Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gone fishing Part 2 or Holes in my Island

A beautiful sunrise over the Andes and through the clouds
The sun doesn't rise until 8 so now we can enjoy it!
I have long given up getting up early!

I am so fascinated by the rock formations at our favorite fishing point. I posted some photos on a geology forum online and got some interesting answers. So here are some photos and explanations of what we are seeing.
These are on the island and are called potholes. They are formed by rocks swirling around in eddies to form these perfectly symmetrical holes. The puzzler was where did this rushing water come from being on the edge of a lake
We think the creek in our ravine used to be a river and the island is at the mouth of the cove where our creek runs out
It appears all the bedrock around here including our island are made of shale which is a very soft sedimentary rock
You can see this more easily on the cliffsides of the ravine especially where there has been a small avalanche

These holes are on the lake side of the island
They are not as symmetrically round but probably formed from the washing of lake waves as this rock is a very soft shale. You can scratch it with a fingernail

These fascinating  rocks on the beach are formed in layers and have been washed away by rain and waves
A lot  of the rocks on this beach look like lava that has been frozen with other rocks embedded in it
This is probably formed from lahar which is a slurry of mud and rocks coming off a volcano

No bites today but we could see some large fish chasing our lure!
The water is very clear

More lahar
You can see all these harder rocks buried in the lahar

Our shale island

Saturday, April 5, 2014

To Get Lambs You Need a Ram

There is a new Ram in town
We really love our sheep. They are kind of like big fuzzy puppies. They do not bite, they can kick, they can drag you and head butt you, but for the most part they are just afraid of you and run the other way and typically through the fence, which ends up getting them put in the freezer.
Thomas looks a bit like Peter from the movie Heidi with his little lamb on a haltar
Ok Peter in camo pants
They have provided great interest to our little homestead and they have been fairly cheap to own as they have done an excellent job of keeping the grass cut short like a golf course. There are several considerations when it comes to field, pasture or in our case yard management. Height of grass and animal parings are important considerations. When managing your available pasture space the rule goes like this: horses eat tall grass, cattle shorter grass and sheep eat real short grass. To this end sheep will actually kill your pasture by pulling up the roots, and grazing it too short, in addition their urine and wool will kill the grass where they have been laying on it, if the grass has been over grazed.

The solutions are to rotate your flock and move them around the yard so that at the end of a rotation your sheep end up back where they started and the grass has grown back to food height before the end of the rotation. On larger pastures you can intermingle cattle, horses, pigs, and sheep. Each does their part in fertilizing, cultivating, and keeping cut the grass. The key is rotation.

Emily at the garden and electric fence
We have a neighbor who has twice the land we have at 5 acres and had 70 sheep. We have 5 sheep on 2.5 acres. He is getting good healthy lambs by managing his pasture through rotation. He uses single line electrical wire fence, I use mesh electric plastic fence.

What it comes to is that we simply have to move our sheep around the yard restricting their movement to smaller sections and their access to the shrubs and garden, on a 3 to 7 day basis. It is interesting that they will over look a tall sprig of grass in favor of the short sweet stuff, but it is true. So we actually have to cut the grass in some areas that they have not eaten before.

The next generation is on the way we hope! We would love to have more lambs and a larger flock to manage. So we started our search for a Ram and I do not me a Dodge Ram, I mean the real thing a male sheep, a Ram.

One of our neighbors has a moderate size flock of sheep around 800 ewes and he offered to let us borrow one of his 8 rams that he had culled from his flock. Now we are not looking to show or become a breeding power house we just wanted a few lambs. As part of this the boys and I went to his farm and I picked out a nice wide, long bodied, solid legged and full chested Ram with out HORNS! I do not like horns on my livestock or vehicles for the most part. Not too big and not too small as sheep are known to have issues giving birth. The gestation period for sheep is 5 months. So September is the month.

Borowed Ram
This guy is stout and heavy about 130 to 140 pounds. We were warned and knew from experience to let him get used to his new home or he may well take a hike through the fence, likely with all the girls in tow, if we did not put a log chain around his neck to slow him down a bit. The chain does not hurt him it just slows him down. After 24 hours he had settled down and realized he had a bunch of new girl friends, and as such was much more happy to be with us. So I let him off the chain and he calmly went about his business .............. The language of LOVE!

Here he is with the girls. If you listen hard you can hear them saying "hey Sailor, how bout a drink at the trough"
We will be keeping the Ram for about one month or more to ensure the best chances for our ewes to become pregnant. Luckily we do not have to pay for the service and our friend has just too many Rams and you do not eat Rams because they have a bad taste, so he would have just gone to market for pesos on the dollar.

Here are all the sheep in the electric fence with their water tub
Next we get Chickens! I have to build with they boys a chicken coop. Not a fortress storage building like the last one as it is not needed here like to the USA. They do have weasels here which are actually Minks which were brought here as an invasive species just like the African yellow jacket which is horrendous. So we will need to have a Mink proof coop or as one of our friends found out, one Mink can kill 99 chickens in one night as they are blood thirsty varmints! We hope to get some cattle, pigs, horses and dogs eventually but they will have to wait until we have our own farm.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The first snow of the year

Sunday, April 2, we had gale force winds, cold, and torrential rains. We thought winter had arrived. But Monday morning when the clouds dispersed we had a wonderful surprise.Nice warm weather for us but snow on Osorno!

The snow line was above the treeline but now all the mountains have been dusted with snow
This view has a rainbow!

A bountiful harvest

Fall is a bountiful season here. From the blackberries, to the plums, rosehips,mussels, and now the apples. We have been very busy.

We went down to our cove on a beautiful afternoon last week and noticed in a sandy area around the dock was a large bed of mussels. So Thomas and I picked a bagful and Jim cooked us up a shellfish feast. Though Thomas would not eat any!

Here are the plums I picked at my friend''s house. I made plum jam and canned some for future use in pies and cobblers.
These are rosehips or the seed pod of the rose. Most of the rose varieties in the US are hybrid but these are from the old fashioned rugosa roses and they produce lots of seed pods. A friend showed me how to make mosqueta which is rosehip marmalade. First we take off the ends and stew them until soft.

stewed with some water until soft

pushed through a strainer to remove seeds

Then it is strained a second time through stockings to remove the hairs
then boiled with sugar until thickened

a jar of mosqueta!
This week we picked apples in an old orchard in our neighborhood. Free for the taking, several varieties. We just had to battle the yellow jackets off and dodge the cowpies. We brought a couple sacks over to a restaurant in Puerto Octay that has a cider press. Here is Andrew and friend putting them through a grinder.

Here is the mash going in the press

Pressing down ....

and squeezing tight!

6 bottles for $6

Bet you wish you had some!