Blueberries! and more

Blueberries in Uruguay

In addition to fresh (harvested before your eyes) affordable organic produce, Saturdays in November include a chance to pick blueberries.

My haul of blueberries in Uruguay

In a half hour or so, I had three kilos (6.6 pounds). Cost? Just under US$2 per pound.

Neighbor cutting our field, Uruguay

Checking in our nearby chacra, I met a neighbor I don’t know cutting our field using the tractor of our immediate neighbor, who I gave access for his cows. I was expecting to borrow his tractor and do it myself, but seeing the grass, I realize it’s much to his cows’ benefit. What he’s cutting is some kind of nasty brushy weed that the cows ignore. The grass they will like.

Reminded me of the time I couldn’t fix the fence.

My Saturday in UY

We really appreciate the opportunity, every other week, to buy fresh-as-you-can-get-it organic produce at bargain prices. Here Ricardo has just harvested a variety of acelga (Swiss chard) for us. Acelga is arguably the vegetable in Uruguay — if you order ravioli or canelones con verduras in a restaurant the verduras will be acelga. You can get it year-round. It took us a year or two to realize this was our desirable spinach substitute, since spinach is only occasionally available. And needs much more washing.

Feria Organica near Atlántida, Uruguay

So then off to our chacra nearby where the in-places knee-high grass needed cutting. A couple of wild ducks flew into our tajamar, but decided the noise of the lawn mower was offensive, and left. I had seen one on my previous trip. Other posts about the pond we created. It’s an interesting experiment in “letting nature do its thing.”

Wild ducks in our pond, Uruguay

Then there was the twice-monthly (because “bimonthly” can mean either twice a month or every two month; thanks English language) Atlántida-area English-speakers’ get together. 23 people showed up. Many lively (and funny!) discussions. Nationalities included Uruguay, US, Canada, England, Holland, and Germany. On other occasions we’ve had South Africans, Argentines, and no doubt others I can’t think of right now.

And this Saturday Occupy Couch performance art.


The country kitchen, or lack thereof

I still haven't made the kitchen cabinets

June 2014: It’s been six months now that the kitchen of our little country place has looked like this. After building a few little pieces of cabinetry, I froze on the kitchen. First, it was bloody hot, and woodworking is not great fun when you’re sweating and sawdust sticks to you. Then the awful rains, and then … well, no real excuses.

The other day I had a breakthrough of sorts. I realized that I’d been trying to start with the largest, most critical component, which would maybe present no problems if I had experience. But I don’t. “Warming up” with the smaller, less critical pieces makes a lot more sense.

Update: it’s been 2-1/2 years now, and it still looks like this. I think maybe It’s not going to happen?


Our newly-filled tajamar, or pond, in URuguay
Tajamar, September 2013, Canelones, Uruguay

This was our “test” pond two years ago. We didn’t know if it would fill with water or not.

Indeed, it did. So this year we enlarged it. And no rain came. And it went to almost bone dry a few weeks ago. Fortunately, we had never put any fish in it.

Tajamar, August 2015
Tajamar, August 2015

To get a feel for the difference in size, note that the earlier version ends on the left partly past the front of the neighbor’s ugly barn.

Now to go near Tienda Inglesa, trim some willow branches, and try again to get trees started.



Going, going, gone




I asked my neighbor Horacio if he wanted to work on our common fence, figuring he would be flush with cash from the sale of all these trees for firewood. Turns out he was paid in full for them six months ago. He was doing some repairs nonetheless.