136. The First Two Weeks With Taylor

Saturday 10/14- If you remember our last blog post, Taylor has arrived for her nearly month-long stay with us, and she arrived just in time for a super cool event. You may remember hearing all of the hype about the “ring of fire” eclipse that came through the Western half of the US, well, that same ring-of-fire eclipse would be visible from the Eastern coast of Costa Rica. We are on the Western coast, so we wouldn’t have that full ring of fire experience but it would still be about 90% visible from our vantage point. It was scheduled to happen right at noon today, but as our luck would have it, at around 10am it started clouding over. I kept my hopes up that it would clear out by noon, but unfortunately by 11:00 the sky was full clouds and it was raining. Ramie even got his welding helmet out and ready for us to use to look at it. As noon came closer, I kept looking up at the sky in the hopes that the clouds would clear just enough to catch a glimpse of this rare event. Unfortunately, mother nature wrecked it for us and there was no clearing of the clouds. 

Its so hard to tell in our pictures, but the sky was definitely darker than normal, and not just because of the cloud cover.

Wouldn’t you know it, though, by 12:45 it was clear again, just in time for the eclipse to be completely over and done with. There were other places throughout the country who did have clear skies or at least small breaks in the clouds, and people who saw it were kind enough to share pictures of what they could see. Its to bad we didn't get to see it like these below.

All pictures courtesy of our Costa Rica facebook groups.

Other than the eclipse that we waited all morning for and were thoroughly disappointed by, we didn’t have anything else planned for the day other than relaxation around the pool. Ramie was excited to take Taylor for a Dusti ride so the two of them headed off to explore some of the back roads in the mountains here close to Uvita. Since we had some heavy rains recently they went back to the waterfall to see how fast the water was flowing and whether they’d be able to cross the river there. As Ramie suspected, the water was high and flowing fast, too fast to safely cross the river, Taylor snapped a few pictures and continued on their journey to a few of the other sights nearby. 

Later in the afternoon Ramie saw a message from his turtle sanctuary text group that there were some babies that were ready to be released this evening and they were looking for some volunteers to take them. We thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce Taylor to the turtle experience, so Ramie volunteered for this evening’s job. We went down to the sanctuary to pick up the babies around 4pm and found that the sanctuary was actually giving a tour presentation on the hatching babies so we had to wait for them to go through the process of collecting, counting, re-counting, measuring and all of the other steps that the sanctuary does before we could take the babies to be released. This took longer than we expected! In the past when we’ve assisted with releases, the turtles were all in buckets ready and waiting for us to pick up. Tonight we would be releasing 2 buckets of babies, we didn’t get a count this time but it was probably more than 150 of them. Since the gathering process at the sanctuary took extra long, by the time we actually made it to the beach where we’d be releasing them the sun was starting to go down, the wind and rain were starting to come in, and it wasn’t the most beautiful night to be out on the beach releasing babies. Despite the weather and time of day, there were still a few people at the beach who were interested in seeing the babies and hearing about the sanctuary. When they were finished with their questions we found a spot on the beach where there wasn’t a lot of rocks or debris, and we poured the babies out onto the sand to start their journey. With the incoming weather the waves were coming in stronger and stronger, and it didn’t take long at all for all of the babies to be swept out into the ocean. Farewell baby turtles, we hope that many of you survive!! 

Taylor was so excited to hold a baby sea turtle. When touching the babies, you have to wear gloves to prevent bacteria infecting the turtles.
Go home little ones! Good luck!

Hey Jose, where you heading to first?
I got sand in my eyes!!!!

Monday 10/16- Since it’s been a long time since we got to spend quality time with Taylor, I took this week off work to make the most of it. So, what should we do when we have a visitor who recently arrived at our tropical home and I have a day off work? Well, go to the beach of course!! Bright and early (for Taylor that is, normal time for us) at about 7am, Secret Beach here we come! We brought the boogie boards, surf board some snacks, and even Skye with us today and we were planning to have a fun morning out playing in the water. We started our beach adventure by playing in the little stream/river that runs from the jungle to the ocean. It took Skye a little while to get used to the water again, but after a few minutes she was ok with being in the water that was only a few inches deep and only came part way up her legs. We moved down toward the waves, and once again she got nervous, took her time, and finally started playing a little bit. 

Looking for anything cool that is stuck in the river debris.
Enjoying the walk on this beautiful tropical beach

The 4 of us spent about 45 minutes playing on the edge of the water, in the river, and in the sand before Ramie and Taylor decided they wanted to break out the boogie boards. Skye and I went back up to the shade and Ramie & Taylor went out to play in the big waves.

Once Taylor was tired, she and I switched places, she hung out with Skye in the shade while Ramie & I played in the water. After a while of playing, Skye must have realized what Ramie and I were doing or where we were because she came running down to the water to “rescue” us.

Even though we were way too far out for her to reach, she started coming into the water, at least up to her belly, all on her own. The waves were pretty big and when a strong one came in they easily would have gone over her head. Luckily I was close enough that I could rescue her! I don’t think she would have been swept away by a wave, but I do think she would have been rolled over and that probably would have traumatized her enough to not want to come back in the water again. I played with her in the shallow waves while we watched Ramie try out his surfboard, and we could see Taylor up in the shade throwing rocks at coconuts in the trees trying to knock one down. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful in actually getting one down. After we were all satisfied with our beach time, it was time to head back home to spend the rest of the day by the pool.

Tuesday 10/17 - Sunday 10/22- The rest of the week was very laid back. I had taken the week off work, but we didn’t really do much of anything but spend quality time together at home. Taylor was content with hanging out at the house and chilling by the pool. This is her fourth time in Costa Rica with most of her time spent here in Uvita, so she’s done and seen much of what she wanted to see at least once before and was happy to just relax in the warmth.

Taylor does have some online college classes that she’s taking, but this week was finals week so most of the lecture portions of the classes were canceled & she just had to finish and turn in her homework and final projects for the classes. 

How else would you do your College Classes while visiting?

Ramie continued with his little daily projects around the house, and I used the time that I took off work to catch up on things that have been pushed off and I even made time to do a few little things that I’ve been wanting to do that I never otherwise have time for. In the afternoons we would play board games together and some evenings after dinner we would play Mario Party. This game had us laughing so hard… between the flailing arm movements, the confusion of trying to figure out what to do, and the dumb things that the 4th team member “computer” player was doing, there were times when Ramie and Taylor were nearly in tears and unable to continue playing.

We didn’t do the normal things that you’d think of doing “on vacation”, we just did things that families do when they get together. This week Ramie’s turtle walks ended up being in the middle of the night (the time of the walks is based on the tides) and there was no way Taylor was going to wake up for those! In the end it turned out to be ok though because there has been almost zero turtle activity lately. It is getting to be the end of the laying season and this is expected.

Saturday 10/21- Ramie has been so excited to take Taylor for one of our long adventurous Dusti rides, so before I had to start spending the majority of my days working again, we took Taylor on one of these adventures. Ramie used his handy-dandy mountain biking app on his phone to map out a route that would bring us through some fun terrain, steep mountains, narrow paths, and to the San Luis waterfall before heading back home. Being mid-October we are in the height of the rainy/green season, and we’ve been getting rain in the afternoons nearly every day. We figured it would be best to go in the morning so that hopefully we would be home before the worst of the rain got here. We left the house around 9:30 while the sun was out and it was getting nice and warm for the morning. Within 15 minutes and after starting our climb up the mountain we could all feel the temperature drop. It felt a little bit chilly to Ramie and I who are so used to the heat, but it was a welcome cool down to Taylor who had just come from chilly Minnesota not so long ago. As we climbed higher into the cool altitudes, we started encountering clouds, and then the rain started! So much for going out early to avoid getting rained on! Within minutes Ramie and I were drenched and feeling quite chilly (there is no windshield on Dusti!) while Taylor was mostly dry and out of the wind in the back seat and hiding behind my seat. Even before it started raining, I asked her if she was SURE she didn’t want to sit in the front, I guess she made the right decision by staying in the back, and there was no way I would be able to convince her to switch seats now!  (Once it started raining I put my camera away, so we didn't get many photos except for at the beginning of the drive.)

Whatchu looking at? This is my mountain, Mooooove along!
In the clouds and some of the washed out areas

Our ride up the mountain always brings us past this overlook, and I always have to stop for a photo!
Heading up into the clouds along the road
One of the many rivers that we cross.
It's not uncommon to see 4-wheelers out on the road.  It's a reliable way to get around on all of the steep mountain roads in the area! In this case a father and his 2 daughters

By the time we made it to the waterfall Ramie and I were so wet that it didn’t matter, and Taylor was on board, so we decided to climb the waterfall in the rain. Last time Taylor was here was during the dry hot season and there was almost no water flowing here at all, today was quite the opposite. Between the rain coming through the trees and the spray coming from the falls the ground was a muddy, slippery mess and if we weren’t soaked before, we were definitely soaked by the time we made it to the top!

We took a few minutes to snap some pictures and admire the falls and the view before carefully making our way back down to Dusti. We were a muddy mess by the time we made it to the bottom and when we rinsed off our feet and legs in the pool below the falls, comments were made that we couldn’t possibly get any more wet if we actually jumped in and went for a swim. None of us did though, it was just too cold to do that! 

We couldn't take many photos because we didn't want the phone to get too wet!

Now it was time for the drive home- BRRR!! Soaking wet, cold air, fast speeds… was that a wind chill I felt on my skin? If this is cold to us, how would we ever survive Minnesota in the winter again!?

As we started descending the mountain we could feel the air getting warmer, what a pleasant feeling! As we got closer to town the roads were more or less dry.  They didn’t even get rain here?! When we made it home we had about an hour of sun before, once again, we were surrounded by rain! Such is life in the green season!

Monday 10/23- It was back to work for me, but Ramie and Taylor would get to spend their days doing whatever they wanted to. If Ramie had errands to run, Taylor would tag along and they would take little Dusti rides here and there around town and to different places they hadn’t explored yet. This afternoon while we were all at the house, suddenly Skye started barking like we had never heard her bark before. She stood near the edge of the patio with the fur on her back raised like there was something that scared her. Ramie and Taylor rushed out to see what was going on and why Skye was having such a fit, and discovered what had our little chicken of a dog in such a state.

Skye found wildlife in our yard- particularly, this cute armadillo!

Skye was more afraid of the armadillo than the armadillo was of her. In fact, despite all of Skye’s barking, the armadillo came right up into the yard and let us get with in a few feet of it and snap these pictures.

The next day the armadillo came back again, Skye had a barking fit again, and the armadillo once again wasn’t scared. Maybe after a few encounters like this Skye will have a little bit calmer of a reaction. I’m glad she lets us know when there’s something in the yard, but once we’re alerted, she needs to learn to settle down!

Wednesday 10/25- Last week Ramie got a call from Randall to ask if he’d be available to help out at the shop today as they had a busy day coming up and could use another set of hands and an experienced forklift driver.

I would be working all day to catch up on the work that I had fallen behind on last week while I was off, so Ramie checked with Taylor to make sure she didn’t have any requests or plans for that day. She, as always, was content hanging out at the house working on her school work and relaxing, so Ramie would be working with Randall and Lowell on whatever big project they had going on.

Hi Everyone, it's Ramie. I'm here to tell you a little bit about what I had to help with at the shop. If you remember a few blogs ago I had gone to help pack and inventory all the personal belongings of a guy that had moved back to the US. Today I had to help weigh all those pallets and get them ready to ship back. This guy had so much stuff spread out across 3 shipping containers (two 20 footers and a 40 footer) that he had been renting to use as storage space plus a bunch more that had to be stored in Lowell and Randall’s warehouse, and our job was to weigh it all, pallet by pallet. We would start by pulling everything out of the containers, weighing it, and then puzzling it all back into an empty container. We had to puzzle the pallets into the empty containers so that we could be sure that when it was time to put everything into the container that would be used to actually ship it all, that it would fit and we could put it in quickly and easily instead of puzzling it all in at that time. (The company has their own containers onsite that they rent out for storage, but when things need to be shipped, a truck brings a seaworthy container from the port to the warehouse where it gets loaded, secured, and sent back to the ship). It took the better part of the day to get this all done but we succeeded and I made it home just in time for dinner.

Thursday 10/26- My schedule hasn’t changed and today, Thursday, was my regular day off. We needed a few groceries and wanted to pick up some veggies at the big feria, but most of all, Ramie wanted to go look for more unique and unusual hibiscus plants, so today we went to San Isidro. Taylor has experienced San Isidro and the big feria before, and since she didn't really anything else going on, she tagged along with us, besides, she wanted to pick up some snacks and some things to bring back home to MN with her, and San Isidro had better variety and often better prices than buying things here in Uvita.

We did all of our regular shopping, and at the end, stopped at our favorite viveros. We originally planned to get one or two new plants, but there were just so many beautiful and unique varieties that we ended up with quite a few. Five to be exact… and this made for a VERY full carload! We had to rearrange everything in the car to make it all fit, and both Taylor and I ended up with groceries on our laps for the drive home because the truck was so full of plants.

Instead of waiting until tomorrow morning when it was cooler out, Ramie decided that he wanted to plant his new flowers right away. After we had unloaded and put away the groceries, he and I went to dig some holes along the inside of our front fence. The space where we had just a few hibiscus plants before, we now had what would end up being a full hedge of different multi-colored varieties. I can’t wait until it all fills in!

From the gate to the reddish plant you can see on the left is all full of hibiscus plants.  This will make an amazing and beautiful hedge once they are mature.

Real time update:  11/23/23 After about a month of growing during the green season we can see significant growth.  The plants are looking quite nice already and Ramie has already trimmed them back to promote more width

The Official Casa Costa Breeze end of October rainfall total was 44.2 inches (there’s finally the big rainfall we’ve been expecting!)

Pura Vida!