Thursday, October 15, 2009

Backhoes and Toasters

(Written in September...)
In the US, you wait for the cable guy. Here in "el campo" we wait for the back-hoe guy. I am currently waiting for BH guy to come and scoop and level the parking area at the top of the ridge where we now carefully manuever our pickup truck in between boulders pushed there by previous BH guys doing road repair. It will cost us 28,000 Chileno Pesos for one-hour.

Ismael, the neighbor has tried to convince us to widen the path by a couple of meters so we can drive our truck down to the house. But we can see that with the topography of the land, specifically where the path would have to be widened, we would create serious problems next rainy season. Without intelligent engineering, the improved road would be washed out or buried in landslides. We choose not to go down that path.

Other tidbits:

I am posting a picture of something that everyone will be jealous to acquire. A wonderful new-age innovation. Below, behold, my toaster!

I have been thinking of doing an Infomercial with this wonderful device...Needs no electricity...Goes from gas (or electric) cooktop to campfire...Rinses clean with river water...Lasts a lifetime or we replace it for free!

I know what Mom is getting for Christmas!

I have many other innovative items that I use here in Patagonia on a regular basis. My bamboo and cuphook clothes dryer. My iron-ring fire-cooker which is adjustible by pounding it into the dirt over the campfire with a piece of left-over construction lumber. My in-river beer cooler made from chicken wire (adjustable in form for proper rock-wedging) and my ecologically sound mop (an old towel with a hole cut in the middle to fit over the broom handle).

I grew up with Hints from Heloise, so I completely appreciate Patagonia innovations. I appreciate not buying so many things that I can fabricate myself with things that most people discard or disregard. A few examples would be window cleaner (water, vinegar and a few drops of dish soap), pot scrubbers crocheted from net bags (my Aunt in Ohio actually does this) or using paper egg containers for sprouting seeds, bisquit cutters from tin cans. I have a wonderfully functional smoker which is simple but too complicated and boring to explain here. I use it to smoke meat, fish and dried aji and ajo for my famous, much sought-after merken mix.

That's all for now. Don't be jealous...but I'm working on my business and marketing plan, and soon you may see them on The Shopping Network.

Note: Being frugal and cheap is somewhat difficult in Patagonia as almost no one discards anything. There are no flea markets, second hand stores (except for the Ropa Americana shops which frankly are not cheap compared to Goodwill) and any broken machinery, building or contraption can, and is, taken apart and used to make something else. Scavengers have no future here.

End note: After noon, and still waiting for the backhoe guy.


Margaret said...

Hi there! Glad to see you've dug your way out of winter and are back on line!
I too love the Chilean toaster and was actually thinking of taking some back to the States with me next time around!

Mary Zwack said...

Hi Guys all is well in sunny florida. Sandie had a baby girl 4/24/09. Her name is Mia Stephanie Coretti and she's the joy of our lives. She's now 6 months old and a pissa just like her mother. hope I can figure out how to post pics on this. JZ and I are lovin the grandparent thing. Mom and Dad doing well and ask about you often. My dad remembers greeting you with a Killian beer after a hard day's work...
Hope you get this blog
My e-mail is should you be able to access it . You're always in our thoughts
Keep enjoying your journey
Hope to hear from you soon
Mary Zwack
of the gumba Family

Eileen said...

oh cool! I also enjoy the toaster, window cleaner, mop, and biscuit cutter. I also have a pie and other baked items cooling area on the living room windowsill. Hope the backhoe guy came, and good on you for figuring out not to carve a new path down to your house that would wash out later.

hope you heal up, soon! And I would love to come and meet you some time and get some of that merquén. Yum! my favorite! Need anything from Santiago?