Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Clothes For Easter....

When I was a little girl I always got a new outfit for Easter.  It was usually a dress, new "Sunday" shoes, and always a new Easter bonnet to wear to church.  One year my dress had a wire hoop in the skirt...  I had to learn how to sit down properly or the danged thing would flip right over my head.  One year the Mary Jane shoes hurt my feet...  and I like to never broke them in.  But it was the hat...  always the hat... that I loved.  A straw hat with ribbons and flowers and the such.  Always with a feeling of Spring!

Easter is just a few weeks away and the American Goldfinch here in this part of Texas are getting their new wardrobe together...
How do I look on this side?

Or this side?

Oops...  caught me with my mouth full....

Altogether now...  one, two, three.....

Yes, by Easter we'll be in full summer plumage.  No more of the drab, dull-looking feathers.  We'll be bright yellow...  we'll have a gorgeous black cap and lovely black and white wings.  All our feathers will be shiny, and not frayed at all.  

Right now we're still getting ready, but each day we look brighter and lend a more cheerful setting to the land here that, even though it's greening up, it still looks like winter.
Won't be long now!

That's All For Today! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

They're Back!

In Ohio, where we lived for so long, I'd put out hummingbird feeders around April 10th.  I think April 12th was the earliest we'd get Ruby-throated Hummingbirds...  the only species we get there.

We've been back in this part of Texas a week...  and a couple of days ago I got to thinking that maybe I should put out a feeder for the early arrivals.  I didn't get around to doing that until today.

Out comes the bag of sugar...  our comes the hummingbird feeders which have been stored in a bay...  out comes the ant-traps that Bill made to deter those pesky critters.

Then...  out on the post went a freshly filled feeder....
 I bet it wasn't 10 minutes before a Black-chinned hummer showed up....

He has a gorgeous violet colored throat, but it takes a bit of sunshine to reveal its brilliance.

I put another feeder up on our motorhome window - Bill & I sit just inside of this window so we have a great view of the visitors.  We've already had a visitor to that feeder as well.
Could be the same bird drinking at both feeders.... if so, it won't take him long to stake out one of them to establish his territory.

Of course I had to clean the rig's windows right away... and then set the camera on a ledge close by.  

Welcome back, little guys!  Now it feels like spring for sure!

That's All For Today!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flowers, Turkeys and Geocaching.... What a Mix!

It rained again this morning...  a very welcome rain.  It's quite dry here - the livestock tanks are all very low....  and one big thing that is affected is....

The wildflowers...
The bluebonnets are starting to bloom
The ones I've seen so far are very short stemmed.  Where there is usually a carpet of blue, it looks like this year there will be only patches here and there.  I don't know if the little bit of rain we've had here in the past couple of days will help them or if it's too late for this year's flowers.

I looked out my window a few minutes ago and saw 6 wild turkeys strutting along between Celeste's house and her garage.  They stopped for a while under the bird feeder, but I think they probably spend a lot more time under the deer feeders.
These two hen turkeys were in front of our motorhome yesterday afternoon.  
We've been seeing turkeys nearly every day since we've been back, but these are the first we've seen right in the yard.
The corn that scatters from the deer feeders attracts quite a variety of wildlife.

As I've written many times, one of my interests is Geocaching.  It hadn't even been "invented" when we started full-time RVing in January, 2001, and now there are over a million caches hidden all over the world.  Starting this evening there's a national geocaching event being held right in my Ohio hometown.  Over 1,000 participants are expected to arrive and join in the fun.  There have been over 100 new caches hidden just for the event.  It just wasn't practical for me and Bill to go to Ohio right now, but we'll hear all about it next month from our caching friends there....  and maybe we'll find some of the new caches.  

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our Day in Ft Worth

Bill had to get his blood work done this morning for his annual physical next week, so we decided to head on to Ft Worth afterwards....  have breakfast...  and do some shopping.

We're really not big shoppers, but there are some places we like a lot, and being out of the country for the past 3 months made me miss them a little.

The 3 places on my list were...  Trader Joe's, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and to have a double-double hamburger at the In 'N Out.  I know....  the last "desire" isn't very healthy, but we eat beef so seldom that a juicy, greasy burger tastes pretty good occasionally.

Since Bill got up at 5:30 this morning (and couldn't eat until his lab work was done) we held off breakfast until 8:30 or so.  Breakfast wasn't that healthy...  eggs, beans, chorizo and green chile breakfast burrito.  Might not be healthy, but, darn!  it was good!

On to Ft Worth....    First stop...   
Yep!  Trader Joe's
The parking lot is wet....  it rained nearly all day.

When Bill & I were in Baltimore last October we stopped at a TJ and bought some really good ginger cookies.  Remembering them and reading Al's, of The Bayfield Bunch, blog about buying Trader Joe's cookies I've had a hankerin' for them for quite a while....
These are SO good!
I swear, they almost melt in your mouth.  
Of course we bought all kinds of other stuff as well.  They sell 100% cranberry juice (not reconstituted) at a very reasonable price...  we always load up on that.  It's just a neat place to shop.

From there it was down the street a few miles to Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
No photo of the outside...  they all look alike...  
We're good for at least an hour there.  Even though Bill & I both use our Kindles for "everyday" reading, there are some books that are used again and again...
Travel Guides and Knitting Books....
It's never too early to start thinking about the next great adventure....  don't these places sound exciting?

We tend to read travel guides like some folks read novels...  so many great places to visit and things to see.

By now it's lunch time, but since we ate breakfast so late neither of us was hungry.  We decided to put off the In 'N Out for another time.

Hey, it's as good excuse as any to head back to Ft Worth one of these days for another outing.

That's All For Today!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Birds... and Bird Feeders

It was only 33 degrees F when we got up this morning.....  no more breakfasts outside for a while.  

Celeste and Victor kept my bird feeders filled while we were gone, so there are plenty of birds visiting them every day.  The goldfinches are starting to get their summer plumage, but to the inexperienced birder, they are still pretty much a "Little Brown Jobby".  The male cardinals provide the brightest color...  their bright red is a welcome sight no matter what time of year, but especially when everything's so brown.

You can hear "spring" songs now...  I hear bluebirds quite often but all the bird songs are more melodious.  Probably mating songs, but to me, it's a sure sign of spring.

We love watching the bird feeders, especially in the mornings.  This morning we had a lot of visitors...
 Kind of a big bird, huh?
Oh well, she didn't take much and what got spilled on the ground won't be wasted.

This view is from our motorhome window....
There are 8 or 9 deer visible in this photo....   there must have been about a dozen out there at one time.

Celeste and Victor have several acres here and no hunting is permitted.  They have many bird feeders out as well as at least 2 deer feeders on their property.  They encourage all wildlife and when we're here, we reap the benefits each day.  

We'll be here about a month, then head to Ohio, where we'll stay about a month...  then on to Maine where we'll be volunteering June through August at Aroostook NWR.  We do have plans for mid October through mid December, but haven't made all those arrangements yet, so that will wait for another blog.

I probably won't post every day now - since we're no longer at the Rickety Bridge and its herons and egrets, I'll have to find something else to write about ;-)

That's All For Today!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pathetic Offering.....

When we were in Costa Rica I made an effort to post a blog every day.  Got in the habit.... had a great time doing it.  Felt like I had a good way to record our adventure and that it could hold the interest of a few folks...  even posting my daily sights on our walks.

Well...  now we're back in Texas.  I won't write about our walk today because we didn't take one. We did make 3 trips into Granbury...  I won't go into the details, but I've had computer problems, and my laptop is now at Staples being fixed (again).  I'm using my backup laptop (doesn't everyone have a backup?).  I suspect I'm in the minority, but I think a lot of my problems have to do with computer illiteracy rather than just bad luck.

Now...  I think posts should have a photo if possible.... you know... A picture worth a thousand words?
Here is today's offering....
This poor, ragged daffodil is trying real hard to bloom in this Texas "soil" (more like clay).
It's been a rough winter here, and obviously there hasn't been much moisture.

There's a story behind this daffodil (of course there is).
It's a descendant of bulbs I planted over 50 years ago.  I love daffodils and planted many, many of them on our place when I first got married.  That marriage didn't last, but the daffodils did.  I dug them up and took them with me...  planted them on the farm when Bill & I got married over 30 years ago.  Each time we go back to the farm (we no longer stay in the house as it's now rented).  Bill's always working along the side of the driveway which continually slips down - and the daffodil bulbs move down with the earth.  So he brought a bucket of bulbs out here to Texas a couple of years ago and planted them at our daughter's house.

Well....  that is this year's crop.
I'm not holding my breath that any others will bloom this year.

I know...  kind of pathetic, isn't it?

As I so often say....   "It is what it is"

That's All For Today!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I think in my last post I mentioned that Tico Time is such that we asked Ney, who was taking us to the airport, to pick us up at 10:00, figuring he'd be there by 11:00.  Well, at 9:15, he arrived at our condo...  all spiffed up...  both him and his car.  We stopped at the Subway in Coco to get sandwiches knowing how expensive airport food is and also knowing that even snacks on flights now are only served at a price.

As we turn off the main highway onto the road leading into the airport, Ney asks us if we could pay him then.  Ney isn't a licensed taxi driver... he drives his own car and picks up work when he can.  Our landlord had arranged for Ney to pick us up when we arrived and so we asked him to take us back (3 months later).  But he could get into trouble if a money transaction was seen by a "real" taxi driver.  No problem...  we were happy to help him out.

As we left Costa Rica we flew over Nicaragua...
The clouds in the lower left corner are hovering over one of the volcanoes in the middle of the huge lake.  The second volcano just barely made it into the picture at middle right.  

The flight is only 4 hours from Liberia, Costa Rica to the Dallas/Ft Worth airport...
We think we're flying over Cancun or Cozumel here...  A long string of condo along the beach, and not a thing a quarter of a mile inland.

Our son-in-law picked us up...  we headed back to their house, where our motorhome has resided while we've been gone.  We had our mail sent there as well...
These stacks are only a small portion in the huge box that was awaiting us.  We don't get a lot of junk mail, but I was amazed at how many AARP mailings were in the box.  It took us hours to go through all the mail...  now, the big task is getting stuff ready to do taxes :-(

The weather here is much cooler than we've had for the past few months...  it got into the 80's today and was quite comfortable.  Mornings mean jeans, boots and a long sleeve shirt.  But it gets warmer as the day progresses.

Look what grew while we were gone...
Celeste and Victor have a huge yard.... well, they are in Texas, so only part of it is "lawn", but Celeste does a fine job of putting a different touch to things....  I asked her where she got all these colorful bottles...  Blue Nun?  ...  and those pink light bulb looking things are really cute.  She didn't have to drink any crazy brands of anything...  the lady who makes the trees also sells glassware to put on them.  

But...  the thing I liked best...
Spring Flowers!
Hyacinths!  Pansies!  Violas!
All blooming and so aromatic!  
These guys have been in this flower bed all winter...  survived the cold winter they've had here... even ice at times.  Isn't this lovely?

I'm still trying to catch up with family....  got the laundry caught up today...  and the mail...  and just stuff like that.  Oh yes...  we had another invasion of ladybugs while we were gone.  Took a while to get rid of them.

We have some appointments in Granbury to take care of - not sure what all.  We'll be here a few weeks while we make our plans to head east and begin another great adventure.

But for now... we're happy to be back in our "home sweet home".
That's All For Today!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Saying Goodbye....

I'm writing this on Tuesday evening...  it's after 6pm....  we visited a while with Francine and Greg...  I fed the foxes...  we pretty much cleaned out the fridge.  I've found a home for the bits and pieces of foods that we didn't use.  The suitcases are partially packed....  we've called Ney....  the fellow who picked us up at the airport in December.  He was only about an hour late then...  so, instead of asking him to pick us up at 11:00 (for a 2pm flight) we've asked him to pick us up at 10:00...  figuring he'll be here by 11:00.  

We know we have a "no frills" flight so plan to stop at the local Subway on our way to the airport.  Those tiny bags of peanuts just won't sustain us until we land in DFW late in the afternoon.   We have 2 checked bags as well as our carry-ons.  Since we don't have a scales with us, we know we need enough time to "rearrange" our stuff in our luggage.  It won't be the first time we've sat in the sidelines...  suitcases open....  jeans here...  underwear there...  books.. oh... they weigh too much... they go in that one.  Our whole life is exposed to anyone who is curious enough to watch us take out and replace this and that.

I took down the hummingbird feeder as I do every night.  The ants, and I DO mean HUGE ants, invade it during the night if I forget to take it down...  Only this time I won't be putting it back up.  I know the Cinnamon Hummingbird will look for it tomorrow....  and I'll feel bad.  Just like the dog food I put out for the foxes.  While I know they don't depend on the "hand-out" we provide each evening, I know they'll be around tomorrow night around 5pm...  and there won't be anything there.

We got a new neighbor yesterday who has a dog.  Marlin, the dog, quickly found the dog food this evening, so I have a feeling the foxes wouldn't be around much anyway.

We've said our goodbyes to Steve and Ann...  we've eaten our last dinner here...  I even finished knitting the pair of socks today that I've been working on.  We visited with Francine and Greg and their new neighbors, but will say our goodbyes to them tomorrow.  It's surprising how quickly we become attached to folks...  Francine and Greg are more than just neighbors...  they have become friends...  folks we don't want to lose contact with.

You who have traveled with us on this adventure have lived through our lack of hot water...  heck, you've lived through us not having any water...  the 95+ temps each day....  the hill that we walk up....  the foods, the people, the good things and the not so good.  But...  you know what?  I wouldn't trade our life for any other life.  It is what it is...  and it's fantastic!

That's All For Today!

P.S.  Don't worry if I don't post for a couple of days...  unless you hear about a plane disappearing between Costa Rica and Texas, I'll be back to blogging in a few days.  Take Care, Y'all!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

These Shoes Were Made For Walking....

I wore a pair of New Balance Tennies coming here from Texas...  brought along a pair of high top hikers and a pair of sandals.  The mistake was bringing only one pair of sandals...
My Tevas weren't new...   they were well broken in...  had quite a few miles on them.  Real comfy, trusty, go-anywhere kind of shoes.

The kind you can wear to church (if no one looks closely at your feet) or on the beach...  and when in better shape, even had a good tread that got traction.  The soles were even thick enough that I didn't feel rocks or much of anything underfoot when walking.

I wear a pedometer...  and will tell you right now that the last week I've not done much walking at all....  but to date have walked over 420 miles in our time here...  averaging about 5 miles per day.  I have no idea how many miles they had on them in the maybe 5 years or so I've worn them before this trip.

A month or so ago Bill bought some gorilla glue and filled in where the soles were separating from the foot bed.   You can see that yellowish line at the toes....  but even that is starting to wear away.  About a week or so ago the base under the ball of my foot started to split...  causing it to pinch my foot.  There's hardly any tread left on bottom...  I can feel every pebble I step on.

Here in Costa Rica the Farmacias sell drugs and other medical supplies....  but you buy them individually.  The bandaids I bought to cushion my feet cost 50c each.  I bought 10 because I didn't know how long one would stay adhered to the shoe.  So...  I have 3 bandaids...  cost $1.50 American to cobble together a fix for the shoes above.  As it happened....  those 3 have held for a week now...  I still have 7 to take home :-)

Yeah, I could have bought a new pair of shoes here, but I'll admit it....  I'm cheap.  AND....  I have at least 5 pairs of sandals back in our motorhome that seldom get worn.  I just kept thinking if these shoes would just hold out x amount of weeks...  or days....  then I'd be okay.

As of tonight they have less than 48 hours before I can toss them in the trash and bid them adieu...

But...  darn!  It's gonna be hard to say goodbye to them...  they've served me well.  I'm gonna miss them.  It's like losing an old friend.  Oh well...  I still have a day left to wear them...  But...

That's All For Today!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Andorra... huh?

The other day, as Bill & I were walking along the road that runs alongside the beach, we saw an RV sitting by the park.  I failed to take a photo of the RV...  but it was probably a Hymer, or one of those that is distinctly European.  Of course we were curious as to where it was from....
Bill could kind of remember hearing about Andorra when we lived in Spain last year, but to be honest, I could not recall ever hearing about that country in my life.
The owner was relaxing outside, and, as most travelers are friendly, we started asking questions.

He and his family left Andorra last June...

Andorra is that tiny red circle on the borders of France and Spain...
They traveled to a coastal town (I can't remember where) and had their RV shipped to Newfoundland.  From there they traveled down through Canada, the USA, Mexico and into the Central American countries.
I Googled Andorra, because after our brief chat with the owner, I was a bit curious about a country that I'd never heard of before.  Below is the Wikipedia information:

Andorra - Officially the Principality of Andorra, also called the Principality of the alley of Andorra, is a landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France.  It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 181 square miles and an estimated population of 85,000 in 2012.  Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital in Europe, at an elevation of 3,356 ft above sea level.  The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese and French are also commonly spoken.

Created under a charter in A.D. 988, the present Principality was formed in A.D. 1278.  It is known a a principality as it is a monarchy headed by two Co-Princes - the Spanish/Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell and the President of France/President of the French Republic.

Andorra is a prosperous country mainly because of its tourism industry, which services and estimated 102 million visitors annually, and because of its status as a tax haven, although it is in the process of reforming its tax regime.  It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the de facto currency.  It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993.  The people of Andorra have the 3rd highest human life expectancy at birth in the world - 84 years.

The man went on to tell us that they'd be heading down to Panama, where they will be storing their RV and going back to Andorra this coming June.  Then returning to Panama to further their trip through South America.

I will readily say that it's a bit embarrassing to admit to a person that I've never heard of their country before.  But with me and Bill, we enjoy learning new things and with the internet's capabilities, it doesn't take too long to learn something new.

Who knows?  One of these days Andorra may be a place we will want to visit.

That's All For Today!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Saturday Night Live

Well....  not THE Saturday Night Live...  but our last Saturday night up here on the hill...  almost, but not quite in Ocotal... and about a mile or so from Coco.   I'm listening to Prairie Home Companion.  I tune in WOUB, my "local" station from Athens, Ohio.  I missed the whole first hour...  I forgot about Daylight Savings Time...  Costa Rica doesn't observe DST...  Ohio does.  Anyway...  I should have "turned it on" at 4pm...  didn't until 5pm.  Oh well....

Look what I got to hold...
This little lady was attacked by a big male monkey.  She was just a couple months old and gravely injured.  Mama was chased off by the male...  but baby was rescued.  Many stitches and a lot of rehab later, she is now nearly 6 months old.  She's already attracted a boyfriend, but he's probably a reject from a troupe and is looking for a companion.  He's too young to be sexually active and he's totally wild...  he hangs out high in the trees above the sanctuary and watches what goes on below.  Although the sanctuary's goal is that this little one returns to her natural life, it will be a sad day when she leaves.

I write that we are still "up on the hill"....
Here's Bill...  walking home from a trip to town.  I did not tilt the camera...  nor did I adjust the photo...  that's just how steep the hill is to get from the road up to our condo.  I stayed home that trip, so saw him heading home from our .... yard? driveway? gravel road?...  none of the above?  It's kind of hard to describe the front of our condo.

I've written a lot about the wildfires that we frequently see....  This is not a wildfire, but just the maintenance man getting rid of leaves and other debris from the trees....

This goes on all over town...  and along all the roads and lanes outside of town.  Usually they are watched and kept under control, but especially out in the more rural areas, they are started...  then walked away from.  The burned areas are actually very good fire breaks for more serious fires...  but if you're not used to them, it can feel kind of scary.  That stone retaining wall circles 3 sides of our unit of condos.  Those are cookie crumbs on the wall...  the magpie jays love anything they can carry off.

I saw the oddest thing yesterday morning....  two Ringed Kingfishers flew over as I was sitting outside having breakfast...  they landed in the tree about 50' or so up the hill from us.
We're not very close to any running water...  I have no idea what brought them this way.  But a 16" bird is hard to miss....  and at least one sat up there long enough for me to run in and get my camera.  Look at that huge head on that body!  And that massive bill...  yes, he's good at catching fish!

And so...  not only did I capture the Kingfisher...  but that Stripe-headed Sparrow came back...
Stayed around long enough for me to see exactly how he got his name.

We've been seeing the monkeys quite often...  they aren't as verbal in the mornings as they were a couple of months ago, but we've become familiar with the trees they are most likely to hang out in...
I am always thrilled to see them.  And you can just tell how thrilled they are to see me ;-)

Well, I've heard my hour of Prairie Home Companion..  next week this time we'll be back in Texas...  still in Central Time Zone, but in Daylight Savings Time...  so I may remember to tune in at the correct time.  But for now, it's
The End...

P.S.  We walked over to check on the baby goats this afternoon...  Mama and babies are all doing fine.  WhoooHooooo!

That's All For Today!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another Kind of Adventure

We are into our last few days here in Costa Rica, and Bill & I were checking out any adventures we'd still like to have before we leave.

There are all manner of things to do...  snorkel, scuba dive, zip line, tubing, horseback rides, hikes....  several national parks.....  the list goes on.   Several years ago when we were traveling on the Baja, we took an ATV tour and really loved it.  A tour company in Coco offers a couple of tours and we signed up for the Beach Tour.  

The tour company was supposed to pick us up by 9:30...  but, being on Tico Time, Diego arrived about 9:45.  It was about a half hour drive to the site where we'd meet Steven, our tour guide and get acquainted with our ATVs.  

 That's Greg and Francine, our neighbors, who joined us in this tour.

And here's Bill and me...
All geared up and ready to roll...
The first goggles that Steven gave me were so scratched and scuffed I'd never have been able to see a thing.  Francine's were equally unacceptable.  Steven didn't seem real happy about finding us decent goggles, and maybe that's what got us off to a bad start.

We opted for the Beach Tour...  and I'll quote from the brochure...

The Beach Tour rides through the hills, where you can appreciate beautiful landscape, there is a short stop, a breathtaking view where everybody can see the both sides of the bay and also enjoy wildlife such as monkeys, birds, sometimes coatis, iguanas, and why not little snakes.

So, off we head down the road.  
 Steven stays far ahead of us...  and drives in the middle of the road....  We are in this to see the landscape and don't try too hard to keep up.

Behind us...
Yep!  That's Greg and Francine.....

We do see some landscape...
farm and cattle land...

A herd of cattle being driven through town...

Some interesting architecture...  like this church.

We sort of caught a glimpse of that breathtaking view of the ocean...  but Steven didn't even slow down.

On to the beach views...
 We stopped at 2 beaches....  Playa Portrero and Playa Penca
The sands were white...  not the black sands of Ocotal and Coco
It all has to do with volcanic action.

We stopped at the beach for a break.  Greg asked Steven what the name of the resort across the bay is.  Steven didn't know.  (We looked on the map when we got home...  it's Flamingo Resort).  In fact, Steven didn't offer any information about the area at all.  He asked us if we wanted to go into the restaurant and buy a beer or a drink.  We didn't...  we'd brought our own.  And so we wandered around a bit then headed on.

After stopping a few minutes at the second beach, we headed back...  the same road we'd taken to get there.  Again, Steven was so far ahead, and was so busy talking on his cell phone, that he missed seeing the monkeys high in the trees.  If we didn't see monkeys so often, we would have just stopped and taken our time looking.  But by this time, I think we were all ready to head back.

Yes...  the landscape is beautiful...  and the beaches are great....

I don't think any of the four of us have regrets that we went, but I do think we would all have enjoyed it much more if our tour guide hadn't been sullen and such a jerk.

On the drive back to Coco, we told Diego how we felt.  He was sorry about the way it went, and seemed to appreciate the feedback.  

Steven didn't ruin the day for any of us...  we all saw a part of Costa Rica that we hadn't seen before...  and it is quite beautiful.
Now, just in case you're wondering...  we are usually generous tippers..  but, no, Steven didn't get a tip.

That's All For Today!

Friday, March 14, 2014

All About the Goats....

You may remember that we had considered volunteering at The Monkey Farm.  I had some second thoughts about that and we never did.  However, our neighbors, Francine an Greg volunteer there quite often and that has worked out well for them.  Yesterday, Vicki, the Farm owner, e-mailed Francine, telling her that the goat had delivered twins, but she didn't think things were going well.  Knowing that we had raised goats for many years she wondered if Bill & I would stop in and take a look.

Of course we would.  Last night didn't work out, so early this morning we gave Francine a call...  and around 7:30 the four of us headed off to the Farm.

This was the first time Mama Goat had been bred and she wasn't sure she liked being a Mom.  Not only that, but she is a first time mom with a set of twins to care for.  Often goats will throw only 1 kid the first year, and twins in the years after...  sometimes triplets.  Anyway, from what we could tell when we arrived there today, Vicki and her crew were doing quite well..  and with a little persuasion so are Buttercup and the twins.

The little buck had been doing poorly, and today, the remains of his scours (diarrhea) needed cleaned off him so he wouldn't get sores.  The volunteers had made sure that the kids got Buttercup's colostrum as their first feeding, and even though Buttercup wasn't cooperating, they milked her so she wouldn't get mastitis... and then fed the kids the milk from a bottle.  Vicki said the crew fed them every 2-3 hours throughout the night.

Keeping Buttercup's udder from getting too uncomfortable will be important in her allowing the kids to nurse.  I expected that someone would have to hold Buttercup to keep her still and keep her from kicking the kid away, and was surprised that she allowed me to hold her horns with one hand and put the little guy up to her teat with the other....  he knew instinctively what to do...  grabbed a hold and seemed to get some milk before Buttercup got too restless.

Francine....  holding the little doe
The volunteers are calling this one "Dora", because she's quite active and wanders around exploring everything.  You know...  Dora the Explorer

That's me...  holding the twins...
They've survived the first 24 hours...  the most critical time
They bear watching ...  that they're eating, that the diarrhea slacks off, and that they're mobile.  Buttercup's udder needs to be checked for signs of mastitis....  too hot, lopsided etc.....  

Vicki says the vets here in Costa Rica don't do well with goats ...  she'd asked about proper feeding etc.  Goats really don't eat any and everything.  They do like a lot of different things, and your favorite flower bed or young tree would be their first choice.  Vicki did worm Buttercup a couple of months ago, and that's good.

Vicki has access to the thrown out foods from 2 local groceries and a local bakery.  She feeds it to her pigs and chickens...  and I think Buttercup will be getting a treat as well...  maybe some veggies or fruit.  Just not too much.

When we left she was taking a nap...  and the twins were resting alongside her.  We hope the crisis is over and all is well.

That's All For Today!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

In Hot Water?

I don't think I've mentioned that we haven't had hot water for almost 2 weeks, have I?  I know darned well that I haven't because even thinking about it sets me off...  and who really wants to go on a rant in their last couple of weeks at a place?  
Of course we called our landlord...  and e-mailed him.  I won't go into all the excuses he made, but one of them was that he was in the hospital.  Kind of reminds me of those excuses like the dog ate the term paper...  you know.
Anyway, yesterday, Rudolpho, the guy who does whatever maintenance our landlord deems necessary, came by...  told us that Robert didn't have the money to fix the water heater...  as well as not having the money to pay him (Rudolpho)...  
To shorten this story up a bit...  we invited Rudolpho in... we'd already had dinner, but had plenty of leftovers (pizza)...  and... Rudolpho always likes a cup of coffee....  so he hung out a while with us and showed us pictures of his kids and his grandmother (who is 100 years old) and other family photos.

Rudolpho has a pretty good use of English, but the language barrier is still there.  The really neat thing about him is that he has the patience to listen to my butchered Spanish... and gently correct it.  

Rudolpho stayed the night in the condo next door....  the one that houses the hot water heater AND the modem for our internet.  Today, he and his brother fixed the hot water heater so it produces hot water again.  Not sure how...  don't know where they got the parts....  didn't see them when they left.

But, this afternoon, for the first time in nearly 2 weeks I got a HOT shower!  Not that I haven't had a shower every day, but using only the water as it is.  Okay...  before you think icy cold shower, keep in mind that the vessel that holds our water is up on the roof...  and the sunshine beats down on it...  so......  by late afternoon each day, the water is ...well, maybe luke warm at the most.  Not nearly warm enough for me.... but...  you takes what you gets.....

Just because I want to...
I'll show you another shot I got of the White-lored Gnatcatcher today....
While not especially good, this one does show the black head and the pattern over his eye.

I'm starting to think about plans for when we return to the States...  Al, of the Bayfield Bunch has me wanting to make a trip to Trader Joes.  And that's just the beginning of my list!  
But...  for now...

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Another New Bird

But...  another bad photo...
White-lored Gnatcatcher

We'd been seeing this little guy (4") flit around high in the trees just outside our condo.  It's kind of funny how a person draws on their memories to identify a critter.  Bill immediately thought ... "blue-gray gnatcatcher".  Color's not quite right, but mannerisms are similar.  Then we have to remember where we're at...  so we haul out our trusty field guide...

While we have several bird books of Costa Rica, Mexico and Central America, this is the only one we brought with us.

Found that the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher isn't in Costa Rica...  but, the White-lored and the Tropical Gnatcatchers are both here.  A close look at the drawing in the field guide shows that the White-lored has an entirely black head...  while the Tropical has a white area above its eye.  Then, of course, since plumage changes in some birds during breeding season, that has to be checked out as well.

It's always fun to see a "new" bird.  Often, long before we arrive at our new destination, we'll have pored over the field guides just to try to become familiar with what we might see.  Even with our travels across the USA, we have to remember that many birds we see in Maine will never be seen in the Utah desert.  

Of course there's always the exceptions....  one year about a dozen American Avocets flew into the little lake down the road from where I lived in SE Ohio.  They caused a HUGE sensation among birders...  seems some storm blew them off course and there they were.

But...  back to the White-lored Gnatcatcher...  I hope I get another chance to get a decent photo of it.  You can bet I'll be out there trying.

That's All For Today!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Nothing different here...  didn't walk to town...  took only one picture during the day...
The Magpie jays came along for whatever we had to offer...  the wind picked up his long tail feathers...
And so..  for a "nothing" day....
That's the End

That's All For Today!