23 November 2014

Life has been busy around here lately but this weekend we did make time to find a Christmas tree!  I might be biased, but I think she's perfect.  It was not the easiest to find a real tree in Valdivia, but where there's a will, there's a way!  The supermarkets are full of plastic trees, doo-dads, tinsel, and twinkle lights but I really wanted a live tree that would fill the house with its piney smell.  So, we went to a local greenhouse and asked the guy if he had any trees for sale.  Lucky for us, he had one little conifer, roots and all.  We loaded her in our car along with a nice big plastic pot and now she resides in the living room ready to be decorated.  Maybe she will even last until next year!

Hope you're having a good weekend too!

16 November 2014

i thought I'd share with you the final photos of the honeymoon that I have floating around my desktop.  

The cold mountain air of Huilo Huilo seems far away at this point.  Summer has finally arrived to Valdivia.  Today, Pablo and I are lounging about the house, trying to catch a cross breeze as we recover from yesterday's festivities.  Yesterday, we hosted another barbecue and ended up staying up well into the wee hours of the morning, drinking Chilean wine, eating clams fresh out of the shell, and conversing in all manner of languages while counting the southern stars.  With the change of season, I can much better appreciate the concept of the Asado.  Instead of freezing our feet off standing around a fire waiting for some meat to cook, we can now act more civilized and lay the picnic blanket under a tree and enjoy a fine spread with some fine folks.  As is often the case with hosting, I did not take a single photo of the event but let it be said that it was a picturesque evening of delicious food and young people enjoying each other's company.  No doubt there will be more Asados to come, I'll try to share more in the future.

11 November 2014

My life's birthday tradition is pumpkin pie.  Don't get me wrong, I love cake just as much as the next five year old, but pumpkin pie is meant to be eaten on November the 10th.  On this great day, mid fall in North America and mid spring in South America, the crisp wind of almost winter and not yet summer should bring hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and earthy vegetables to the palate.  A buttery crust topped with creamy spiced filling is just what you need.  And lucky for me, here in southern Chile, ten days into November, pumpkins are abundant for the taking.  While their jack-o-lantern faces are rotting on many a door step in my hometown, here, around Valdivia, they are rotting in the fields unless someone decides to cook one up.  Pumpkin season has almost past, people are sick of the stuff and ready for corn, cherries, tomatoes and other warmer weather eats.  So, there are piles of them in the grocery, $3, pick your pumpkin.  And I'm not sure why, but it seems that here, there is not an industry that cans them.  Forget trying to find your Libby's pie in a can, when pumpkins are ripe, harvest them, and when you want to make a pie, you've gotta start from scratch.

Thank you for all of the nice birthday wishes.  If you would like see more photos of my first journey converting pumpkin to pie, click the arrow below.  Also, at the bottom you will find a few photos of the dinner that Pablo made to accompany the pie.

10 November 2014

What do you do when its cold outside, you're tired from hiking, and you're on vacation?

Drink beer and eat pizza!  The Peterman brewery right across the street from the hotel was pretty cool.  The pizza and the beer were great.  We ordered a pint before learning that they also have beer tastings available, so we decided to go for the sampler too! Apparently, though, a taste is a full wine glass of beer?!!

We arrived in the evening, it was cold and starting to rain, the road was muddy and we were tired and hungry.   But when we finally walked through the big wooden doors, we were met by warm roaring fires with over-sized lounge chairs nearby in which to sit, relax, and drink our pisco sours before heading downstairs for dinner and local wine.

My pictures don't do it justice, but the resort at Huilo Huilo is unreal.  The hotel is made up of several different buildings, the Northofagus tower (where we stayed), the Montaña Magica and the Reino de Fungi.  All of these are connected by corridors that rest on huge wood pilings several meters above the forest floor so as you are walking around, you get the feeling that you are walking through the trees.  Pretty nuts.

05 November 2014

Rather than go to a costume party or stay at home waiting for small humans to rob us of candy, this past weekend we went on our honeymoon.

We decided to take this trip of togetherness four months after our wedding and exactly four years after we fell in love with one another.  On that night, which seems like so many Halloweens ago, we enjoyed the typical shenanigans of the pagan holiday.  We danced, we drank forbidden alcohol, he was dressed like a woman, I was dressed like a bee and the mysteriousness of All Hallow's Eve only added to the excitement of a new, intoxicating love.

This past week in an equally bewitching scene, we also fully enjoyed time spent with each other.  We ditched the kitties and the house and drove into the mountains.  Our destination was the Huilo Huilo reserve which might not be the typical beachy-piña colada drinking-bikini wearing locale that newlyweds often seek, but it was no less indulgent and magical.  In fact, I am now convinced that Huilo Huilo might not only be the land of Halloween, but it is possible that Santa and all of the creatures of JRR Tolkien's books also dwell here.  In between the green and glowing trees, the snow-capped mountains, the Mapuche totems, our own ethereal hotel and the frigid turquoise waters of the surrounding rivers, we glimpsed.  yes.  Reindeer.

the song of this place

30 October 2014

I thought I'd give you a glimpse of the past few weeks.  I've had these photos sitting around on my desktop, waiting to share with you.  They don't have a unifying theme other than that they are snapshots of our current life.

Since moving to Valdivia, I sometimes feel like have returned to a place that I once new.  A real place, with real trees, and real culture, with real worries and real mountains in the distance, with hillbillies that speak their special way, and with cold weather that can only be cured with big mugs of hot cocoa.  In this place, I have neighbors that grow things like apples, and blackberries, lettuce and swiss chard and others who have mean dogs and spotted chickens.  In this place, that is the real world, I get to make decisions like "let's put a hammock in the living room" or "let's ride our bikes to wherever we want."  In some ways, I feel very much like I have returned to where I was before I ever went to the desert.  To a place where I am free to do as I please.

And strangely enough, I think that bluegrass is also the tune for this landscape.  Listen to my current obsession here.

^^ apple trees next door ^^
Pablo was pretty pleased with the hammock stand that he made.  We are also enjoying dinners on the patio!
Crazy spider web designs, drinks at the skybar over-looking the city and river
Best view in town!