This morning Noodle was doing her usual rounds looking for mice and bugs and found something under a piece of thick plastic near the wood pile. I thought it was a mouse and went to help. On lifting the plastic I saw a huge black tarantula. The plastic was dropped very quickly and I tried to get Noodle to loose interest. She worried the plastic until she got it and then carried it by one leg to the shower area. I thought she might run into the tent to show Michelle so shouted at her to stop and then shouted “tarantula” as a warning to Michelle. Noodle played with it and it was BIG and when it nearly escaped I had to come to come to her aid at the end of a long stick. By the time Michelle stumbled from the tent it was all over. Sorry that we had to kill it but as it was in our living area and the first BIG one we have seen at Eco there was not much of a choice.
Later while cleaning the car for a trip into town I saw a snake near the gate. Luckily it was not a viper and just moved off into the bushes outside the gate. What is next I ask? Please let the wildlife stay away from us and our living area. We have been doing a lot of clearing and keeping the grass short but we cannot clear all 13 hectares. Not this week anyway!!!
The weather is hot but the evenings, lovely and cool. Day light saving ended on Monday am so we have gained light in the mornings but have lost out on the wonderful long evenings. It now just gets dark too quickly and the movement of the sun northwards is very noticeable.
Had good rain last Wednesday and it was much needed. Have eaten 3 lovely melons and our first corn. Will try the one and only watermelon tomorrow. We planted too late and the weather has not been consistent, with great temperature changes in in a few hours. Chillies are looking great and nearly time to make a batch of hot chilli sauce. Also, a lot of the seeds we bought or were given just did not germinate, very frustrating. Just part of the steep and long learning curve.
One day last year while processing plastic bottles for the green house I heard and then saw an old green truck. It had stopped on the hill going past our property and then re started. It crawled up the hill and then carried on. Later it returned going the opposite way and was doing the same speed going downhill. It only had first gear but it still moved along. It is a Ford pick up circa 1948, I think. Incredible to see it still in working order. Anyone recognize what it is? Please send details if you do.
It has now become a part of our daily life and the gears work better as it can move faster up and down the hill. We wave to the driver and passenger. They usually drive past at about 8am and then return later in the day loaded with firewood. Some days it does the trip twice. We now listen out for it and then shout, ‘the green truck’. It is amazing what becomes a pattern in rural life. Noodle tried to chase it a few times but now just lifts her head in acknowledgement, as she know darn well that she can catch it anytime she wants.
I want to do an interview with the owner/drive once my Spanish is better. There is a story there for sure. Imagine driving a truck that is about 60 years old and still working.
Day 24 at Eco and the day started off with a clear sky and a warm breeze, 7.15am and already hot. The black headed woodpeckers were all over the place with their distinctive call. Noodle was not her usual energetic self and just did her normal patrol of the area checking for mice, insects, snakes and intruders. Last evening she caught a mouse and after playing with it for a while, barking at it when it tried to escape, she buried it, only to dig it up 10 minutes later and then eat it. Finally she has realized that if you catch it you eat it.
I went to make coffee and there was no gas! I went back to bed in shock but Michelle took the challenge and made a fire and boiled the kettle. What a woman she is! So after coffee she went off to fill another tire for the bathroom we are building. Actually, our building is so far behind our schedule that what was going to be the ablution block for the center will now become our house ( casita in Spanish for little house). A room and a bathroom with real walls and a roof, not a tent. The whole idea has been to build sustainably and we are doing just that. It has not been easy BUT we have done it. Living at Eco has been an experience that I am very grateful for, as we are living what we believe in. The reality is very different from the ideal when planning it. We are happy to admit that we need more…. ice for drinks, music and company. The dry toilet is perfect, showering in river water heated by the sun is great, sitting and watching the sun set and the moon rise, listening to the birds, being touch with the environment and waving at every vehicle that drives past, is so different. I have never lived in the rural countryside before. We sleep in a tent with mosquito nests between us and the world. Went away for the weekend to visit friends in Montevideo and left all our things in open view of the road and came back and it was all still there.
The area is really lovely and the hills and micro climate make it a very interesting place to live. But the reality of an eco project making money is completely different to the ideal so we need to re evaluate. We have no sponsors as yet, other than Pirelli Tires and all they donate is old tires but no money. Not being ungrateful but getting rid of old tires costs them money so we are a very cheap option. So we need to move and live in a town/city and make some money and then do Eco part time.
Well, the day started off with coffee and a walk through the garden. The zapallitos are growing like crazy and have picked 6 large ones. Then Michelle went down to the river to collect water and I started a clean up. Noodle went with Michelle for a swim in the river and then came thundering back to me. She is at that stage of puppyhood when everything must be done at full charge and she sounds like a galloping horse.So I continued cleaning up and then noticed Noodle trying to bite something near the lavender bush in our living area. It was a snake! I called her off and quickly put on her lead as I was not sure of the type of snake it was. She just wanted to get at it and very pleased I stopped her as it was a rattle snake about 18 inches long. Yes, a real live rattler as in all the Western movies. Ha ha the adrenalin was coursing though my veins as I battled to keep Noodle away from the snake and the snake away from our storeroom, kitchen, tent and living area. I have a two and a half meter snake stick and tried to flip it away and then it moved into the bushes near the BBQ unit so I set some paper alight to smoke it out. No way, it just rattled and attacked. Man it was fast. Then it moved towards the storeroom and hid in the broom. By this time I was the Snake Wrangler and lifted it up with the stick and threw it towards the grass area. Then it rattled some more and kept striking anything I threw at it. Noodle was now tied to the tree and howling with frustration. A bird came down an tried to draw the snake away, amazing to watch. Then I got it hooked on the stick and wanted to throw it across the road but is slipped off and disappeared under the thorn bush. I seriously thought about killing it but just could not. Next time maybe. The rattle is so distinct. Now spiders are nothing in comparison. Another day at Eco and my first close encounter…..
Then a storm came in and we got much needed rain. Now I am in Solis at Ancap and teaching later. More soon.