A World of Life in One Country/Costa Rica

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Imagine a land of bio diversity, a relatively small country that has an enormous variety of wildlife due to its neotropical climate and varying habitats. This peaceful, ecologically responsible land is home to more than 500,000 species, respresenting nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. It is one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in  the world. Of these species, a little more than 300,000 are insects.

The fact that, along with Panama Costa Rica formed a bridge between North and South America around three to five million years ago allowed the very different flora and fauna of the two continents to mix.

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From the magic of washed up trees on a beach in Domincal, Nature’s gallery of artistic perfection-random and beautiful-to the most minute eco system warriors that might go unnoticed if not for my viewing life through the zoom lens of a Nikon camera-my constant companion when we lived there.

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Flag Footed bug loves feeding on passion flower vines
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Leaf cutter ants, one of 47 species of leaf-chewing ants and can carry 20 times their body weight.

We discovered hundreds of leaf cutter ants right next to the beach, which extends from the jungle that borders the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica. Just look at the bio diversity in that last sentence!

 

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From the rich colors of dozens of birds we saw every day..

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To my friends, the iguanas and lizards that graced our doorstep with their presence daily, waiting for a few bread crumbs and a chance to be immortalized on digital memory!

Every day was filled with such diversity, often without leaving my front porch. I loved hanging out with the fun, freaky, fantastic family of nature in the land of Pura Vida.

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Nature is constant. So must we nurture it, accept its presence and necessity in our lives and embrace all that the world has to offer.  We were blessed to have known even a brief adventure in this paradise.

Stay tuned….

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Time in a Bottle

One of my favorite Jim Croce songs states, “If I could make days last forever. If words could make wishes come true, I’d save every day like a treasure and then-again-I would spend them with you.”

It is a blessing, in life, to have someone you feel this way about. In good and bad times, to realize you wouldn’t give up any days spent with them, but merely try to change the way some may have been miss spent.

Sometimes a day begins on a less than brilliant note but ends spectacularly. Those days are especially nice because I love surprises!

The #Free48 started out with a Friday fun afternoon at a new venue near the house. We thought #Baddaddysburgerbar was pretty cool, from the Badass Margaritas (of which they only allow 2 per person) to the wide variety of freshly styled burgers and hand cut fries. So good! The homemade chips were crispy and not greasy. We will definitely go back. There’s a whole menu to try!

 

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Then there was Saturday…low key, projects, a bit of housework and cooking a weekend meal.

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I just had to work on jewelry projects
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Braised Pork chops, baked sweet potato, peas and Olive Oil Muffins.
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These muffins are so good! I found the recipe from David Lebovitz’s blog awhile back and saved the link. I finally dug in and gave it a whirl. Can you smell the orange?

Check out David’s recipe for Olive Oil Muffins

Sunday promised to be a beautiful day and we headed up to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to a small German influenced town called Helen. Here comes the disappointment moments….it was less than even underwhelming, mostly due to a sense of apathy among the vendors there. It seemed as though we had stepped back in time, but it was frozen somewhere in the 70’s along with all of their merchandise and venues. The buildings are quaint and stylish, and there is a cute little park as well; but it took us approximately 45 minutes to walk around and fear we had made the two hour drive for naught. Thankfully, we had to drive to the other side of town when we first arrived, making sure we parked in the best spot, and spotted a state and national park sign worthy of a second look.

We did stop in an ‘authentic’ German restaurant/bakery where we snagged a cream puff. What can I say? I have certainly made tastier treats. The pastry was dry and the cream was only whipped cream-and unsweetened at that. So disppointing.

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Authentic German styling
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Even a windmill!
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This little waterfall was in the patk
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We always enjoy a good pastry. Too bad it was mediocre.

So, quick as that, we headed to the far end of town and followed the brown park signs to Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls National Park. Hubby has a lifetime pass to all national parks so we ended up getting in totally free! Yippee!!

Talk about worth the wait. It was about a mile walk uphill to the falls and the view along the way was beautiful, cascading water at every turn. I knew the moment I saw this beauty that we were where we should be.

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I so wish I could live here. One of the best things was the way the air got cooler the higher we walked. At one point it felt like a blast of air conditioning wafted down the hillside.

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I loved these huge rock formations and hidden passageways.

Then we reached the top! It was so lovely. We have seen larger falls but this place has its own special charm.

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The view was breathtaking
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If only I could stay…
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That smile is genuine. Me and water and the woods make a happy trio!

Reluctantly, we headed back down the hill and made our way to the parking lot.

Our day was exhilarating. From expectant to disillusioned to thrilled.

 

 

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What’s not to love about this drive?

We had one more stop to make.

 

 

 

How is that for a #Free48?

As I said before…..