Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Another blow

Yesterday one of our trucks was stolen. As an isolated incident I could manage this, but first of all this is the second vehicle stolen from our company in the past year. Secondly, we have had vehicle issues for a while because several of our other vehicles were crashed. We just managed to sort it out to a place where we were comfortable when this happened. I feel like this place is a zoo lately. What is going on? Why are we fighting this fight? Sometimes I think there is a fine line between trudging through the difficulty and being a fool. When is it just foolish to continue with this nonsense?

Contributing to my strife is that I am continually wondering which view of the universe is the actual one: Is the universe disorganized and chaotic, or does it have reason? In this sense I always ask myself, "What did we DO to deserve this?" and logically I answer, "Nothing, it just happened." But deep inside I still have this spiritual perspective that whispers something....something....something.  So which is it? I suppose if you or I had the answer we'd put religion out of business, among other things. I will continue to struggle with not knowing.

Monday, March 27, 2017


As much as I hate catch-up posts, I feel there are some explanations I owe and details about the time that has passed required for anything to make sense from here on out. So, a short primer on the Rural World.

  • Our main business now is.......chicken! This was something of a dream of Nick's for a few years but came to fruition within the past two years. We have been running pastured chickens Joel Salatin-Style, which means chickens live in coops that move onto fresh pasture every day, and in addition to their feed they get to eat grass, bugs, flowers, etc. 
  • But we still have the sheep. We even have the hard-fought Australians, plus a few more that came two years later. Our wool is much improved with the addition of those animals, and the lamb is tasty as ever. Overall, though, the ovine side of business is a lot more low-key than the avian side. 
  • We opened a STORE late last year. So much for my "Never going to work retail again!!!!!" promise. 
  • We're building a straw bale house for our main residence (on the farm). This has been only 8 years in the making. It's actually quite close to being done, the windows having been ordered today and roof currently being tar-papered. 
  •  I somehow never mentioned that we bought a condo in Cleveland in 2011. One of the bright sides to the real estate market crash was that we got to build a little nest back home! The last couple of years since Liam came into our life, he and I have spent a month or so each summer there so he can discover his American roots. 

The truth is that you probably already know all this. But if there is something that seems incongruous or doesn't make sense, don't hesitate to ask. 

The darkness

"Art comes from joy and pain... but mostly from pain." -Edvard Munch

I find this to be true whether the art form is musical, visual, or -- in my case -- written. And so, from the darkest I've felt in our time in Chile, I resurrect por fin my long neglected blog.

I write from a place of loneliness, this an attempt perhaps to connect in a way that I haven't been successful at in my adopted country. It has been difficult to put delicately in words exactly what is driving me right now without sounding like I'm complaining-- I'm not aiming to blame anyone or anything, but the truth is that our lifestyle is deeply unstable and makes it extremely difficult to sustain connections with anyone or any place. A great deal of this is owing to the geography of Chile: because everything has to happen in Santiago and our home is not in Santiago, it requires frequent trips into town. Because getting anything done is an exhausting and tedious task, trips tend to be overnight or longer. And because these trips happen with relative frequency, we generally don't sleep in the same house for longer than a week at a time.

In an attempt for greater stability, I've tried minimizing my trips into Santiago but that has led to the isolation which I now am currently facing. Wake up, become slave to three-year-old, wave hello to the husband who passes through between work and bed, sleep, repeat. Business has been incredibly stressful. Imposing a 180 degree change on an industry is no small task, not even counting the whole doing-business-in-a-foreign-culture thing. Nick and I both have found it difficult at many times to understand why business works the way it does here and to stick with our guns in insisting we want things done our way. Being in charge and being change is isolating itself.

So, dear reader, I reach out to you. Let me connect, let me show you, let me hear you.

Let's pretend like nothing's happened, ok?

Something I hate is "I'm back" posts on blogs. So let's skip it. A quick summary since my last post:

I had a baby. He'll be four next week.

Part of our house burned down.

One of our most beloved employees died.

Ata's house was sold and she passed away.

We created an amaaaaaaaazing tasting chicken.

A barn exploded and burned down.

One of those is not like the other, but still we persist.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whiney whinerson

Wahh wahh, I haven't written a thing all year because I keep thinking it should be something significant and tidy, and then I run out of time and it doesn't get done at all. New Year's resolution-- just write something! Boohoo, /end obligatory "I'm sorry I haven't written!" post

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The pollen here is so bad right now, it's collecting in the corners of the apartment every few hours!

Spring has sprung and this year it seems like it's going to be short and summer will zoom right in. I think back to my first Spring here, two years ago and it's soooo different than that one. It rained and was cloudy the entire first month we were here. I remember it didn't even get warm until Thanksgiving! I was sure that's just how Spring went here, but last year was beautiful and this year it was just like someone threw a switch on the season and there it was.

I haven't gotten to spend as much of the Spring at the farm as I wanted. We went to the US for a couple of weeks in September to attend 2 weddings. I had been really psyched about going because I looooove September in Cleveland typically, but this year was, of course, not typical. It rained the whole time we were there! In the end it was so busy that we couldn't have enjoyed the weather anyway, but it was a shame to anticipate all the fun fall things and then not be able to do them.

The happy news is that we bought an apartment while we were there. Maybe this seems excessive but the market was right. The prices on condos were (are) unbelievably low. We want to have kids and once you introduce a third person to your trip, it's hard to stay at a friend's house or in one guest room at my parents' house. We did the math on getting a hotel while we're there and guess what? The apartment was cheaper. Pretty wild. Of course the bonus is that it's ours! We painted it and slaved over trying to furnish it (everything second hand this time) on this past trip but now when we go back for Christmas it's there! We still need a bed and sheets and towels, but I kitted out the kitchen pretty well thanks to a few trips to Goodwill and some donations from awesome people in ours lives, so we're almost there. I can't tell you how excited I am to pull out our Christmas decorations for the first time in a few years!!!

Christmas and Spring. Where else but here?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My garden

I got a BIG SUR-PRISE when we got back from our summer vacation this year: My little garden which would hardly grow anything last year? Weeds three feet high!!!

My herb garden is some-where under here.....

I knew things would grow in a month but I didn't realize they would grow so much! I figured the cold would keep them down, but alas. So I have spent the entire last MONTH chopping it all down. The upside is that I have become intimately familiar with the weeds that grow here. I have easily found and identified (thanks to it getting dark early and some good reference books) 20 species of rather non-exciting herby plants growing in my yard. Also, all that ground coverage, even in a little bit of time, has really build a moist, dense soil. The key will be keeping it around this summer! I am planning to mulch with some aged tree chips--hoping they are aged enough. Last year I mulched with reeeeally old chips from the chopping pile near the old house, but there's a pretty finite supply of that, so I'm not sure I can get enough for this year too.

So excited for another flowery summer!