Hi,

Yesterday (Thursday) we stayed pretty close to home and went to the Oasis of the Toucans about halfway between here and Tilaran (Tilaran kind of like the county seat here) on route 142.  Doug and Irene took an old cattle farm and turned it into a tropical garden.  They offer guided tours of their personal gardens they created over the past five or seven years (the length of time seemed to vary depending on the conversation).  :)  They just have a sign over the highway with the name, phone number and that it costs $7 per person.  It is a very relaxed kind of arrangement.  If you plan on doing it, I suggest that you call in advance and have someone with you that’s fairly fluent in Spanish.  The gardener that’s planted the gardens and tends them gives the tour and he knows very little English (but if you have some inkling of Spanish, he has a lot of patience trying to work out what he’s trying to say).

Jill, the resident mascot, is a rescue toucan that seems to have been raised in a chicken coup with chickens.  Since she never learned how to survive in the wild, Doug and Irene keep her:

A lot of the plants on the property have medicinal purposes, like the Aloe:

And this thorny tree:

Which secretes a resin, but I failed to grasp what the purpose was.  Something about a salve:

Two ferns that caught my attention were the button fern:

And a very feathery fern, but didn’t get the name of this one:

Earlier, I showed you the native red hibiscus with the extra long stamen, here’s it in white:

A little bluebird was just sitting on a branch as we walked past:

One of my guest rooms is named Bougainvillea; it is a tropical viney kind of plant that can actually be trained into most any shape.  It grows like there’s no tomorrow and comes in every color under the rainbow.  Here’s an orange one:

Here’s a series of flowers growing on the property:

A lot of what’s growing on the property are common house plants here, here’s two that I have, Alphinia in bloom:

And a rubber plant in bloom:

 

And we had an iguana keeping us company for awhile:

Finally, while having dinner, there was an African Tulip tree blooming on the property and several young ones across the street not in bloom yet.  African Tulip, the name sake of one of my guest rooms flowers from December until June with these terracotta red tulip shaped flowers:

We felt so special this morning.  The Howling Monkeys live down in the hollow below Leigh’s place.  Some mornings they travel up towards us and some mornings they venture farther down the hollow.  I think they knew we are leaving and they came up to say good bye.  Seriously, there was more of them than had ever been up, they were up longer than normal and one of the males actually seemed to pose for this shot:

Isn’t he the cutest?

This may be my last post from here.  Tomorrow morning, we pack up and fly back home to the cold and da boiz.  Maggie says da boiz are doing well and with as much as I love it down here, am excited about seeing them tomorrow night (our flight isn’t scheduled to arrive in PGH until 11:15 pm).

Be well and enjoy,

ed

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