Saturday, September 27, 2014

Homemade Empanadas

YUM!If you could only taste these, you'd spend the rest of your life in Chile. These are awesome!
We have had many a store bought empanada and they are nothing compared to these delectable morsels of fried goodness.My very sweet friend, Alida, came over today to show me how to make empanadas. It is a family tradition in Chile to get together at holidays, especially Fiestas Patrias, to make empanadas. Each South American country has their own version of the empanada. The typical one found in Chile is the empanada de horno or the baked empanada. It has a meat and onion filling with part of a slice hard boiled egg and an olive with the pit.
Ours are filled with onions, ground beef, parsley, and garlic.
The dough is just flour, oil, salt, and water. Rolled out with a pasta machine assembly line style

Fried to a crispy golden color in our cast iron skillet

And our finicky little taste tester get's the first bite and the verdict is ..........
If you want the recipe, please post a comment!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pollitos y Patitos - Chicks & Ducks

Buying anything in a different country is always a challenge. Where do you go? Not the old familiar places and the language is always a challenge. We wanted chicks for a while and saw some at the feria but the next time we went, they didn't have any. Different feria and closer to spring we saw a sign that we deciphered as saying - broiler chicks, ducklings, and laying hen chicks. The prices averaged around 3$ piece- we placed our order (12 chicks and 4 ducks) and were told to return in 3 weeks. As we anxiously awaited, we wondered what were we really getting? We didn't know what breeds and just assumed they would be little chicks. Well, the ducklings were very little but the hens were feathered out though still quite young. They were very healthy calm animals. They seemed used to being handle which is nice but we still don't know what breeds they are!
The chicks in their temporary container for the first night
They were a lot bigger than we expected so we weren't quite ready
We will be feverishly working on the coop this weekend!


Thomas & his special duck Lucinda

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I am thinking about leaving the USA. Can you give me some advice?

One Mil and Ten Mil notes
Here is a question that I recieved on our YouTube Channel that was very good. I realized that we had not specifically done a post on money and getting it here to Chile.

Hi, I'm considering doing something similar. I have no friends or relatives down there, and I'd like to know how you deal with transferring hundreds of thou, especially after that banking act. Can you open account in Chile, or do you still keep your money in the US until you purchase something, then have one of your family from US wire money to the buyer? What about spreading risk over many accounts, currencies, etc? Thank you.

These are good questions that you need to ask and maybe I can help your with my answer. Also I should point out that some of these questions may be answered on our blog:

FIRST: you have a friend here now in Chile, Me! If you are interested in Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador, or Argentina, then I may be able to help you there as well (a little). Please feel free to ask as my family and I have been to Uruguay and have friends in the other places. Also for Chile please ask away as this is why our YouTube Channel is here.  If you go to the "about" above you will see more of my contact data. My U.S.A. phone 864-921-0009. for you it is not an international call and if I am here I will answer.

SECOND: The money thing is a real, REAL pain in the neck! Yes you CAN open an account here in Chile ONCE YOU HAVE TEMPORARY RESIDENCY. It gets even easier once you are a permanent resident. 

This bank thing really tees me off about the former USA, not Chile as the current guy in the white house made this problem.
All foreign banks are required by the U.S. government (did you get that?) to report account holder data for those expat U.S. Citizens who have accounts at their bank that are in excess of $50,000. If you try to bring more than $10K with you on a flight the TSA will steal it from you. If you come with kids they can each bring $10K too as you can split it up over the family. For large deposits here in Chile, it will be easier, and you are more likely to get a bank account as you have more money for them to play with. I have been advised to use: 

For day to day transactions, my visa debit card works just fine. You have to tell your bank prior to leaving, that you are in a foreign country or they will turn off your card. You can go to most ATMs and do cash withdraws but they are going to charge you (both the U.S. and Chilean banks) for an international transaction fee as much in total of $8.00/transaction. So when you go to the ATM get as much as you can out at one time which typically $400.00 U.S. (+/-$200,000 CLP). What I do is put my money in two different accounts and there fore I can get $800.00 per a day. 

I do still keep my money in the USA because the way my finances are set up I have no other choice. BTW if you have a retirement fund they will NOT deposit it in a foreign account. After all how are you going to pay taxes to the communists in the USA if they can not get their hand on your money from the get go? 

On the risk front: You money is risky everywhere now in the USA and elsewhere. Cash is no longer king! For me the answer is to put as much money as I can in secure assets like land, gold, etc. 

Now if you are still living in the USA then you are paying all sorts of taxes into the system, a broken and malicious system. For me I pay into the system here now which is no where near as corrupt or immoral. So for me it is just a simple conscientious choice to do the right thing for my family. 

Also you should look at other countries as well as Chile. Each person has different needs and desires. Chile is my perfect fit. 

Finally: For me I am not wealthy. I lost everything in 2007/2008. So I am really pushing for the purchase of land so that I can support my family and feed them with my little farm. I am not being alarmist, I just want to plan to be self sufficient. Also it is important for me to say that I grew up on a farm and I really enjoy farm life and I want this life for my kids as well. 

Listen to me now! There are so many things that are just evil going on in the former USA, and for those who are living abroad it is becoming more and more difficult, but not because of the new country you choose but because of the hold the former USA and IRS have on you.

I predict that you will see it become more and more difficult to leave the former USA over the next few years. To a large degree this is already the case. 

I hope this helps. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sopaipillas- Savory or Sweet?

Which do you prefer? I made these delicious little treats today to go with our vegetable soup dinner. They are fried pieces of dough  made with zapallo or chilean pumpkin. You can serve them with pebre sauce which is like a tomato salsa or with a chancaca syrup. Chancaca is a chilean molasses.
A nice golden brown fresh out of the deep fat frying cast iron kettle Jim set up outside
He loves outdoor cooking and so do I (him cooking, I mean!)

Here is the link to this great website I found on traditional chilean cooking
The recipes are in english and spanish and many if not most can be made in a North American kitchen!

Here they are the next morning with a light syrup recommended by Gloria on the website linked above. It has cinnamon and orange peel in a honey/sugar syrup thickened with corn starch. I must admit they are good both ways but much better sweet!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegetable gardening in Southern Chile

One of my favorite flowers and they are edible! tasty in salads and perfect sugared up for a cake decoration!

My first row of peas sprouted inside and planted out on Sept. 4

Spring has sprung and we are making our first major attempt to do some vegetable gardening. Last summer, Jim built a raised garden bed for me about 10 x 3. This was great for some herbs and stuff , most of which the slugs ate, but this year we wanted to go for something bigger that would help make a dent in our food budget. We started in mid-August (like February for those in the northern hemisphere) turning over a 20 x 20 square of pasture with short grass that had been nibbled on by the sheep. The grass here does not seem to be as invasive  as the crabgrass we had back in South Carolina. And the soil was deep, dark, and beautiful unlike the red hard clay soils of SC. The soil here is called andisol which is formed from volcanic ash and is very fertile. This is the reason Chile produces so much fruit & vegetables (on the shelves of your local grocery store in the US).
So we turned over the square and then borrowed a tiller to chop up the clods of dirt. Then raked it nice and smooth and divided into 4  rows of 4' wide with a narrow 1' path between each. I bought some lime to dig into each bed before I plant. I should use some composted manure but don't have any. This is a one year garden as next year we plan to be on our own farm and I can then start a good compost pile.
I bought some seeds at the local farm supply store. The selection isn't as vast as that of the US. You have one variety of carrots, one swiss chard, maybe several lettuce, one spinach, and one pea. The peas are called perfected freezer peas and I'm not sure what to expect (bush or climber) but I did start them sprouting in my kitchen and as it is now the first week of September I will plant them out when ready (when the root is no longer than the seed). I am not sure what the last frost date is here as I don't know of anything similar to the USDA in Chile.
The frosts here are never really hard but a light cover over the seedlings should suffice through September. Though the weather this August has been unusually mild, that doesn't exempt us from a late frost.

My peas are on the left and I am covering the rest to keep the weeds down until I plant some more.
The raised bed to the far right has some herbs- sage, parsley, chives - and some lettuce that I planted last week just came up and today I planted some swiss chard seeds. Next up will be some spinach, carrots, and cilantro. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Morning Surprise! A New Baby Lamb

Thomas is so proud of our new little lamb!

This morning when I got out of bed to look out the window to see what type of view I am to have today (with or with out rain), I saw to my surprise a baby lamb in our yard. We have 3 adult sheep that we were hoping were bred by the Ram that we borrowed some months ago. I can not remember the exact day that we put them with the first Ram (we borrowed 2 in succession) but obviously one took to the breeding. So we may see one or two more births over the next few days or weeks.
Here is our video of the baby lamb with its mother.
Little lambs are just beautiful and are just so full of joy for life. It is important that the little lamb nurse well with in the first 24 hours and get lots of colostrum or typically it will die. It really is wonderful how God knows best. We will keep an eye on the little lamb until we are sure it is doing well.
We penned up the sheep today so we could nab the little lamb to look her over and give her a treat.
Turns out she's a girl! So she's a keeper for breeding. Thomas named her Dandelion. Her dad was all white and her mom white with a black face. Dandelion has some nice mottled brown coloring.
Mom & baby

First sip of milk replacement
We hope to make her into a pet so she will come to us easily