Saturday, January 11, 2014

R.I.P 2013 and Welcome 2014!

Although we are not sad to have 2013 behind us, looking back we realize that we really did accomplish a lot!  Electricity and water were successfully brought to our property and our plans, after numerous changes trying to make our "dream ideas" fit our budget, we are finally ready to have blueprints drawn.  After many trials, we have decided on an Architect/Engineer to build our home that speaks English and comes highly recommended.  He is also very likable!!  Our Coffee Finca is doing well after our first year of working with Roberto to improve existing coffee, plant new coffee and remove overgrowth and debris to make moving through the coffee easier while picking.  The first picking is complete and we are now working on our second go through which is much more exciting.  At this picking, the ripe coffee is more abundant and easier to pick and we are therefore bringing more coffee to the recibidor! With one more picking to go we will probably break even this year!  Coffee is a very labor intensive and expensive crop to grow and harvest so, enjoy your coffee!!

With the purchase of a sewing machine, our little casa is feeling a little more homey!  To date I have covered pillows, tables, stools and just about anything else that will stand still with a quilt.  I have actually had one student who finished a small quilt and I too have finished a number of small quilts!!  It has also come in handy for minor repairs and keeping me sane!!

Christmas was quiet and we enjoyed Skyping with family and friends.  We were also gifted with Tamales from many of our Costa Rican friends and have enjoyed each person's individual style of Tamale.  We had a few decorations inside and a wreath of cedar branches outside which was repeatedly torn apart by the neighborhood dogs!!

New Year's Eve was spent with friends and the experience of making Chicharones and eating Pizza.  

Errol on the front porch watching the Chicharones cook, or at least standing near by!  Cooking on the front porch made clean up very easy and made watching and participating in the process fun for all.

Angie was the one in charge of the Chicharones and did a wonderful job. Don has always loved Chicarones, however, I was a bit of a skeptic!  Angie's Chicherones were delicious and even I enjoyed them!!

While waiting for the Pizza and Chicharones to be ready to eat Jose and Gilberto snacked and kept us entertained.  Sorry for the poor lighting but it is typical for here.  What made it worse was that our flash was being temperamental!!

Jose is curious and wanted to know every step I made to create Pizza and I was very grateful for our new oven!

Dinner is finally ready and we all dug in!  A little beer and wine, chicharones, pizza, vegetables, chips and salsa!  Unfortunately, the setup here is not the best for having guests for dinner but all went well and no one went hungry!


Once we were all tired of eating, Errol brought out the surprise entertainment!  With the help of Jose and Gilberto the "Balloon" was put together and made ready to launch.  The "Balloon" consists of a large oval shaped red "fabric" balloon with two wires crossing at the bottom.  Where the two wires meet in the center, a combustible square of something (no idea) sits and gets lit.

Here Errol is attaching the wires and the combustible square readying the "Balloon" for flight!

The fire is lit and we are waiting for the balloon to fill with air!  We all helped!

Almost ready!

Here you can see the flame as we are ready to launch the "Balloon" out our living room window!!

It won't be long now!

She's getting full and about to be let go!

There she goes!!

Futher, and

futher, and

further away!  It sailed off into the night glowing beautifully and finally disappeared!  We launched three and each one was just as beautiful and as much fun!  They passed over our finca and we wondered where they ended up.  To date we have had no reports of strange red balloons landing!  Thanks Angie, Errol, Gilberto and Jose for making your New Year such a great experience!

The food is eaten, drinks consumed, balloons launched and it still seems like midnight is a long ways away!!  We survived until about 11:00 and then our guests headed home and we cleaned up and went to bed!!  Happy New Year everyone!!

We tried to get some group shots, however, as I mentioned earlier the flash wasn't cooperating.  Here in a bit of a blur and funny light are Angie, Sharon, Jose and Don!