Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Day at Arenal

  Ah-h... to breathe deeply of the pure rain forest air! It feels so good to be on the mountain treading the ground I walked every day while we lived on the farm, seeing my friends and filling my senses with the sights and sounds that have filled my dreams since we left Costa Rica in the summer of 2010. It almost doesn't seem real.
  We took a drive around Lake Arenal and spent the day at the volcano. Volcan Arenal is the tenth most active volcano on earth. It erupts almost every day and lava flows constantly down its crusty sides. Today though it was unusually quiet, not a single fiery stone crashed down the sides, the venting steam was a faint mist instead of the billowing plumes that usually wreath the cone and shoulders in clouds of vapor. The view of the volcano was wonderfully clear all the way to the cone, but it made me wonder if this is the calm before the storm... this area had a 6 magnitude earthquake the day before we landed, it seems unlikely that the volcano would be so quiet. But for today we enjoyed the clear view we had of the volcano and strolled the lovely trails and meticulously tended gardens of the Arenal Lodge and Observatory.
  Several varieties of hummingbirds zipped around our heads and teased us into thinking we might catch a photo or two of them... not! The other birds that normally flock to the feeders and fill the air with their songs and chatter were as absent from the scene as the volcano's daily grumblings. But I did get some nice photos of some other creatures and lots of photos of the gardens and tropical flowers.
  On the way back around the lake we stopped at the Lucky Bug Gallery and ate a delicious dinner on the veranda overlooking the gardens and tilapia pond. Tiny purple and green Wood Nymphs and White Bellied hummingbirds battled for ownership of the feeders at the end of our table while we ate. A large Kingfisher flew past at eye level before swooping down on an unsuspecting tilapia in the pond. He barely disturbed the water as he snatched his dinner up and flew to a nearby tree to enjoy it. Wow...
  We made it back around the lake to the Sabalito, (the pueblo where we used to live), just as the sun was setting. We  spent the early evening hours chatting with friends and allowed ourselved to be swallowed up by the deep dark of the rain forest. The air was cool and fresh and the peace in my heart was as thick as the darkness. Life is good.
  The jungle insects have tuned up for their nightly serenade...I think I will let them sing me to sleep... So good night to all and Pura Vida!

*note: I am on a borrowed computer and don't have access to my usual tools so there probably won't be any photos posted until I return home. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Costa Rica Bound

Keel-billed Toucan on
 the farm in Costa Rica 2009
  Things have changed a couple of times back and forth but it looks like I am going to be making a trip to Costa Rica after all. If all goes well,  my husband and I will be flying out on the 15th of May. I am very excited!
  I am afraid that all the garden chores and preparations for our trip have kept me away from my art desk and letter writing. I have received a lot of mail from my pen friends and I am woefully behind on returns. If you have written me and haven't received a return, please forgive my tardiness...I am trying to get at least a postcard off to each of you before I leave, but I probably won't get many letters posted until I return from my trip. I haven't forgotten any of you and I want you to know how much I appreciate the letters and mail art that you take time out of your life to send to me. I will be gone two weeks and upon my return I will make letter writing a top priority.

For the moment, I will share some of the photos I have taken of life around Heart's Ease Cottage and I hope that you are enjoying life and making the most of the beautiful May weather.I'll see you in the mail!

Well, once Patrick's rose found a home in my yard other roses kind of found their way to the cottage as well. The roses on the arbor give us a huge display during the month of May, the border roses bloom in profusion all summer and fall.

Our border roses have masses of blooms which the bees love!
Trimming the limbs of our old oaks and planting 90 azalea bushes has been our big spring project this year. Can you imagine digging 90 holes to 2x the size of a 3 gallon plant bucket?   
Our cultivated blackberries plants are just laden with fruit this year.
This handsome gentleman lives in the "Pond Garden" next to our front porch. 
He is a stout fellow about the size of both my hands put together and has lived in the pond for years.
Bok Choi seedlings just waiting to be tucked into their garden bed.
My pen friend Sirpa commented on the cardinal in one of the postcards I sent her from our snow day in January. I have been trying to get a good shot of him ever since so I could send her a photo postcard featuring him. This one shows his colors well but I would really like it if he would oblidge and give me a nice pose in the profile...

The cabbage are heading up and soon it will be time to make saurkraut.
When the fava beans are ready, I will make Egyptian Felafels and Tabouli. Yum!
Sweet Charlie  strawberries
Tagg is the only dog I've ever seen that sniffs flowers...
The scent of Jasmine wafts in through the open windows and fills the house with its sweet scent.