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Friday, April 15, 2005


This is one of those nights for romance . . . if I were feeling romantic. The night-blooming jasmine is fragrant, the lights of the valley are twinkling through a light mist, fire flys are blinking brightly in the darkness of trees and bushes . . . aaah! Even the Reina de la Noche seems to glow with an inner light!

Tomorrow night Martin (my "adopted" son and helper extraorinaire) is due back. We've been putting off having Dr. Zamora, one of the two veterinarians I use here, come to clip Nelly's fingernails because the halter she had on was too tight and had to be removed while Martin was away. Now I can't get another one on her. Only Martin seems to have the magic touch. Neither Dr. Z nor Nogui (my peon and another "adopted" son) feel they can handle Nelly without Martin. Dr. Z still bears painful scars from the first time he attempted to clip her nails. Well, I guess a coatimundi is like a small bear only more agile. She can leap six feet straight up. With the halter on, Martin can attach a leash and Nogui can hold that for a quick pull-away if necessary. Martin calms her enough to get his hands on the back of her neck and bear down with all his weight. Then Dr. Z can get one hand of hers at a time to file the nails down. They send me outside because they feel it is too dangerous for me (and probably for them) if I'm in the room with them. Nelly is terrified of Dr. Z. When she sees him coming, she tries to run and hide. If she's in her cage, she climbs into her hammock and hides under her cover then holds onto the hammock for dear life while Martin tries to drag her out. It's quite a production. So Martin will be back tomorrow night and Dr. Z will come on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday is also Nogui's first baby's 3 month old date. I'll go over to take the monthly photos. It's also time to start spending a lot of time with her speaking English so that she'll imprint the sounds in her brain. Nogui wants her to be bilingual. Her name is Hellen Alvarado.

Next week we hope to begin the work on the new chicken housing in the hollow behind Nogui's house. The area we've prepared is surrounded by trees to protect against high winds and wind-driven rain and also will provide shade. We've already cut the bamboo we'll be using as framing. We might need to borrow a "patin" or rotary saw to cut the bamboo lenthwise in half. It can be done with a machete, but is much more work.

I continue trying to train the two puppies, Bonnie and Peter. Bonnie is so big that when she runs to greet me, she takes a flying leap which almost knocks me over. Her mother, Linda, races to the rescue though. She fights Bonnie to the ground so tiny Peter and I can make a getaway. Later I have to put Peter inside, and Linda in her "perrera", and (with training collar on) take Bonnie onto one of the trails isolated from the road and from the house so she won't be distracted while we do our training routine. Nogui does it in the mornings and I do it in the afternoons (when I have the time and energy).

I had to go through all kinds of hoops to get a refill of Peter's prescription for phenobarbital for his epilespsy. None of the pharmacies in San Vito (all two of them) carry the drug. It is available under strict supervision through the Hospital de San Vito. They won't, of course, treat dogs. So I finally called Clinica Los Alamos, the vet. clinic in San Isidro de Gral., and they got the phenobarbital for me. They sent it out by the bus to San Vito this afternoon. I should get it tomorrow. Monday I'll have to go to the bank and deposit the cost (4000 colones) in their account. Then I'll fax them the receipt.

The mid-size beetle mating season seems to be running down. Now the larger, tougher burrowing beetles are coming out. But it's OK. Nelly, the coatimundi, prefers the bigger beetles. They are more fun and challenging to kill and crunchier to eat.

I saw two huge irridescent blue morpho butterflies in the front garden today. I now they eat very ripe soft fruit, so I'll set out some bananas for them tomorrow morning. Of course, the whole bananas go out for the birds, too. The grasskeets and the bananakeets are back. I'm very fond of them. The bananakeets have a very pretty song. Of course, we also have the blue and grey tanangers and the scarlet rumped tanangers. A red-headed woodpecker was busy on a tree visible from the kitchen window. I like watching the swallow- tailed kites at sunset. The white heads and chests reflect the light of the setting sun and it looks as if they have a headlight against their black wings.

Well, Max is out on his guard duty now. He is such a sweet, protective dog. Huge. But that's good in a guard dog.

Time to get some sleep. Sunrise at 5:30 tomorrow morning and all the animals will need to be cared for.

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About Me

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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