Saturday, March 14, 2015

Summer on the farm

Ah, the sweet days of summer are almost over! And it was quite an adventurous and busy summer.
Living out on the farm was bliss despite the lack of water and power but we did manage to get all that going before the summer's end. We got our water tower up, solar panels electrifying, septic draining, bathroom tiled, and the wood floors of the cabin will soon be layed so we can move in. We are living part time in Quilanto and part in Chiriuco. The big boys are now full time students of Colegio San Vicente de Paul in Puerto Octay. We are  officially in process for permanent residency. Still waiting on the title for our property even though we signed almost 3 months ago. 
Here are a few stories and pictures.

Our big helper

Our cabin with the siding removed. We had to remove it all to get rid of the bats who were nesting under it. It is insulated with styrofoam sheets. It is a popular way to insulate here as it is so cheap and easy to install but the problem is that when you cut it the little bits fall everywhere and make a real mess and the other problem we had is that the ducks and chickens wouldn't stop eating it! Doesn't seem to bother them though as I've not had any deaths. Our hot tub is in the middle and our container on the right that we just had moved from Quilanto in March.

Our long awaited water tower
It has 5000 liter tank and our local buddy welded the tower about 20 feet tall
The tank is strapped to the tower and the tower legs are welded to concrete pads making it earthquake proof, we hope!
The spring we are pumping from is about 60 feet below it  in the woods
Andrew had to climb the tower and lower himself into the tank so we could connect the piping
He was a little freaked out but got the job done!

Our summer kitchen under the laurel tree
Our picnic table which Jim built last year and behind it is the fire pit with a grill and bar for hanging pots over the fire
Jim's grill is our work area where we prepare food and keep our Coleman camp stove
To the right is a table and dish washing area

Our tents
Samuel & Thomas slept in the small tent on the left and Jim and I had the big tent which has a full size bed in it
Camping in comfort!
We had to put the plastic over because it got a little drippy when it rained
Andrew slept in his tent hammock hanging from the trees until we had a good rainstorm and then he move to the loft of the cabin

Bo, Andrew's duck, is the worst of the styrofoam eaters
One day she was quacking so hoarsely I thought for sure she had eaten too much styrofoam but after a few days her voice returned to normal

The tragedy of the summer
Our $600 septic tank was run over by the backhoe
Jim thought we'd save some money by getting the local road crew working on our road to come over and earn a few extra bucks on  their lunch break. At first, it went great and we got the water and septic lines dug in a flash but then in covering up the septic lines, the dummy ran over the plastic tank
So in order to save money, we just fixed it
Samuel had to climb inside the tank and push it back up with boards and jacks and then we are going to pour concrete over it like a cap

The outhouse in the woods came with the property and it was a real life saver as we did not get the bathroom installed in the cabin for 2 months

Our first beehives
Jim brought a lot of his beekeeping equipment with him but we were having a hard time finding bees
One day last January we were driving down the highway and I looked over and saw this guy in a truck wearing a bee suit parallel to us on the frontage road so we got off the next exit and Jim chased him down. Super nice guy with 200 hives in the Frutillar area.
Jonathan speaks some english and has been very helpful in getting us set up with 2 hives. Each country has specific types of bees suited to the climate and its own particular problems.

Caught in the act!
Adventure Chick (named by Thomas) decided the coop just wasn't good enough for her and our bed was much more comfortable
The zipper on our tent is broken and it was very hard to keep them out so each evening we had to check the bed for eggs before we jumped in!

The triumph of the summer
Solar panels
We had been searching and searching for the means to power our house
We got a solar quote that was outrageous
We got a power hook up quote from the local power company of $5000
So we waited and looked and asked around
Got another quote which was more reasonable but still too high and we even got quotes from the US until we finally ran across a guy recommended by a friend of a friend
His quote to power the cabin and water pump was $4000
The set up was so simple and we had power the same day
6 panels and 6 batteries and it has payed itself off the day we turned it on since it was cheaper than hooking up to the power grid which by the way charges more than the US- 20-30 cents per kilowatt hour and rates are going up. We paid only 12 cents per kilowatt hour with Duke Power in the US

The boys snuck out one night to the neighbor's field and rearranged his hay bales for him
They almost got caught in the act as the farmers were out working late in the dark
I imagine they were a little puzzled to find this the next morning!

Thomas got himself stuck behind this root in the water line ditch!
We had to lift him out


  1. Glad to read it's going well. I need to make time to watch your growing collection of videos. Y'all remain in our prayers. May you stay warm, dry, and healthy this coming winter.

  2. I realize y'all are very busy, what with winter coming on and all, but I'm praying the Chilean volcanic eruptions making news here in El Norte aren't affecting y'all negatively. Praying you're all safe and well.

    1. Thanks for asking. All is well. See my latest post on the eruption with pictures.