Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Chicha Shed and Re-prioritizing to-do lists...

Ismael remembers how much I admire Nono's chicha shed, a large, tall, naturally hollowed-out manio tree trunk in which he chain-sawed out a door which he then hinged and attached. Hers is ten feet tall and maybe two-feet across. Somewhere in the vast forests and meadows that is Nonolandia (not to be confused with Futalandia, which is...well...confusing) Ismael has come across another hollow manio tree that has fallen, smaller, a little more manageable, and he's drug it back to his farm and made me a china cabinet of sorts. My chicha cabinet will only hold chicha if Nono gives me some. More likely it will hold dishes.

I am thinking that Ethan Allen and Architectural Digest will not be knocking on my door for a photo shoot, but we love our warm little Hobbit-style house. I have a curly-haired cow-skin rug on the living room floor, a rock wall behind the fireplace, baskets I made from Saucey (a type of tree) branches which I filled with dried flowers and herbs, and my favorite, a salvaged old wood box, turned upside down and garnished with pieces of pounded copper and old varnish. I think that is somewhere in a post about me being manic.

Some people collect salt and pepper shakers, or owl figurines. I collect rocks, and animal bones and feathers and dried flowers, and an occasional ancient farm implement and hand woven tapestries (just to soften things up). When I am finished, the house should have the look and feel of some forgotten Smithsonian museum storeroom.

I sat around in my flannel pajamas and sagging wool socks and peeled apples, pitted cherries and plums. The sun is not out enough to dry fruit, so "conserves" it is. That's what they called "preserves" here. I woke up to pink clouds through the trees, grateful for a break in the three days of rain which raised the Rio Azul several raging feet. As I was stoking the hot coals and coaxing a morning fire, it occurred to me that instead of fretting oveer painting my walls and making end tables, I should be worrying about how I am going to keep my ass warm and my stomach fed this fast approaching winter.

Where, and how to store the sacks of flour, sugar, salt (I'll need lots of it for the pig we will butcher in late June) and the 35 kilo sacks of potatoes and onions and tubs of butter and trays of eggs. Come winter, the snows will make it foolish to "skip" to town for some forgotten item. Time to re-tool my thinking. I feel a list coming on.......

Last night, reeling from the revelation that our hydro will cost twice as much, we drove back to our home in Azul in silence (except for the snap of a beer tab on the passenger's side) and sliced up left-over steak and heated it up for steak and cheese sandwiches. We got the fire going when the outside light left and Greg read a John Grisham novel out loud to me while I made some salsa Nono makes...finely chopped green tomatoes, finely chopped aji, a little salt and a dash of olive oil. It's wonderful stuff. I lit a candle on the kitchen counter and stuffed a few jars with the salsa, and sealed them in a hot-water bath on the counter top propane stove. We closed up the wood stove for the night, and with our wobbling tin-can candle holders, climbed the stairs to dream good dreams.

John Prine song for the Day:

1 comment:

Helen said...

Man, JP is just the sexiest thing alive singing about us "big old goofy Girls". I don't think I have ever seen such a look of pleasure on a singers face as on JPs on this Video. Thanks Vick
PS I know you have other things on your mind