Making Butter, Collecting Fruit and the Birds – Our new life in Costa Rica Begins
We arrived on December 7th and it has rained every day save for three since then. The Caribbean rainy season can last until February and then begins again in August. It is the rain that keeps everything this lovely shade of green and keeps the rivers so abundantly beautiful.
We are staying on a friend’s farm that is about 1 hour west of our property. She had to go back to the states for work and since our cabin was ruined, we needed a place to stay. It has worked out great for both of us, so far. It came furnished with everything we needed.
There is a dairy farm on the property here and I can now identify every calf just from its moo. The milking of the cows starts at 4 a.m. sharp and so does the noise. I get out of bed around 4:02 every morning now. Barry of course, sleeps right through it all. I’m a little disturbed by this but the coffee is so tasty that I forget all about it when I pour my first cup. We also have the pleasure of the grass-fed organic milk, yogurt, sour cream and ice cream that is made from those noisy beasts so I guess I can live with it. We even make our own butter from the fresh cream.
Making Butter by Hand
To make butter from fresh cream, you add cream to a jar with a lid that is twice the volume of the amount of cream you have and then you just shake until your arms feel like they are falling off. If you start to sweat then you know that you only have about 40 minutes left. Right when you are about to give up you start to notice yellow globs separating from the milk in the jar, this is fresh wholesome butter! You scoop out the butter, place it in a container and then use the milk (buttermilk) that is left over to make pancakes or biscuits. See video*
The orchard here is mature so we go out every few days and pick bananas, coconuts, mangos, star fruits and cassava to supplement our store bought rice, beans, eggs, meat and vegetables. I have two new favorite breakfasts now. One is two eggs over easy on top of fried cassava with a dollop of sour cream and the other is fried plantain with fresh plain yogurt. We have so much time to cook we have come up with all kinds of crazy stuff. We get organic chocolate from Puerto Viejo and Barry makes chocolate lava cake, yummy. We celebrated Christmas at a restaurant here that has a tilapia pond. You catch it and they cook it. We didn’t catch our own since it was raining and cold that night. Barry’s x-mas present from his adoring wife was a brand new machete with a leather sheath. It’s bad ass.
To offset the abundance of food that we eat, we do yoga in the mornings as the toucans and parrots watch from the trees. That is completely true and not just the part about the birds.
We are currently looking into an apartment that is closer to our farm. We will need to be closer when we start building our house. We don’t want our lack of Spanish via the telephone to be detrimental when the contractor has a question. It will be better to have a pen and draw it out for him on the spot, just to avoid costly mistakes. We are finding it difficult to find a contractor. The one we had lined up ended up having a severe drinking problem and we don’t want to have to deal with that. (Please keep your comments to a minimum:) I think that our neighbors have been recommending someone but I only understand about two or three words out of every sentence so who knows. We have only visited our farm 3 times in the past two weeks due to the rain. We got in a few good days of weed chopping but can’t do much else until things dry up a bit. I really want to talk to our neighbors but learning Spanish is taking a while. I’m certain that I sound like a 3 year old. I think I have present tense down ok but when someone says anything in past or future tense, which is all the time, I get confused. Over all, Spanish has been much easier than Swahili. We are trying to find a translator that can go with us to talk to builders.
The phone line here didn’t work our first few weeks and we don’t get cell reception until after we drive out of the mountains for 20 minutes, so if you have tried to call us, sorry and in the future try using our Skype address of ten.degrees.above . The internet access works great even if it is only 128k. Not enough bandwidth for video but we wouldn’t want you to see our waterlogged faces anyway.
For those of you who asked, the days are between 70-75 and the nights drop to between 60-65. Great temps.