By Brett Liza Rousseau
Hello Friends and Family!
Please excuse the prolonged time lapse since our last blog entry. Computer and internet access didn’t come easily to Finca Paraiso’s little piece of far-off jungle paradise – what a concept! The rest of the family might not agree, but it was a refreshing break from our culture’s overwhelming connectivity. It’s amazing how a little bit of time without the worldwide web at our fingertips increased our relationship with the world right in front of us! We were forced to listen to the howler monkey screams echoing within the hills, sip coffee while the sunrise lit up slopes of citrus trees, scrutinize chicken hierarchies, spy on sheep escape artists, pick star fruit fresh off the tree, laugh at the fat iguanas skidding around on our tin roof, coo over newborn puppies and cook delicious and inventive meals everyday. A HUGE inconvenience.
In our free time, to name only a few things, Nathan became a literary expert on rabbit rearing; I began baking loaves of bread rolled up with cinnamon and banana; Mom bred her new kombucha SCOBY into a small army; Dad exercised routinely as usual; and we spent many afternoons discussing and strategizing our next move up into Nicaragua. It was decided that Mom and Dad would leave Costa Rica two weeks early for a head start to Nicaragua. While we’ve all gotten along rather magnificently, the small break was much appreciated.
Nathan and I were left in Steve’s keeping along with Luna, a black and white sheep dog always by his side, Blackie and her two puppies, 14 sheep nibbling on everything they shouldn’t have, 13 hens and 3 roosters (2 too many), 3 oversized pigs, and an aquaponics pond full of tilapia. Steve is a laid back Wisconsin expat who surprised himself by buying land in Costa Rica eight years ago and has been experimentally farming ever since. He has a plethora of inventive projects competing for his attention; he’s attempting to generate money by selling farm products and attracting tourists and locals for farm tours and B&B stays, all while keeping up with farm chores. It’s a peaceful piece of property on the Nicoya Peninsula – not far from Tambor’s scenic bay – growing citrus and avocado trees, bananas and plantains, starfruit, pineapple, ginger, turmeric, hot peppers, moringa, spinach, and more! We helped Steve with various projects such as redesigning and building a new chicken coop, fortifying the sheep fence, painting lime on the citrus trees (to prevent against ant damage), dehydrating starfruit, transplanting in the aquaponics greenhouse, propagating bougainvillea, passionfruit, and planting cacao, bush beans, cucumber, garlic, and peppers – whatever seeds I could find! I also helped Steve with some artistic endeavors, painting a sign for the main road and redesigning his roasted coffee label, Mono va Feliz (Monkey-go-Happy).
The month was a beautiful and relaxing blur – it was the first time being together that Nathan and I got to spend more than a few days just the two of us and we relished it. We celebrated our 2-year anniversary with a quirky homemade adaptation of tiramisu, and dug in with spoons as the sunset put on a show. Unlike the other farms, we weren’t surrounded by a host of people and instead entertained ourselves with the animals and plants around us. Here’s a photo-tour of a tropical farm’s flora and fauna, intended for you to romanticize.
Wondering what we’re now doing in Nicaragua? Stay tuned for our next post!