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

139. Friends Make Life Better

You may remember from our last blog post that we spent a lot of time last week celebrating and spending time with friends for birthday get-togethers, Thanksgiving, and a fishing trip. The fun with friends doesn’t end there! There are just so many more get-togethers with people continuing to happen. What is it about this time of year, November & December, that even though it’s not the same as all of the holiday season hustle we used to participate in back in the US, the increased socializing has just kind of found its way into this time of year here as well. (I’m not going to lie, usually we’re the boring couple who would prefer to stay at home and do nothing than to go to a party, so if we never come to your parties and get-togethers, that’s why. It truly probably has nothing to do with you!)

Sunday 11/26- I had the day off – it’s getting close to the end of the year and I have some use-or-lose vacation to burn! We went to the beach, just Ramie & me (we left Skye home so we could do our long walk). Once our long walk was done (no interesting finds on the beach today), it was time to cool off. We brought the boogie boards to go play in the waves because I’ve really been wanting to do that again too, so we didn’t waste any time and headed into the water. Today the currents were strong and the waves were not very good so it wasn’t as fun as it sometimes can be. I had an experience today that I’ve never encountered before. When I tried to dive under a wave, I ended up losing my board when the wave pulled the floating object harder than velcro strap on the tether could hold. The waves were pretty strong today.

I was just at the “perfect” depth where my toes would just touch the sand but I couldn’t walk out. I am confident enough in my ability to float and swim that I didn’t panic, but I could feel the strength of the waves and that they were trying to suck me deeper. We’re pretty sure that we were playing in the middle of a rip-tide/rip-current, which is something you should stay away from, especially if you don’t have a flotation device! I will say, Ramie is quite attentive to where these rip tides might be forming and watching the signs for them. He could tell that we were getting very close to one by the way the ocean was acting. When in waves like these it is always important to be extra careful and aware of your surroundings, and we always are, especially considering we are almost always the only ones on this beach, and there would be no one around to help us or call for help. As I said, I didn’t panic, I “just kept swimming” and Ramie stayed with me even though I told him that he should go retrieve my board for me. I finally got to a point where I could push myself off the bottom, toward the shore, and was able to get my footing, grab my board, and we kept playing after moving further down the beach and away from the problem area. The waves and currents continued to get more rough and when it became more work than fun, we decided to call it a day. We were out there long enough to be thoroughly exhausted, though!

When we got home, we rinsed the boards and ourselves off with fresh water in the outdoor shower and then we jumped in the pool to float for a little while. Skye was happy that we were home (even though we had only been gone a couple hours she is always super happy for us to return), and she hung out in the back yard with us enjoying laying in the sun with her favorite toy.

 

Our pup is growing up, the picture below was taken when we first got her at the end of June, the pictures above were taken at the end of November, only 5 months later.  She poses very nicely for pictures!
 
Little did my parents know, but I'm mischievous! I think this picture says it all.

Adam and Katie, our next-door neighbors, have been here for about week. For this trip they once again came with their parents, Dennis & Jill, and daughters, Lark and Wren, all of whom we’ve met and hung out with more than once before, but this time they came down with a lot of other family members as well. Since they have been busy doing things with all of the family members, we didn’t have a chance to hang out with them like we had on their past trips here. They were headed home to California today so we made sure to stop by to say hi & goodbye. This may be the last time they are here at their house, as they have decided to sell it (real time update:  it's currently still for sale if anyone is looking for a CR home). They all love Costa Rica, though, so they said they will definitely be coming back for vacations and will be sure to get a hold of us when they are here. Ramie is going to miss his little buddy Wren who hooks him up with the best US candy when she comes to visit. Hasta Luego friends, until next time!

Monday 11/27- Today while I was slaving away at my computer, Ramie got to go on a little adventure with a different set of friends.

Hey everyone, it’s Ramie again, thanks for reading along. You have heard us write about our friends Ray and Wesley before (they are the one with the little red chihuahua dog that we sometimes dog sit), well, one of their sons is visiting, and one of the things he wanted to do was go on the coffee tour at Don Emilo’s. I offered to set up their tour and even bring them up the mountain in Dusti, followed by a tour around the mountains after the coffee tour was finished. We arrived at the coffee plantation at 10am and enjoyed the 3-hour tour and a delicious lunch that was prepared by Deiner’s mom Rita. Everyone had a great time and, as always, there were a lot of laughs. When the tour was finished we took the long-route back home down the adventurous back-roads that I'm familiar with. It was a little bit cloudy today so the views were not the best, but everyone still had a great time and enjoyed the ride. 

Enjoying the lunch that was made by Rita
Deiner showing us how they pick the coffee beans

Joel, trying his hand at picking beans

Emilo making us a fresh brewed coffee the traditional way
Coffee beans laid out on tarps to dry in the covered tents
The beautiful view from the plantation looking towards the ocean

Wednesday 11/29- Today Ramie got to give another tour with Dusti.

This time Geoff and Tracy have a friend from Canada visiting. Tracy reached out to me to ask for the location of some of the waterfalls that we’ve taken them to before, but when I told her the roads were not in the best condition (I should say, even worse than they typically are), I told her that I’d be happy to take them on a little tour to visit the waterfalls in Dusti. It didn’t take them long to think it over, and they responded back that they were in! Dana was working again, plus Dusti only holds 4 people, so I picked the 3 of them up in the morning and we made a day of it. Since Jody is visiting she got to ride shotgun, and she was all for getting wet and muddy! I started by dodging and going around the mud puddles, and before too long she asked me why I wasn’t hitting them, and told me to just to go for it if I wanted to. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice, I love to play in the mud!! Dana doesn't like that too much, so today was my opportunity and I was going to do my best to get muddy, although it's been a bit dry lately. Once I had the go-ahead I did what I could to spray mud and water, and I’m pretty sure that Jody had a blast.

Our first stop on today’s tour was at a waterfall close to Uvita that we brought Geoff and Tracy to probably on our first Dusti ride with them. We’ve been to this waterfall numerous times and have brought Taylor and Dylan, and Taryn, Steven and Will there as well. Who may be next?

Once they explored this first waterfall enough, it was time to take them on a mountain ride route to San Luis waterfall.

A glimpse of San Luis from across the valley. That's about 5 or so miles away.

The day was clear and sunny so you could see for miles in all directions when we got to the tops of the mountains.

We are at about 4000 feet in elevation and this view is about 20+ miles away. It truly was a beautiful day and very clear.
Of course, at San Luis we had to do the hike for some pictures. 

It's hard to believe that this waterfall dries up in the summer.
Looking downstream from the waterfall. It's so lush and tropical.

It’s a muddy climb, so by the time we got back to the bottom we splashed around in the lower pools to wash the mud off our legs and shoes. After the fun of the hiking we thought that it was time to head home, but since it was on the way, we made a stop at Don Emilo's for a cup of coffee and a few shots of moonshine. 

Our gracious hosts, owners of the coffee plantation, Rita and Emilio.

Today’s ride was around 30 miles but it took the majority of the day with all of the stops we made.

The Official Casa Costa Breeze end of November rainfall total was 8.35 inches (WAY down from last month and now we should be heading toward dry season)

Saturday 12/2- More visitors have arrived. No, maybe not specifically see us, but they are people we know who don’t live here full time, and we are going to hang out with them while they are here... Today Karen and Dennis arrived. They don’t live here full time yet, but part of their goal for this trip is to start their residency process and have hopes to move here full-time late in 2024. On the way from San Jose to Uvita they stopped at our house to get the keys and remote for their casita, you know, the little house that Ramie and I lived in for the first 9 months that we were here, and that Ramie now helps keep an eye on. 

They were also kind enough to mule down a few items that we requested, so they dropped them off for us right away. We spent about an hour chatting with them, but they hadn’t even been to their house yet, so we let them head out to relax after their long drive. While they were at our house, though, we did decide to meet this evening for dinner since they hadn't had a chance to even go grocery shopping yet. Besides, who really wants to have to cook the first night at here anyway. We decided to go to La Fogota, a pizza place that Ramie really likes (and has lots of other menu options for me to choose from) and would meet them there around 4:30. Karen and Dennis also chatted with Loren and Nancy before it was time for dinner, and we all agreed that they could join us for dinner as well.

In the time between Karen and Dennis leaving our house and the time we would head to dinner, Skye suddenly started barking like crazy, kind of like she did when she found the cute little armadillo in our yard. What did she find this time? I got up to go find out and at first I didn’t see anything. I tried to get Skye to come back to the patio with me, and she kept barking toward the corner of our yard. I went back and looked again and saw something move in the culvert. All I could see was a little face and at first I thought it was a skunk, so I yelled to Ramie to come take a look while I held Skye back so she wouldn’t get sprayed. When he came over we both stood there looking and watching to see what this critter was up to. It turns out that it was not a skunk, but a badger, (a Greater Grison to be exact, which we learned later), and this is a NASTY creature! These things are MEAN! At the end of the day I don't know which is worse, the skunk or the badger, but I do know that badgers are mean and it would do major damage to Skye, if she were to get close. 

Its hiding in the hole here and it was growling and showing its teeth.

We put Skye in the house so she wouldn't be tempted to run down by it and try to play. Ramie tried yelling and throwing pebbles at it, to get it to leave but it didn’t seem intimidated. It just sat there probably debating whether to throw the pebbles back and instead just growled at us. Eventually I think it had enough of Ramie's yelling and it turned and left out the culvert and out of our yard. We watched it cross the creek and across the property on the other side. We will have to keep an eye out in case it decides to come back. Ramie sent the pictures to some of our local friends and people who have lived here for a while, and we learned from them that these Grison are very rare to see. He did some online research and found studies that said that people go out looking for them for months and have game cameras set up and still never capture a glimpse of them. I guess we feel pretty honored that this one decided to visit our yard, but I’d prefer it if he didn’t visit again. After all of this excitement, it was time to head to dinner and spend the next couple of hours catching up with our friends some more.

Wednesday 12/6- The major rains of Costa Rica winter are over, so that means that it’s time for spring cleaning for Ramie and he has a list of things he wants to get done. With summer quickly approaching, the first thing on his to-do list is to pressure wash all of the nastiness from the fences, concrete, walls and cunetta. With the huge amounts of rain and constant high humidity of winter, concrete grows slimy nasty algae. You might remember last year Ramie stepped on some of that nasty algae, slipped, gashed open his knee, and ended up spending an overnight in the hospital because of an infection. Yes, that’s just how nasty this stuff is, not to mention it’s pretty ugly, so we want to get it all cleaned up now that it won’t be growing back until next rainy season. All of that pressure washing took him about 4 hours today, and I will say all of the concrete and walls almost look like new again. (You can see a little bit of the "before" nasty look in the pictures of Skye earlier in this blog post.) Ramie had to cool off in the pool with his new friend afterwards

No, that isn't a badger on Ramie's head, it's an opossum! And no, it isn't real, its a camera filter and I was giggling too hard when I took it to pass the opportunity to post it here for you to see! 

In the afternoon after I was finished working and Ramie had cleaned up after his pressure washing chore, Dennis and Karen asked if we we would go to Dominical beach with them. They didn’t want to go swimming, or even to check out any of the fun local restaurants there, they wanted us to help them find Michi, the guy that we bought several paintings from, to decorate their house. They saw the five that we have at our house and liked his style. Fortunately, he was there and had his display set up today, as he isn’t always there. Dennis and Karen decided on two that they liked and wanted to buy and we ended up buying two more as well. Yes, we now own seven Michi original paintings. I will admit, not only are the paintings our style and come in the right sizes for the places we want to hang them, the price is right and we have a lot of big walls to fill. We dropped the paintings in the car, walked the rest of the beach vendors but didn’t buy anything, and then stopped at a cafe to grab a quick bite to eat before heading back home.  (Michi sells his painting both on stretched canvas like we always buy, or on just canvas that can roll up and you can have stretched back home if you are traveling by plane on vacation, so if you like his art, you can get it back home without any issues.)

The newest Michi originals

Thursday 12/7- Just in case Karen and Dennis weren’t getting tired of us yet, we got together to go out to dinner together again. We wanted to take them out to a place they haven't been yet and one that we always really like. We brought them to Los Gatos Locos, the cool tree-house style restaurant with a fun atmosphere and (in our opinion) pretty good food. I have determined that they have the best nachos in Costa Rica. Once again, we enjoyed a nice dinner with Karen and Dennis, we always have a lot of laughs with them, and they seemed to enjoy our company and the restaurant.

Friday 12/8- Karen and Dennis would be leaving tomorrow to head back to Florida, yes it was a short visit but it fulfilled its purpose for them. This trip was meant to start their residency process and to meet with their builder and architect who will be starting to build their bigger home here once they make the move to stay here full time. They have had a very busy week with lots of meetings, but they seemed to find time relax and visit with their friends here too. This afternoon they came to the house to hang out a little while longer and to say their goodbyes… Until next time friends!!


Monday 12/11- Now that the fence walls are freshly power washed, free of algae, and clean, the lower section of the smaller wall had to be re-painted. When we first painted this wall, we just used tinted leftover primer that was used when they built and painted our house. The top half of the wall had already been re-painted with actual paint last year after an additional layer of block was placed to raise the wall higher. The primer that was left on the bottom half just didn't hold up very well just by itself so today's spring cleaning project for Ramie would be to re-paint the bottom half. He picked up a gallon of paint that we thought would match the top half (the paint used for that was also leftover from the house and we aren’t exactly sure what color it is, because it wasn’t the color that we originally picked) and got to work on his project. This one didn't take long at all. Now hopefully the lower half of the wall continues to look as good as the top half.

Clean and painted wall! Those colors definitely do not match, but close enough I think! You can also see how clean the cunettas look.

This evening Tracy and I went out for a girls dinner. Later this week she would be going back to Canada for a few weeks so we got together to hang out again before her trip. We started with a sunset drink at Aracari overlooking their beautiful ocean views, 

 



and then ended up having dinner at La Choza, the Mexican restaurant Ramie & I used to frequent when we were here on vacation (but haven’t been back since we moved here). It was a good evening, hopefully that was enough “girl time” to last us until she returns after New Years.

Thursday 12/14- Who likes a work Christmas party?

Honestly, most people probably don’t, but I will say that the virtual Christmas parties that Jordan puts on for our small team truly are a fun time. We played the same games as we did last year and had so many laughs with a team that has only met each other virtually. In fact, Ramie and I had so much fun playing these games that we decided that we’re going to try to host a party like this too. I’m sorry that we can’t invite everyone, the one game that is so much fun has a maximum of 8 players, so for our first go-around we are going to try it out with our most tech-savvy family members to see how it goes. Stay tuned for a future blog post… if it works out, we might consider having more of these for other friends and family who want to hang out with us virtually. 😉

Pura Vida! 


 



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