As the title suggests, May has been a month of surprises, creativity, and unexpected opportunities here in our off-grid world in the jungle of Costa Rica.
FIRST, THE SURPRISES
We’ll start with the surprises, because they’re the cutest. We haven’t told many people about this development, but here’s a photo of the surprises of the month, the four newest residents of our jungle community:
These precious little babes were born May 6th and they are the babies of our border collie, MJ, and another resident doggie named Manchas who belongs to our neighbor and friend, Dorothee.
There are two girls and two boys. The girls are the white one and the black/white one at the back. The boys are the black one at the front and the white/brown one at the back.
MJ and Manchas have always been good friends, but one night a couple months ago they took their friendship to the next level. Not planned. Manchas is a mix, we think probably Chihuahua and maybe some Rat Terrier? It’s an interesting combo to say the least! 🤣
Again, it was a totally unplanned surprise but we embraced it (after I spent a good amount of time freaking out and feeling like an awful person/irresponsible dog owner). Dorothee and I were both present for the puppies’ arrival. Crazy experience! It’s been super fun to watch them grow for the past few weeks, seeing them open their eyes, start to walk around, and find their little voices. We still don’t know exactly what we’re going to do with them, and ultimately it will be Dorothee’s decision since Manchas is her girl.
Whatever happens, they will all end up in good homes… and I have an inkling feeling that at least one or two of them will become permanent Finca residents…. 😬
CREATIVITY IN THE GARDEN AND KITCHEN
(and some setbacks, too!)
In other news, It’s been a tough month for gardening! Rainy season has arrived and the daily afternoon rains are in full swing. Less sunlight and high humidity are challenging my gardening skills and reminding me to stay humble. There’s also some resident critter who has been enjoying stopping by at night and eating/destroying almost every seedling I’ve planted - my basil, pole beans, cabbage, zucchini, nasturtiums, lettuce, mustard greens, celery - all seedlings tragically chomped on. So far my cucumber plants are the ONLY new plants I’ve planted who have survived the wrath of the mystery critter thus far, probably because they’re in a raised bed. And they’re taking forever to grow because it’s so rainy and they need more sunshine. Oh, the drama.
That said, I’m taking a break from trying to sow more seeds for the time being, at least until I can get my hands on some chicken wire to protect the seedlings from our hungry jungle neighbors. If I can protect the baby plants long enough and get them tall enough and strong enough, the mystery critter will (hopefully) lose interest.
Sidenote: I’ve chatted with the FBV gardener, Felo, and some of the locals about the drama in my garden and they have suggested that it could be a hungry iguana of some sort.
More optimistically, progress has been made on the banana circle - I’ve planted sweet potato vines and they’re starting to spread like wildfire (yay!), and the papaya seedlings have sprouted and seem to be doing well. We’ve had two banana trees fruit and have harvested more bananas than we can manage in the last month.
The mature papaya tree in our yard is producing nicely, we have yet to pick a fruit but they’re getting big and hopefully in the next month we’ll be enjoying fresh papaya from our yard. The pineapple plants are looking good and we’ll have one ready to pick and enjoy in a few weeks.
Our citrus, mamón chino, mango, and cacao trees have been growing like crazy (no fruit or flowers yet, though!), and I’ve also planted ayote and chayote in the yard, which are two local varieties of squash that apparently LOVE the rain and grow abundantly with little care. Fingers crossed!
Where I’ve really found some new creative inspiration this month has been in the kitchen! Never have I considered myself a good cook or someone who even enjoys cooking that much, but I’ve been experimenting and creating new recipes and having a lot of fun with it! I’ve perfected our “Fusion Home Hot Sauce” and it’s a good thing, too, because the hot pepper plants we planted months and months ago are still producing like crazy and I was starting to get overwhelmed by how many peppers we had. The recipe only requires four simple ingredients and takes about 15 minutes. So easy.
Fusion Home Hot Sauce Recipe
20-30 hot peppers, de-stemmed and cut in half length wise (keep the seeds)
Two cloves garlic (if you’re like me and can never have enough garlic feel free to double that!)
1 ¼ cup vinegar. I use white but you can also use Apple Cider
Tsp of salt
1. Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil
2. Reduce heat and simmer until the peppers have softened, about 10 minutes
3. Pour contents of saucepan into a blender and blend! Make sure to use a tea towel to cover the top of the blender and protect your hands since the mixture will be hot
Optional: I like to add a bit of honey to sweeten it up a touch
4. Transfer to a container, store on the counter, and add it to anything you want to have some extra spice.
‼️ BE CAREFUL OF YOUR HANDS AND DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE RUB YOUR EYES, PICK YOUR NOSE, or SCRATCH YOUR FACE WHILE DOING THIS. Pretend your peppers are COVID positive and keep thy hands far away from thy face. And wash 'em right after!
In addition to the spicy and delicious homemade hot sauce that we’ve been adding to almost everything, I’ve mastered my creamy, nut-free spinach pesto recipe. Now the only thing I have to do to perfect this recipe (aka make it cruelty-free) is find a good non-dairy substitute for the parmesan cheese. [suggestions welcome!]
Fusion Home Pesto Recipe
1 cup olive oli
2 tbsp lemon juice (limes work, too)
5 cups packed spinach (you can also add any combo of basil, arugula, and even lemon balm)
3 cloves garlic (again, if you’re like me go ahead and double it)
⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Put all ingredients all in a blender and blend until they’re well mixed.
Store in the fridge, and add to sandwiches, salads, veggies, etc
All this kitchen creativity and inspiration must have helped me manifest the unexpected opportunity that came my way this month...
Even though we LOVE hosting guests at The Fusion Home and we can’t wait to be able to welcome people into our home again, it’s been fun to be able to live in our jungle home and have freedom and privacy to work on projects that are long overdue (I can’t WAIT to share the final version of what Matt has been working so hard on … stay tuned!)
While Matt and I have both been thoroughly enjoying these last couple months of living in our Fusion Home, I’ve also had days of anxiety and restlessness because renting was our main source of income and, of course - POOF! - it was essentially lost overnight just over two months ago.
Goes without saying that I’ve been spending some extra time on social media lately, and also asking the Universe to help me discover an opportunity where I could be productive and earn some income from home.
At the end of April / early May I participated in an online Pampered Chef Party that my mom was hosting through Facebook. It was fun. It was easy. It was a welcome distraction. My cousin was the “consultant” for the party, and afterwards she reached out to me, sharing that she had recently signed up to be a consultant with Pampered Chef and had made over $1,500 in two weeks from working part-time in addition to her full-time job.
WHAT?! THE UNIVERSE DELIVERS AGAIN. SIGN ME UP!
And that’s what I did - I signed up to be an independent consultant for Pampered Chef on May 12. If it weren’t for Coronavirus shaking things up I would have NEVER even considered trying something like this. To be honest, network marketing is a bit out of my comfort zone, and to be honest I really enjoy hanging out in my comfort zone most of the time. But, I’m less than one month into this new business and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few things:
How much money I’ve made so far
How fun EASY it is to be a virtual consultant
The sense of community and support I’ve received
I'm not going to ramble on about it (maybe another time) but if working part-time from the comfort of your home sounds like something you’d be interested in, PLEASE reach out to me, or leave a comment below so that I can share more about this opportunity with you. It’s crazy and I WANT to share this opportunity with anyone else who may be in need right now.
I’m forever grateful to be living in my privileged little jungle bubble, but I know shit is wild out there. Much more wild than here in the jungle.
At the end of the day we’re all participants in the global reality, and we all need to reflect on our participation because we’re all connected. Despite the chaos and the pain, I do believe that we can and we will make this a better world to live in by staying open and continuing to have important conversations about uncomfortable topics. Despite the ugliness, there is so much light. Progress is happening.
I’m sending a ton of love, a huge virtual hug, and LOTS of high-vibe energy to YOU, from the Fusion Home here in Costa Rica and straight into your heart! I hope you can feel it.
BE WELL. BE KIND. SPREAD LOVE.
...and here's a video of sleeping puppies making cute noises to help lift your spirits.
Interested in experiencing off-grid living in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, or learning more about the Finca Bellavista community in general? We would love to host you at the Fusion Home (hopefully soon!). In the meantime if you are interested in learning more about this lifestyle or have any questions check out the Fusion Forum.