2022 Life Logs, Day 330: Yardwork Day with Ollie

2022 Life Logs, Day 330: Yardwork Day with Ollie
Date: Saturday, November 26, 2022
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 50, Low 41 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Heather and Jed were super busy today delivering Sam and Jonah to soccer practice in Harwich at two different times and in between, working on covering Eider/Ardenna for the winter, and various other projects. They asked if I might be with Ollie and, of course, I said yes. I always love having alone time with any one of the boys. Heather and Jed needed to have bottles recycled and Ollie loves to go to the redemption center to out the bottles into the “crunching” machine. We did that, then we headed to my house with his little tractor, the lawn mower, and the leaf blower. We managed to spend the rest of the day doing yard work and having fun while doing it. It is supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon, so if the rain does hold off until then, we might continue the yardwork in the morning. There are still plenty of leaves that need to be dealt with.

Mark and I covered Windbird in the winters that we lived aboard in Boston and here on the Cape by shrink wrapping the boat with clear plastic. But in order to be able to climb in and out of the boat, we built a structure out of metal conduit pipe. We kept the pipe and today Jed used it to build a structure on top of their boat to hold their canvas cover. I love the idea that something that was used on Windbird is now being passed on to Heather and Jed’s boat.

2022 Life Logs, Day 329: Puerto Rico to Boston to Cape Cod

2022 Life Logs, Day 329: Puerto Rico to Boston to Cape Cod
Date: Friday, November 25, 2022
Weather: Rainy and Cool; High 54, Low 35 degrees F
Location: Back Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Just returned from the ten-day trip to Puerto Rico to visit with my son Justin and his beautiful family. Each day was a new discovery. We enjoyed spending time on their little piece of paradise they call Finca Maravilla. The view of tropical plants that is right in front of you when you sit on the front porch is just beautiful. And the constant parade of animals is always fun to watch . . . Hopi the pony, Rabbit the pig, the five cats, five dogs, and chickens and rabbits. I truly enjoyed Rincon’s beaches and Aguada’s beautiful waterfalls, both just a 10-15 minute drive from home and the walk to the river through the woods close to the farm. We spent time on Rincon’s plaza and enjoyed dinners out–sushi, Brazilian, and Cowboys all American fare. I got to meet some of Ziggy and Coco’s friends and enjoyed a Puerto Rican Festival at their school, Foresta. We all enjoyed Discovery Day in Aguada where Christopher Columbus arrived on November 19, 1493. Everyone in town, including Justin and Coco, rode their horses out of the hills and out onto the beach to celebrate. Then there were the times I just sat on the porch enjoying the view of tropical greenery and at night listening to the call of Puerto Rico’s little frog, the coqui. The Thanksgiving feast was a spectacular culminating event with contributions from all. Ziggy made pies and Coco made a Thanksgiving turkey out of fruit while Jo performed magic in the kitchen.

Thank you, Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco, for all of the wonderful experiences plus the card games and constant bad jokes by Coco and Justin. It was eight days jam-packed with fun and precious family time.

2022 Life Logs, Day 328—Happy Turkey Day

2022 Life Logs, Day 328—Happy Turkey Day
Date: Thursday, November 24, 2022
Weather: Sunny AM, Rain PM, Clearing; High 91, Low 75 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

It was a Happy Turkey Day and I hope each of you had a Happy Thanksgiving as well. Here at Finca Maravilla, there was a flurry of getting food ready during the morning. Jo made her delicious pecan pie with a grain-free crust this morning, while I made a pumpkin pie. With Ziggy’s apple pie, we had a trio of pies. Jo got the turkey in the oven, made broth, mashed potatoes, baked pana (breadfruit), and stuffing. Ziggy and I made Granddad’s cranberry salad yesterday and today I got the Brussels sprouts ready to roast. Then the afternoon, I worked with Coco to make her fruit turkey. It was spectacular.

Before doing the fruit turkey, I made one last attempt at clearing downed branches from Hurricane Fiona and cutting down some of the forest of Caesar weed growing. in various places. It is just now in bloom, and I was hoping to get all of it cut down before the burrs come on in full force. It is a beautiful weed with pink blossoms, but it spreads like wildfire. Jo worked on getting more seeds plants, but neither of us got a huge amount done as it was 91 degrees this afternoon.

Thanksgiving dinner was truly a feast. Before we ate, I suggested that we share something for which we were grateful. Coco blew us all away when she said, with great seriousness, “I am thankful for my fingers . . . because I can always count on them.” She loves a good joke and caught us all by surprise with that one! We ate around 4 in the afternoon and then drove to Steps Beach to watch the sunset. It was not spectacular tonight because it was cloudy, but the trip made for a much needed break between dinner and dessert. We heard from Heather and family while we were out. With the hour difference in time, they were just sitting down to dinner while we were watching the sun go down. So, after we got home and had dessert, we had our Skype call. Coco shared many of her Thanksgiving jokes and the Goldpebbles shared some of theirs. I have a feeling when we get together in Vermont in February, everyone will come with a few jokes to share.

Tonight, we played Poetry for Neanderthals. Fun game. Now it is time to get to bed as Justin as I have to get up at 1:45 am to get me to the airport in Aguadilla for a 4 am flight home. Ouch! Hopefully, I will be able to sleep some on the way home. I have had a wonderful visit and look forward to returning, t this same time next year. It was great that Ziggy and Coco didn’t have school this week so we could visit, and the weather was spectacular. I look forward to coming home to my Shadow and the Goldstones, but I am not looking forward to coming back to cold weather.

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!