One of our new Homeschool goals this year was to go on MORE field trips. So, that is what we have done. We have visited La Paz Waterfall Gardens with Paul and then Los Chorros Waterfalls with the Reed’s. Next on our list was to go on the Corso Lecheria Tour that is nestled within one my most favorite places to visit in Costa Rica, the valley between the Poas and Barva Volcanoes.
We invited along 2 friends, Corwin and Audrey, who are about to leave Costa Rica for the USA. They have been here almost 8 years and the family is ready for a new change. We hoped this would be a good way to spend time with them while helping the parents juggle the many things they need to do before they leave in a week.
We packed into our Carro Negro and headed up Poas Volcano.
Sadly we only made it half way. Just as we were summiting a steep climb the Pathfinder seized, stopping all function to the car. Thankfully I was able to crank the steering wheel enough to the left to drive off the busy road and onto the side of a residential street.
The car overheated, AGAIN! After hundreds of dollars we are back to the same problem. The hose to the radiator burst off, thus emptying all of the fluid in the car. Thankfully El Gringo and Corwin were up to the challenge of trying to put the hose back on, while I went on a search for fluid to fill up the radiator.
I left the 4 other children in the car and walked up the street to a little mom and pop shop called “Pulperia La Guaria”. I could not find a translation but it was adorable. The sweet woman did not have any water for me to buy, nor was there any sign of automobile supplies – let alone anti-freeze, but she did fill up an empty jug of orange drink with water. No charge. So sweet! I knew that the water would not be enough but we were blessed to have parked next to a house with a woman outside sweeping. She had a nice sink in her driveway, which made it easy for her to fill up all the water bottles we could find in the car, plus the orange drink jug.
After the radiator was finally filled, we ran to start the car but it made the most horrible sound. I didn’t feel comfortable forcing the car to drive, so I called Paul. THANKFULLY he was driving a Customs official back to their office, so he was out and about and close enough to come to the rescue, but he was about 30 minutes away.
To protect the kids from the sun, they crossed the busy road and sat in the shade.
In front of where the car was parked was a cute little public school. The children happened to be out at recess when we arrived, so we got to hear their cute English and listen to their laughter as they stared at us working on the car. Now the children were back inside finishing up school while parents began to arrive to pick them up for the day. Kids in more rural areas don’t attend school all day, they go half day, just like Kindergarten only most of the grades do this as well.
As the kids enjoyed the cool of the shade, I enjoyed the view. The sky was hopeful and everything was GREEN! I love this time of year in Costa Rica! The kids started to get restless and a bit hot, so I sent them back to the pulperia to get a little something to eat and drink.
They were actually gone quite awhile, so much so I started to get concerned and wanted to leave the car to get them, but a feeling of peace and reassurance came over me. Just that morning I had woken up to the Piano Guy’s song “It’s Going to be Okay” playing in my head. I made a decision that morning during Seminary to just go with the flow. I remembered this and took a deep breath, realizing that I had been prepared for this day to happen and that what the kids were experiencing was FAR DIFFERENT from what Paul and I were experiencing. Maybe they needed to be in this little store at this VERY moment, so I didn’t worry and just let them take their time.
As the kids came back, I ushered them to sit under a tree that was to the right of the Pathfinder. I got out of the car to snap this photo. I was AMAZED at the beauty that was right before us. Just look at the bold color of these flowers. Yes, the two white butterfly shapes in the photos are actually real butterflies, there were so many there.
The girls had a lot of fun catching the butterflies and holding them. Curly Cook wanted to take her’s home. I told her that I felt she should let her’s go. Thankfully GingerSnap set the example.
Shortly afterward, Paul arrived and after a bit of help from one of the parents across the street, we decided to call a tow truck. Thankfully it was covered in our car insurance, at least that was what we were told. While Paul and I waited for the tow truck to come, Paul called his friend Frank to bring a van to pick up the kids and I, but to first take us to the last tour of the day at the dairy. I was so grateful Paul would selflessly serve us and help us still make this goal happen. I felt very blessed because today had already turned out to be a beautiful day!
The tow truck FINALLY arrived and began putting our vehicle onto its bed. It was actually a pretty cool process to observe. Very educational!
Soon after our tour van arrived.
We piled into the van while Paul followed the tow truck to our mechanic’s shop, about 45 minutes away.
The kids were excited and grateful when they found out that we were still going to go on the tour. I actually really enjoyed the ride to the dairy. It was nice to not have to worry about traffic or the rain. If only I could always have such a safe and thoughtful chauffeur to drive us all around.
After a fun intro to the tour (inside the little house behind the kids which included 2 plates filled with red, ripe, sweet strawberries and a wood board covered in 5 varieties of cheeses) we loaded the tour trailer and headed on our way.
Our first stop was the dairy. The 3 oldest were “the Boss” and took charge. I was so proud of them for trying something so new, especially with the smells and sites all around them. El Gringo especially took charge by milking the cow the “fast way”. Then the other kids wanted to try too. I LOVE having El Gringo as the oldest sibling in our family. When he is willing to try something, everyone else does too! It is a SUPER POWER!
Then we were offered hot chocolate, straight from the cow. Joy Boy took this challenge and his reaction made me want to try it. But El Gringo beat me to the next cup that was offered. His reaction was even better than Joy Boy’s, so I was REALLY interested in trying fresh cow’s milk. It was DELICIOUS – like drinking warm, sweet whipping cream with cocoa powder. YUM!
Before we went on the rest of the tour, the kids INSISTED on seeing the baby cows. This was probably my FAVORITE reaction of my kids. I don’t think they would have cared about baby cows before we started homeschooling, or maybe it is me who has changed. But watching the kids (even El Gringo) walk over, touch and talk sweetly to the calves melted my heart. I stopped taking pictures at this point because my mother’s happy cup was full. This moment made all the craziness of the morning worth it.
Next on the tour was a drive to their Strawberry Plantation. Had we arrived earlier, we could have taken a tour of their cloud forest but because it was past 1:30 p.m., and it had rained quite a lot that afternoon, we didn’t get to go into the forest. We did learn about the difference between a Cloud Forest and Rain Forest and how 51% of Costa Rica is covered in forest with almost 24% of it being “primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest”. I was hoping to see the cloud forest but due to the time, I didn’t argue about this decision.
We arrived at the special green house they have created to grow their strawberries. Sadly, they did not let us in to view the strawberries. I don’t know if it was because I had 6 children and only one adult or if they wanted to be done for the day but I didn’t disagree. We could see fine enough through the fabric walls. The tour guides had interesting information to share but the kids were more interested in playing with the electric fence. So we climbed back onto the trailer and headed back to the shop.
I will say that the ride was quite fun for the kids and because of the rain it wasn’t dusty or too bumpy. We finished our tour by looking at the cheeses they had to offer, as well as a wonderful selection of strawberries.
I left with 2 containers of strawberries ($6 a piece), a spicy slab of cheese, 2 bags of fresh sour cream and 5 of those colorful lollipops you see in the picture above. All in all we spent about $75 plus $100 for the tour van but it was worth it to me. We ALL needed to get out of the house and having friends come along made it extra special.
I think I would like to do the FULL TOUR another day, as well as eat at their restaurant and let the kids play on their incredible play sets. El Gringo would also like another shot at the electric fences they have on their property (he knows what I mean). I also would like to just sit and relax and not be in such a hurry like we had to be in today. Before we could even take in the views, after our tour was over, our tour van was ready and waiting for us to hop in and go home.
So I took one more look around and climbed into the van. It was a good day to have an Adventure!
Thanks for listening,