was a good idea to warn Alex that there were some cows in the back yard so that he did not startle the cows or vice versa when he went in the gate. 

Alex is Tico but speaks English so when Ramie told Alex that there were 4 cows in the yard, he gave Ramie a really confused look like he thought something was lost in translation. So Ramie then told him in Spanish “hay cuatro vacas en el patio”. Now Alex understood that there hadn’t been anything lost in translation and was even more confused so Ramie slowly opened the gate to show Alex that there were in fact 4 giant cows in the backyard of Nick’s property. He couldn't believe it and he thought it was funny as well so he got his camera out to take pictures because, like I said, without photo evidence, absolutely no one was going to believe this--- even here in Costa Rica where you sometimes wonder if you are living in the land of the strange! 

Ramie asked him if he knew where they may have come from and he said that there is a farm right on the other side of the creek. They walked behind the house to look across, and sure enough there was a broken fence. Since the two of them were back there and the cows were kind of in the right area, they clapped and waved their arms at the cows. It didn’t take long and they trotted back across the creek and into the field where they belonged.

As Ramie and Alex started back toward the front of the house they heard an odd noise of water splashing. As they came around the corner they saw a 5th cow in the pool at Nick's other house (he has 2 separate houses with separate pools side by side across the street from our house). Ramie & Alex quickly went over to check out the situation and realized that the cow was treading water and unable to get out of the pool. 

There was a pool cover wrapped around its back and legs, it’s in the deep end, and the cow is stressed and scared. Ramie and Alex brainstormed for a little bit about how they were going to get this cow out of the water, and Ramie mentioned that he has a tow strap at home and they might be able to use that to get the cow out. Ramie ran home to get the tow strap and told me what was happening and mentioned that they would need my help. We quickly put Skye in her kennel and ran across the street, phone in hand because, of course, pics or it didn’t happen!!

When I arrived I could not believe my eyes. The first thing that crossed my mind was “Is it injured? Did this cow have a broken leg? If it has a broken front leg it’ll never be able to push itself up to get out, and if it has a broken back leg will it even be able to walk if we can get the front of it out?” I could see that there was a possibility that this could end up very badly and this was not a small cow by any means so if things went south it could get really bad. Alex was a bit apprehensive to get close to the cow to put the strap around its horns so Ramie got in there, grabbed a horn and pulled its head so they could get the strap around both horns.

While the horns might have made this cow more dangerous, I’m glad it had the horns. Some of the ones that were in our yard didn’t have horns and then I don’t know how we would have attached the tow strap! There was no way this cow was going to get out of the pool from the deep end where it couldn’t push itself off the bottom, so the first step would be to turn the cow around and get it to the shallow end. We managed to get the cover out from around the cow but it was reluctant to move since it had managed to get its front legs on the edge of the pool and it was treading water that was about 8 feet deep.  There was just no way for it to get out from where it was at so Ramie pushed the cow back into the pool and then had to put his foot on its head to get it to turn around and face the right direction. Once it was facing the right way they started pulling toward the shallow end, hoping that the cow would put its front hooves up onto the seat and use it as a step to get out, but they could only pull so hard, and weren’t able to coax it up onto the seat.

They could only pull it so far, the cow was to exhausted and the steep angle of the pool floor didnt help.

One of the big problems we were encountering was that this small plunge pool was designed to go from shallow to deep in a very short distance so the slope on the bottom of the pool was very steep and the cow could not get its footing. As they pulled, they could tell it was only resting on its front knees and would not try to stand. We don't know how long the cow had been in the pool either, but you could tell it was exhausted. The three of us tried to pull and coax the cow further but we were no match for a 1800+ lb cow! At this point Ramie determined that the only option would be to go get Dusti and use her to pull the cow out of the pool. Fortunately there is an empty lot right next door and Ramie would be able to bring Dusti very near the backyard, line her up with the pool and pull the cow straight toward and up onto the step. It’s very fortunate it was set up this way because if there hadn’t been a vacant lot here or if the pool was situated differently, there would not have been enough room to get Dusti back there and have room to hook up to and pull the cow out. 

Ramie ran home to get Dusti and a side cutter to cut the barbed wire fence that ran along the vacant lot at the road. While he was gone for that short time, Alex and I were keeping an eye on the cow. This poor animal was so exhausted and probably just giving up and would drop its head so its nose was underwater. We could not let this cow drown, I mean, we’d really never be able to pull a dead 1800+ lb cow out of the pool, we needed it to help itself out!! Alex was still holding on to the tow strap and would pull up on the strap to get it to raise its nostrils above the water to breathe, and then once she took a breath, let it back down to let her relax. He had to do this a couple of times before Ramie arrived back with Dusti.

Ramie pulled Dusti tight to the barbed wire fence between Nick’s lot and the vacant lot and used the winch hook to connect to the tow strap. There is a bamboo hedge here along the fence line as well, but fortunately it was not too thick and we were able to see through it and get the tow strap through. Unfortunately though, the hedge was thick enough and Ramie was far enough away that he wouldn’t be able to see the cow as he was pulling, so he would have to rely on Alex to tell him what was happening as he was pulling. Ramie started backing up slowly and sort of dragged the cow up the incline, he was able to get the cow up to the edge of the pool where the seat was and where it could finally stand up, but the problem was that its hind legs were still on the incline and slipping backwards. He pulled a little more to give her some leverage and all of a sudden the cow was out.

No, the pool isn't usually that color, Nick can thank the cow for that!

That part happened so fast that I don’t really even know how it happened. Now the problem was that the nervous, scared, exhausted cow, still attached to the tow strap which was still attached to Dusti, was in a small enclosed area with a pool behind it, a barbed wire fence in front of it, a house to it’s right and a pool pump room to it’s left, with only a few corridors that it could find it’s way safely out of this back yard. The cow tried to continue to go “forward” and started pushing on the fence between the pool and Ramie. You could see the cement fence posts being forced out of the ground, this cow was strong!! Ramie was talking to it trying to calm it down and Alex was trying to prevent it from walking backwards into the pool, since there was only about 8’ of room here. Ramie realized that if this cow decides to make a run for it, that it is still tied to Dusti and that may end very badly for the cow or Dusti. Ramie quickly unhooked the strap from the tow hook on Dusti and the nervous cow started to turn around and head towards the creek, which would bring it back to the fence that it originally broke out of, of course, with the strap still around its horns. I laughed and said to Alex, who then told Ramie we may have lost his tow strap, but at the end of the day, if that was the only thing that happened, he was ok with that. Ramie brought Dusti back home at this point and left Alex & me to keep this cow from falling back in or causing damage to anything else in Nick’s yard. Fortunately the cow didn’t run, and as it walked around the back side of the pump house, Alex wedged himself around one corner as the cow was going around the other corner and was able to get enough leverage to stop the cow, get close enough to it, and unhook the strap from around it’s horns. After the strap had been removed, the cow turned around and headed right back to where it belonged. When Ramie returned, he was surprised to see Alex holding his strap which was no longer attached to a cow. When Ramie asked how he managed to get it unhooked, Alex told him and Ramie was impressed at Alex’s quick thinking, especially since he had originally been pretty nervous around the cow.

Back in their own area

Now that we saved the cow from the pool, someone had to find the farmer to inform him they broke the fence. Ramie decided to go for a ride since he knew roughly where that farm was on the other side of the creek. He was gone for about 45 minutes and when he returned he told me all about his encounter on the other side of the creek. He didn’t have too much trouble finding the farm that he thought these cows belonged to, but when he got there, there was no one around and no houses, it was just fenced fields. He saw a couple of guys in a pasture further away working on a building, so he drove out there to ask if they were the farmer or his workers, and unfortunately they were neither. As he was talking to these guys, they happened to notice that some people did walk into the farm field, so Ramie headed back to see if they were the people he needed to talk to. Fortunately it was the farmer that he needed, but the slight hiccup was that he only speaks Spanish. Ramie spoke to him as well as he could in Spanish and told him that his cows broke the fence, he showed them the broken fence, and then told him that one of the cows went swimming in the pool. The farmer looked confused until Ramie showed him the picture (photo proof! It’s a must!!) The farmer felt terrible about what happened and tried to give Ramie some money, but he simply told him that is our neighbor’s yard, and that he was just happy to help save the cow. Now, hopefully the farmer reinforces this corner of the fence because I surely do NOT want to find cows in my backyard again! I’m just glad that we were home and able to scare the cows away before they caused any additional problems, and we are glad that Alex just happened to show up today, because if Ramie hadn’t had to go show Alex that there were cows in the yard, there’s a big possibility that the cow in the pool would have been undiscovered for several days, and the outcome would have been very different. 

Now, tell me… if we didn't have pictures to prove this, would any one of you believe this story?! Only in Costa Rica, right?!

Pura Vida!


  1. First off, Edie and I would like to wish you a happy belatedBirthday. You two sure have an exciting life and I will bet you had no idea what was on store for you when you left Oakdale.
    We have new neighbors in Doug and Lori’s house since they divorced. We have met them yet as we do spend a lot of time at the cabin, not much else going on with us, certainly no surprises as you had experienced. We will be home 09/25 after we close the cabin so we hope to meet the new couple who have been married less than two months.
    I am going to leave you now as I hear some chocolate ice cream calling my name. Stay safe, healthy and enjoy your tome in Costa Rica!
    Ken & Edie


Post a Comment