The 1970’s-80’s quintessential off-road vehicle of Costa Rica – the Toyota Land Cruiser J40 series. 4×4, diesel, 4 cylinder work horse that can crawl up any mountain and scramble across the most gnarly streams. The farmer who has one of these in his shed can hold his head high and talk about the old days with authority. Don’t be lookin’ for automatic transmissions or push button windows or air conditioning.
I remember one Sunday morning we were in the mountains, driving around the countryside and drove by a little country church. The parking lot was full of every kind you could think of – 2 door standard, 2 door pickup, “half-box” (a 2 door standard with the back section open), 4 door standard, 4 door extended and I’m sure there are a couple of models I missed. Most of these J40’s are still in amazing condition, shiny and humming like the classic cars that they are. Of course, sometimes you see one that is a little beat-up and muddy with a bent fender and dings here and there. Generally, it means the owner is working so hard and busy helping his neighbor that he doesn’t have time in the evening to wash and polish.
Every year, in our little town there is a Toyota Land Cruiser parade. Yep, it can last for over an hour and is just Land Cruisers filled with proud families circling round the blocks and gathering together at the coffee co-op to spin yarns, drink coffee and enjoy the afternoon with friends. Sometimes I wish I could buy one. But it just wouldn’t be the same. You can’t buy history, you can’t buy the 50 years of memories, you can’t buy the spirit. But, I look forward to seeing them as I walk around town, peaking inside to see the firm leather seats, the 4x shifter, the old radio, and keepsake trinkets hanging here and there. Don. 29 April 2023
We had to re-build our greenhouse this year. The wind during the change of season devastated the big greenhouse. It was probably time to re-do the plastic in any case, but we always like to get another year. This year we are trying something new – a black mesh covering rather than the clear plastic. I wish we could use something like banana leaves, but we haven’t figured that one out yet. Anyway, our gardener uses the black mesh for his orchid garden and suggested we give it a try. Apparently, it doesn’t get so extremely hot and the mesh gives you some automatic watering during the rainy season (hopefully not too much water).
Also, we had all the exterior trim on both houses sanded and painted. It is difficult to get kilned-dried wood in Costa Rica and the first finish was a clear coat that probably could have use more coats. It held up pretty well though considering is was done 8-9 years ago. Wow! hard to believe that we have been on this property for 10 years. Better start looking at re-painting inside and out.
Guess this is just the year for change. We replaced the gas stoves and the gas hot water heater with electric. Nathan began needed supplemental oxygen and it seemed prudent to not have open flames in the area. In addition, we are in the process of updating the furniture in the cottage. Zeydi found a really cool and simple sofa that converts to a recliner or a bed. Now we just have to find matching chairs!
And the final straw – looks like it is time to replace the gate to the creek. Don made that a few years back (two or three at the most) but looks like the wood needed a heavier coating (again with the more coats). The bottom is completely rotted away. Looks like a project that needs to be completed before the rainy season starts up.
This week we visited Lankester Gardens with our friends Tony & Francis. It is a wonderland of beautiful plants. They have sections for orchids, succulents & cacti, a Japanese garden, bamboo, and more. Broad, paved pathways, waterfalls and pools with large colorful koi made for a delightful day full of “Oh, look at this” and “That’s incredible”. Afterwards, Tony took us for a scenic drive up the mountain roads to the restaurant Bocadito del Cielo. Great food, fantastic views, and they have an EV charging station.
Since the last time I wrote on my blog, my family here in Costa Rica has gone through what is by far the hardest experience we could endure, the loss of my son, the loss of my daughter-in-law’s husband, the loss of my grandson’s father. Many people have come up to me and expressed that there are no words to befittingly say how they feel. And it is the truest statement that I can find as well. There are no words, after all, to express 35 years of loving your son, to get in touch with all the times we have had together, whether they be life threatening open heart surgeries, or the joy of watching him play soccer, meeting his first girlfriend, being there when he graduated from high school, being with him when he got married, sharing in the births of his two sons, the grief in the death of his firstborn but the on going joy of his second born. Watching him as his health became so compromised with epilepsy and me feeling so helpless. Through it all he was always hopeful, sometimes frustrated but it didn’t stop him from trying. Throughout his life he was able to bounce back from all his hardships and keep on living what was for me a wonderful example of resilience.
The raining season is beginning to pick up. Everything is turning colorful and fragrant. The coffee plants and flowers everywhere are blooming, the bees are buzzing, the creek is bubbling – you get the picture. Actually here are some pictures . . . .
The rainy season is very pleasant. Usually sunny mornings with rain in the afternoons, four or five times a week.
Hi, this is Don, sitting in for Stephanie today. She spent the afternoon in the dentist chair having four root canal teeth removed. She is resting peacefully and I am keeping busy on the computer. I am sure there is some controversy regarding root canals and health, but Stephanie read an interesting book that convinced her that it was worth the suffering to find out. I don’t have the book here, she gave it back to the dentist that loaned it to her. In any case, a little search on the internet makes it clear that there are contradictory views.
The point is, it made sense to her and she is determined to do everything she can to be as healthy as she can. The whole food, plant based lifestyle has done a lot to improve her health and hopefully mine. I’ve always been pretty healthy, so it is had for me to tell. I have to say I feel great! I enjoy our life together, wake up with a song in my heart and go to bed grateful for another day with Stephanie.
Guess that is it for now. More later when Stephanie has fully recovered and is chopping on carrots and kale. Don
So the other day I made roasted cauliflower steaks, and boy did they come out good!! simple as you can get and it also presents well on the plate. You just slice down the middle of the cauliflower and slice again make them about an inch thick. get as many out of the center as you can. I used the rest to make Greek couscous salad.
Place them on a cookie sheet with paper so they don’t stick, or use silicone mats. season with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, oregano. you can vary the spices as you like or just to have another way to serve this. Roast about 1 hour, turn over for another 5-10 minutes and DONE. They look amazing on a plate . I made a sauce to go with this but you don’t need to. I used a handful of cashews, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper and vege broth. I wanted a thick sauce so I didn’t used a lot of broth. YUM!
The couscous is very simple too. Rice the cauliflower, add green olives, red bell peppers, onion, lemon juice and salt and pepper for a tasty salad. It just isn’t hard to eat this way, no matter what other people may say. Find a few great recipes and voila you are off to a great start eating a whole food plant-based diet.
As I sit here this morning and listen to the sweet sounds of the birds, I am reminded of the imagery used in some of the writings, such as, “The birds of the hearts of those who are devoted to thee”. I understand this as the sentiments in our hearts are carried by the birds toward our Lord. This is jut a small example of the imagery used by Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. These writings are so full of sweetness as to make your heart just melt with love, the love that they are imparting to us and our love that their love engenders toward God.
I love my husband but I don’t just sit here and look at him admiringly, although at times I do, LOL. I also show him that love by providing service to his welfare. In the same way ,our love for God will naturally pour out towards our fellowman in ways of service towards mankind, creating love and harmony in the world.
Okay so now the dust hasn’t settled quite yet but I’m sure there are those out there who are already regretting the food they ate over this holiday season, am I right? While I haven’t been perfect I have stayed relatively eating within my whole food plant based eating. Yes, I had a little too much sugar, but no oil! I say no oil but actually it is avocado season here and they are so tempting. But I think the real problem is just eating too much food. I have also been running little experiments like eating like a nutritarian at one meal and like a starch eater a the next meal, this experiment failed, sad to say. I thought I was really on to something. I’m having a hard time getting nuts and seeds in my diet in a way that doesn’t effect the scale. I haven’t found that way yet and I have decided to quit trying until I am at my goal weight. I’m almost there just have to get a little further down on the scale. Following the McDougal plan has been the most fabulous way of eating and is also how I have lost over 100 pounds. The next big hurtle is the exercise. I do the walking but I need more strengthening of the core. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do this because I think I actually may have a small hernia. I am hoping to find a natural cure for the hernia, I don’t want to have surgery. Anyone have any ideas? So many issues !!!! But as you can see it can keep a person quite busy.
As the days draw closer and closer to Christmas our grandkids get more and more excited. You can just hear their prayers “no clothes PLEASE!!!” They make a point to tell me what they are interested in on the internet, in stores or just talking together. Oh the joy of having little ones around. I used to worry that I wasn’t getting my boys what they would like or not enough ,on and on, but now I am free of that worry. Interesting how things change over time. I’m glad to be free from the chaos and turmoil of both the Christmas season rush and the thoughts and emotions this brings for me.
Now , it is more a time to contemplate the past year and the coming year. As I think about this, I realize that it is all about each moment and how can one plan for each moment , so it becomes about who I am more than what I do. Of course, my actions are critical because you can’t be one way and act another and be authentic. So to become more of whatever virtue I may choose to work on I must align myself with that virtue. I think about what that looks like and how it will play out and touch on everything around it. An example of what I am talking about is: say I want to be more loving. Well ,I could not talk about others when they are not present and still consider myself loving. Another example, say I want to be more generous. Well I would have to be accepting of others way of thinking on a subject not just my own way.
So for now I think instead of saying “how are you” ,I will say, “how are you being today!”