Friday, July 19, 2013

Finca life

Our return to San Rafael brought us to our new home for 6 months, a tranquil little finca (= farm) just outside of town, far enough to give it the feel of country living, but with easy access to amenities.  The owners of the finca are from the states and needed to get home for about 6 months.  We hit it off with them immediately, and perhaps just as important, hit it off with their pets, too.

looking up the driveway to the main house and community quincho (San Rafael)
(view of the finca as you turn into the driveway)

A 2 week overlap gave Jill a great chance to learn what life on the finca was all about (Mike was slacking back in the states for most of that time).  The crash course was enough to give us a grasp of what to do, but you know how the unexpected can just pop up...

The first major topic that Jill covered was the garden. They have a nice garden behind the small house that already contained a number of plants (including enough tomatoes to impress a Spaniard in August). Since Jill really enjoys gardening, this piece of the puzzle made sense right off the bat: some weeding, some harvesting, some planting, and lots of salsa making.

Another major topic that was covered was beekeeping. There are about 20 beeboxes housing tens of thousands of bees which provide lots of deep, rich honey. Is it worth it? Maybe...

Beekeeping at the finca (San Rafael)
(those bee suits are great and all, if they are secured well)

3 bee stings makes Jill look like this (San Rafael)
(3 bees to the face makes Jill look like this. And she's not even allergic!)

honey collection in San Rafael
(extracting the honey in a safer environment)

Jill also had the opportunity to learn about taking care of the 20 or so chickens (and a rooster or two). While these strange little creatures can be a lot noisier than the bees, they don't bite (as long as you put the food down quickly).

chickens in action (San Rafael)
(I think those chickens are going to get drunk)

The rest of the farm animals consist of 6 beef cows, not dairy, so fairly hands-off. The overview of taking care of them is to keep them in the fenced in paddock. And words were exchanged with both Jill and Mike about how you can herd them into a new paddock, making it sound like such a simple exercise. Well, we did end up moving them to a new paddock, and to any lucky spectators, the exercise must have looked absolutely ridiculous. We set up an electric fence so that both of the grazing areas, old and new, were surrounded. It made sense to just make a little hallway of electric fence to connect the two areas and walk the cows on through. Sounds so easy. We spent the better part of an afternoon walking around in circles trying to convince the stubborn creatures to go through to the other side. We even managed to get one of the six over there that afternoon, but only for a short time. One cow even jumped a section of electric fence, from the "hallway" back into the old paddock (thankfully he landed back in the enclosure), which we didn't even think was possible. After all that fuss, we gave up on them that evening, but left the hallway open that night (it just crossed our own driveway). Sure enough, all of them found the new grazing land that night on their own. That easy, huh...

hi cows (San Rafael)
(these innocent looking beasts can be quite the handful)

But the truly important animals we are here to take care of are Max and Jezebel, the dog and cat. They are both such good pets and love attention, so we do what we can to keep them happy.

Max upside down
(this is Max ready for some attention)

Jezebel often has her little paws on the air
(and this is Jezebel ready for some attention)

One of those unexpected events popped up when Max got sick in the first week that we were on our own.  Apparently he hasn't been sick for the past 4 years of living in Argentina, and was rarely if ever sick before that.  It just happened to hit him now.  It was a stressful day to figure out how to get him to the vet (chocolate lab with Jill and me would be a challenge on the TA) but once we got him there and got him taken care of, he was back to his old self almost immediately.  Which was a huge relief for us.

a usual evening scene in the main house with Jezebel and Max enjoying the fire (San Rafael)

We will be here holding down the finca until November 1, when we will loop back through Uruguay then check out Buenos Aires before heading home.

It's true. The motojeros American travel adventure is coming to a close. Both of us have mixed emotions about that fact. For now, we'll take advantage of our chance to hang out for the winter in San Rafael.

beautiful sunset in San Rafael


  1. Sweet! I'm jealous, but I am in Ames IA right now, so Ha!
    Safe travels, miss you guys

    1. Ha! If you end up campaigning around Iowa for awhile, maybe we'll see you in the mid west. If not, we'll shoot for Colorado. -Stew

  2. Dear Stew, paul fair here. Hanging with Mike and wondering what ur up to. Post something and us what ur up to. Be well and do good

    1. Hey Paul - good to hear from you. We had some extra excitement in Argentina that brought us back to the states early. Should be in Denver by December!!!! Hope you (and the silent Mike) are well and stay that way. See you in a few weeks...

  3. Two years and no updates? I take it you're not riding back to the US? Are you ready to detail this 'extra excitement' yet?