Farm Visit Today

I was going to avoid all tours but decided the two I did today would not be that popular and not so many people and that was true! My early morning pre-breakfast bird hike was just me and a masked young couple from Europe, he from France and she from Germany plus our local guide Jose. (more on it later) Then at 9 Jose also led the farm tour with just me and a nice lady from Germany and her daughter 11 or 12ish. They were of course masked and her Dad was not interested in the tour. 🙂

A weird-looking Katydid on the farm!

Below is a slide show from the farm tour today with pix not in chronological order . . .

Continue reading “Farm Visit Today”

What to do with gift bananas?

My gardeners made a special trip over today with three new plants to freshen up three pots, two outside and one inside. I may show them later, but after completing the job they gifted me with a bunch of bananas (probably from one of the yards they service) and I had just bought some yesterday! So – extra bananas!

I keep them in the frig because earlier I had bats eating my bananas in a fruit bowl on the counter, so they will keep – but I still need to eat them more frequently this week. Thus I had a banana split after my spaghetti dinner tonight! Small dips of different kinds of ice cream: Fig, Rum-Raisin, and Chocolate Mint with chocolate syrup and two cherries on top! Betcha you never had that combination! Pretty good!   🙂

Yeah, in Central American Banana Republics we eat a lot of those!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

Read The Washington Post stories that won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize   Especially the one explaining climate change!

 

La Pitahaya or Dragon Fruit / Pitaya

“Pitahaya” is not a Spanish word but rather a word from the indigenous people of Costa Rica and what everyone calls this unusual fruit or flower growing on a cactus plant. It is used most popularly in bebidas or fruit drinks like American Smoothies and the fruit is called “Dragon Fruit” or “Pitaya” in the states. The inside is gelatin like and pink in color with tiny black seeds and very sweet.

The photo is of one David brought to Spanish class the other day and I thought I would share another one of out unusual foods here in Costa Rica (and all over Latin America and in Asia). Read about it on Wikipedia (en español) or  in English as pitaya/dragon fruit.

¡Pura Vida!

Los Paleteros – Fresh Fruit Popsicles

A new business in Atenas is quite popular, especially with young adults.
Fresh tropical fruit juices/smoothies frozen on a stick. Some with ice cream filling
Atenas, Costa Rica

I had the green one on the right, Cas/Mora, Cas fruit (CR Guava) with Blackberry filling –  Tart but Yum!
Atenas, Costa Rica


¡Pura Vida!

Rotting Fruit a Common Sight

Star Fruit rotting along the sidewalk as I walk to town.
This expensive fruit in the states is not popular here & often not harvested.
But Mangoes have piled up and rotted even more, and they are loved here.

Costa Rica Fresh Fruit!

On Feria Day (Farmers’ Market Day) I process some of the fruit purchased . . .

. . . and then have a fruit plate for lunch!  🙂

I cut up half or more of the mango, pineapple and papaya into little squares and put in zip lock bags in the freezer to use in my fresh fruit frescos, refrescos de frutas, batidos, jugo de naturales or just smoothies for people from the states. And there are a lot of other names for drinks made from fresh fruit, plus a rice, cinnamon, and milk drink call horchata or an even better version with vanilla ice cream called leche muella. Fruit rules in Costa Rica!

Images, Descriptions & Uses of The Tropical Fruits of Costa Rica  NEAT PAGE!
Probably at least one fruit here you have never heard of! And sorry, but I have not tried all of them yet! And this list is not all of the fruits found here. 

When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.
~Vietnamese saying

My Health Improves in Costa Rica!

At my target weight now!
First time in 30+ years!

After 6 months in Costa Rica I decided to buy bathroom scales for fear I was gaining weight instead of losing or staying at a healthy level. After all, I have been eating a lot here and learned that Ticos have a sweet tooth like me. Who can resist Tres Leches or Coconut Flan? So at the Alajuela Walmart I got a nice looking glass scales similar to what I had in Nashville. I bring it home and weigh for a pleasant surprise! I am averaging between 173-175 which is what the charts say I should weigh for my height, etc. 173-175. In the morning I am closer to 173 and by night closer to 175. I tried to reach that in the states all of 2014 but usually stayed between 180-185, which was better than the 200 pounds the year before!

One of my favorite dinners is a green salad with Avocado
slices (a whole one this time but sometimes a half), a big 
glass of water and a fruit fresca made from pulp concentrate
this time, but sometimes fresh fruit in blender – yummy! 
And sometime I add a dash of bottled Sangria or 7up. Salad is
seasoned with fresh-squeezed limon and herbal seasoning in 
that little shaker bottle at top. 1 slice of whole grain toast and 
a little guava marmalade for the last bits of toast not finished
with the salad. Reasonable dessert! Some days I have saltine
crackers with either salad or soup. I do cook chicken, fish, and 
some pork with vegetables and/or salad. Eating out less now.
I’m doing okay with homemade veggie soup and gallo pinto
a special Costa Rican seasoned beans and rice, and I’ve always
done great scrambled eggs as a messed up omelet!  🙂 And 
unless after dark, I eat all meals outside on my balcony. 
Which I think is also a healthy addition to my life! And that
black book is my Kindle Fire, my companion for most
meals! I’ve read more than 20 books in 6 months!  

To what do I contribute this? The same two things most people do, eating and exercise. I eat more fresh fruits an vegetables here than I did in Nashville, even living for 10 years across the street from Nashville Farmers’ Market. We have no American fast food restaurants in Atenas! Nada! Now, I can get a burger, pizza, or fried chicken from some Tico restaurants, but rarely do; only pizza or a good hamburguesa. I haven’t had fried chicken in many years! Don’t like it anymore, though popular here, especially with the young. I’m also learning to eat more sensible sized portions most of the time though some restaurants don’t help there, but now I’m eating at home more and that helps.

The best thing to happen to me exercise-wise was to decide not to buy a car, though the temptation pops up every once-in-a-while. I walk almost everywhere in town and when I take a bus to San Jose or Alajuela I walk most places when I get there. I’m averaging 3 to 6 miles every day. Part of the key there is “every day.” If I get a large order of groceries, then I take it back by taxi for about $2, but I’m learning to grocery shop little at a time every-other day which gives me more exercise as I can carry smaller loads and I have fresher stuff!

Walking 3 to 6 miles every day is maybe the healthiest thing
I do or at least equal with eating better. And yes I mostly walk
in sandals, but sometimes tennis shoes. My dress shoes may 
never get worn here! Tennis shoes are hot and sweaty! That
leads to athlete’s foot, so sandals better in the tropics for me, 
except for some hiking and even some yard work.   

I am still debating a bicycle which would be quicker than walking and still be good exercise. The two negatives are the one big “killer hill” between Roca Verde and downtown AND the narrow streets with sometimes sloppy drivers of cars. It could be dangerous! Peligroso! So I keep walking!   And probably will not get a bike.

OTHER HEALTH FACTORS:

  1. I have Costa Rican Private Health Insurance and got to cancel that expensive U.S. Medigap insurance. A big savings!
  2. I have a private practice doctor who speaks good English. (Sorry! Meant to get a photo of her office with an ambulance out front. Her assistant is an EMT, so they can come get me if they need too!)  🙂 I have heard that most of the government doctors speak English too when I eventually go on that program next year. But hope I’m speaking Spanish by then!
  3. Hospitals are all highly rated throughout Costa Rica at half the U.S. prices! Everything from heart surgery to cancer treatment is done here with great competence. I feel secure.
  4. Few weather extremes in our Atenas “perfect climate” which contributes to good health.
  5. Less stress than in the States and not having a car helps with that even more!  🙂 Actually, driving here is the most stressful activity I have done and it can be as stressful as in the states, though maybe people get used to it. Well, opening a bank account was a little stressful, but I’m getting used to bureaucratic paperwork now and to just “go with the flow!”
  6. Surrounded by nature. My cure for everything!  🙂
  7. A relaxed, laid-back culture helps one to slow down and “go with the flow.”
  8. I have slowly tapered myself off the drugs U.S. doctors gave me, first to sleep at night, I’m now using simple, healthy herbs to help with sleep. I get that from one of the local Macrobioticas or health-food (supplements) stores here. Feeling better and sleeping as good! Also stopped all the allergy meds and doing fine without them! (Sorry! Meant to get a photo of my favorite Macrobiotica at the Central Market.)
  9. But eating healthier and walking a lot are still the main reasons for my better health here. I turn 75 Saturday and expect to live a whole lot longer here!  🙂

SOMETHING NEW: I’m finding it harder to write without using some Spanish (or Costa Rican) words. So you will know, I am going to try and put all Spanish (Costa Rican) words in red. Tell me if that is distracting or helpful. 

Cashew Fruit

Cashew Fruit is ripening on trees around Atenas now.
Photographed from my balcony, Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

This shot was made from about 50 meters away on a tree in a neighbor’s yard, shot from my balcony! The fruit reminds you of a red or yellow (come in both colors) bell pepper except for the seed or nut that hangs below it. Only one nut per fruit. No wonder cashews are somewhat expensive. Read about them in this Wikipedia article. New uses for the fruit itself are being developed, including one by Pepsi Cola. It is not a major export from Costa Rica. They grow in most tropical climes and we even had them in The Gambia. Most of what you get in the states probably come from India, Indonesia or Nigeria, where they are big exports. We stick with exporting bananas, pineapples, and coffee here! 

Kevin and Motmot Arrive in Atenas!

Kevin Hunter arrived today for his visit and brought good luck to my birding at the apartments. We went down to the river to see waterfall and howler monkeys and found a Blue-crowned Motmot, my first at the apartments! Thanks Kevin!

Blue-crowned Motmot
Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

Blue-crowned Motmot
Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

Kevin works on an email under the watchful eye of
My Apartment Nude

Kevin had a safe and uneventful trip to Costa Rica with his flight arriving 30 minutes early, but I checked online and knew and was there early to welcome him. We had a Tico lunch at La Carreta, walked around the central park and beautiful catholic church and he went with me for some business at ICE concerning my cell phone. Then to the apartments, settling in, going down to river to see the Mantled Howler Monkeys and the Blue-crowned Motmot. Then back up the hill to watch two Social Flycatchers chase a cat away from the tree they nest in. Then I served a tropical fruit plate for a lighter dinner with Robbie’s oatmeal cookies and some banana bread I got from an Atenas bakery. Then we both hit the computers.

The Social Flycatcher that chased the house cat in our front yard
Hacienda La Jacaranda, Atenas, Costa Rica

Trodden Under Foot

I walk everywhere in Atenas and mostly in shorts and sandals on rough or no sidewalk.
And recently upon fallen fruit.

I have been recently intrigued by how many tropical fruits fall from the trees on the local sidewalks and streets to be “trodden under foot of men” and cars or eaten by animals. Some of these are expensive to buy, especially in the states. Here are a few shots with my phone camera recently. Some fruit is not in season yet and other not planted along the roads/streets or there would be more.

Star Fruit or Carambola

Guava

Guanabana

Mango

Baby green mango in Central Park Atenas

Star Apple or Cainito

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Matthew 5:13 KJV

Maybe I’m not suppose to use scripture like this, but this verse came to my mind when I kept seeing all the fruit being walked upon.  🙂   But then maybe there is a lesson about letting our fruits of the Spirit go to waste? Or has our saltiness lost its savor and being trod upon like this fruit? Or maybe it is our fruits of the spirit that is the salt of the earth and we will share our fruit rather than let it drop out of sight? A “Do it yourself” devotional thought in this!