Busy Day at the Farm

Today was a busy day with the horses at Finca Las Alturas. First I had to go find them. It’s said that Costa Rica has 6 directions, the usual north, south, east and west, plus up and down. And you’re always doing one or the other of the last two. I finally found the herd at the bottom of pasture two, which meant we had to climb back up to the top of pasture two, then down into pasture one and back up again, then up into the main property. Let me just say, it was a very hot and sweaty trip.

The shed far in the distance is at the top of pasture one.

The shed in the distance is at the top of pasture one.

My first goal of the day was to trim Brownie’s mane. That girl has the thickest mane I have ever encountered. If it weren’t for her colour and where she’s located, you’d think she had some Norwegian Fjord in her. Continue reading

Grooming at Liberty

I had an amazing day today. Patsy, Heather and I went down to the pasture to go for a walk. The horses were all there at the gate as if waiting for us and were more than happy to indulge us in our offer of hand-grooming at liberty.

I’ve never liked grooming with a horse in cross ties, which is commonly done throughout the world. I especially don’t like that it prevents them from having a normal range of motion with their head and from expressing an opinion about where or how they are being touched. Grooming at liberty is one big step up from grooming  loosely tied, as it shows just where your relationship is with your horse. If they don’t want it, they can leave. And as you can tell, this herd was more than happy to stay.

We had such a beautiful, peaceful time sharing space and affection with this wonderful herd.


A Day of Finding Nests

Today has been the day for spotting nests. Everywhere I look I seem to see another one and each is unique.

When you think of “nests” perhaps your first thought is birds. In fact, most nests I’ve seen here in Costa Rica are insect related. Below are all wasp nests.

Ants are another popular insect…well, not popular exactly…who build interesting nests. Continue reading

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

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.

Amazing Cultural Art Tour

Sunday was an exciting day!  We went to Manny and Cecilia’s Galeria Cristo Cristal just a short drive from Puriscal, where we had our eyes dazzled, our stomachs filled (with a wonderful brunch), nerves calmed (with live piano music) and our artistic hearts made joyous.  This is a must visit.  There is not one square inch of this home that was not filled with light and art.

Both Manny and Cecilia work with glass in mosaic on ANY medium, wood, metal, open space.  They have created something you will never see again.  This home and gallery is built from 70% recycled,  found or discovered materials.

Puriscal Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning there is a local farmers market in the town of Puriscal, a short drive or bus ride from Finca Las Alturas. Like similar markets around the world, farmers bring their produce into town and sell direct to consumers in a wonderful, colourful and delicious highlight to the week (I’m especially partial to fresh, locally grown produce).

Plantains in various stages of ripeness

Plantains in various stages of ripeness

Passionfruit makes a delicious juice

Puriscal Farmers Market, Costa Rica

The farmers market used to be out on a street that was closed off to traffic, but as of two weeks ago it moved to a new facility with cover to protect from sun and rain. It’s wonderful! Each of the vendors wears a green shirt to identify them and there is lots of room for expansion.Puriscal Farmers Market

Horseback Riding – It’s a Balancing Act

Houdini is a quick study and has learned to stand very still no matter what Trainer Isa is doing. He’s a perfect gentleman, though he does let her know when what she asks is uncomfortable.

Such a calm, confident fellow, Houdini even gets the hang of it when Isa rides him backwards. “These humans are crazy!”