Isolation Sometimes Leads to Thievery
In 1970, my family bought at a very reasonable price four acres of nearly flat land up in the mountains around the little village of Concepción just north of San Isidro de Heredia. It's a cool area about 6000 feet above sea level and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. We built a nice small two-room woodhouse, hand dug a water well 30 feet deep, and set up a small cement block barn to use as storage and keep tools.
The property was somewhat isolated but still only about two blocks away from our closest neighbour. Our purpose for buying the little property was to go there on week-ends, plant some vegetables and fruit trees, and maybe graze some small animals. It would be a sort of hobby or perhaps a way of engaging in gentleman farming.
My oldest son Frank and I decided it would be nice to raise a small flock of sheep not so much as a money-maker but for pleasure. Sheep are hardly raised in Costa Rica. In keeping with my liking for small animals, I had taken correspondence courses a year before on sheep raising, goat dairying, and bee keeping from the Pennsylvania State University's Department of Agriculture.
Frank and I searched through the classified ads in La Nación, Costa Rica's largest daily newspaper, to see if anyone sold sheep. To our fortune, we found that six sheep were being sold on a farm a few miles from Ciudad Colón. That farm was later converted into what today is the famous University for Peace sustained by the United Nations. We bought the sheep and two days later trucked them to our property.
We had to have a good pasture so we took our Land Rover Jeep to the government's research agricultural station at Ochomogo on the road to Cartago, loaded it with Kikuyo (considered an excellent grass for feed), planted it and divided the farm into six fenced divisions for proper rotation of the flock. We hired a teenager of the locality to take care of the sheep and two full-gown geese to act as police at night. These fowl are noted for acting as fierce guardians. Everything went well for a few weeks until one night two of the sheep were stolen from the barn. Disgusted, we sold the remaining sheep. A week later one of the geese was stolen so I gave the other away to Fabian Dobles who owned a small farm at Santa Cecilia, also in the San Isidro area. Having gotten rid of fowl and animals, our family decided we would try fruit trees and proceeded to transplant 50 well-grown peach trees that we had at another location closer to San José. They were to bear fruit within two or three months.