How does someone go from a cubicle dweller to a farmer in Latin America? I never expected to find out—But In October 2015, my husband Rick was introduced to Moringa oleifera by a friend who had just finished reading a book, Miracle Tree, by Dr. Monica Marcu. Within weeks, Rick was so inspired that he decided to use the undeveloped land at Norma’s to start growing Moringa at Norma’s Villas.
It just so happens that Norma’s in La Garita, in Costa Rica, is ideal for this plant. Rick had never farmed before—In fact, he spent most of his adult life working office jobs in the United States. Since he started planting, he’s down about thirty pounds!
In the weeks ahead, I will share more about how we started growing Moringa at Norma’s, Rick’s metamorphosis into a farmer, Moringa recipes, and the progress of the thousands of plants now sharing space with the mango trees.
Rick and I have now been living in Costa Rica for seven months and we are adapting well. Aside from learning Spanish, one of the small challenges I have faced living in another country has been adapting my cooking to the local foods. I have also learned to make some of the local dishes (YUM!), and have been creating new recipes as well. I have also started making fresh homemade bread a few times a week, which means I no longer have to find a way to ship my bread machine from Texas. It also means we have to step up our walking routine to work off those extra calories!
So much has been happening in the world of nature at Norma’s Villas that I have had a really hard time deciding what to share! The New Year brought with it some new sights in both the bird and insect worlds. I realize a lot of people don’t care for bugs, and I certainly prefer most of them to stay outside, but once in a while you meet one that makes you go “OOOOO! How cool is that?”
Photo credit: bugguide.net
Meet one that made me say exactly that: the Mexican Unicorn Mantis, Phyllovates chlorophaea. Rick found a small one (nymph) in the kitchen (so cute!), then we saw one in a palm tree. I have always found praying mantises to be interesting, but this one is just so pretty! His tail actually looks like a part of a palm frond.
Bonnie has been living at Norma’s Villas for six months with Norma’s son, Rick. She’s our guest blogger for today!
It is Christmastime and summer has officially begun here at Norma’s Villas! I am married to Norma’s son, Rick, and we have been living here for nearly 6 months now. While I have visited during all times of the year, this is my first time to actually experience the change in seasons, from winter (rainy) to dry (summer). The biggest change I have noticed so far is that, while it is still quite hot during the day, the winds have picked up, providing a nice respite from the heat. In addition, the nights are cooling off with less humidity and, perhaps my most favorite part: the stars have “re-appeared” (due to lack of cloud cover). I love coming to the pool area a couple of hours after sunset, throw down a blanket, lie back and enjoy the view.
As I wrote this post, there was a group of happy Ticos (slang for Costa Rican!) whose Christmas party was actually saved by Norma’s hidden salon. This work group had made plans to have their celebration at another location, but they found it to be wanting. One of the employees suggested they call Norma, and now the property is resounding with the sometimes-slightly-off-key voices of partygoers singing karaoke, laughter from the pool, and an all-around festive atmosphere. They left pretty early, and by 5 p.m., the property quickly returned to its normal peaceful ambiance.
I cannot write about Norma’s Villas without introducing some of the “locals.” Today it is the Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus momota, a brilliantly-beautiful bird that, according to field guides, is quite common in Costa Rica. Interestingly, in the eight years I have visited Costa Rica I have never seen a motmot, even though I searched for them. A few weeks ago, as Rick and I were taking one of our regular walks through the trees on the property, we encountered this show off who allowed Rick to get a few pictures.