When months begin to take flight, you know you are having fun

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With long, loose sleeves protecting my easily burned skin and a wide brimmed hat shading out the sun, I made my way around the field, checking out the recent corn planting site.  Within a week and with a whole lot of luck we should be seeing some action on these grounds.  An oddly paired mixture of latin pop and bluegrass tunes poured out from the house, making me smile as I shooed the chickens back out of the garden.  After 6 months of marriage, we are beginning to master the fusion part of this farmhouse in our own unique way.

The title of the last post that I wrote for this website and the fact that I am currently sweating through 104 degrees of pure ‘broiler-weather’ is a fairly good indication of how busy we were throughout the winter.  I now stand with less than 3 months remaining in my Peace Corps service and I do believe that the remaining months are actually picking up speed in their flight rather than slowing down.  If all goes according to plan, we will shortly be doing a little of our own flying as we make a transition to the Pacific NW of the USA.  As hard as it will be to say goodbye to our first farmhouse, Derlis’ family, and all the wonderful people in this beautiful country, we are ready for our next adventure together. Read more

Winter arrives in Paraguay with a half-cup of milk

I stared down into the metal milking jug at my feet with unveiled disappointment.  There was maybe a half cup of milk partially filling the bottom of the jug.  “That’s it?!”  My futile question hung in the air.  The cow tied up before me looked back with an impatience that indicated that had she been able to respond, her comments might have been along the lines of: “Yes you miserable, parasitic human, that’s it.  My calf is long-since grown and out to pasture, and today is the first day of winter.  I am done with this milking business for the next few months.  Can I go already?”  I reluctantly untied her from the milking post, tossed some extra hay out into the field and watched her wander off into the pasture where the rest of the herd were happily grazing.

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Welcome to winter in Paraguay.  Any plans that I had of making cheese that afternoon were quashed as we reached the end of milking season in the South.  I was out visiting my mother-in-law’s farm that morning, assisting with the chores that aggravated her poor, arthritic hands.  Not having any cows of my own at this point, she shared her milk production in exchange for my assistance with the mornings duties.  Today, there would be no spoils of labor.  The cows were done. Read more

Under the Perilous Shade of the Avocado Tree

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THUMP.

A large avocado hit the ground behind me.  I moved a few inches to the right and continued the slow and tedious work of ridding my garden of weeds.

Derlis and I moved into the farm we are currently renting just after our wedding at the end of March, and I started my garden shortly after.  Two months in, and it is still a work in progress.  If we are honest here, gardening is really just a form of exposure therapy for those with deep-rooted tendencies towards perfectionism.  It will always be a work in progress; a fact that my husband had to remind me of as I fretted over writing this piece and uploading photos of my little, half-grown sanctuary.  My raised beds will never be beautifully bordered by stained wood frames (Paraguay has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world…I’m not about to add to it), the torrential rains will forever be plastering my soil, and no amount of weeding will ever keep my organic garden looking spotless.  I do what I can and enjoy the battle along the way (most days at least). Read more

Fairy Tales: A plague to society, but good god don’t we still love them…

While most of the time, posts that you read on this website will be focused on our current life and projects, I am going to break a bit from the norm.  My very first article had an overwhelming response, and I am so appreciative to you all for the wonderful words of encouragement and feedback.  I also noticed that we have quite a few new folks beginning to follow along and I wanted to give you all a chance to get to know us a little bit.  So today, I am sharing with you a very personal piece that I wrote a week before my wedding, back in March of this year.  I think in the land of social media they hashtag this and call it ‘ThrowbackThursday’…who cares…I would like to provide you with a special behind the scenes glimpse at the couple that run this show.  You might also take this as a warning of the type of author you have begun to follow…she’s more than a wee bit off her rocker.  I hope you enjoy! Oh, and for those of you craving more of the Paraguayan farm adventures and traditional recipes, check back in the next week or two.  Farley has been diving into trouble just for your entertainment…or so he tells me.

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The sun is up in Paraguay

The glimmer of first light peaking through our window paired with the hollering of my rooster (no, he does not crow nor call…he hollers), signified that it was time to roll out of bed and get to work.  An experimental toe venturing out from under the covers informed me that perhaps another 5 minutes in bed wouldn’t hurt.  It was cold out this morning!  While my friends and family in the U.S. are relaxing into a lovely summer, here in Paraguay, winter is less than a month a way.  Go ahead and roll your eyes at our ‘frigid’ high 40s (F) temperatures, but after surviving summers in the 120s…you would be piling on the layers as well.

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My husband, Derlis (by far the more industrious of the two of us), stretched, climbed out of bed, and headed out the door to manually turn on the pump for the community’s well water.  I sighed and followed suit, knowing that waiting would only increase the volume on the rooster, start the dog whimpering (partly from hunger and partly from desperation to quiet the rooster), and the cat would shortly be in my face, informing me that she too, would like to be fed. Dressing quickly in a sweater, scarf, hat, and muck boots, I made my way out to the chicken coop. Read more