Ever since the dam broke, some of the fish that died that day have been popping up from the bottom of the pond. Maybe one or two every day. That means there have been a lot of vultures hanging around in the trees. I think its creepy. They watch us, they watch the fish, and just wait for us to pull the dead fish out of the pond.
When we leave the fish out for them, somehow they are able to clean the fish and leave only the bones. We have never been able to watch them do it because they are very sneaky! Today I found a huge vulture feather. I think its really cool!
Yesterday, I learned how to clean the chicken coop. It really stinks. First we locked the chickens in their recess area, and then I scooped the old wood chips and chicken poop out. We put them into a wheel barrow. When we were shoveling it was really stinky! Then we put new chips in the chicken coop. We get the wood chips from a place that makes furniture out of wood. We bring our empty fish food bags and they fill them up with wood chips for us. Then we use the fresh wood chips to make the chicken coop smell nice and clean again. The chickens were getting antsy outside to see the clean coop.
After we cleaned the wood chips out, we took them to the garden so we can start a new garden bed for some new seeds to grow. Our last batch are already getting big, so we want to be sure we have new ones growing. I helped my mom bring up the wood for the garden fence. I even hammered in all the stakes to keep the frame up.
I know I said I was going to show you some rocks, but I need to find some better ones because the ones I have don't look very good in pictures, but they look really cool in real life! Ill keep looking.
Here in Costa Rica, instead of dollars we use Colones. Thats what they call their money in Costa Rica. Its all different colors. There is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple paper money.
The whole rainbow. On the front there are people. On the back there are animals. They look cool.
I read on a website that the Colon is named after Christopher Columbus. He discovered Costa Rica AND North America.
This is the front:
And this is the back.
'I think its really neat they have animals on the back. We didnt have a 5000 Colon but it looks like this:
My favorites are the monkey, the sloth and the shark.
The money isn't the same as in Oregon. You can get a little bit more than 500 Colones for one dollar. So if you are trying to figure out how much money it is in the states, you can use a little trick to get kind of close. First you double the money amount. Like on the 5000 it doubles to 10000 then you drop off three zeros, that makes $10. Thats about how much it is in dollars. Its a little confusing that they say mil for thousand, but if you use this trick its easier to figure out the money.
There are also different coins, they look like this:
You can use the same trick with the coins, but you only drop off one zero. The 500 Colon is about $1.00 but the 100 colon is about 20 cents. I still get confused sometimes.
I'm saving my money because I want to buy an ATV. My mom lets me keep the coins from shopping. But I'm hoping if I keep doing my chores, like collecting the eggs, taking out the compost and helping feed the fish, maybe I can get an allowance. I'm also going to try to sell some lemons.
I saw an ATV my size at Wal-mart in Cartago. Its really cool. My mom says by the time I save the money, I will be big enough to ride it.
On my next blog, Im going to show you some rocks. My Dad and I have been looking in the river everyday, and there are some really awesome rocks.
A week has passed since I wrote a blog. Part of the problem is the internet. It just goes off sometimes when it rains. Sometimes I will be working on my blog and it will turn off and I will lose everything I just wrote about. Its so annoying.
A lot of fun stuff happened this week. We had some friends visiting. On their first day, when we woke up, we found out there had been a slide up the river that sent a lot of stuff down the river and it ripped up the dam again. My Dad and Mom and their friends had to go find some more logs and rocks to get the water to come back into the canals that bring the water to the ponds. There was so much dirt and sediment in the sediment ponds it was like quicksand!
It was really sad to see that a lot of fish had died. Trout need oxygen in the water to breathe. When we didnt have fresh water, they suffocated. This is a picture of the baby trout. The ones with their white bellies showing are dead. Jonathon said he thinks maybe 800 died. A lot of fish died in the big pond too.
The fish that didn't die are doing fine now though.
I also got to go back to play in Rafa and Minors river. Their river has lots of really great rocks! We found a lot of rocks with fossils of plants and shells and small sea creatures. Minor says that Costa Rica used to be on the bottom of the ocean but that the tectonic plates are crunching together, and they made the mountains that we live in.
Their river is a lot different than ours. They have gigantic rocks in the middle and lots of waterfalls.
They also took me to a special ice cream store, which I liked very much! I really like playing with their dogs too. I think they are getting used to me. Even the grouchy one- Annik.
You can see in the pictures that my hair was getting really long. It was so annoying. Mostly it was annoying because my mom kept saying I needed a hair cut and making me wear a hat. Our friend Martins daughter cuts hair, so we went to her house for a hair cut. Its very short, but I like it. People are very surprised when they see it. My hair cut cost $1000 colones. My mom said that's about $1.75 in dollars. I wonder if the dogs will recognize me now.
I have to go to bed now. I hope everyone has a good night. Thank you for reading my blog. I really like it when you comment!
On Monday, it was a holiday from school. I asked my Mom if Tomas could come over and play. She called his Mom and made a plan, so we walked over to his house to get him and bring him over to mine. On our walk, we ran into a traffic jam.
,This happens sometimes when farmers are walking their cows to different fields. These are actually bulls. We have bulls at our farm too. A lot of people use bulls or goats to eat the grass on the farm. They are like living lawnmowers.
Once we got Tomas we walked the river trail home. I like the river trail because its like hiking through the wilderness. Bobbie always comes on the river trail with me. Sometimes I take this trail to school, sometimes I walk the long way up the driveway. The trail goes to the new rock garden. Tomas and I checked out all the cool new rocks. There are so many cool rocks! My mom says if I don't quit leaving them in my pockets, shes going to ban me from collecting rocks.
After the storm, the river left a sandy area where the casita trail used to be. When we looked at it in the morning, there was Tapir tracks in the sand! Tapir are mammals that eat mostly plants. They can weigh up to 800 pounds but are usually around 500 pounds. We have never seen one at the farm, because they are nocturnal creatures. But we know they live here, and now we have proof!
After we dropped Tomas off, we went to our friends house for Lunch. They made a soup called Olla de Pollo. In English it means chicken soup. Rafa says the recipe is hundreds of years old. It has a lot of vegetables that I have never even seen, or heard about before. My dad said it was good. I ate some potato out of it but, I wasnt very hungry. Everyone else liked it though.
In Costa Rica, at 3 O'clock, everyone stops what they are doing and sits down to have coffee (or tea), and a snack. If you are at somebody's house right then, you will probably be getting coffee and a snack too. I like it when we are at Rafas house during coffee time. they always have the best snacks. Minor makes really good cookies. I dont drink coffee so I usually have Jamaica tea. In spanish it sounds like ham-eye-ka. Its red, and a little sweet. Minors family was here on Monday, so we had coffee, jamaica and a snack.
My Dad told us he had found three papaya trees on the property. They aren't like the regular papaya. They are smaller, and sweeter. Minor says they are from Chile. They grow way up in the trees. My dad had to use the fruit picker to get it out of the tree.
These kind of papaya taste really good with vanilla ice cream.
The first week we got here, we decided to clean the big pond. Most of the ponds have names, but this one is just the big pond.
We have to clean it because the water comes from the river and it brings sand and dirt with it. Especially during the rainy season. The big pond is the one right behind the house.
To clean the pond, first we had to drain it. We had to try to catch every fish before it was empty. We used nets and buckets. We counted the fish as we put them in the buckets. When there were five fish we put them into a tank until we could move them to a different pond. When the water got low, Bobbie helped herd the fish into our nets. Its was really funny.
When we were counting the fish, and we saw one that was deformed, or blind, or we thought it would get eaten if we put it in the new pond, I would put it in a separate bucket. My mom would take the fish down and let it go in a stream in the waterfall garden. Ever since the storm, that waterfall garden is all rocks now. There's not even a stream.
We put the fish from the big pond into a new pond, and then the next morning, my Dad and Martin and Jonathon clean the pond.
They rake the bottom and get out any plants or alge.
It does not smell good.
When the pond was clean, we filled it back up, and then started cleaning a different pond. The fish from that pond went into the new clean pond.
Each pond is supposed to be cleaned 4 times every year. It is very hard work.
Yesterday, we were able to get our car! Rafa and Minors neighbors, Urs and Isabelle, have a tractor. Urs took all the rocks he could find and put them back in the river, he also put mud and sticks in there too. Its almost like it was before, but they are going to put in a bridge because they dont want it to happen again. We drove to their house on the ATV. I really like riding the ATV.
Ive been hoping they will let me learn to drive it, but they say I have to wait until Im older.
When the power was out, we had to wash our clothes in the bathtub. Then we put them on a clothes line to dry in the sun. Even though we have power and a dryer now, my mom and dad put our clothes on the clothes line anyway. They say its better. I think it makes the clothes crunchy, but they do smell good. My mom says thats how everyone did it before they invented dryers. A lot of people in Costa Rica have clothes lines.
I always think that if we put our clothes outside, the lizards that live on those beams will poop on them. There are three lizards that live above our clothes line. They like to sit in the sun everyday.
One good thing, because of the big storm, school was cancelled for a few days. That means I got to go over to Tomases house to play. We had so much fun! I help him learn English, and he helps me learn Spanish. Tomas has a dog named Lucky. He really likes me.
This week my Mom and I were making some stairs to a fish pond. We picked up some stones to put them on the stairs and underneath we found a huge spider. My Mom sent a picture to some spider people and they said it was a wolf spider. They also said its harmless. I think it looks cool. Especially because its not poisonous. It has some different colors on it, and its legs looked like sticks. I wasn't even scared. There are not very many poisonous creatures in the mountains of Hush Valley Lodge.
I like to read a lot. Sometimes I read about Costa Rica, or animals or rocks. Sometimes I read books like "How to train your dragon' or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Hardy Boys. In school, every day we have to read. Once a week we read part of our book to the class and show the other kids what we are reading. We have to have a new book every week. I dont like to start a new book when the last one isnt finished so sometimes I read at night so I can finish. Its really dark at night so I have to use a headlight.
I think this picture makes it look like my book is enchanted. Next blog, Im going to show you some very cool rocks that washed up in the river.
I havent written in a long time because there was a huge storm this last week, We went to our friends house on Tuesday. Their names are Rafa and Minor. They have eight rescue dogs and one cat. I thought rescue dogs meant that they rescued people, but it means they were rescued by people. They have a very nice house, and we stayed there for almost a week. We didnt have power so we had to use candles and cook on a wood stove, like this.
Rafa and Minor are both very good at cooking. My Dad cooked too sometimes. I didnt like everything, but I tried everything. I really liked the pancakes .
After the storm, we walked down the driveway to see how many trees fell down. There were a lot. we also saw that the creek that went across their driveway had become a huge river! It dropped about 10 feet too. There was no way for us to drive our car across.
My Dad, Minor and my Mom built a bridge out of logs for us to walk across.We had to hold on to a rope to keep us from falling in the river.
When we got across, we had to walk a long way down the road. We saw a lot of waterfalls, landslides, and trees that had fallen.
Then we came across a huge landslide. The workers were trying to get it cleared, but it looked like it would take a long time.
Rafa let me wear the machete while we were walking so I could clear the path. We didnt pack enough clothes because we thought we would only be staying one night. I didn't even have a toothbrush!
They let me borrow some boots, but they belonged to Minors Aunt so they were for a girl. They kept my feet dry though.
When the road was clear enough, my Dad walked to Hush Valley. Its about 10 kilometers to our house. He brought back the ATV so we could go check the animals. We saw that a lot of trees had fallen down, and the river had washed away the waterfall garden. It made me kind of sad.
The one good thing is, I love rocks! There are some really cool rocks in the new rock garden. Lots and lots!
At school on Friday some ladies came to teach our class about local birds. There are 165 birds in the Hush Valley area. But there are 903 bird species in Costa Rica. They gave us a booklet for ''the Cloud Forest Highland Birds''. It's really cool. My granny loves birds. Mostly humming birds.
We were looking at it to see which bird was stuck in our attic. I think its a baby vulture. But it may be a pheasant. It was really funny. I took a video of my mom trying to get it out. We still don't know how to upload video, but when we figure it out I will post it here. It's really funny.
On Thursday I didn't have school. My mom and dad and me walked up to the pasture where the blackberries ( called Mora in spanish) grow. The blackberries weren't ready but in a few weeks there will be a lot!
On our way up to the pasture, we saw a pond full of tadpoles. I wanted to touch one. I think its weird that there were so many tadpoles because we never hear frogs here. We also don't hear crickets or grasshoppers but we see them around the farm.
I think there are a lot of predators that might eat the tadpoles. Like lizards (lagartija), birds (pajaro), raccoons (mapache), and larger tadpoles.