A new series brought to you by Osa Tropical Properties that features excerpts from our clients’ stories – as written by them. Today’s story is based in Ojochal, by a young Canadian expat who is passionate about gardening.
I don’t know many people here who stay out past 7pm, even on a weekend. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen for the pre-middle-agers like me, especially the ones without kids. And it’s not to say it doesn’t happen with any-agers here. But it’s funny how lifestyles change when you live the garden life.
More and more everyday, I get sleepy with the moon rising and I wake up with the sun. I see the dawn and the sunset everyday, living most of my life outside. This isn’t that unusual, especially here in the south pacific Costa Rican village of Ojochal.
We don’t yet have our own farm animals (just a couple of crazy dogs), but it’s not uncommon for expats to jump straight into animal husbandry. Friends of mine who have been here since the start of the year already have around twenty chickens and 6 ducks on a small resort property in Ojochal that they are renovating from the ground up on a tight budget, using a lot of sweat equity.
I myself moved here temporarily to help my widowed mother sell our “family home” that she and my dad lived in permanently for the last ten years. My family has been coming here annually for twenty. Even when I was living in New Zealand, I still came to see mum and dad every two years to catch up where we felt most comfortable.
In the last three years, I helped my mum relocate to a long abandoned two-story home not far from where she used to live, in the phases of Ojochal. We bought it for a good price late last year and renovated it, piece by piece, working on it every day, before and after my day job as an online marketer. We’ve loved the downsize from the 4-bedroom home and 2-bedroom guest house that we were living in before and we are completely making this old home our own, taking pieces of our former lives, building new furniture, hiring tradespeople to help with things like wiring and plumbing, and putting to work our knowledge about problem solving in Costa Rica. And gardening.
Gardening has been my favourite aspect of living here so far. I dream of creating a small permaculture ecosystem on our 2-acre property that borders a year-round river. I want this to be a place from which the three of us can subsist, catching rainwater for the garden, collecting eggs, keeping tilapia ponds and a small number of animals on the property to help cycle the earth and water sustainably, replenishing nutrients naturally. For now, we are planting fruit trees, herbs, medicinal plants, and ornamental plants that keep mosquitos away, or attract different species of butterflies and hummingbirds.
My terrace is filled with pots containing cuttings, seedlings, and small herbs for scents and protection from critters. Of course, not everything works out around here, but this is a way of life. It is with a slow pace that we do loving battle with nature, work hard, till her earth, learn her secrets, work with her ways, and reap the rewards that she gifts us. Already, we have weekly harvests of bananas, plantains, and coconuts. We had mangoes recently and avocados and cashews just before that. Periodically, we have a burst of fruit from the pitanga (brazilian cherry tree). All this from a property that had cows roaming on it only a year ago.
I have personally planted at least 200 small plants around our garden, of dozens of varieties. We could splash out and pay for any one of the amazing local landscaping companies to do it for us, but we don’t see the fun in that. For me, my mum and my boyfriend, the fun is the doing. We love seeing all of the incredibly beautiful tropical gardens of our friends and neighbors when we visit them, serving as inspiration for us to ask for a cutting or a seed and to patiently wait for our garden to bloom.
If you ask me, patiently awaiting a bloom that you know is going to come, with a bit of love and time, is la pura vida.