Life on La Finca

My goodness, readers, you won’t believe what farm life is like in Costa Rica! I’m living and working on a farm just outside of Arenal. To sum it up in a string of events; I wake up before the sun rises; tend to the livestock; ride horses into pastures, fix fences by the lunar cycle; make cheese and yogurt, and drink fresh milk; and a frenzy of other farm duties and delights. It’s not all good times and lake-views from my guesthouse however; The work is tough, volatile, and can be downright stinky cleaning up pig and goat pens.

This is the view from my front door. Notice the lake!

Day Uno on La Finca! 4:30AM – I arose from my bachelor suit slumber to a medley of tropical farm melodies declaring the coming of morn. After a hot shower and a hotter cup of Costa Rican coffee, I had some farm-made yogurt with fresh mango and farm grown passion fruit, alongside cereal with milk and a banana. Quarter to six, I was outside among nature waiting for my co-worker, an aged and earthly-experienced Tico who speaks some native form of Spanish. My first lesson was how to ride a horse. The native Tico, Marvin, pointed at the horse, said something in his native Spanish tongue – and that’s how I learned to ride the horse. Through barbed wire fences, across roads, and up pasture trails we proceeded to begin work.


The Kitchen and living room

Apparently, there was a dispute between some Toro’s, who, in their best efforts to resolve the clash of horns, destroyed a few hundred meters of fencing! Nothing Marvin hasn’t seen before I’m sure and as we assessed the damage and marked off where new fencing was required, I nodded along not understanding a word he was saying. While I may not have understood Marvin’s verbal language, I did understand his body language and watched for patterns in work. Things actually went really smooth.

We cut a new path through some dense jungle in a riparian zone, well, Marvin did. He wields his 30-inch long machete like it ain’t no thang! Marvin may or may not have been born with a machete in hand.

After some heavy work, Marvin showed me this small waterfall and water-hole for swimming in the heat of the day. Scampering from river rock to river rock, Marvin pointed out and named a number of trees, only one of which I remember. He cut off a segment of a small tree resembling bamboo, edged his machete lengthwise to remove the outer shell, and revealed a succulent white inner portion. It came out like the center of a carrot. I didn’t hesitate to chomp down and try it.


Typical view from the upper pastures

Forty-minute lunch and back to work, actually, the horses did most of the work this time around dragging large tree trunks along the fence line which would be new posts.

My behind has never been so sore after roughly five hours of horseback riding, no pun intended.


This was my work horse for the day.

Front porch on at the farm house

These guys were on my front porch. They follow you around the farm and squack the entire time.

My Room on La Finca!










One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Annie on February 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch…what a great blog, I look forward to following it. I’ve been so curious to know how Natalie does it all, having only eaten the culinary delights of all the hard work. You go, cowboy!


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