Friday, July 1, 2011

"Everything is Bigger in Costa Rica"

I have decided that from now on all of my blog posts’ titles will be derived from quotes from the great Zach Milligan. I swear some of the greatest truths come out of that characters mouth. Can’t help but love the guy.

            I sit here now on an old milk container, beautifully painted with bright green macaws or lapas, barely able to form sentences because of the roar of rain on the tin roof. We have been quite fortunate so far, according to the locals, with the rain situation. Only the last 2 days has it REALLY rained. I have never heard nor seen rain to this extent, drops the size of finger nails plummeting to the earth. The abundance of moisture swells the creeks and rivers that surround the farm.

            I have been staying at the Lecheria Las Lapas, or Great Macaw Dairy, for the last 2 weeks or so. To be honest I have started to lose track of time. The farm is absolutely beautiful. I want to guess about 30 acres of green pastures full of 80 or so cows, one of them being a massive Texas longhorn, Afro Tica. The last 2 days’ job has been to hang out in a far back pasture, close to the intersection of the two great rivers that flank the farm on each side, and watch for cow thieves. It is a quite lucrative business in ‘these parts’ to steal cattle for either meat or milk. The owners, Barbara and Mauricio, had a heifer stolen only a few weeks back from that very pasture, not something they can afford on a business centered around milk. On this farm, milk is everything.

            Milk is sold as is, pasteurized or raw, the cream is separated off and used to make butter, yoghurt, cheese and of course, ice cream. I have been able to spend a few days working in the planta where everything is processed. I made 4 kilos of butter by hand, shaking cold cream until separation occurs. I sat and chopped 2 kilos of fresh macadamia nuts from a farm just up the road, which are used to make the most popular ice cream flavor around. You have to put your name on the waiting list if you want some of their famous chocolate covered macadamia nut ice cream.

            Besides milk, the farm has an abundance of bananas, star fruit, guanabanas, lemons, oranges, mangoes, water apples, coconuts, macadamia nuts, guayabas (guavas), sugar cane, caimitos, yucca root, and a few other delicious fruits I wont attempt to pronounce or spell. The days are filled with explorations and experiments with new foods. We have chopped down banana trees, watched the howler monkeys (congos) swing in the tops of trees, taken the baby calves for walks around the property, chased snakes from inside the house, helped a sloth s-l-o-w-l-y cross the road, and have had plenty of time to just hang and take in the beauty around us. This trip has been ‘bigger’ than I could have ever imagined and the exploring has only just begun.

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