Old Friend, Special Memories

After an afternoon in a field, hanging out under the trees with a horse I haven’t seen in a year, I’m gratified and grateful today. Gratified that spending time building a relationship can make such a difference in a horse’s life and grateful that I was chosen and trusted by this criollo (grade) mountain pony.

Princesa at the gateWhen I first met Princesa (Princess) over 3 years ago she was shy, lacked confidence, distrusted humans, and was quick to shut down when faced with pressure or uncertainty. This time, not only did my special friend remember me, she greeted me with a resounding whinny.
I’d gone down into one of the pastures looking for the horses and not far down the lane saw them in the next pasture over. “Princesa! How is my lovely?” I called out. She answered immediately and rushed to meet me at the gate. Continue reading

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Findus Finds a Lap

It just makes sense that when you’ve been soaking up the sun and the sun begins to set, you’ll need to find another warm spot to continue your nap. For Findus, it’s off the balcony ledge, onto the arm of the chair. From there it’s not far to find a warm lap to nap on, whether you’re invited or not. After all, who doesn’t love a cat purring on their lap?

Pura vida, baby!

Grey-necked Wood-rail

We are blessed with this beautiful ground bird on Finca Las Alturas.  Although many consider this a doubled edged blessing, especially at dawn when they chat (or should I say yell at the top of their lungs) back and forth amongst themselves.  They are very alert to danger, probably because they can barely gain enough speed running to lift up and over a stump.  Being so vulnerable on the ground, you’d wonder why they make their presence so obvious.  However, they must know that when they are “singing” nothing else in the world is awake yet.

Living mainly down by the pool and lake, our Wood-rails gorge on tadpoles, bugs and whatever else they can find under the fallen leaves.  This particular Wood-rail has ventured up to the house and has discovered bits of rice and veggies escaping from our broken sink drain.  Nothing goes to waste on this farm.

Costa Rican Gardener

Living here on Finca Las Alturas in Costa Rica allows you to garden to your heart’s content.  However, just beware, everything grows 24/7!  Keeping this in mind, having assistance of any kind is wonderful!

Now that we have our house garden all organic and boosting its nutrient level with a pulverized volcanic rock fertilizer,  guests and horses alike find the produce from our garden to be wonderfully delicious.

Fresh, Homemade Kefir Cheese

Patsy is an excellent cook, always experimenting with different flavours and trying new things. Recently she’s begun culturing kefir, a highly probiotic fermented milk, which she makes using the fresh, unpasteurized milk we drink straight from the cows on the property. (Well, it’s put in bottles first.) Kefir is similar to a thin yogurt, very good for you, and can be used like buttermilk or yogurt in cooking and baking. It can also be drunk straight up.

Patsy already makes mozzarella and something akin to spreadable feta, so when I stumbled on a recipe for kefir cheese she was all over it. The first step in making the cheese is to drain the whey from the curd.

making kefir cheese

That leaves…

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Whey

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No whey!

After mixing up a variety of flavours using spices and fresh herbs we let them sit for several hours to absorb the flavours. Later that afternoon, it was time for taste testing!

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My personal favourite was the fresh garlic and basil version. Yum!

(In the photo above the white stuff in the jar is kefir curds, culturing in some fresh, unpasteurized milk.)

The Newest Addition

The newest addition to the farm is a sweet little fellow named Ad. He was a surprise new resident, rescued during Trainer Isa’s ride to a nearby lookout to see the sunset one evening. Right from the start he was at home with the horses, making that first journey home in Isa’s lap, atop Houdini.

Ad has been an instant hit, snuggling right in.

Kitten snuggles like a baby

The horses have mixed reviews, from concern to curiosity to boredom. Princesa is rather unconcerned.

Kitten meets horse