Monday, December 15, 2008

The Pool Boy

Our pool was completed about a week ago. Here's a record of the first dip-ding. Uhm, I mean dip, for posterity.
"I'm a proud pool owner. I own a quarter of this pool."
"Look at me, Mom! I'm going in."
"Yikes! It's cold."
"Oh yeah. This is the life. I'm a happy pool owner."

"Now this is relaxation!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vaqueros II

Bill’s unruly horse caused him to walk half way down the mountain to the next phase of our journey. We corralled the horses and began our walk into the jungle. It wasn’t long before we could hear rapids. We were approaching a river.

"Oh, good, the waterfall at last," I thought.

If only things in Costa Rica were that easy. Then again, if they were, I wouldn’t have any blog fodder.
We arrive at the river. Pretty river. No waterfall though. What was waiting for us would give anyone with acrophobia (like me) a pause - a hand-propelled hanging manual cable tram. Why not? You can’t be a stickler on safety regulations in Costa Rica. Hang on and enjoy the ride!

You mean to tell me we're crossing the river in that thing?


Smile! You're on Tram Cam.

Another short walk in the jungle and we are there. Incredible!

Thunder poured over the rocks.

The trip home was almost uneventful. The horses seemed to race each other back up the mountain. They moved faster going home. They must have been anticipating getting us off their backs.

I was alone at the back of pack again and every one else went up a muddy hill. (Remember I told you my horse didn’t like the mud?) Citron decided to stay on the rocky road. By this time, I’m thinking, "I’m almost home. I survived!" I’m also proudly thinking that I might make a vaquera after all. My tush was certainly not wanting the horse to lead me the long way home, so I turned the creature around and up the muddy path we went.

With Bill surviving a bucking horse and me showing my horse who’s the boss, you might just call us vaqueros after all.

Vaqueros I

On Thursday Bill and I played cowboys, or in Spanish, vaqueros. There were no Indians in sight though, just the beautiful, pastoral Costa Rican countryside with a spectacular waterfall as our destination.

It was Bill’s very first horsey ride. The only problem was that his horsey didn’t like him very much. These are trail animals that are supposed to be trained to follow the leader, be docile and put up with rookie riders like us. Luck of the draw, I guess, but Bill’s horse didn’t want anything to do with that.

My horse, on the other hand, was very much like me. Citron liked to eat a lot along the way and didn’t like walking through the mud. I spent the majority of the ride bringing up the rear. And hurting my own rear in the process. I’m having a painful time sitting on this hard chair writing.

Bringing up the Rear

Bill on the other hand is not so saddle sore. You see, about midway through the ride his horse decides that he would be better off without Bill’s dead weight. I’m plodding along behind the pack when Bill and his horse abruptly step off the trail, head up a bank and stop by a barbed wire fence.

“Whatcha doing, Bill?” I yell.

He perplexily replies, “ I don’t know. I just thought I’d let the horse choose his own path.”

Normally, it would have been a smart and reasonable answer, except that the horse didn’t want to be reasonable. The horse charged down the bank, began to twist and turn, and bucked his back legs. (Sorry, I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of it.) Carlos, the trail guide, managed to grab Bill’s horse by the rein. The horse was still bucking. Although Carlos managed to calm the horse, Bill had had enough. “It’s downhill. I’ll walk."

Enough. I'll walk.

At some point I started envying Bill. By that time, I thought my legs were never going to be straight again and my haunches were aching with every stride of my horse. I’m no vaquero and have no plans to be again soon, but I could swear its much easier riding a horse uphill than down.

Monday, December 1, 2008

$100 Worth of Plants

The pool is coming along. In fact the pool is just about ready for its final hook-up and fill. The deck, however, is still being worked on. Every morning the workers arrive between 5:30AM and 6AM and the noise and shouting begin right outside our bedroom window. I think I’ve mentioned that the window is a mesh screen with a see-through bamboo shade. Another two more weeks, I think, and all will be done. Hopefully, just in time for my parents who are supposed to arrive mid December.

The cat is getting more comfortable here. Look at him check out the pool.

He also discovered dragonflies beside the pool. He looked very bedazzled as they flew around him. He’s used to birds that fly in one direction like an airplane. Dragonflies are like helicopters. They go all directions. They can fly forward, stop, stay still, and fly backwards. Mystery didn’t quite know what to make of that. He looked like a crazed cat with shifty little eyes trying to follow dragonflies. The silliest part of it all was his cat-chirpy-bird-call for the dragonflies. I wonder why that didn’t work, Mystery?

Well, I did my first garden planning and planting. I should say, I planned and purchased the plants. Our caretaker’s son actually planted the plants where I placed them. Here is my first landscaping on the property.

It’s on an area where the plants we don’t want the plants to grow very tall or they will block the beautiful view from the pool. Now I just have to wait for the plants to grow and fill in. Here I am, impatiently waiting, waiting, waiting…?

Grow! Will you grow?

For all the ladies of Totem Lake Garden Club back in Washington State, plants are reasonably priced down here. It’s hard not to go crazy over all the tropical beauties, but I’m sticking with the tried and true growers of the area. In other words, I just get what everyone else has.

Here is about $100 worth of tropical plants

From these pictures you might get an idea of the slippery red clay soil that we have here and why I will be so glad when all the construction of concrete walkways are completed. It will mean mudless shoes and much cleaner cabin. Honestly, folks, the mud around here will pull clasped sandals right of your feet.