2022 Life Logs, Day 327: PR Day 7 Waterfall, Thanksgiving Prep, Brazilian Grille

2022 Life Logs, Day 327: PR Day 7 Waterfall, Thanksgiving Prep, Brazilian Grille
Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Weather: Sunny Early, Then Rain; High 86, Low 75 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Justin and Jo live in the hills above and Aguada. As you drive down out of the hills to Rincon, you have beautiful views of the ocean and when you drive even further up into the hills toward Aguada, you literally feel like you on top of the world. You can look down on the town of Aguada and out to the ocean and up the coast to Aguadilla. We made that drive into the hills today to go to another waterfall that is about a 10 drive from Finca Maravilla. You can see the falls in the distance when you park, and then it is about another 10-minute walk to the bottom of the falls. Jo calls it Salto de la Loco which is its nickname, but it is also called Salto de Atalaya, indicating the barrio of Aguada in which it is located. We walked into the bottom of the falls, then backtracked a bit and did a little climbing to get to the upper falls—not quite to the top. Justin gave me a boost here and there when needed, but I made it up and got to sit in the water to cool off at the top of the world. It was definitely worth the walk to be up high in the falls looking down.

Once back at Finca Maravilla, Ziggy and I launched into a couple of Thanksgiving cooking projects. We made Granddad’s cranberry salad, and I assisted a bit while Ziggy made an apple pie. Jo made the crust for a pecan pie, and I made the crust for a pumpkin pie. We should be all set with pies for Thanksgiving dinner. Coco had an online art class at 6 pm and drew a beautiful pond lily and then we headed to Rincon. We visited the Art Mart on the Plaza, usually a Thursday night affair, but on Wednesday night this week because of Thanksgiving. Then we had dinner at a fairly new Brazilian restaurant in town, Belo Horizonte. The food was fantastic. We might have to do some walking tomorrow to make room for Thanksgiving dinner.

2022 Life Logs, Day 326: PR Day 6 Steps Beach and El Ultimo Brinco Waterfall

2022 Life Logs, Day 326: PR Day 6 Steps Beach and El Ultimo Brinco Waterfall
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Weather: Sunny, High 85, Low 75 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

It was another beautiful day here in Puerto Rico with no rain. I couldn’t have ordered more beautiful weather for my time here. There is a chance of rain in the afternoon for the next two days, but it looks like the mornings should be nice.

We got a slow start this morning, but once we got out and about, we had a great time. First, we went to Steps Beach to go snorkeling. When we first got in, Jo lost one of her fins. We all looked and looked but didn’t find it. When everyone else gave up the search, I suggested to Ziggy that the two of us fan out and give one last look. I found it floating on the water further from shore than I thought it should be. Then when we all started out for the reef, there was something in the water stinging us that made us itch. Coco decided to go back and eventually Ziggy went back as well. But I decided that the underwater view was worth the aggravating itchiness. After Justin got Coco back to shore, he came back to join me. I love snorkeling and can never get enough of it. I especially like snorkeling at Steps Beach, as well as some of the other Rincon beaches, because they have fan corals swaying in the underwater world. When Justin and I got back to shore, Ziggy and Coco had taken off on a walk. So we took off to follow them. The land next to Steps, named for the concrete steps that sit on the beach, is used for grazing cattle. Since I was last there, the town has put up a barbed wire fence marking public land next to the beach, that was once used by the grazing cattle, a great swath of land for walking. The town is trying to preserve the land adjacent to the beach as belonging to the people so if grazing land is sold for building condos, the buildings will not be right on the beach.

Next, we drove to waterfall in Rincon that I have never been to before. It is called El Ultimo Brinco which translates as The Last Jump. Jo had been told it is called that because it is the last fall before the sea. But when I looked online, it says it is called that because people have died jumping from the top of the falls. It is a beautiful little falls and swimming spot, but I would advise not jumping into the water from the top of the falls!

We got home just in time for the arrival of two of Coco’s friends that are still with us. They have been having a wonderful time. While they played, I did some fallen tree branch and invasive plant clearing which I love doing. We are now getting ready for a late dinner. My time here has flown by. I only have two more days before I fly home. I haven’t even checked the weather at home, but I know the change in temperature is going to be shocking!

2022 Life Logs, Day 325: PR Day 5 Shop ‘til You Drop

2022 Life Logs, Day 325: PR Day 5 Shop ‘til You Drop
Date: Monday, November 21, 2022
Weather: Sunny, High 84, Low 76 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Since arriving, we have been making a list of the things we need for our Thanksgiving dinner. As long as we were making lists, we added a list for the hardware store and that led to a list for the pet store. We thought that by driving to the Fresh Mart and the hardware in Aguadilla we could get everything on our list, so off we went this morning. Justin stayed home to work, and Ziggy and Coco stayed home to chill since it was the first day of school vacation week. Like on the Cape, due to the never-ending traffic, it takes 25-30 minutes to drive 11 miles. We were going to a particular Ace Hardware in Aguadilla as it is the only store in the area that sells canning jars and lids, and Jo really needed them. Thankfully both cans and lids were in stock today as well as most of the rest of the items on our list. We weren’t as successful at Fresh Mart, but we got what we could, took that home and ate a very ate lunch before heading to the grocery stores closer to home in Rincon. It wasn’t until the third local grocery store that we found a turkey. Hurray! Ziggy really wanted to have turkey for Thanksgiving, and we were about to give up. We even found cranberries so that Ziggy and I can make Granddad’s famous cranberry salad. The only unfortunate thing is that we spent an entire beautiful day shopping. But now our Thanksgiving Day will be complete. Tomorrow is supposed to be another sunny day with no rain, so I’m hoping we get to play outside all day. Maybe the beach, maybe a waterfall, maybe just walking the property here at Finca Maravilla.

PS I forgot to mention in last night’s log that yesterday Justin was successful in booking their flights for our ski week in Vermont in February with the Goldstones. Fantastic!

2022 Life Logs, Day 324: PR Day 4 Work, Play, Dinner

2022 Life Logs, Day 324: PR Day 4 Work, Play, Dinner
Date: Sunday, November 20, 2022
Weather: Sunny, High 85, Low 75 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

It was a quiet, but productive day. And not one without a little work involved. Justin and I decided to work on fallen tree branch clean up from Hurricane Fiona back in September. Justin had already cut up the fallen tree trunks and cut the large limbs off. Our job this morning was lopping off branches and taking them to a burn pile. There was already a sizeable amount of wood in the pile to be burned, but since they started the clean-up right after the hurricane, there has been so much rain that nothing would burn. Jo noted today that it finally feels like the worst of the rainy season is over and Justin was able to start the fire with little difficulty. He had tried on Thursday and Friday with no luck, so we were delighted when he was able to start it today. Justin and Jo have almost two acres and today we only cleaned up the immediate area around the driveway. There are days and days of work, but we felt good about what we got done.

While Justin and I worked on tree clean-up, Jo worked on gardening. She shoveled horse manure into the wheelbarrow and pushed it up to the garden. I don’t know how many trips she made, but I know she was delighted with the finished product. This is the main planting time here, so she also got seeds planted. We all then decided it was time for a little rest to be followed by a trip to the beach.

Finca Maravilla, the name of Justin and Jo’s little piece of paradise, is right on the border between the towns of Rincon and Aguada. Their property is in Aguada, but they get their mail in Rincon. Rincon is their main home base town since the kids go to school there, but today we drove out of the hills and down to Rio Grande Beach in Aguada which was about a ten-minute drive. All the beaches here are beautiful, but this one had an interesting mix of black and tan sand, plus a few pelicans who put on a bit of a show for us. I walked in the water but didn’t dive in today. I left that for Ziggy, Coco, and Justin. We all took a long walk down the beach. I walked as far as my knees allowed and had a tiny nap on a big flat rock at the water’s edge while they continued. The tide was coming in, so when my rock started to get splashed with water, I sat up and watched the pelicans. There were just three of them, but it was so much fun to watch them dive. When JJZ&C returned, we all walked back together. There was time for more water play and then we headed home.

Tonight, we went to dinner at Cowboys, one of my favorite places in the world to eat. Tomorrow Justin has to work, but the kids are out of school until next week. They are going to sleep-in tomorrow while Jo and I go on a shopping expedition to Aguadilla, the town north of Aguada. It has a hardware store which is the only place Jo has found that carries canning jars and lids. She does a lot of canning and is out of lids. So, we’ll hope to get those, plus a whole list of other hardware store items. Then we’ll stop at Fresh Mart, like a small Whole Foods, to pick up the food items we need for Thanksgiving dinner.

2022 Life Logs, Day 323: Columbus Day in Puerto Rico

2022 Life Logs, Day 323: Columbus Day in Puerto Rico
Date: Saturday, November 19, 2022
Weather: Sunny, High 86, Low 73 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

On November 19, 1493, Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the New World, landed on the northwest coast of Puerto Rico close to present day Aguada. This afternoon Justin and I were driving down out of the hills to Aguada and on to Aguadilla to do some shopping. But we never made it. As we drove, we started seeing people riding their horses and ponies. When we got to the main road, there was a steady stream of people riding. That reminded Justin that today was Columbus Day, a day where everyone that lives in Aguada and has a horse or a pony, heads downtown and to the beach. Ziggy was at an all afternoon birthday party, but Justin called Jo to see if Coco would like to come see the horses. She did, of course. So, we turned around and went back home. On the way home, Justin decided he would ride Hopi down to the beach and meet Coco and me there. Jo needed to stay home for a propane delivery, but she could leave long enough take Coco and me to the beach. We let Justin get a head start and then as we drove, we spotted Justin and Hopi. Coco decided she wanted to ride, so we dropped her off with Justin and he led Hopi as Coco rode. Jo had to drop me off when we reached the road that goes to the beach as it was for horses only today. I walked the short distance to the beach and watched the parade of horses while waiting for Justin and Coco. Then I saw Jo walking toward the beach. She had decided to park the truck and join us as she was convinced the propane delivery was coming today. If they were to come, they would call her, and she could go home. We sat and talked and soon we saw Justin, Coco, and Hopi coming our way. We went to get photos and Coco called us the paparazzi!

It was beautiful on the beach. Justin took off Hopi’s saddle so she could enjoy some beach time, and immediately, Hopi laid right down and rolled in the sand. Justin says that is her beach happy place. Then she went down to walk along the water and finally decided to go to a grassy area to have a snack. Justin started home on Hopi and Coco walked with Jo and I back to the truck. By the time we headed up the mountain, Justin was about half-way home. Again, Coco decided she wanted to ride, so we left her with Justin who would walk and lead Hopi and Coco home. It took them about 30 minutes and a little later we went to pick Ziggy up from his all afternoon and evening birthday party. Then we went downtown Rincon for a sushi dinner. Then we walked to the plaza where we had heard that earlier at least 500 people were celebrating. There were still a lot of people and a band with singers in full swing. We stopped in a shop where Justin wanted to talk to a friend and while he was talking, Coco, Ziggy, and I played corn hole. It was a full day, so we are thinking Sunday will be a quiet day at home.