First frost 2018

Since it doesn’t snow in Uruguay, frost has become a substitute. But it’s always fleeting: the clear sky that reflected no radiating heat last night allows the morning sun to make quick work of the frost. And it persisted all day today, making it lovely, sunny, and almost warm at times. Now the sun has gone down again, and any semblance of warmth with it. No doubt we’ll see frost again tomorrow.

First frost 2018 Uruguay

First frost 2018 Uruguay

Finally, a break from dreary weather

To be fair, we have had some episodes of sunshine during the last five or six days, but the overall weather theme has been dreariness. Today we had scattered clouds and bright (but not warm!) sun.

Interestingly, several years ago we were told by a solar guy that with a hot water system in Uruguay, you need to plan your tank capacity for three days without sun, on average the longest you’d need. In the short time since then, several winters have proved that quite inaccurate. We never got a solar hot water system installed – a little complicated on our house – so I don’t pay particular attention, but it seems to me there have been many stretches longer than three days without sunshine.

Anyway, a new sight today, several blocks from the end of the feria:

cany sweet, whatever that means

“Candy sweet.” A ladder up a tree, and further to the left, a gas-powered electrical generator. Since it was chilly, I didn’t hang around to learn more of the nature of the (presumed) business. There will be time, if it becomes a regular feature. More likely, though, is that it will simply go away, maybe after a couple more appearances.

sunset, Atlántida, Uruguay

And a lovely sunset, with a clear sky undimmed by criss-crossing “persistent contrails” (nudge nudge wink wink) that mar the sky almost always and almost everywhere in North America and Europe.


First fire this year

wood stove, dog

Temperature is in the mid-50s F (12-13° C) and it just felt right to crank up the wood stove. I had the door properly resealed a couple months ago. When I last got the door redone a couple years ago, the job was sloppy, and the stove hasn’t been really tight for a long time. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of heat coming from it – and of course forgot to dust the top before lighting. Eh, what’s a little temporary burning odor?

We don’t currently have enough doggie blankets for everywhere, but I did put some cardboard down after taking this photo, so Benji is now enjoying the warmth without vaguely thinking “something is wrong with this picture” as he lay on the cool tile floor.

The boxes above him contain a backlog of fire-starting material. I haven’t ordered firewood this year. We have a small amount of odds and ends, plus quite a bit of curupay from the deck of Tim and Loren, who left here over three years ago. I probably should think about that, since the weather’s been OK, and in the east of Uruguay, firewood is stupidly sold by weight. So, after a rain, if the wood is stored outside, you can end up spending 35% more – yep, that’s how much the wood can absorb temporarily.

So welcome winter, and we’re not quite prepared. I guess hoping it will be mild like last, resulting in an incredible harvest of avocados, starting March this year versus June the year before.

Ya veremos – we will see!


Paper or plastic?

Sometime last week, I had to pick up something at our friendly local pharmacy. Almost everywhere I shop other than supermarkets, people know I prefer not to take a plastic bag if I can avoid it. So I prepared to put in my pocket the “puppy aspirin” I had just bought (can’t bring myself to tell that story just yet), the smiling little man behind the counter proudly waved a paper bag, something I’d never seen before!

Then, at the farmacia in Tienda Inglesa, the same thing, again first paper bag I’ve ever seen there.

paper bag from pharmacy, Uruguay

I was reminded of the early 80s in the US, and the supermarket checkout question: paper or plastic?

Was it the same in Uruguay? Did there used to be paper bags for groceries?

Because here’s a strange thing: Plastic bags are made from oil. Uruguay has no oil. Paper bags are made from trees. Uruguay has not only an abundance of trees; it also has pulp mills.

So why are plastic bags ubiquitous in Uruguay “Natural?”