January 2021

Hi there everyone! Summer holidays are here yuhu! I worked my last day on December 21st. and I have been taking it quite easy since then. It is extremely nice to wake up and not HAVE to take a responsibility and have others (other than your family of course) depending on you. But this does not mean I’ve been doing nothing. There is still harvesting, manure collection, weeding, pruning and watering that needs to be done. Watering… Mamma mia! I have been watering like crazy. I think we are going into our second year of a very strong drought. It’s been a bit covered up by the fact that Uruguay is a very humid country crisscrossed by many rivers, creeks and the likes. But the water levels have been going down, down, down and the precipitation has been very low and now the subterranean water is starting to show signs of dangerously low levels. Different farmers in the area are seeing their wells being close to emptied and have had to stop watering to avoid breaking their pumps. It is very, very serious. At the same time water is now a wall street commodity. This scares the shit out of me. I fear for my kids. What kind of world will they have to struggle in to survive? This is actually taking a lot of energy and I believe it is only because I get to grow food, see green trees and be outside feeling useful, that I am not under my sheets crying. Things look pretty dark very often.

Greens, food, flowers and sprouting seeds lift my spirits and we have been weighing, braiding and enjoying the results of several months of effort.

Onions: I lost half of my plants to some late frost. They did not die off so I thought they were OK, but they never formed a head and they are now some weird mix between and onion and a leek. Useless so far but still standing. Otherwise I have weighed 76 kilos of onions that should last us until next harvest if we manage to store them right.

Garlic: Except for the elephant variety, almost all the plants got infected by Puccinia (rust). The heads seem OK though, not sure what harm the fungi did, maybe they could have grown a bit larger, but I am happy we got a useful size at least (last years were so small they ended in the compost bin mainly) I have braided some 200 heads so far and have almost as many to go. The heads are not huge, but they are useful compared to last years.

Tomatoes: They are loving it in their greenhouse. I have had to sacrifice some 5-10 plants due to mysterious illnesses and personal paranoia (I don’t want things to spread out of control there), but most were replaced with leftover plants. We are enjoying very juicy tasty tomatoes but not enough to sell any. I have my second round of plants growing in order to extend the season a few more months so everything looks great on that front.

Zucchini: very prolific. A bit stressful sometimes 🙂

Beetroot: I have finally managed to get a decent harvest of well sized beets!!!! Yey! Thanks to Timi who weeded them once and, of course, horse manure mulching magic.

Potatoes: meh… Better then last time, but they are mainly small sized and won’t last that long.

Peanuts, sweet corn and sweet potatoes are growing nicely.

Next plantings will be: carrots (still not succeeding much with these), swiss chard which works lovely but too hot for it now, more beetroot and then start again with spinach (huge success amongst my very few clients) and the new onion seedlings for June transplanting. The circle starts over again.

Magnus keeps working with the house. Lately on the bathroom section, laying in all the piping in, put up the one window and done the last layer of mud floor, plus adobes for one of the walls that separates it from the rest of the house. It is a slow process with lots of thinking, decision making and compromising but the results are lovely every time so I have learned to be patient and not stress. Actually, the only thing that worries me is his lack of interest for building a swimming pond. I think it is the only thing I wish for. That and a root cellar.

The kids are doing great. The do get bored a bit but I try to take the afternoons off to take them somewhere. Last trip was to the local “cantera” which is an abandoned quarry filled with water. Such a luxury, so beautiful. I think we will be going there a lot this summer, again.

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