First Days on our Costa Rica Farm, Starting the Cabin Construction and Machete Sharpening

Our first days living on a Costa Rica farm. We were staying on a friends farm and learning everything including Spanish.

You can’t expect to come to Costa Rica and just take the country by storm. Even if you have a building plan, money and big dreams, nobody cares. There are permissions, stamps and rules that need to be followed. This video is just some of the fun we are having and how Barry learns to sharpen his Christmas present.

 February in CR

The Montezuma’s are nesting right now. They fly back and forth.In their beaks they carry strings from banana trees. They have found a mate, a tree that suits and they set forth building teardrop shaped love shacks. We are not much different from the Montezuma’s. We drive back and forth from where we are staying, near the volcano, to our farm in the hills. We take pineapple starts and high hopes.

Our Costa Rica Farm in Matina

We had to tear down the cabin the cabin we built last year. The wood was so damaged that the only thing that was hard to remove was the roof, which was made of metal. We moved the roof to a spot in front of the cabin area and plan to use it as a carport to keep the hot sun and a surplus of rain off of the Isuzu. We have asked a local builder to make us a new cabin out of wood that is from our property and that is known to with-stand bugs and weather. We are currently waiting on inspections from the government office that oversees the chopping of trees and from the electric company. We are also waiting on water to be piped in from the local water co-op but we’ve heard “rumors” that they are having administration problems. Everyone tells us “Oh, tomorrow”, but we know better. I make visits to the offices regularly to make sure they don’t forget about us. It is probably pretty entertaining to watch me come in with my corporation number and broken Spanish and request to know my inspection date. Every time I am told that it will be fifteen days. I will keep visiting and they will keep promising me the two weeks that I will never get back.

Alfredo, our construction guy, lives two farms down and brings his two boys to our place while they are out of school on break. He shows them how to cut lumber, peel the bark and cure the wood using diesel. I am just as much a student as they are. I come home with blisters and sunburns but learn something new every day. His house is very nice and very modern. He is having trouble understanding why we just want rustico. I try to explain to him that we don’t want to spend a lot of money on a place before our residency decision, but I’m not certain that it is getting through. He’s probably thinking “Why would someone want to live in such a humble abode. BTW, the immigration office told our attorney that everything was in order but to check back after March. Maybe we will get our inspections and residency on the same day.

We got the call that our shipping container stuff has arrived and is ready to be delivered. If you watch the video you can see that the possibility of delivering to where we live is non-existent without a 4×4. We are considering moving to a place that is only 15 minutes away from our farm instead of 1 hour and is right off of the main road. If we move we lose our beloved network of English/Spanish speaking amigos. We currently go to the big city together, they bake us bread and we live right on an organic dairy so there would be no more late night ice cream runs. We are meeting with the woman on Monday to see if it is a go. I’m torn but gas and tires are expensive and two hours a day is spent on the road currently.

Problem Areas

Don Antonio is the 77 year old guy that lives on our farm. He has lived on our farm for 25 years. His nephew owned the land then and made an agreement with his uncle that if he, Don Antonio, lived there and took care of the place he would get one half of the selling price. So Don Antonio was very excited when he found out that we purchased the property and waited for visit from his nephew. His nephew flew to Costa Rica from California to sign the paperwork and told his uncle he would visit tomorrow. Well, tomorrow never came and D. Antonio was left with an empty promise and eyes towards how the new people were going to help him out. The new people, us, felt for the old guy but didn’t feel any responsibility towards paying him off. We were as innocent as he. He had not told us about the agreement before we signed the paperwork so we could not make certain that his nephew paid up. He mentioned several times, via our interpreter at the time, that he felt we should give him something. It seems that he decided exactly what it was that he wanted during our time back in the states. He has asked us for a single tree. He wants to build his new house with it. It is a big, beautiful tree. No one seems to know the name of which makes me suspicious. Every Tico farmer knows every tree with much pride but for some reason not even our cabin builder can come up with the name of this one. Some trees here carry a very high value, a couple of thousand dollars a pop and to boot, this particular tree sits right on our property line with the neighbor that wanted to sell us a small piece of land for five times normal price. So if it is truly a semi-duro tree like they say and not of infinite value, we will give him the tree. If it turns out that is a valuable tree with a common name I will have leverage to make a point that he shouldn’t have lied to us. We need to keep in mind that now is a pivotal time for us. If the gringos are easily fooled about a tree then they can be easily fooled about the price of just about everything else. Here in lies the rub.

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