Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our new boy has arrived, he is a Swiss Pardo bull with the sweetest face you have ever seen. He is 18 months old and will join the Brahman girls in their pastures this week.

Good news today, our missing cow has been found in a neighboring town. She went on a very long walk over the last two weeks. I am relieved that she is not being served up for dinner.
We just returned home from the gorgeous Vista del Valle in Naranjo de Rosario, Costa Rica; where we attended their International Community Event this past Saturday. The marlin ceviche was the best I have ever had and apparently others agreed because the Bungee Bar ceviche sold out lickity split. The hot dogs were hot, the pork chicharonnes cooked to perfection and very meaty, the elephant ear pastries wonderful, the arroz con leche was delicious, the corn on the cob buttery, sweet and tender, and because I am a foodie I tried to share one of everything with my husband as we did not want to miss something delicious.

We bought a beautiful bracelet, a watercolor painting (wow they have some real talent in their neighborhood), painted gourds that are very beautiful, handmade paper cards with dried flowers, a pen that is a hand sculpted lizard, handmade baskets and a handmade pipe that was so cute we bought it even though we don't smoke. I am going to look over my loot and see what else I came home with. I love fairs, arts and crafts shows.

We did come home with wonderful memories and new friends that we met at Vista del Valle. The staff is always warm and friendly. The food in the restaurant is perfect. I had Mahi Mahi last night that was to die for and the day before a cream of pumpkin soup that I can still taste and would love to have another bowl of right now. If you missed this event, you will not want to miss the next one. We live about 3 1/2 hours away, traveling is difficult for us because there is so much going on at our finca and, we must spend a night or two when making trips. This was a duel purpose trip as we bought a bull for our herd the following day.

The accommodations are lovely and we stayed in one of the very uniquely designed condominiums surrounded by lush gardens throughout. I met two women, one from Holland and another from Germany who had just returned from a garden tour that they paid to see. They said the gardens at Vista del Valle were far more beautiful, with better presentation, and in retrospect they wasted their money on that tour. They are right, the gardens and winding pathways are very beautiful with diverse tropical plants and flowers, even a waterfall and all with wonderful happy singing birds, wildlife and this morning a raccoon family with babies entertained us by picking banana's from a tree while we sipped our cappuccino.

Some folks have built beautiful homes at the resort and live on premise. We met several owners from California and Seattle while dining at breakfast and dinner in the new restaurant. Jonana and Mike Bresnan, the proprietors, have more staff than rooms, which results in personal service that goes the extra distance to make everyone feel really special.

The 7th of July event was very special, the village residents and staff were so proud that they were featured. They sang, danced, played keyboard, painted the faces of very happy children, sold their art, ate, drank and equally enjoyed the tourist from all over the world as well as the extrajero residents of Costa Rica. The Mayor attended, even the police who just showed up to join the festivities had a great time. You could tell by the smiling faces and body language that everyone involved was enjoying their day. It was what I hope will be the first of many multicultural events to be held at Vista del Valle. Coming together as a community of all people is part of why we moved to Costa Rica. Thanks Jonana and Mike for hosting this wonderful and beautiful event.
We stopped in at my local furniture maker yesterday. I have wanted to have four stools in the kitchen so we could eat lunch at the island, or for when I am spending many hours preparing gourmet meals. The furniture factory is a one man operation with a helper who was hand sanding a piece of wood. He has many American furniture catalogs including the Pottery Barn for you to look at and he will build everything custom the way you want it. We gave him a $20.00 deposit (about 10mil colones), discussed the height and left knowing we would receive our beautiful stools as ordered, later this week.

I love platform beds and he had several he was working on for another customer. How lucky am I to be able to order custom furniture at affordable prices in my town. I have seen various pieces of furniture on the dock space of this shop since I have been here. No it is not an inviting place, not even a sign. He does not even have floor samples for you to view, apparently he does not need to as he is well known and stays busy by word of mouth. He also restores old doors that most of us would just toss out. His work is that of a fine craftsman.

They rarely throw anything away here, including old umbrellas and shoes. You have them repaired, resoled, fixed, and they are good for another life. Perhaps they will even last longer the second time around.

We see cars and trucks on the road that have not been made since the 50’s. Datson, now known at Nisson should be proud to see some of their antiques still running with the best of them under some really bad road conditions. Many are in amazingly beautiful condition despite their vintage.

This is a tomato tree that grows at the Pura Vida Hotel. It is a vine that produces hundreds of tomatos all year long. The house dogs love to eat the tomatos when they drop off. I was holding a tomato in my hand and in an unanounced instant the dog snatched it from me.

We stayed at the Pura Vida Hotel in San Jose www.puravidahotel.com just 15 minutes from the airport a few weeks ago. Bernie and Nhi are wonderful hosts. Berni is a well read Costa Rican history scholar and his lovely wife Nhi is an excellent chef and hostess. Her cooking skill are praised by all who stay at their lovely hotel.
Nhi presents the most beautiful platters of regional fresh fruit and fresh squeezed orange and pineapple juice to start the day.

I love this face.

Our cows have arrived to have a happy life at our Rainforest farm. These are my favorites, Brahama girls. I love those big floppy rabbit ears and their silvery white coloring. One cow escaped by crashing through a fence. We have located her a week later but the ranch hands still have not captured her.