Post July 30, 2009 (This post wraps up July, and I am just now getting to somewhere with internet access, and have the time to post. I will follow it with another post tonight which updates, and explains why it's been so long since I've been here...until then....)
Inching along, wrapping up things at our rental cabin in town, we dragged our refrigerator and washer back home down the several hundred meter path to the house. Will the fridge be salvageable? Time, soap, bleach, vinegar? While we were in Temuco for a month and a half, the landlord shut off the electric, which was supporting the fridge, which held packages of frozen meat, fish and vegetables, etc.
Other fascinating news:
It's been wildly sunny the past week, yet has rarely gotten above freezing, even mid-day. The chainsaw is repaired and it's owner now has the correct gas-oil mix straightened out. Apparently it makes a difference. We've discovered that the cat enjoys shredding toilet paper, and totally unrelated...we are still dipping water from the river. Since the pipes don't appear to be frozen, possibly we have an air lock of the neighbors oxen have broken the line (anywhere from the house or along the 1500 meters to the source).
How I've been spending my time:
Ignoring the stacks of boxes we've dragged from the rental house, I've focused on more important tasks. I received a panicked email from friends in Temuco...they've run out of Furken, my Futaleufu version of the much-loved Chilean spice mix called Merken. It starts with copious amounts of chopped aji peppers and many heads of garlic, peeled and sliced, all of it dried, then cold-smoked, then finish-dried in the oven, ground by hand and funneled into spice jars. Nothing special but for the nutty, smokey garlic and the hot, but not brutal bite of the peppers. Merken has comino in it, which makes it less desirable for fish and some other dishes. I stuck with the simple garlic and pepper mix. So, I'm making Furken this week...drying screens on racks, piles of aji seeds littering the cowskin rug as I sit in front of the fire cleaning peppers. Gathering a pile of the right kind of wood for the smoke fire. With all the end pieces of aji and garlic, and a recipe from my homesteading book, I will attempt to simmer up some tangy hot sauce.
I also needed some celery for chicken pot pie, and the only celery available at the produce store was massive bulk packages. What I didn't use for the pot pie, I chopped and added to the drying racks. Cocho came down to paint the high ceiling in the living room and with his ladder, knocked an entire tray of drying celery off the wood stove. I couldn't save it from the cowskin rug, had to take the whole thing outside and beat the rug many times over to get it clean.
The snows on the mountains are still substantial, but the locals say it's not as much as earlier years and they are concerned about water levels for the coming summer season. The Azul and Espolon are both extremely low, yet the little Desague here is deep and wide. Barrels of chicha are showing some imbibing and getting a little vinegary. The Azul Valley is sparsely dotted with little wooden houses puffing smoke from wood stoves. Socks are being knitted, haylofts are emptying out, and there are some new lambs being born. I thought that only happened in the spring, but just saw four new babes on our way home yesterday.
So, that's about it from this neck of the woods. For my panicked friends in Temuco, the Furken is in the works and I will notify you when it's shipped.
post script...the Furken caught fire when I failed to monitor the smoker. All is lost.)