Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

This week we are working on home repair. Our friend had this house built only 4 or so years ago but chilean workmanship is very poor generally and he wasn't here to oversee the construction. The siding is leaking and rotting so we are pulling it all off and replacing it with hardee board planking with the help of a local builder we met through our neighbor. A friend told us that there are many smart people in Chile - doctors, lawyers, engineers, and professionals but Chile is sorely lacking in technical tradespeople who know what they are doing. This would be a great opportunity for trades people to move here and start a business but speaking the language would be a must. Anyway, this builder we met is top quality. He is chilean but married an american mennonite woman. There are 4 or so mennonite families living here in Puerto Octay.  They are honest, hard working people.

Even Thomas is helping
That's Daniel, the builder's helper, standing in front of the door
I also wanted to share photos of our ovejas (sheep). They are 17 mos. old ewes. Jorge, the neighborhood yardman, took Jim to a local farm to buy the sheep. Jorge speaks no english and his spanish is pretty rough- compare it to the southern country redneck drawl. Some peoples accents really throw us off when we already have a hard time understanding. But we are picking up on some of the lingo like Buena instead of buenas dias or t'luego for hasta luego.
I was surprised when Jim came home with the sheep in the car.
They were tied up and bagged!

They were a little dirty so Jim pressure washed them!
Does anyone have any Woollite?
Jim got a nifty little moveable electric fence which you can see in the picture below
We can move the sheep around the yard and keep them away from the fruit trees, bushes, and garden we are going to plant

Notice they have long tails
Most sheep have bobbed tails for cleanliness
While this area is predominantly dairy and beef farms, there are many pastures of sheep around. Most of the largest sheep farms though are in the pampas of Patagonia- Chile & Argentina. Our friend, Helmut, told us there are quite a few New Zealand sheep farmers relocating to Chile and buying farmland in our area.


  1. In the neighbors field next door to our house is a huge flock of sheep. Mommy sheep with lots of new born baby sheep. Every morning the "Kids" form a "Kids Only" group and run back and forth as fast as they can along the fence and their mothers watch. There are about 50 of them! They are so cute and fuzzy and playful it is just like a big group of homeschool children in many ways. They are noisy as well as rambunctious.

    Maybe Lori can put up a picture of them for you all.

    Jim Dorchak

  2. Quick note: we do visit once a week. The boys love reading the blog. These latest bit had us all laughing. Sheep in a Jeep is one of John's favorite books so sheep in a car was quite funny to him. Alan wants to know how the sheep felt about being pressure washed. Love Jim's comment about the "kids" being just like a bunch of homeschoolers.
    The McPhersons (Jenny, Alan, William)

  3. I love the comment, "Does anybody have Woolite!!?"" Ha! Ha!

    what do you pland to do with the beasts? Shear them?

    How soon do you think that you'll be "self sufficient"?

    Life up here is nothing more than the ratrace ---perpetually--

    I know all lifestyles have their drawbacks. What is the hardest thing to which you're adjusting (aside from language barriers)

    Love to you.


  4. Thanks Mcphersons for the comments.

    Stacy..... We have a running joke with our local Agricultural Sales man who is also our Real Estate Sales Man since he knows all the farms for sale. The joke is " Will the Sheep SHRINK if we wash them in hot water?"

    We plan on using them to mow the grass as this is one of the obligations we have with our host, but we also plan on eating at least one of them in December. I have a wonderful recipe for Smoked Leg O Lamb served with a spicy hot sweet and sour grape jelly sauce. Since gasoline is expensive here it just makes sense to have the sheep. Once the grass is at a manageable length they will maintain it like a golf course.

    We will not be totally self sufficient until we get the land for the farm. We will quickly move over to the farm and fence and build barns and a house followed by a small private chapel. One year or more I would say. We could survive here at our hosts leisure since we plan on a garden this spring.

    The worst thing is the loss of unlimited internet and then cell phone service. Most of this is because we are not permanent residents and will solve themselves once that is taken care of.

    As far as the language being a barrier, I have not found it to be an issue. We always seem to be able to work it out, usually with a chuckle. Chileanos are such a nice people who do not sweat the little stuff,,,,, or the big stuff for that matter!

    There is no "Rat Race" here where we are in Chile in the south. In the cities there is that same problem, but we have left that behind for you all to savor.

    Living here is a peaceful dream come true. People work and pay their bills and live lives like we do or did in the usa, but for the most part they enjoy life here. Most we meet are very excited we have chosen their country to move our family to. They love interacting with us like we are from MARS (I guess the usa is kind of like MARS).



  5. The sheep look like they should really be sheared.. Are you planning on spinning at all and using the wool? If you wait too long the wool wont be good. We loved our spinning wheels and miss them now that they are packed up in our locker. We knit quite a bit with the yarn we made from them. YOu are making me miss our farm.. Havent found any homesteaders in Charleston SC area yet.

  6. Jackie

    It is still winter here so they are still wooly. I am told they sheer here in december.

    We have never done any knitting or spinning but it is common here. Most raise sheep here for meat and the wool (in spanish lana) is not really collected. But there are people here that still practice the old ways.

    Also if you go look you will see on the blog pictures of the museum and spinning wheels, as well as the MANTAS (ponchos for women) that are 1 inch thick and they were selling at tbe rodeo for $200 us$.


  7. Oh yes, I see them now and they are beautiful.. We are in Pa. right now searching our locker for Pete's birth certificate.. For some reason we have misplaced it and our passports are expired. Pray we find it!