Managing the mud

In an effort to keep our houses clean(er), before entering a house and taking off our boots, we hose off all the mud and “stuff” we have collected on both the bottom and sides of our boots.


We have also, on occasion, been known to strip off more than our boots before entering a house due to more extensive mud issues. This, of course, lacks photo documentation.

Managing mud migration into houses is slightly more complicated due to our resident German Shepherds. Unlike most farm dogs here in Uruguay ours live inside and so contribute greatly to the necessary cleaning regime. Resi, with her double coat, wallows in any water puddle she can find to cool herself.  So, she gets a shower, not only to wash of mud, grit, sand, other stuff I don’t want to know about, and help with the smell of the other stuff, but also to cool her off.  She loves the word “shower”.  She also loves the word “towel” as she gets toweled dry. The dogs also, incidentally, contribute greatly to the laundry.


Virkha, who surprisingly has not developed a double coat, barely tolerates a shower as she does not particularly like running water, nor does she wallow in mud puddles. But what one dog does, so must the other!


Seasons of Laundry

Autumn:  Two loads** per day, with one in the dryer.

Winter:  Two loads per week, if lucky, with working dryer.

Spring:  Two loads per day, if no rain showers.

Summer: Four loads per day,.

Now:  Six loads before lunch.


** One load in our washer is equal to half a load of a standard American washer.

Unintended absence

We are still here, the farm is still standing, and one day, I promise, the blog won’t have these unexpected periods of nothing.

For some reason long about August or September we appear to take a month off from blogging. At least that’s what WordPress’s site statistics tell us. It’s happened three years in a row so there must be something about that time. Typically it’s been a month. If you are reading this then you are one of the few and dedicated to stick around through 6 months of no updates. I humbly apologize for the lack of posts.

What happened is, in a moment of less than brilliant thinking, I got to planning an actual website for the farm. Not just a blog, but a website. And, surprisingly enough, it was coming right along, slow but steady. Then came the time to figure out what to do about the new, separate website and the existing blog. And that’s where everything fell apart. Forward motion required a solution, I didn’t have one, and so everything froze in place.

Fast forward six months. I made some less-than ideal choices (because evidently my idea of what should be possible on a hosted website is not quite the same as what is possible – basically my desired outcome required extreme amounts of coding knowledge of which I have exactly zero) and we are back up and running.

So stay tuned – more posts are coming. More importantly, more pictures are coming. In the meantime take a peak at the website. It is most definitely a work in progress.

Hello out there

Even though we have been absent from the blog, we have been busy with the farm.  Actually, busy with the farm is one of the reasons why we have been absent from the blog. That and my camera broke. The blog isn’t nearly as interesting with no pictures. So, as I finally have a working camera, I will attempt to catch you up to date without too much talking.

As we are now farmers, and weather controls our lives, I will begin there.  Yes, we expressed our displeasure every chance we got at the lack of rain, for the second summer in a row.  Then the forecast said little rain with very cold temperatures for the winter.  Great!  So pasture growth had been slow but with sun in the Fall and a little rain, we thought we could manage if we reduced the number of grazing animals.  So our first wonderful rainfall, lasted three days and dumped 100mm!  We had water running everywhere.  The main roads were flooded and some bridges on the highway submerged.  The rain came down so hard and for so long, the ground could not absorb it.

rain 2

The front pasture was a lake.  We had just moved the sheep to another pasture, but not the horses.  The horses did have higher dry ground to go to, but at this moment, they were fine being in a lake.

Since that introduction to Fall, it has rained often enough that our campo has yet to dry out.  We have good soil.  The water just stays.  We have had a few sunny days, but lots of cold days.  The temperature lingered around 12 C during the day and dropped to 2 C at night with intermittent rain.  Fall forgot to come and Winter came early and has stayed.  We started the wood stove in the house in April to get the chill off the house.  Very early.


At least we had firewood to burn.  Most people we talked with had yet to stock pile their winter wood.

With the water comes mud, which leads to wet muddy dogs who enjoy playing in the water.

wet dog

The dogs also enjoy being toweled off which helps to keep the floor cleaner and prevents raw spots from developing on the dogs.  But with wet weather comes more laundry, oh joy.  Wet weather and cold no sun weather means that hanging laundry on the line doesn’t work.  So our little clothes dryer has been getting a work out.

I guess we will manage to blame the weather for any inconvenience  no matter what season. I’ll play catch up on our farm activities over the next few days and then, with a bit of luck, topics can turn to what we’re up to now.

P.S. The blog left off with the Olive harvest. It happened. It was semi-successful (the rain cam DURING the harvest) but we sold the olives, and we’ll talk more about all of it later.



Work for room and board guest

We met a young lady who had been working in a restaurant nearby.  The restaurant was buying some specialty vegetables from us.  Evidently this gal had worked for a farm in the states who took vegetables to Sunday market.  She came to us at the end of her restaurant contract and offered to work for room and board for a few weeks.  We can always use another pair of hands and took her up on her offer.

Her are a few of the tasks she worked:


Tying up tomato vines and picking the ripe tomatoes for the house and the over ripe tomatoes for the chickens.


Weeding and mulching the asparagus.


Making labels and wool sample cards for processed wool bags.


She helped with the evening feeding of the chickens and collecting eggs.


Cleaned rabbit cages, and


fell in love with a few rabbits.

It was nice having an extra pair of hands for awhile and now she is off on her next adventure.  We wish her the best.


With the hot weather, searing winds, and endless sun the garden is a bit stressed – and so the weekly vegetable boxes have been put on hold for the season. But not delivering vegetables means that those few plants surviving the weather make odd surpluses for our kitchen. Such as Zucchini. Never a great favorite when merely sautéed, we grew a bit weary of it and did not maintain the strict harvest schedule needed to keep Zucchini plants under control. As you can see,  a few got away from us.  The pigs and chickens have been enjoying the excess bounty immensely!



in our quiet time


We have peas to shell in our quiet time. Megan is stripping the last of the peas from the garden. Pea plants are cool weather plants – with the heat they dry up quickly. So we sit and shell the peas when we have a moment – then bag and freeze so that we may have peas all through the summer.  Freezers are wonderful if you can’t can things.

Another helpful toy

It is now winter.  An unusually dry, exceptionally warm, almost a third over kind of winter. But still, winter. We heat the house with wood – as we only actually heat the house about three months out of the year the wood stove is really quite efficient. Heating with wood means chopping wood.  Jon has had to do all the log splitting. Last year we purchased cut and dried eucalyptus, acacia, and a few other types of wood. It comes cut to size – but not split. Being smart, we’ve used all the wood that fit in the stove first – it’s just the last of the wood pile which needs to be spit as the logs are too big to fit the stove.  Megan and I are not very good at splitting logs  and Jon worries we will loose a limb. Not an irrational fear, sadly.  So one day he came home with a new toy for us!  It is an electric log splitter.  He even remembered to purchase the generator to go along with it.  He chose the style carefully, we do not have to use gas to operate it, not is it so powerful that we might hurt ourselves.

log splitter 1

log splitter

log splitter 2

The splitter doesn’t quite finish the job.  It is difficult to pull the log apart the last little bit, so Jon takes the hatchet to it.  Well, it will work for the women in a pinch, otherwise it will remain Jon’s job. Or Alejandro and Oscar’s. As they were both quite insulted that we thought a mechanical tool could do a better job than they could. Please note that they weren’t interested in splitting wood before we bought the log splitter. Now that we have it they’ll split the logs before they let Megan or I use the log splitter.