Tag Archives: bridge

Living in the Cabin and Preparing the Studio


Posted by Cassie

Car and Finca
Looking down at our finca from the road you wouldn’t even know a cabin existed!

I suppose it’s time to do an update on the move to the jungle tree cabin! There is always something more to be done so it’s a little hard to say we are “finished” moving over. But we have been sleeping in the cabin for about 2 months now! Once we moved the bed over, we were officially living here!

Bed
Our bed in the cabin!

This, like everything, was quite the process because we had to haul everything over on foot.

Moving out
We loaded the truck and took the furniture half-way down

Jungle flowers
And then carried it through the tropical gardens

Bridge Britton
And over the bridge…

Cabin
Up the stairs…and into the jungle cabin

We also cleaned out the studio cabana and it needed a full scrub down! Even though it is tiny, things still get really dirty here. Having all our stuff out made the job a little easier.

Britton hoser
At least in the concrete cabin it’s acceptable to bring a hose inside! Haha

Then we bought another bed for the cabana and cleaned it again so that it will be ready for visitors.

Bed to Cabana
Unloading the bed for the studio cabana

Cabana bed (2)
Cabana all cleaned and ready!

So the studio cabana is now officially open for visitors! Contact us at lifetransplanet@gmail.com to stay with us! Here’s the page with information on staying in the cabana!

Cabana Table and view Cabana kitchenette
Roof top dining and view and inside living space of the studio

Back at the jungle cabin, while we had running water, electricity and even internet, we didn’t exactly have a kitchen. Not that that was a deal breaker considering that we lived for 3 years with a mini fridge and a hot plate for our method of cooking, but I was pretty excited to have a full sized kitchen.

Britton Kitchen
Britton in the kitchen/living room of the cabin with the new sink and stove just waiting to be installed

Santa Cassie
And though I have been loving our new bathroom, it just doesn’t make the best place to wash dishes! :-)

So we started building the kitchen including making our own counters/lower cabinets.  

Counters
Building the counters

Britton installed the heavy enameled cast iron sink but had to drill through our very thick floor in order to have a grey water drain out.

Thick Floor
Like a tree core sample. The floor consists of 3/4 inch plywood, thinset, 3/4 cement board, more thinset and the tile

Kitchen Sink
Kitchen currently with counter tiles and functional sink! Yay for washing dishes out of the bathroom!

The next big thing was to hook up gas to our new gas stove so that we would literally be cooking with gas! We went down to Rafucci’s next to Ventana Al Mar to get the parts and the friendly owner said he would just send the gas guys down. We warned them that this was not a standard hook up and that you wouldn’t be able to find us from the road, but he didn’t seem worried.

output_8Yh4We
After stopping at Rafucci’s we walked 20 steps to Aloha for a beer and that always makes BK happy

When the two workers showed up, they walked down the drive, through the meadow, past the chicken and turkey coops, through the tropical gardens, down the ridge line trail, across the bridge, up the stairs and quickly concluded that they would not be able to hook up a big propane gas tank. They said they would return with a 25 lb tank in about an hour. After waiting about 3 hours, we went back to Rafucci and talked with Alfredo again who said he talked with the muchachos and they said that the site was a little too difficult for them. (Would have been nice for them to have told us that instead of having us wait…)

So we decided to go ahead and do what we were going to do in the first place and just install it ourselves. We have found that often people don’t like to tell others bad news so they will just tell you what they think you want to hear and then just avoid you. Because of that we always have a Plan B especially since we know that we are an odd case in general.

Gas hook up
Britton hooking up the gas

Last night we actually ate our first meal cooked in the oven: lasagna; and it was so good! We have been joking that we are going to get chubby again eating with a real kitchen with a full fridge and everything! haha!

Stove
We can’t wait to cook lots of meals on this stove!

Overall, living in the cabin has been a lot of fun. Because there is no road and we are deep in the trees we are immersed in nature. The hummingbirds buzz around, the doves flap and the hawks are always swirling high above. We often see the mongoose running around and of course lots and lots of iguanas, geckos and coquis everywhere. The trees sway all around us and we feel like we live in and amongst them. It’s a really cool feeling.

Cassie stairs
You don’t want to forget anything or it’s quite a walk back!

It can be a bit of a challenge to walk home in the night so we have to always remember our flashlights especially because there are very few guard rails. One night we forgot them and had to crawl on our hands and knees across the bridge because it was a dark and moonless night and…we had been drinking. But we laughed the whole way across.

Coqui
This cold, wet and clammy coqui landed on my leg and then hopped on this ginger leaf

 

First party
We have even had our first “unofficial” get together with a few friends at the cabin!

Cassie jungle
We have lots of fun in our own jungle park!

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Trapped in an Aguacero


Posted by Cassie

This time of year we just always must expect rain. It doesn’t usually last very long, but it can come down in sheets. One Sunday we went to the farmer’s market and then the grocery store, but we got trapped in a downpour AKA an aguacero!

Cassie Farmers MarketFun chatting and checking out all the wares and goods of the Rincon farmer’s market

Grocery Store blocked up

The rain was coming down super hard and we humans tend to not like to get wet. So everyone got backed up in the store by the exit.

Cassie in an aguacero at the store

We managed to squeeze through the crowd huddled at the doorway and wait outside under the metal roofing and watched the rain.

Wet Cat

When we got home we found poor Kitty ready to come on inside! Life in the tropics can be a bit moist in the summertime! Over by the cabin we have an intermittent creek that is usually dry but when an aguacero comes down we have a full-fledged river and waterfall! Check this out!

These rains can be a challenge to navigate and it makes things like the Fiestas Patronales a little muddy. But it also makes everything SUPER green and lush. Because of all the rain we have to keep things mowed a lot more but I just love the finca this time of year because it is just so beautiful.

Cassie mowing
Those big clouds usually mean more afternoon rain!

We both get out and mow the upper meadow area about once a week! It’s hot, hard work and the ants are out en force but if we didn’t do it things start growing wild and vines overtake the fruit trees. I actually enjoy mowing now that things are a little more manageable and there aren’t as many stumps and huge rocks to break the mowers. And I love how it makes the farm look like a park.

Yard workBritton and the chickens doing a little yard work

 

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Lush Tropical Gardens


Posted by Cassie

One of our favorite parts of this big project we call our property/finca is the tropical gardening. When we first arrived, there was just a huge mess of competing underbrush, weedy trees, thorny bushes and vines that we could hardly walk through. Certainly not what you would probably think of when you imagine tropical gardens.

Path to lower area
After some initial clearing efforts in 2013: Hawk Alley


Making our way through the property when we first bought it in 2011

There was very little in the way of broad leaf classically tropical looking plants. We weren’t even sure that it was possible for us to grow them since Rincón can be quite a bit drier than some other nearby areas like Mayaguez and into the interior mountains. We thought we’d give it a try anyway.

bananas
Growing bananas is one of the most beautiful and fruitful of our tropical gardening

We give a little extra water to the new transplants than they would otherwise receive, but the irrigation is fairly minimal. We are constantly adding new plants and choosing new sites and always looking for new gingers, heliconias, bananas, palms and other tropical ornamentals, edibles and exotic fruit trees.

Flowers from the farmers market
Britton buying some ginger and heliconia starts at the Rincón Farmer’s Market

It’s an art to leave the jungle for the most part in tact while also making trails that are walkable even in the rain and planting new additions that we can tend to. We are getting better at it every day. The most densely planted area we call the Tropical Garden.

Britton umbrella
Britton looking cute with his umbrella in the Tropical Garden

It is down from the turkey coop and immediately west of Hawk Alley: the Roble tunnel of trees that hawks like to cruise through. It is really starting to fill in now and I love that this will be our walk to the cabin when we move there. Eventually we will probably put in concrete steps and other amenities to make the walk a little easier, but even in the rain it is already a nice little stroll through the jungle. Here you can take a virtual walk with us in the rain from the tropical garden to the bridge and cabin.

Tropical gardening is one of the most enjoyable aspects of our time here. We look forward to creating more and more lush tropical areas around the property. As these initial plants grow we will be able to separate their corms and transplant them too. When we need a break from the work of the cabin, this type gardening is a fun and easy reprieve.

Speaking of the cabin…it is almost all fully lit up with electricity woohoo! Next up…water. Then we can water the new tropical gardens over there too!

Cabin in the woods
Cabin lit up at dusk

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Crossing that Bridge When We Get There


Posted by Cassie

This week Britton put on the last few boards that connected one side of the bridge to the other.

Bridge and Palm tree
Little Britton, big bridge and huge Royal Palm tree

We have been enjoying going across it, walking on it like a catwalk, swinging our legs over the edge, laying down feet to feet or head to head looking up at the birds, bugs, and iguanas in the trees.

Full length bridge
Full length of the bridge

Bridge and stairs
On the catwalk, yah!

It’s not totally done, but it is useable/walkable now. We still need to add some other bolts to it, put on some handrails and about 10 more feet to make the transition onto the bridge feel seamless. Then we need to put in rebar and pour the concrete steps to make the full connection all the way to the cabin.

Looking down at the bridge
Britton had to re-do a few of the stair molds because they weren’t regular rise and run

Compared to going down into quebrada and climbing back up, crossing the bridge feels like floating.

House and Bridge
Bridge, curving steps and cabin

We love our little cabin hideaway in the woods and this bridge makes it even more fun. We have already started talking about what we can put below it. A tilapia pond? A small waterfall? Koi? Ducks? Tropical water lilies? Or all of the above. There is just so much potential with this property and this bridge is another step to helping us unlock even more.

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