Thursday, 2 July 2009

Life in the Countryside...

Well we’ve been here in Finca Cañaveral for a couple of weeks now. Most of that has been cleaning, dusting and throwing a lot of stuff away. As I found out today that the owners hadn’t been here for about a year, and I’m not sure they cleaned that much before anyhows.
The owners are some parents of friends, and as I mentioned before they don’t come here much nowadays. So as we were looking for somewhere to rent and they wanted to rent it out. Perfect match. Well we are only paying the wages of the Mayordormo. Antonio, a local guy who comes every Friday and Saturday and does odd jobs around the place.
As I said, the first week was practically just cleaning, dusting, sweeping and throwing a lot of stuff out. What a mess. I had never seen so much dust in one place in my life. When we moved the rug downstairs, it had mould on the underside. Antonio informed us it hadn’t been moved for 11 years. Yuck …
The general mess of the place aside. Finca Cañaveral has real charm and a personality all of its own. It is quite different from other Fincas in the area. It was built with little money and using all manner of things for tables, decoration etc. It’s really quite cool.
We are about a 90 minute walk from the small Pueblito of El Retiro, which is about 45 minutes outside of Medellin. It is very very peaceful and is the complete opposite of London. We may occasionally hear a car or motorbike pass by, but other than that it’s only the birds and a river we hear. I’d actually forgotten what it was like to be woken up by birds singing. Bliss.
There is a small vegetable plot, which I have increased its growing space by a little. I’d almost forgotten what physical work was like. There are some ripening corn plants, a few spring cabbages ready for the pot. The 2 cauliflowers there just never quite made it. But will keep them there for a while until we buy some chickens and then will feed those to them.
I had never really eaten loganberries till I came to Colombia. It’s just as well I like them, as we have about a dozen or so plants which are giving us enough for a couple of litres of juice every few days. Plus I am doing experiments with them to make jam. Ice creams next.
This week we brought some seeds to plant. Onions, carrots, celery, parsley, radishes and some herbs. All I am waiting for now is a few hours without heavy rain.
We are getting into normal life here, as brought a small portable oven and a fridge. The one that was here was just used once a week when the owners came just for the weekend. We upgraded. Now to fill it.
We brought some hand made fresh cheese, some Arepas (corn flat unleavened breads), and some very fresh eggs. They had been wiped, but sometimes the chicken shit stays. Hahahaha. Bright yellow yolks, and they taste good.
Also good news all our boxes arrived from Blighty. Yes we have a duvet now. Can sleep warm at nights without socks. Haven’t checked all through each box, but they seem as heavy as when we shipped them. Cost us nearly a grand to ship them, and £10 to collect. The customs here had a quick scan through one or two boxes, as the US Customs had done the same. It’s a lot easier to import stuff than to export it. Hope we never have to go through that procedure.
I am really becoming attached to the peacefulness of the place that an offer of going down to Medellin was quickly rejected. Although I have to go down once in a while as we cannot get internet connection here.
Transport to and from this area is limited to say the least. Roughly about twice a day from a small tienda, which is about a 20 minute walk downhill. It’s in a Chiva, a large open sided bus that serves the small villages in rural areas of Colombia. Great fun to ride and you do get to meet all the locals. As news travels fast in this neck of the woods, I’m sure everyone knows about me by now. When we go down, we catch the Chiva at anytime from 8am onwards, but it leaves El Retiro at dead on 2pm. There are more buses at weekends and holidays, but without a car or moto, it’s a long walk down and back up. Or quicker if we can snag a lift of a kind hearted neighbour. Which we have down many times now.
Until next time ….

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