Farming Community

Here are pictures of all the neighboring homes that sit on beautiful farms along the street winding upward toward El Bolson.  Hiking along the ridgeline, attending a 'Luna Llena' festival just downriver on Melanie's farm/campsite, getting lost...that is how these photos ended up on my camera.
This house is on the farm just up the hill from us.  It belongs to Jorge and Paulina and their 8 children.  They take care of the horses, chickens and cows for Ellie and Mark.  

I was walking back to the house after visiting the baby lambs, and Jorge and 2 of his sons were leading Molly (the sick cow who is now up and walking!) down the hill.  Jorge asked me if I would take their picture.  My heart almost burst.

This is a sign for all of the refugios in the area...usually small homes  scattered along the tops of the nearby mountains.  Usually one or two people live there and they take in hikers for the night.  

This is Melanie's house, the closest neighbor to La Confluencia.  She is around my age, lives alone on the farm.  There is a big campsite on her property.  She invited all of us to come to her 'Luna Llena' party...a fiesta under a full moon.  We arrived around dusk and walked to the rocky banks of the Rio Blanco behind her house.  People were sitting around in circles, talking, laughing, passing around food, naked kids were everywhere, hopping along the rocks and splashing in the river.  It seemed to be an intimate gathering of a family of friends.  They were all dressed up like hippy clowns.  
Melanie's dog on their campsite

How many butts can you count in this picture?

The day after the full moon, the moon disappeared from the sky and the stars were more brilliant than I've ever seen.  The sky so vast, so grand above us, so dark.  The Milky Way twinkling with stars made a long streak across the sky.  It was a calm night, with a book and a fire after admiring our cielo.Nature just seems to swallow us here; we are constantly working with our hands in the soil of the earth, creating a sustainable world for plants and people, under all the weather that comes our way, surrounded by a dramatic landscape.  It's beautiful here..more beautiful than when I first arrived because I feel more connected to it, closer.  As I dazed off into the stars last night, I continued to think about what I will take from this place when I leave.  This place will, of course, continue on without me, maybe with a few of my fingerprints, but what imprint will it leave on me?  So far I've come to 4 things...adaptation, exploration, nature and patience. 


Baby Lambs!!!

Surprise Surprise....The baby lambs came early; during the full moon in fact.  Well 2 out of the 4 were born on a full moon!  They weren't supposed to come until mid-November but they just couldn't wait!  They are so adorable!  2 are black, and the other 2 are white with black little faces...I shouldn't even try to explain it to you..I will just upload the photos as soon as possible.
Adam and I have already decided that we are going to have a baby lamb farm.  Lambs only.

(In this picture the lamb is 4 hours old!)

After work on Thursday, Ellie told us that a sheep was giving birth and we should watch.  So we crept up the road and sat nearby. We watched as the sheep had contractions, throwing her head back and stretching out, then walking in circles...then she squirted out this big black sac, and she started to clean it.  It was alive at first, it was kicking, but it died after a few minutes.

It's not good for the mom to lose a baby...She would continue to clean it even though it's dead.  So they went and got the dead lamb and took it to the barn.  She would continue to look for her baby and remain in complete distress unless she finds it, It's also important because she needs a baby to nurse, for her own health.  So here's what went down...This may be a bit gross to think about...

2 other sheep had 2 babies each.  So here's what is done..they take a baby from one of the other mom's...if they lose the scent then they won't worry about it again.
They take the skin off of the dead baby lamb, and make it into a little coat and drape it over one of the other babies so the distressed mom will recognize the new baby as her own because of the distinct smell.  Well, it worked!  The mom took to the other baby and now all the mom's are being nursed and taking care of the lambs.  It was a bit traumatic to watch this happen..but in the end it's good for everyone.  The poor baby lamb that died was buried nearby.
There are still 4 healthy cute precious adorable little lambs that are in good health. I love them ...I love them all so much.


El Bolson

El Bolson is a small pueblo with about 15,000 people. It was declared an 'ecological municipality' and a 'non-nuclear area' ...in other words, there are a lot of hippies and self sustaining farms, they love crafts, nature and peace...hey, so do I!  I love El Bolson!!!

Love capturing people in their natural setting, in their natural way.

We all decided to stay in El Bolson for Saturday and Sunday so we booked out a hostel and explored.  The feria was going on, the sun was out, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, people were playing games, dancing with their children, enjoying a calming sunny day.

 El Bolson is surrounded by a  mountain range called Cerro Piltriquitron, which literally means 'hanging by the clouds'

I learned this weekend that these mountains most certainly live up to their name.

The cherry blossoms were in bloom all over El Bolson so bursts of color were around every corner, not to mention the clear blue sky..The photo ops were coming in waves.

The feria or market is a must-see in El Bolson...locals gather and sell their handmade crafts and woodwork to the public, play music, dance, and haggle.

Jewelry, fresh food ( For lunch I had a whole wheat squash, onion and mozzarella calzone...it was so delicious.) they also sell clothing, musical instruments, even animals...we spent all day in the park enjoying the feria, kicking around a soccer ball, in a trance by the bongo quartet in the park...they were so on beat, eyes closed, 4 guys beating on these huge drums so fast, all in sync.  Very cool.

Lots of pics!  That's because we just got internet in our little cabin!!!  I can't believe it...So I'm sitting at our cozy little table, with a fire, just ate some rice and an orange and uploaded all of these photos...hope you are enjoying this Argentina adventure as much as I am!


Cozy home

This is our cozy home...we sit at the highest point on the farm. This sky is so big here...I'm just swallowed up. Our home is so nice when we get back from work, eat fresh bread, start a fire, greet Charlie, listen to music, try to explain to Julia what we are talking about, stare at the sky, sit on the front porch and tell stories, watch the sheep grazing, enjoy being surrounded by nature from all angles.


6 logs set up around a campfire, as the sun is setting, the moon is bright and the stars slowly get brighter and brighter...the clouds move swiftly through the sky, warmth from the fire warms our shins, we tell stories, laugh...comfort.

Check out that sky!!! Lauren and Michael


Melting snow

The snow is slowly melting right before our eyes...Check out these before and after pics


Early Mountain Morning

Getting up early every morning has become a comfort. I wake up, look out of the tiny window in my room and am usually jolted awake to a foggy, mysterious, enchanting view...Many of my photos are taken out of my window when the sun is gently waking up the day.
This is our mountain dog that lives at our house! She is posing...

One morning I woke up and went out onto the front porch and a light mist was moving over the hills. I looked out of the window on the other side of our house facing the other direction, and there was no rain, only sunlight and a glowing rainbow...I was sipping on a hot cup of coffee, staring out of the window at this, and a sheep walked into view and started pooping right after this picture was taken. It was actually quite hysterical for me...Isn't it funny when something like that happens and you are the only one to see it, chuckle to yourself and then move on with your life...now it's documented. I will forever remember that moment. haha



The director of La Confluencia keeps a blog with updates of the farm etc. He has been taking a lot of photos of the Wwoofers. So to put names with faces, I am posting some of the photos here.

We enjoyed an awesome potluck in the lodge on Sunday night. Julia made homemade pizzas, and there were also delicious fresh cheeses, jamon de Argentina, olives, guacamole, freshly baked french bread de Ellie, beer made in El Bolson and red wine. Here we all are, sitting around the table enjoying great company. I am in the red shirt with my back to the camera with Julia to my left and Michael from Oklahoma to my right. Ellie, the director, is next to him. Marlon, Lauren from NYC, and Emily (who can't be seen) from Miami. We are the team!!! Getting things ready for Spring and sharing our cute little cabin, getting acquainted pretty quickly. Just last night we all bundled up into our sleeping bags and watched Wall-E on Lauren's computer. It was very appropriate...how to change the world? Organic farming.

We do alot of work in the gardens outside of the lodge. Here we are pruning the rasberry bushes! It was coooold that morning.

The 3 of us standing on the front porch of our house. I am explaining something of the utmost importance to Marlon from Australia and Julia from Buenos Aires.


Cajon de Azul

Yesterday, Julia and I went for a hike about halfway up to a refugio in the mountains nearby. We crossed the Rio Azul, then walked for about 45 minutes arriba...UP. We came to a gorgeous overlook and sat down on a huge boulder that was jutting out of the side of a mountain. From our viewpoint we could see our little house down in the valley in the distance and the farm, and we could see the entire mountain range. The sky was so dramatic, the weather so nice, we sat there on that rock for almost two hours just talking about life.
That is our little house that i'm pointing to.
And in the next picture, our house is in the bottom right corner of the photo.
How cool is that?!

Could the sky be any more dramatic and photogenic??


La vida

Argentina! The life in the backcountry of Patagonia...wow, I love saying that. I need that reminder sometimes..Hey! Sarah! Those mountains that you are looking at...those are the Andes. Hey, Sarah! Wake up...you are in Patagonia...amazing.

We hiked down to this gorge where the clear waters of the Rio Azul flow...amazing. We sat and stared for hours.

so clear, so cold, so blue

a favorite- Rio Blanco

I'm really getting used to life here on the farm. The work days are long, hard, and rewarding. The experience has definitely changed since Julia and I arrived. For one, I make a killer fire now in the mornings. We now have a full house. Marlon from Australia arrived a week ago, Michael from Oklahoma arrived last night and Lauren and Emily one from Miami the other NY arrived today! I like everyone..this is going to be interesting in such close quarters. We are going to adjust though, and have a great time I suspect.
footbridge over the Rio Azul
I wake up early in the mornings and 'charge the hill' to get my blood flowing and to warm me up. Charlie the dog has really gotten used to me, so she is extra frisky in the mornings and we play. I feed her treats and she runs around like crazy all excited to have new friends.
Rio Azul..view from the lodge

The Rio Blanco and the Rio Azul are our favorite relaxing spots. It's so nice to chill on the rocky banks, listen to the water flow, and breath in the mountain air.
I've become the translator for Julia, although Michael that just arrived speaks Spanish pretty well. My Spanish has improved immensly. We laugh quite a bit, and take on a new 'inside joke' every day it seems.
The days are really beginning to warm up. When the sun is out, we shed our layers and basque in her rays. It's sonice while working to glance up every now and then to see the gorgeous peaks of Cerro Piltriquitron towering over us. Today, Julia and I hiked up an adjacent mountain and got to the top for an incredible mirador (viewpoint)...I'll post pictures in a little bit.
A lot of the seeds that we've planted in the greenhouse are already sprouting. Lettuce, onions, lots of different varieties of flowers, beets, cabbage. Out in the gardens we are weeding, pruning and silting compost...basically making preparations for Springtime. Life for a new season here, oxygen, sunlight, love.
Sunday (tomorrow)...because we now have a full house of WWOOFers, we are going to have a fiesta at the lodge with everyone. Potluck! I think tonight, we will have a bonfire outside of our little mountain house, take the mega bean bag and stare at the brilliant stars. It's so dark here at night, the stars light your path, and it's such a different sky than I'm used to. If my Dad were here he could name every constellation. Since he isn't here to tell me, I create my own.
MMM, we had a delicious dinner last night. Rice with a tomato base sauce, bell peppers, carrots, onions, eggplant, potatoes, and cheese all baked to perfection.
So..2 weeks down, 6 to go. Everyday I think about my future in Japan with my new husband. What's next? After this? who knows...A beautiful new life will finally begin, with someone that I love more than anyone in the world. Everything about Argentina is wonderful...except this aching loneliness I feel when I think about Adam. Even though I'm constantly surrounded by new and interesting people, things to do, and friendly faces, I miss him so much it hurts. That is the only hard part really. So when I think of him, I just go outside, stare into the mountains and think about how much there is to look forward to...and when Adam and I will be back to Argentina together to scale the Andes. :)