On the Road Again – The Latin American Sequel

As most of our readers know, Gerard and I cut short our stay in Southeast Asia to go back to Portland to help my mom get settled into her new living situation and get her house cleared out and in top shape to sell.   This took us most of the time from May through November, with some time off to work on our rental houses.

And now we’re off again! For the next chapter of our journey, we intend to volunteer on organic farms and with sustainability demonstration projects for the better part of this next year.  With our younger daughter, Brett and her “novio,” Nathan, we took off for Costa Rica the day after Thanksgiving (November 29th).  We plan to spend three months here on three different farms, then move on to Nicaragua, and have the rest of Central and South America to explore! The four of us will take turns blogging so you can get our different perspectives.

Our first farm is Rancho Margot, wedged into a lush jungle valley and rainforest, south of Arenal National Park.  The property was purchased and developed into a sustainable living center/ ecotourist lodge within the last ten years. The surroundings are beautiful and full of wildlife (we saw four toucans romping in a nearby tree today after lunch). We are among twelve or thirteen volunteers all working hard in the vegetable garden growing both tropical and conventional produce, with the animals (cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and goats), and on the very extensive grounds. For a great overview of this ambitious project, watch this CNN report.

Here is our daily schedule:
7:30am – Breakfast (fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, eggs sometimes)
8:00 – Start work
11:00 – Break
11:30 – Lunch with the workers (rice and beans mostly)
Noon – Back to work
3pm – Work day ends
4pm –  Yoga class (free!) is available every day and we tend to go every other day
5:30 – It gets dark; we study Spanish, do emails, read, write, etc
7pm – Dinner – it is a very long wait from lunch but we are served delicious, creative and healthy meals.  The chef has been a personal vegan chef for some famous musicians and rock groups so you can imagine how good she must be.
9:30 or so – to bed, very tired

We get one day off each week.  On our day off Gerard and I spent the day in a small town an hour or so away and on theirs, Brett and Nathan took a nice long hike. We are close to a river, a large lake and at least one volcano.  More details of our experience to come! The change of narration should keep things interesting. Here are some photos.

Leveling garden bed, new home for green house

Leveling garden bed, new home for green house

Beautiful grounds at Rancho Margot

Beautiful grounds at Rancho Margot


After a hard day's work in the garden

After a hard day’s work in the garden

Nathan looking guano

Nathan looking “guapo”

Time for a little soccer for volunteers and staff

Time for a little soccer for volunteers and staff

Reina de la Noche

Reina de la Noche


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 16:10:56

    Thanks, Diane. We appreciate the updates so we get to know how things are going for you all……


  2. Jan
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 04:17:13

    Great photos and post from you. Thanks for keeping us informed about your travels. You are an inspiration.


  3. Kylie
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 04:48:19

    You guys are so amazing!!! We are sorry we missed you before you left, but maybe we’ll be able to visit some time!


    Dec 16, 2013 @ 12:45:11

    Holà, guapos ! que tal?
    C’est super d’avoir de vos nouvelles avec des photos.
    Vous travaillez dur, ça transpire….. Courage.
    Besitos y abrazos



  5. kcwesel
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 22:17:20

    Thinking of you all as we go to Goose Hollow tonight. You will be missed but it is so good to read your blog. I love how you all are taking turns. Happy New Years to all. You have inspired me. I think I have told you that my mom grew up in Panama and I have always wanted to visit. I have been looking into it for this year and things are much closer than ever. It would be really fun if our travel aligned. Hi to all.


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