We are now going from one of the very strictest countries to now just a strict country for quarantine. We are still only allowed out for a few hours a week during our designated times. I get the 8am-9am time slot 3 days a week. We must wear a mask and most everything is the same except for these new items for us..yay:
They do keep threatening to remove the alcohol privilege again if people do not follow the rules. I feel like I grounded teenager who gets their x-box back, but is warned that it can be taken away again if anyone in the country misbehaves....sigh.
Our son has no interest in going to the hardware store or grocery store with us for the 1 hour and I would never expect to take him, so really that does not change our life. Rick having access to the hardware store and beer, does make him a happier though!
Work around the Farm
We are still getting some work done even though the farm is not open yet. Roger was working on the beetle traps, Melvin sprayed the trees and they both chipped up some more tree limbs. They also have done some road repairs and are working on the drainage that runs under our driveway.
We are now starting to work on setting up virtual coffee tours. It will be a little different from our hands-on tours, but still fun. It will take both of them to do a tour (one to do the camera/phone and one to be the guide) and we still want to keep the tours small, so people can ask all the questions they want along the way....guess we will see if it is worth it. :)
Rick finished getting a few more frames and sign blanks ready. We only have a few more trees available for the tree-lease program and then that will be closed off again until next year.
Our new de-husking machine is about ready to use. It still needs a motor and pulley to work, but we had to wait until the hardware stores opened to get those. Now that hardware stores can start to open back up, we should have the machine ready to go by next week.
More and more flowers are now blooming all around the farm. We are getting rain 1-2 times a week and everything has started to flower and grow.
Rick's Tree Frog
Rick and Frogerita have become friends. Rick checks on her a few times a day and she seems very happy to be living on the side of our house. Yesterday she decided to hop off the house and be social. Here she is on Rick's knee. She is not afraid of us at all. After this picture, she hopped away and we found her back on the wall this morning.
Other than that, we are just getting little things caught up around the farm. I think we are getting used to the new "normal" for now.
Panama gets more Strict
Each evening there is an update from the government and if you don't pay attention you could end up in trouble. The rules keep changing. Almost daily we get the numbers of people arrested for going outside and violating the lockdown rules. Most days it is close to 600 people a day which is 6 times the number of people that they are reporting are newly infected. So, Panama keeps adding more restrictions, which are really only followed by the rule abiding people to begin with and the people that keep breaking the rules continue to do so.
New additions since my last post:
1. Men and women cannot go out to the grocery store or pharmacies on the same day. Women are restricted to Monday, Wednesday and Friday for their allotted 1 hour (plus driving time of 30 minutes before and after their 1 hour time slot.) Men get Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for their 1 hour assigned time. No one goes out on Sunday.
2. Yesterday they decided that people might try and gather for Easter celebrations, so they have banned everyone from leaving their houses on Saturday and Sunday this week. (This only impacts the men that had 1 hour on Saturday, because Sunday was already banned on the previous addition.)
3. No music this weekend, that would imply you were celebrating. The translation on this one was not very clear....
4. Masks must be worn when outside of your house.
5. New penalties added to drivers caught outside of their home not during their designated time: Vehicle will be towed and driver's license will be suspended for 3 months, plus the regular penalties....
Not quite sure how much more strict they plan on getting, but I think we are the only country that is now a "Dry" country during this pandemic. Alcoholic sales are still banned.
The little things make me laugh
As we comb through the sites to see what new rules are being added each day, the homeschool jokes still make me laugh. Thankfully, my son's school is getting more organized and is getting a handle on the virtual schooling. Between Google classroom and video conferencing classes, he has some sort of organized education right now. Unlike Europe and North America, our school year had just began when this all started. I think he was only on week 3 or so of the new school year when classes were cancelled. I am not sure how this will change the school year for them in the long run, since most of the public schools do not have the resources for virtual school....guess we will find out later.
Fruit on the Farm
As our dry season is starting to wind down, we are seeing more and more fruit ripening. We have 1 mature mango tree that is producing hundreds of mangoes. I keep cutting them up and freezing them for later, we cannot eat that many at one time! We also have a couple of pineapples, bananas and mulberries that getting close. This will be the first year for the mulberries, so we do not expect a lot...maybe enough for 1 pie.....crossing my fingers.
A Little Work
There is no coffee sales or coffee tours allowed right now. No income coming in, no stores to buy equipment open...not alot going on right now. We did finally get an exemption to pick up Roger and Melvin to bring them to the farm without fear of penalties. The country does want all farms to continue growing their crops and maintain the farms in the area.
Melvin and Roger seemed excited this week to take a day off of confinement to get some exercise in and get out of the house for a short time.
Rick, Melvin and Roger went through half of the field mulching all the debris on the ground. Next week they plan on finishing the other half. This becomes harder to do if we don't get it done before the rains come again. I am not sure if Roger and Melvin were sore, but Rick was worn out after the day of mulching. It had been 2 weeks without any physical work like that.
The days all seem to run together right now. Most of the time I am not aware of what day it actually is anymore. We decided to color our eggs a little early this year. We set up a video chat with family in Oregon and decorated eggs together. With access to some brown eggs, food dye and markers we spent some time catching up with family and making masterpieces. :)
Our dogs are taking this down time hard. They miss all of the activity that usually happens here and have taken new delights now in antagonizing a new dog on the other side of the fence at my neighbor's house. When they are not allowed to do that, they have been moping in the house. Before the quarantine, they would escort guests and volunteers on hikes, follow coffee tours around (getting in a few bonus pets along the way) and watch/supervise all the work being done.
The cat seems to not notice that anything is different. She still wants her 10 minutes of attention and that is it. She continues to go outside, roll in the dirt, hunt grasshoppers or lizards.
I think the lizards are getting smarter and avoiding the front of the house where the cat keeps watch. Now they seem to follow Rick. :)
Being the Teacher
School is not going very well. We are going on 2 weeks of having to enforce school work assigned by the school. I believe he is all caught up, but with 12 classes and everyone having different methods...it was touch and go for awhile.
As we are all caught up (hoping that is actually true) and I have put in for hazard pay (still waitin on that) I decided we would attempt Zumba class together for P.E. today. For those that remember that I am still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, my zumba was a little modified and embarrassingly very clunky. We made it a total of 12 minutes before he convinced me that getting his "steps" in would be healthier for both of our sanities. I will keep you updated on our progress.
Panama is on day 2 of total lock-down. We have had different versions, each getting stricter than the last, until they finally locked it down. (The different versions were something like this....they all kind of ran together and I might get a few of the older rules out of order.)
1st version: Drinking alcohol was banned and people were told to stay at home. Schools, churches, large gatherings were all closed off.
2nd version: All stores were told to close except for necessities. Restaurants, grocery, pharmacy and food chain supplies could stay open.
3rd version: A 9pm curfew was ordered, no groups over 10 and borders to the country were closed. Some roads to different parts of the country were closed off.
4th version: Curfew was changed to 5pm and they became more strict on restaurants and other stores.
The next day...it was 5th version: Total lock-down. 1 person in your house is allowed to leave for 1 hour a day to get necessities at the pharmacy or grocery store. The time you are allowed to leave depends on the last digit of your ID, So, I can leave at 8am to get necessities and Rick can leave at 2pm. Not that we plan to go use our time allotment until we need milk or something....There is no end date assigned yet, so we will just have to see how long this lasts.
Getting Prepared for the Lock-down
We all knew that a total quarantine was coming. So, we arranged to start some projects on the farm to keep us busy.
While still social distancing, we ordered trucks of sand, gravel, blocks. plumbing stuff....
As an agricultural farm we were (and technically can) stay open with limited employees. We just cannot offer coffee tours, ship coffee or meet up with people to deliver coffee, but we are suppose to continue growing the coffee. However, for the safety and well-being of our employees we did close completely by the time the lock-down was in place.
So, Rick is working alone on the construction of the new bathroom for tours, while I get to do the less labor intensive jobs. Yay me!
The coffee trees are doing great. I think this might be our biggest year yet. Below is a picture of a tree from a neighboring farm and a picture of a few of our trees. A lot of work has gone into our farm and I am just hoping we keep enough of our customers after things stabilize to continue improving.
A New Concern
Yes, we have the regular concerns about covid-19, income, water coming to the house, will we have electricity today, will the internet be on all day, but we have had to deal with a fire-bug on the hill too. Which by the way made us lose electricity for a day.....so not cool!
This is land a little lower on the hill from our farm. No one lives there and we are not sure if the owner set it on fire to clear the debris or if someone does not like the owner of that land, but whatever the case may be, they have lit this land on fire twice now.
The local fire truck is unable to get up our hill and when the firefighters were brought up for the 1st fire, there was no water in the line to put the fire out. One neighbor has a well and I guess they did the best they could filling up little backpack tanks or something with the well water and sprinkling it on the ground. However, the next morning, the ground was still smoking and the power poles were still burning. A few days later they lit the land on fire again. We are hoping things are a little quieter for awhile around here.
A Couple more Pictures
Here are a few more pictures from this last week:
1. Blooms from a coffee tree.
2. Sacks of parchment coffee in storage that will be need to be hulled and roasted when we can ship out coffee again.
3. and 4. Mangoes and my mango cobbler that I am now making lots of.
5. 6. and 7. All of the flowers and plants around here are flourishing and reminds me how not everything in the world has changed. There is still beauty and wonders to appreciate.
Connecting with People
My friends Chris and Kelly, from my long ago past in college-prep boarding school, started getting people from our school together last night on a video chat. I was up until 2am connecting with people that I have not seen in many, many years.
Chris reminded me of the time that he helped me dye my hair brown in the darkroom during photography class. If he actually finds the picture, I might post it in a future blog. Having blond hair and brown eyebrows, I was always asked if I dyed my hair. I had decided that maybe I should have been born a brunette like my parents had been. How I got Chris to assist me, I do not remember, but I remember that I looked very bad as a brunette and tried to wash it out as fast as I could. My hair turned orange for weeks and I eventually cut it off and had very short hair for awhile.
Totally made my night! Was nice connecting with people from my past, just what any doctor would have ordered.
Staying up late meant I woke up late and missed my allotted time to get supplies today. Thankfully, I did not have anything that I needed!
Back to Work
As the dogs are now in time-out for agitating our neighbor's dog (my dogs miss people on our farm,) my son is in restricted to using electronics in his room (okay....that is totally a reward to him,) Rick is working on the bathroom.....I guess I should go do something productive now too.
During Panama's summer vacation, we are typically busy with coffee tours, finishing the harvest and getting things lined up for the new year. We also start pruning trees, getting projects finished up that require non-rainy days...
This month has been all of that and more! Thankfully, we have had 2 groups of Workawayers that have helped out. :)
Roger has invented the "No Scorpion" dance and convinced Kat and Kolin to participate. I don't think it worked, but it was funny to watch them.
This is going to be a crazy coffee year. The trees are blooming 4 months early and that would mean these cherries will probably need to be harvested right in the middle of the rainy season. I guess we will wait and see what happens, but I think our farm might have its busiest year yet.
I have become addicted to the craft projects (bead by number) and use it as my evening wind-down time. I spend 30-45 minutes each night while Rick and I watch TV, putting the little beads on the canvas. I only have one more to do and they do not sell them anywhere around here....I really miss having access to certain stores. :)
By the time that I drove by this area, they had already cut most of the tree down. This is not an uncommon thing to see around here. Trees and powerlines frequently battle it out. Unfortunately, they both lose. The power goes down and the tree has to be cut up.
I am loving the sunsets and sunrises each morning. It is very beautiful this time of year. We also, get an afternoon rainbow on most days, sometimes even a double or triple rainbow.
Melvin gets a day of being the "Gardener" this week. He has been wanting to add more color to a few areas. Most of the farm is very green, with the occasional white flowers when the coffee trees are blooming, but it is nice to see some yellows, reds and well....other colors too.
We have upgraded our internet slightly. I do miss the days of high-speed internet, but with all of the good parts of our life, there are a few pitfalls to. We now have 7 mbps, upgraded from our previous 5 mbps. Yay us!!!
My ankle gets slightly better every day. I can walk a little further and the swelling at night is less than it was. I still limp and am limited to walking...no running, jumping or skipping for me yet, but at least I am still improving, even if it is not as fast as I would like.
I am sure I will have more updates by next month!
We want to thank everyone who supported us through the 2019 year and followed our progress.
Here is a list of a few of our 2019 accomplishments:
It has been quite the year! Many challenges, but also many solutions. We are excited to see where 2020 takes us.
2020 - Coffee Tree Update
We expect to have a few challenges this year with the coffee trees. They have decided to start blooming 4 months early. Does this mean we will have 2 harvests this year? The thought is that it does mean that, which means we need to come up with a way to dry the coffee during the wettest part of the year.
This farm has never had 2 harvests, nor have the farms around us....so this is all new territory and we hope that we will be prepared for whatever happens.
I am slowly moving forward on my recovery. This has been a long and challenging few months. There were days that I felt that I would never get better and then there were days that I could see a small light of hope way, way off in the distance.
I have removed the house of most of the equipment that has gotten me through the beginning stages of recovery. I am now down to 1 pair of crutches, that are mainly there "just in case." I walk with a huge limp now and my ankle is swollen each night, but at least I am mobile. :) My physical therapy sessions are not as painful as they were in the beginning and some of the kinesio tape designs are more intricate now.
My dogs ended up being more helpful than I expected and as I am writing today, I am hopeful that the worst is behind me, at least for this little pitfall.
There are just a few minor items left to finish the roasting house. Melvin finished painting it and Rick is moving items into it. As we are finishing the last finishing touches to the roasting house, we are now against the clock with the harvest now approaching quickly.
The harvest has started and we are busy with tours, harvesting, getting ready for the holidays and now working on improving the floor in the solar drying house. Life on a coffee farm!
Some of you have met us through the Workaway program or have read other posts about Workaway. For those that do not know about the program, it is a program for people traveling that either want to travel on the cheap or want to learn more about the places they are visiting other than the typical tourist visit. It is a cultural exchange program where travelers work or help out with projects for a few hours a day in exchange for room and board. The idea is that the sponsors and the travelers learn from each other.
We have had some great experiences and have made life long friends with many people through this program. Each person has left a mark on this farm. Each time we look at the compost bin or the fireplace, we are reminded of James and Maddie. When we are making coffee soap or driving on the road up to our house we are reminded of Dale and Shane. When we look at the herb garden we think of Alex and Ashley. Evening fires and banana bread reminds us of Lucy....I could go on and on, but this post is about Mona Lisa and Lea.
Two physiotherapists from Germany contacted us through Workaway. What great timing! I need to recovery from my Achilles tendon surgery and they were here traveling through Panama.
They were tough on my physical therapy and I will always remember them as I gain my independence back. (They even helped Rick with his knee and back.) Hopefully the nightmares of them yelling to keep my head up, hips rotated, feet pointed a certain way, bend my knee, 5 more times and all of the other things that I was doing wrong will fade. :) Military drill instructors should look at recruiting these 2!
They hiked the volcano here, practiced their acrobatic yoga, went the beach, learned all about coffee, taught the expats here how to do a proper Oktoberfest cheer and have now moved on to have more adventures. We wish them luck and hope they know how much we appreciated their time here.
I can now hobble around more and even walk fairly normal for limited amount of time. I am only a few degrees away from getting my flexibility in my ankle back. I have no muscle tone in my leg yet and my balance is not back yet, but I am getting better each week. People with access to the live-feed cameras might actually see me slowly walking around once in a while. :)
The outdoor spa in the mornings is my favorite time. It helps loosen everything up in the mornings and I might enjoy it in the evenings if would stop storming at night.
Just when we think we are catching up, something has to go wrong. After hours of checking wires and problem solving why one of the camera systems is down, Rick has determined the system works great EXCEPT for the internet connection. Which means that it is worthless to us if we cannot fix it. This is the project of the day. Hopefully the company will have a fix for us.
We are still working on the roasting house, but getting much closer!
No cast, scar is healing and now onto the kinesiology tape and lots of therapy. Some days it is 2-colors of tape and some days it is either pink or black. That is my excitement for the day, always a surprise.
Each time the pain recedes, it is time to do more exercises, stretching or practice putting weight back on my ankle. The pain comes back, then I ice it again......this has been a very long and painful process. I will be very excited when this is over and I can walk again.
I do have to say thank you to our insurance company. Their website to upload receipts is a little archaic, but they have been very good and this is the first time that we had to use them. Expats that need insurance should contact them. :) https://www.pagroupco.com/
Rick and Melvin have slowly been working on the roasting house. The weather and other chores keep slowing them down, but each week there is a little more progress. The roof is close to being done and the stucco is maybe 20 percent done.
We still have 2 doors, a window, painting and tile to do after the stucco is finished. I slowly made my way out there the other day to see it for the first time in 6 weeks. It will be nice when it is all done.
I do not get outside much these days, so just a couple of pictures this time.
We are averaging 1 power outage a day right now. Since August 1st, we have had 37 power outages. Most are only 10-15 minutes, but the longest one was over 20 hours. We never know how long we will have to wait for it to return. The power going on and off is really bad for all of the appliances. We had to invest in power supplies, surge protectors and battery back-ups. Not everything is protected, but most things are now.
Then we had a week of internet problems. Those only lasted 2-3 hours each day.
This is one of the things you deal with when living in a developing country. Most days we would not have noticed the outages. However, while I am recovering, I am inside the house all day and having no internet or power is a bigger deal to me.
We are not sure what has made the outages worse, but it has been said that there was never a budget for expansion or upgrades. With the city being more populated now than when power was installed, they just can't keep in this area.
After the last big rain storm, 3 or 4 families on the hill got together to repair the drainage ditches on the sides of the road. Dante, the dog, was the supervisor. :)
The dogs have many hiding spots among the coffee trees where they can sleep or guard the property. Here is Karma not being happy that she was found, she thought she was invisible....haha
After 3 years of living here, we finally had to use the E.R. in Panama.
I ruptured my Achilles Tendon. We went to our regular doctor who sent us to the E.R. in the City of David. Thankfully there was a orthopedic surgeon that could see me that day. After an examination he sent me to imaging for an ultrasound. We quickly found out that the ultrasound tech was out for 2 days. The surgeon then sends us down the road to a private imaging facility. We were surprised how clean and modern it was inside. After a very short wait, a doctor, not a tech, did the ultrasound and took pictures of the tear. Back to the hospital with my report and a CD with all of the images....
The surgeon offered to do the surgery that night or I could go home and work out all of the pre-certifications with insurance and come back in the morning, which is what we chose to do.
After the surgery, Rick is driving me home and we stop off to pick up a wheelchair and crutches from one of the local community charity groups and then to start my recovery! The first few days were incredibly painful.
Paige and Jacque came by a few times and have helped us out. Paige even helped Rick fix my wheelchair. Jacque made some food for me and even restocked our banana bread supply for tours. :)
In one of the pictures below you will see my cast with a couple of black boxes filled in. My wonderful husband put an advertisement for a USA president candidate that I am really hoping does not get elected....so the paint marker had to be used to black it out.:)
On the other hand, my son found a bell for me to ring if I need him for anything. He is so sweet!
I am on day 8 of recovery now and the swelling and pain are much better. One more week until I go back to replace the cast with an AirBoot if all goes well. In the meantime, while I am stuck on the couch all day the internet goes out for 2 days (no tv, no phone games, no email work....) Longest 2 days! A couple of hours after the internet was restored, the power goes out! We had to test out our new generator for real....all went well and power was restored last night around 11:00pm. Then we find out that water is now out in our area. Again....I am glad that the rain catchment system works well and we have 4 reserve tanks full of water.
The worst part of all of this, is that I am stuck here and unable to walk. Everything happening around here has Rick running all over (taking Cole to the orthodontist, transporting him to and from the school bus, feeding everyone, doing the coffee tours, fixing stuff....) while I just sit here. I thought I would enjoy a little forced vacation more than I am. :(
Last week the earthquakes slowed down, but before that we were having an earthquake swarm. I had never heard the term before, but I guess there were hundreds of little earthquakes and a few bigger ones that we actually felt.
So far there has been no damage from the earthquakes that we have had to deal with. But our neighbor, Hector, came home from a vacation to some damage to his rock wall. I cannot go outside yet, so I am not sure if he finished fixing it yet or not.
I have a very small laundry room. It barely fits the washer and dryer and even then there is not enough room to plug or unplug the machine. However, this room is the best place to put cleaning supplies. Our house does not have any storage or closets other than one closet in each bedroom. Before Rick made me the wonderful shelf, I had cleaning stuff hidden in the dining room, under the kitchen sink, on the floor in the laundry room, it was all over! Now, everything is in one place and all organized...yay!
I bought an old, used roaster that does not work. Panama does not have a store that sells roasting equipment, so you have to take what you can get...right?
It is the size I need for the majority of my roasts and since we roast only small batches and ship out freshly roasted coffee, I had to get it! Which means Rick has to fix it and build a new roasting house for it. :)
We decided to move the pilon station and build the roasting house there. Rick and Melvin are finishing the prep work now and should be ready to pour the flooring tomorrow.
I had never seen an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar before. I actually had to put it on our community Facebook page and ask people what it was. It is not poisonous or harmful to people and pets, but it looks like it came out of an Alien movie.
Caterpillar - Moth
Living in a country with over 500 rivers, one might think that water would not be an issue. We go 4-5 months during the dry season with no rain. I might expect water rationing during these dry months, but the issues seem to come more during the rainy season. There is too much pressure in the lines during the rainy season, or a mudslide happens when it is too wet and things break the water lines....whatever the reason, we can go days without water. It is hard to see so much rain in the rainy season and know that we have no water at the house. In the first couple of years we just relied on more and more storage tanks, but when you see 4-5 inches falling from the sky each hour it is silly not to try and use it.
I can honestly say that having to create a rainwater catchment system is not something that either of us were anticipating when we moved here. Thankfully, Rick is good at coming up with solutions.
The rainwater goes into this little barrel which is then plumbed to take out debris and fill up our larger water tanks. The tanks are then filtered (including a UV filtrations system) and we are back with full water! This system has already saved us multiple times since he installed it. We even have a lighting system to tell us if our tanks are not full, since we are not in the habit of making sure there is water every day.
Very exciting!!! Not only is there water issues here, there are power issues too. For whatever reason, either poor maintenance, lack of planning or insert any other excuse here....the power is not as stable as one might expect when paying a monthly electric bill. One day this month the power went out 6 times, sometimes they are short outages and once it was a 3 day outage when a tree went down on a power line. You just never know!
We do have a cheap generator that was getting us by, but mainly was just strong enough to keep some lights on and run the refrigerators. Gosh forbid, we wanted to take a shower or run any water that is connected to an electric water pump! The poor generator would bog down and so we are really careful when the power goes out.
Once a year or so there is a store in David that has this generator (seen below.) They normally only stock the 1 generator and I don't mean 1 model....I mean only 1 single generator. For a couple of years now, we keep threatening to come up with the money for it and if we were still living in the States with regular paychecks it would have been purchased a lot earlier. However, we live very differently now and having a big generator for power is a luxury that we went without until now.
Rick saw the generator for sale again this month and after some budget discussions, we decided to buy it this year. Yay!!!
Melvin helped him get it set up in place and Rick spent a couple of days getting everything else set and it was time to test it. White smoke.....more white smoke....
We started researching all of the things that could be wrong. Most of the articles made it clear that there was something broken in the new generator. We started thinking about how we would have to take it back and due to the store only having the 1 generator there would not another one that we could exchange it for......well, it was depressing to think about.
Today we learned (through a bunch of trial and errors) that Rick has made our house too efficient. He has tried to limit the amount of power in the house to the point that we are not using 60-75% of the generator's capacity and the generator is not working hard enough, hence the white smoke.
This is not a fancy, high-quality generator. It does not even have a gauge to tell you how many hours you have used it.... The white smoke goes away when we have everything on and even run the microwave. If the microwave turns off, the white smoke comes back....so Rick is back to thinking about what to do next.
He just told me that it also could be a high-altitude issue.....I guess we will be doing some more testing.
Worst Flying Experience Ever
Cole and I flew to the States for a week. This is not something new, we do this a few times a year, so we are fairly prepared now for these long flights. Before we left, we downloaded a bunch of shows and movies for the long flights and layovers. We had our 1 blanket to share while we dozed and watched our movies.....we were ready!
Starting from the top:
After a day in California, my sinuses and ear start hurting. By the 2nd day it was so bad, I went to an urgent care. Turns out that I had a bad ear infection and blew my eardrum, along with a possible sinus infection. I was miserable for awhile. :(
The return trip was just as bad!
I love when Cole and Erik get a chance to see each other. They are not only brothers, but good friends. We all got together at the Star Wars themed party that Erik was hosting, where yes I wore a Princess Leia wig for a while, even though I felt miserable most of the time with my sinuses and ear issues.
There was lightsaber fighting, eating cake with black frosting (that did not go away for hours!) and we even had some hot springs-pool time. Cole and Erik could not be more different and they make the most awesome brothers!
Flowers not Bugs
Orchids grow on ALL of the trees here. I keep forgetting to look up and see them, but Rick took a picture of one of the orchids and Melvin took some pictures of the flowers in the front of the house.....seemed like a good day for flower pictures and not bugs this time. :)
I had to go back to the doctor here in Panama to get another round of antibiotics for the ear/sinuses that are still not better, but everything else is back to normal now.
It is good to be home!