Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our First Full Week at the Farm

We’ve been at Rio Muchacho for over a week now (with Saturday night each weekend in Canoa.)  We have gotten to know how things work pretty well and we’re feeling more settled.  This is our cabana below.  It is over the river and has a nice little deck on the back.  Harper is a fan of the bunkbeds and Cal has repurposed the hammock as a taxi/garbagetruck/airplane. 

Danny has been starting each day shoveling manure from the horse and cow pens!  This glorious job at 6:30 helps the farm by way of adding to their manure compost.  He also gives the animals new grass to eat.  His morning chore comes with the company of the new foal, who is interested in Danny’s work, and the enormous pigs who are always snorting around him.

Meanwhile I get the kids up, we make our beds, put away the mosquitoes nets (which we barely need but can’t quite stop using just in case!) get dressed and up to the main house in time for the breakfast bell.  Lucky for us we get to walk past the horse and cow area to see Danny sweating hard.

Harper enjoying our cold shower.  Cal screams; she giggles.  Luckily for him there is a hot water shower now far from our cabana!
After breakfast the kids and I head off to school and Danny starts his morning work.  This week he has chopped bamboo for a new roof, began to put up a new fence, weeded and composted rows of veggies and planted lot of new seeds.

Harper had at work learning the Spanish vowel sounds 
The kids and I have had a great first week at school.  We’ve played lots of “Pato, Pato, Ganso” (duck, duck, goose) and I’ve led a couple lessons in English.  Harper goes through all of the instruction from the teacher in Spanish alongside the other children and Cal switches between that and a big box of legos.  Recess is Cal’s favorite part of the morning; he’s been trying to get into the big-boys’ game of soccer and yesterday they humored him for quite awhile.  He doesn’t have much fear when he is out there playing and just like Cal, he is always falling all over place. The kids think he is a riot.  The only part of school that has been a little challenging is the commute.  It is about a half hour walk, which Harper does just fine and I end up carrying Cal for part of.  But there is a house we have to pass with 3 loud barking dogs that scare us each morning. Luckily the dogs are too tired by the midday sun to come snarling at us at noon.  The kids have gotten down the word, “Sale,”(leave!) to scream at them and hopefully the dogs will get more used to us with time.

Pato, Pato, Ganso
In the afternoons Harper and Cal take some downtime in our cabana and Danny and I take turns hanging with them.  The other person is assigned a job on the farm.  This week I made more spoons for the meals out of mate and Danny worked on a bamboo fence.  After a rest, the kids play soccer, build little villages in the sandy road, and this week we got to make jewelry out of the tagua nut.  Harper also has had Spanish lessons for an hour each day (I've gone each night for a couple hours.)  She is picking it up fast and I swear she can count higher now in Spanish than English! 
Harper with her profesora, Alexandra, and Kristen, a little girl who lives on the farm.

This week we’ve been lucky to have another family here at the farm with us and our kids (same ages and genders) have become fast friends.  The family just moved from Berkley to live for the school year in Bahia.  They’re staying at the farm just for the week before they find their apartment and get the kids enrolled in preschool.  It has been nice swapping traveling stories with them and seeing just how many things we’ve had in common planning these grand adventures with small kids.  We plan to visit them in Bahia one of these weekends once they are more settled.
Cal, Harper, Andrea and Caden facepainting

One of the señoras, Norita, gets lunch ready.
Cal gives besos to Juanita, the other señora.

Now we are in Canoa at our favorite little hotel called Amalur.  A Spanish couple runs it and it’s got great food and a nice vibe.  Tomorrow I am going to cook with the owner to perfect my Spanish tortilla and learn to make this tomato and onion marmalade.  Yum.  The meals at Rio Muchacho have been so fresh- last night we ate a chicken that was still clucking around the farm at 3pm! And all the produce from the gardens is amazing, but one can only eat so much yucca and rice before it starts to make you a little crazy.  In Canoa we get our fill of ice cream, French dries, and meat before we head back Sunday night to the farm.

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