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Friday, April 20, 2012

Tulips in the Garden, Rats in the Barby!

If we had to return to California, at least we arrived in a good season. Although we did need a fire in the woodstove the first few nights to keep down the chill, the weather has actually been quite pleasant and today is warming up nicely. The blue oaks are bursting out in that fabulous neon green of a Sierra foothill spring, my red tulips are in bloom and there was a big gray rat living in the barbeque unit. Say what?? Yes, I'm afraid California has its unsavory creatures just as much as Costa Rica with it's Fer-de-lance and poison frogs.

We decided to pull out the rather dilapidated barbeque unit last night to check its condition in hopes of grilling hamburgers. The thing has been sitting outside, sheltered by its plastic cover, for some two years but we were still surprised to find a big gray rodent nested inside. Rather than confront the little bugger (you know what they say about a cornered rat!), we opted to leave the lid open in hopes he/she would voluntarily vacate the premises.

But in some ways it is nice to be back here in our old house. As we open the dozens of boxes and plastic tubs from the storage barn, we are dropped off in Memory Lane -- from familiar pots and pans to favorite clothing to sentimental artwork and other keepsakes. It's going to be hard to weed out, once again, what to keep and what to toss. Already we have ads on Craigslist for file cabinets, complete with hanging folders, bowling balls, office supplies and more. The work ahead is daunting. There are the garden planter boxes, which are rotting and needing work, some painting to do in the bathrooms, plus repairs to the pasture shelter and fencing. With a small ranchette like this, the work never seems to end.

The backyard chimenea
Cronan Ranch Trail
After a few frantic days of looking for a car to buy - we found a good 2002 Subaru Outback - and schlepping futons and sleeping bags down from the storage barn for our first few nights, we are finding time to go for long walks on our favorite old trails. At least we aren't in the mad rush we were two years ago when we had just over a month to pack and move out of this house that we had lived in for over fourteen years. So for now, we cut off work most evenings by 5:00 p.m. or so, sit out on the patio with a cocktail and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine. We stayed out there all evening a few nights ago with a small fire in the chimenea, just enjoying the tranquility of our back acreage.

But we miss Costa Rica and still hope to return one day. Although we have great memories of our old lives here in California and so enjoy seeing our friends, the new life we found in Costa Rica continues to broadcast its seductive allure. To paraphrase the old song from South Pacific, "Costa Rica will whisper/ on the wind of the sea/... Come to me, come to me." 

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