Monday, July 29, 2013

The Ghost...Cow...Horse

So there we were, in the pitch dark, chasing after a car like crazy serial killers. As the car turned the corner taking the light of its headlights with it, I thought to myself “how did I end up here?” But all in good time. 

June 27,2013
Yesterday was a pretty packed day for us. After walking up the mountain towards the Cloud Forest Reserve, we came along a dog. This dog stood apart from the other Costa Rican dogs we had seen earlier. For starters, she lacked the tiny legs that almost all dogs from around here sport. (Actually, it’s a type of dominant dwarfism very similar to human acondroplasia.) Secondly, unlike the native dogs who follow for a short distance before returning home, this dog followed us all day. She went with us to all our site checks and followed us back down the hill, all the way past where we originally found her and to La Colina. We had caught on now that this dog had attached itself to us so we hid inside the lodge for a bit to see if she would lose interest and return from whence she came. But no, she waited outside for us and then followed us home where she lay outside our front door.

She was an incredibly nice dog, very well behaved and got along very well with the other dogs we met. But we are leaving in a couple days and we couldn’t take her back with us. So we chained her out front of Ms. Mary’s for the time being while we finished up our work for the day. She would have followed us onto other people’s farms and we weren’t sure how the owners or their dogs would react to her. She was very dejected looking. 
The afternoon, Ms. Mary asked us to help her trim and give her little dog Moshi a bath. Moshi is a bit of a mischief maker. The day before, while I was walking over to Ms. Mary’s to ask her a couple questions, I heard whining and yelping. Following the noise, I discovered Moshi had once again jumped into the 6 foot deep garbage pit and couldn’t get out. I tried to lower a plank into the hole for her to climb out on but she just kept slipping off. She looked so pathetic and scared. This called for the heavy artillery so I returned to the house and enlisted the help of Kaitlin and Tessa. Kaitlin bravely jumped into the pit, retrieved the poor terrified dog, and climbed out. (Her rain jacket still smells like junk.) Even though she hosed Moshi down after rescuing her from the pit, she has looked bedraggled ever since. This morning, Ms. Mary noticed a mat so large that it almost tied her back legs together. Enough was enough. Armed with a couple pairs of scissors and Tessa’s knowledge of dog restraining picked up at a vet clinic, we set to work freeing poor Moshi from her hairy restraints. We must have cut so many dreadlocks caked in mud from the dog’s tail, hind legs and under ears that the pile once we were done was almost as big as she is.
That's Kaitlin's hand in comparison.  Moshi was surprisingly good throughout the whole thing. She obviously wasn’t happy about what we were doing but she accepted it with reluctant grace. Having three people fawn and pet you while one snips off your hair apparently is not so bad.
After, it was time to give her a bath which she reacted to similarly. We had apparently only washed the first layer of dirt and grime off when we pulled her out. Ms. Mary figures she must have been in there all night. I would like to remark that our little duckling of a dog was with us through this debacle and calmly laid down to wait for us to finish, all fancy like.
 She really is a very pretty dog. 
After retrieving the last of our data from the Stucky Farm (the farm next to this one), we prepared for our final Burger Night at La Colina. This time we had one extra with us: the dog. (We didn’t give her a name because we didn’t want to end up being attached to her.) We took her with us in the hopes that her owners would be there or she would attach herself to someone else. (I would have kept her if I could. She’s pretty awesome.) After a great meal of burger and churro-esqe round things of goodness (again I had way too many) and some hola hooping, we set out in the dark to return to our abode. We were happy to discover that the dog had attached herself to a nice family from Texas that had just moved down to Monteverde and had, we assumed, gone home with them. 
Thus it was that we were walking in the pitch dark, our path illuminated only by my flashlight and phone. (I was the only one to remember lights.) And from the distance we saw a form. Pale white. Too far and too dark out to clearly see anything. Of course the rational thing to assume was that it was a ghost. Thoroughly freaked out, our lights racing  around as if from the Blair Witch Project, we continued forward. Suddenly, I felt something move in my hair. Letting out a very girlish scream causing Tessa to in her turn scream as well, I whipped around to discover what it was: Kaitlin’s hand. The jerk! She had reached around my shoulders and pulled on my hair. After settling down, we look forward to realize that the shape, what had sort of resembled a cow, had disappeared. A car slowly passed by shedding light onto the road ahead. Kaitlin began to chase after it. Her idea was to follow the car and its lights to what ever it was that we saw. We ran after her, flashlights dancing. Just barely glimpsing the form as it ran around the bend we found that our ghost was in fact a white horse. A ghost horse I’m convinced since once we round the bend, we never saw it again. 

Today was our iButton collection day where we brought in all of the gear we had deployed. So up to Curi Canch we went, all together this time, our last time. Kaitlin, Tessa and I have been working together so long that all the retrievals went like clock work. Hiking up to the humming bird garden to visit our final bivy, karma struck back against Kaitlin for her scaring me the night before. 
“What is in my pocket? What is in my...GRAHH!” Kaitlin whipped her hand out of her pocket. Her reaction to me looked like mine would have been in I found a large spider in there. But no, Kaitlin reached in and pulled out...a banana. Kaitlin laughs at Tessa for having nightmares about army ants in her bed (which she’s adjusted to now) and Kaitlin freaks out about a banana. This wasn’t any banana. Oh no. this was one she had found in the cow pasture, presumably dropped when Tessa went and fetched bananas for this morning’s breakfast. Apparently this banana had been cut down the side which is exactly where Kaitlin had stuck her fingers when she reached into her pocket. The slimy moist feeling was what caused her reaction.
We all had a good time laughing. And thus, we left Curi Canch for the last time though not before thanking Mauricimo, the manager, and presenting him with some thumbprint cookies (more about these later). He graciously welcomed us back (for free) anytime we were in Monteverde with our families.
So this afternoon, we packed up all of our field equipment to take to Frank Joyce’s tomorrow. Now I sit here typing this as the smell of warm cookies floats through the house. After testing the recipe yesterday and figuring out the exactly spot in the over where the cookies don’t crack or spiderweb, I’m making more to take to the other land owners who let us tramp around on their property for the past six weeks. This research would have been really hard to do without their welcoming us to look on their land. These cookies are not chocolate chip as I made before, these are thumbprint cookies made with the remains of Bennie’s home made passionfruit jam and orange marmalade. They are really good cold we discovered this morning. (Nobody judge. We are running a little scarce on the breakfast food and you would eat them too if they were sitting in the fridge looking oh so tempting.)
 And now that we have emptied the jars, we have enough jars for each of us to take back some of Ms. Mary’s home made peanut butter which is ridiculously good!

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