Mold

Moldy wall in Uruguay

Given a combination of brick walls, poor construction (this is underneath a terrace that ‘sort of’ drains), and warm snaps during cold weather, Uruguay offers the perfect combination for growing mold on walls, shoes, and just about everything else.

Looking at building a house in the country (hey, what’s the problem?), we’re interested in alternative construction techniques.  One is steel framing. They call it ‘dry construction.’ A new and exciting construction technique for Uruguay!

Not everyone, it appears, is convinced. A friend tried to explain the virtues of building with insulation to an architect in Montevideo. He put his hand on the wall, and said that in the winter up north, instead of being cold, the inside of the wall would be room temperature. To which the architect replied, well, you can turn on a heater.

As another friend points out, turning on a heater in a damp brick room is the best possible way to accelerate mold growth.

A Game-of-Thrones-like death in the yard

squashdeath

The largest of the volunteer squash, easily twice the size of the monster squash, ended up on the floor of our barbecoa because it took up too much counter space.

When the wife tried to move it, it – well, you can see. I dumped it with other refuse out front, and it reminded me of the endless carnage in Game of Thrones.

Another boring blue sky day

blue_sky

View from our ever-cluttered dining room.

Blue sky? Actually the morning dawned dull and gray.

However, weary of looking at the drab wall of the neighbor’s garage, that faces us and that only we can see, I painted it sky blue (celeste) the other afternoon.

Mauro (of the weird haircut and motorcycle accident) cackled in delight as he did when I fixed his motorcycle at the idea of my painting part of the neighbor’s house on a whim.

By noon, by the way, it was a beautiful blue-sky, chemtrail-free sky.

Small and unexciting

The dogs had fresh bones and did not want to leave the yard. So I walked on my own, pausing longer than usual at the goats’n’geese (and apparently now a duck) enclosure at the local zoo, which the Bradt Urguay Guide (first and only in English) dismisses as ‘small and unexciting.’

Well, yes: I read the headlines. Looming economic, environmental, and political catastrophes on a scale that boggles the mind.

Small and unexciting? I have no problem with that.

Goats and duck in Atlántida, Uruguay zoo

Goats and duck in Atlántida, Uruguay zoo

Goats and duck in Atlántida, Uruguay zoo

Goats and duck in Atlántida, Uruguay zoo

 

A chemtrail in Uruguay

In over two and half years in Uruguay, it’s only the second or third chemtrail I’ve seen.

chemtrail
Pretty much what I saw: borrowed and altered photo

I’m not happy to see it, but living on the windswept edge of an immense expanse of water, in a thinly-populated country, it’s not as threatening as in the northern hemisphere, where blue skies frequently turn to gray under the onslaught of spraying.

Monster Squash

Last year we had volunteer (we didn’t plant them) tomato plants, growing everywhere, even outside the living room window.

This year it’s zapallos, large green squash that turn yellow. Two or three plants occupy large swaths of the yard, and one growing on the neighboring lot goes 15 meters in several directions.

This morning I saw some beachgoers stop as Dad pointed to something in the leaves. I went out and discovered this specimen, actually visible from the street, though I would never have spotted it.

monstersquash

Gallineta

Gallinetas (pronounced ‘gazhinettas’) are one of my favorite birds here. I’ve only seen them in our yard a few times, though I hear their raucous calls almost every morning. When, this dreary morning, I saw a pair of them in the front yard, I grabbed my camera – to see that one had jumped onto a fence post (behavior I’ve never seen) as though posing. Only then did I realize  I couldn’t shoot through a window screen because of the camera’s auto-focus.

I quietly opened the front door a little bit, expecting the bird to spook. But no, it just stood there. Indeed as if posing.

In Argentina, it’s called Ipacaá; in Brazil, saracuruçu. In English, Giant Wood-Rail.

A visit from Aramides ypecaha

Gallinetas (pronounced ‘gazhinettas’) are one of my favorite birds here. I’ve only seen them in our yard a few times, though I hear their raucous calls almost every morning. When, this dreary morning, I saw a pair of them in the front yard, I grabbed my camera – to see that one had jumped onto a fence post (behavior I’ve never seen) as though posing. Only then did I realize  I couldn’t shoot through a window screen because of the camera’s auto-focus.

I quietly opened the front door a little bit, expecting the bird to spook. But no, it just stood there. Indeed as if posing.

In Argentina, it’s called Ipacaá; in Brazil, saracuruçu. In English, Giant Wood-Rail.

New, modern trash collection

Trash collection unit, Urguay

This thing appeared on the corner this morning with no notice, and no mention of whether it’s for trash and recyclables, or just one or the other. They’ve appeared around town the last few weeks, but I guessed we didn’t get one because our street was too narrow, and we’d continue using our basket-on-a-pole.

First thought: now I can rid of big stuff that doesn’t fit in the basket!

Second thought: how do they empty that thing?

UPDATE: though a neighbor told me they emptied them by hand (!) they do indeed have lifts on the garbage truck. Instead of running and grabbing bags out of baskets on poles, the two people riding on the back of the truck jump of to maneuver this bin into place.