Sunday, November 18, 2012

barn owl

barn owl, Tyto alba

the window glass
a quarry unforeseen
the backward fall
to stony ground
silence until found
the snapped neck
throbs like a pulse
between bones

Monday, November 5, 2012

cactus flower


first a fuzzy knob 
swelled from the side of a spiked column
slightly larger week by week
'til suddenly a vertical sprout
& one morning — this

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Middle


I have been in the middle
for a very long time —

the middle

of writing,
of life,
of being a wife, mother,
grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, niece,

though my niece-ness soon
enough will come to an end —

Mary in her upper nineties.

I’m in the middle of

cooking chicken ratatouille,
weeding the yard after being away for nearly two weeks,
reading a book by Lyn Hejinian.

It’s not the middle of the year or the month.
Soon it will be noon.
On the first of the month Mike usually cuts my hair.

In the middle of next month
we will have lived in Argentina for a year & a quarter.
During that middle we’ve traveled to Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, & Dominica.

The timer going off means the chicken is half cooked.

Middle as everything

since babe in arms,
since tonsillectomy,
until kindergarten,
until graduation of high school.

Alternately, as mother
after the birth of my first child,
my second, the surprise of pure love,

as surprise when I fell for Mike,
for such a long time now
another middle.

Is the entire length of Zeno’s paradox.

Is softer than I'd like.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Were You My Sister?


after cyst removal surgery
she felt the spasms, watched the dark
mass slither down the bowl

she was not surprised, she
knew she would lose you, fourth
child — Esperanza de Felicidad

she would go on
to bear a fifth, a second boy, despite
the doctors warning

but no, no second abortion —
remembering the bleeding after the first
so nearly killed her & would have

negated three more of us —
she disregarded their male
pleadings, taught John & me to read

while growing David, yes, a
happy child but not
you, my sister

Thursday, October 4, 2012

#

new grapes


is the crossroads

space or line
end open or closed

square or
unfinished tri-
angle or parallelogram

who’s X, who’s O
are you playing across or
diagonal or down

let’s choose
where to cross
and how: checkers jump
or knight’s move

of letters is it L, T, or D
P, Q, or R
F or H, O, J
C or B, U or I
Y, X, or wannabe E

below is 3

common broom in flower, Cytisus scoparius

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Girl in the Swing

Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Swing, 1766


The too much digging I did yesterday sent me this morning for a warm soak in the bathtub, but yesterday the sun didn’t burn off the clouds, so the solar panels didn’t heat the water, & because the Argentine-manufactured instant hot-water heater doesn’t work as well as it should, I took a not very warm soak & climbed out chilled to the bone. Thank goodness Susan gave me a down vest. Either the coolish bath or the Ibuprofen or both have silenced my sore cheek.

How would I have written that if I lived in the age of Watteau & Fragonard? My servant would have boiled water to fill the tub. I wouldn’t have been digging in the first place, not if I was the girl in the swing wearing flouncy petticoats some loutish suitor tried to look up. Probably I wouldn’t have bathed more than once a week. I would have worn strong perfumes to hide my menstrual odors. I would have married one of those louts, born six or eight children, demanded more servants & a better cook, grown stout.

Dressed in complex undergarments under my elaborately fitted dress, I would have written with a quill pen from my desk in Cheltenhamshire to my sister in London, asked her whether her unmarried, childless, still at home with our parents life [her governess life; her nun’s life; her whore’s life] suited her better than the life she would have lived — mine — had she also been beautiful. 

I would have told her how every day I wish she would come to live with me, to help care for these children rather than reading & sewing the day long; how if I die young, she could become my husband’s second wife in order to experience all of my life, to bear more children from his urgent loins, some of them girls who will follow in our footsteps as slaves of men.

He is no lion, my husband. Not of industry or intellect, generosity or geniality. No, he is a person late to rise, annoyed by children, dissatisfied with meals, unwilling to socialize or travel. He lives for his dogs, guns, hock, whiskey, cigars, two or three friends in the same mold. He stinks of them all when he stumbles onto me in the dark. I pray an accident will carry him off.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Argentine Horses



I hear teeth tear at
alfalfa. The horses ravage field after field
to roots & earth.

Cattle egrets forage
near hooves, perambulate spines. Frolicking
heads jerk, long necks twine.

I watch & listen to
hot breath exhaled through nostrils
like doves rowing through air.

Unbridled inside
the electric wire, one horse idles toward me:
ivory socks & blaze.

Her soon-to-be-born
distends her torso down & sideways.
I measure leg bones.

She reaches for me
hikes her nose to my outstretched fingers
angles cheek to my palm.

Tendering mare's velvet
she scares me with strength & mass, all
I don't know of horses.

Watching me, repeatedly
she blows —her call, my unschooled response:
Are you saying hello?

I answer her back
while weeding my vegetable rows:
Hola, pregnant caballo

knowing today or tomorrow
the herd will be shifted to some far meadow:
I won't see the birth.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Spring


Winter simply ends as the ill-mannered
Zonda wind arrives. Now budding willows
sway red, thorn trees green, succulents
polka-dot yellow, irises three to a spike
purple & white.
                        Wearing but a T-shirt
& gardening shorts, I dig through frost-scarred beds
fork up mint, transplant curry, crewcut
cold-browned stems of oregano, sage.
Seeds await in multi-colored packets —
passion fruit
                   rhubarb, papaya, artichoke
cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, carrot & kale
lettuce & beans, echinacia, beet & tomato.
Strong walls will rise in the east of bricks
& cement to stymie ill winds from tearing
young leaves, downing stakes.
                                               Possibly
wild hares will come to graze.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Winter



In slow, careful Castellaño, I ask Pablo, "Can you make me two wooden boxes, 60 cm wide by 50 cm deep by 30 cm high, with top & bottom (tapa y fondo)?"

"Algorrobo or pino?" he asks.

I stop to think. Algorrobo is the hardwood the builders used for our window & door frames.

"Pine is cheaper, algorrobo is more expensive," he says. His workshop is outdoors, a sea of wood & sawdust, partial & completed rustic-style furniture, two dogs. The table saw has a meter-long vertical blade.

"I don't need such hard wood just for firewood boxes," I say. "I'm going to put one box on either side of our wood stove, one to hold logs, one to hold kindling & paper. I need these boxes because I have a kitten who strews kindling from one end of the house to the other, all over the furniture, too." He smiles when I say kitten.

"How much?" I ask.

"500."

"So much?" I know the pine will be unfinished, the hinges unevenly placed. Mike will sand & varnish them. One will not close perfectly.

"250 per box. The box is 50 centimeters high," he says.

"No," I say, "only 30 centimeters high because it fit beneath the electrical outlets."

He moves his hands, extends his measuring tape: "Dos cientos."

I nod my head, "200 per box," I say. I always repeat numbers to make sure I've understood correctly. It's still too much, but I am a gringo & must pay more than a local, though not quite as much as I would if I were speaking English instead of Castellaño.

"When?" I ask.

"Friday."

"Morning or afternoon," I ask, knowing he will say afternoon. Today is Wednesday. Little Miss Vee must wait at least two more days for two new boxes to play in. Back home I realize I forgot to specify that the hinges go on the 60-cm side. Does it matter? I measure the space again. The boxes will fit turned either way.

~

The sleeves of my Lands End cotton turtleneck are prickly with thorns, even though I wore it under a Lands End jacket with a nylon exterior & fleece liner. The thorns studding my blue jeans prick me when I sit down. All because I wanted a third load of firewood that was half-buried in sand under thorny grasses. My mittens, my hat, the ends of my hair are clotted with thorns. Easing them from my hair is the hardest. I pull tiny thorns from my fingers all day.

Much of the firewood I bring home is too large for the wood stove. Mike tells me so when I drop it on the pile. He doesn't notice my thorns. I point at him, which means, "You'll cut it with your handsaw." Soon enough we'll drive three hours to Salta to buy a chainsaw. Next winter we'll lay in a large store of firewood before winter comes.

~

As long as the sun shines & the wind holds off, which is most days, the sun warms all the places we spend our days, inside & out. If I put the thermometer where I am sitting, it would probably read 35ºC, nearly body temperature. The cat is sleeping on my shins in sunny heaven.

Outside the north-facing picture window bearded irises are blooming, most of them purple, one white. I don't know why irises would bloom in winter, but the plants that thrive here at one mile high possess some desert hardiness I've not met before. In New England most small- to medium-size plants disappear with frost & winter under snow. In Hawaii's temperate rainforest you can generally only kill a plant by burning it or carrying it away.

~

Mike spotted two woodpiles along the main road. The first contained wood too long to fit in our stove, & we don't have a chainsaw yet. The second looked promising, so I hopped out while Mike turned the car around. Plenty of logs & kindling that will fit. The logs especially are welcome, because we have used all that Federico's guys brought us.

I select & toss firewood onto the road; Mike loads the car, warns me not to injure him. We both work hard & fast. Soon he is breathless. I ask him to rest, please, I will load the rest into the car, but it's hard to stop selecting more because the trove contains such treasure. He rests for thirty seconds and starts again, breathing hard. Regretfully I stop & take his place. The trunk is nearly full.

Back home I drive the car around to the north side of the house & unload into a tidy stack on the veranda. We're in good shape for the next cold spell. Not only that, Roan called from Salta last night to get Mike's approval to buy us a Stihl chainsaw.

~

The firewood boxes are not ready on Friday or Saturday. “Monday,” Pablo says. When we pull up late Tuesday morning, he is just installing the hinges on the second box. They are solid boxes, unfinished pine, irregularly spaced hinges.

We drive to Keti hardware to buy wood stain, which is not called mancha de madera, just as Mike suspected. The older woman beams with pleasure to see us & kisses me hello. We buy a liter of protector de madera, finish satinado, color nogal — walnut. As we leave the middle-aged woman tells us how happy she is to see us again.

The boxes are sitting up off the ground on blocks of quebracho, the local hardwood used for our roof beams. Today Mike will stain them, one or two coats depending on how much the pine absorbs.

This afternoon we will move all the firewood inside the house out to the veranda, we will straighten up our scattered messes, because tomorrow Elba comes to wash & wax the floors. We thought we would do that ourselves, but in the three months since the floors were sealed, we haven't done it. There's too much floor & too many more interesting things to do. Perhaps we'll have her wash the windows, too.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gringo

oculto

This morning the man with missing teeth
told me to take a hose & drown los ocultos — rodents
(similar to gophers) that dig labyrinths
under the gardens, ruck up gravel, eat roots —
run a hose down the hole & drown them.

The waiter who always wants to help us
including ordering us tables from the furniture maker
because he can get them for what locals pay
instead of the price charged to gringos — what we are —
Our waiter is missing six or seven teeth in front on top.

The man who has worked this land for 25 years
(before that it was virgen, he says)
is missing four — top middle — I have difficulty
understanding what he says, but I fake it
he fakes it — we want to understand each other
why I saved the fox skeleton, how los ocultos
will go elsewhere once our garden grows.

Most women in town are missing teeth
accidents? decay? mens’ fists?
women in town shop, cook, clean house
raise children, ride bicycles — the men do nothing
to help in the home & are missing teeth.

Professional women from the city wear braces
the money they earn buys them braces
nor do they bear four or eight children
if any, they bear one or two, & hire a maid, a cook
help is cheap here & always missing teeth.

Even though I speak the language
correctly & with a passable accent
even if I were a young wife with small children
riding a battered one-speed bicycle to el mercado 
even if I already knew how to kill los ocultos
the locals would know me for a gringo
speak to me, want me to be a friend.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miss Vee


Welcome, Miss Vee, 
nth kitty in my cat parade 
beginning with early
Names-I-Forgot including
One-Green-One-Blue-Eye
not noticed sleeping 
behind a rear tire 
when Mom backed down
the driveway, also
that Careful-She-Bites
cat & dog Blackie
dispatched at the vet
though Mom claimed
they ran away, proceeding
to Siamese-purebreds 
Nefertiti & Tutankhamun, 
to Jacob born on a boat,
to Münkin son of Titi 
whose only ever squirrel
misstepped a gutter
& fell on his head, 
to long-haired Jason 
bearing the Golden Fleece 
who survived a tar bath
by plucking out his coat, 
to Ooblek who disappeared, 
to cooktop-parked Bartholomew, 
to muscle-packing Mumbles 
also called Stripley on Steroids 
after a passing car
pitched him on his noggin,
to seven-toed Lobster Boy 
Only Six Inches Long 
but Plays the Zither
also called Fred, 
to soprano-toned Baba, 
to feral-born Akalina
featured on our coffee label.
Welcome, Miss Vee,
what will your story be?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chapter End


Japanese White Eye, Zosterops japonicus, juvenile

Soon everything on the farm will be gone. Already
the tractor, lumber, Mike’s chair, a cast-iron pot
have gone for good. Customer cars juggle in & out
of parking slots. Keikis call me Auntie, lay 
their heads in my lap before marking the white sofa 
with black-bottomed feet, scattering books I might 
not keep. Ciao to hand-painted plates I brought 
from Italy to Cali to Carolina to Hawaii. Aloha 
to the double-bladed axe, to ratchet-action loppers
cane knives & the chainsaw once the bidding war 
was won. Sold are the food-grade buckets 
once filled with kilos of nuts, rice, & beans 
to feed us through Y2K. Now goes my chair.
The comforter off our bed. But not my knives.
Ditto the camera, shoelaces, shaving mirror, Mike.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

pwoermd #7





More pwoermds @ InterNaPwoWriMo

Goodbye, full moon


Goodbye, full moon in your slow fall behind the sunrise-red peaks.
Goodbye without grief, with delight, because you will be back, tonight.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Poking up from oculto's hole


Poking up from oculto’s hole a twitching nose I cover swiftly with dirt
& gravel, three times I bury before I dig & find a blinking toad. 

pwoermd #1


alambre


More pwoermds @ InterNaPwoWriMo

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Turn

Mist floats north / above the pond / past white roses.

All night
the final summer rain
comes & goes.

Low fifties
call for flannel jammies
& wool socks.

Naked on shower tile 
we shake waiting 
for hot water.

Daylight stalls
behind peaks
till breakfast’s over.

Mist floats north 
above the pond 
past white roses. 

Stone fruit’s gone.
Apples replace
watermelon.

On failing wings
mosquitos hover
close to sunny walls.

Auburn grape leaves
curl, absciss
escape in the wind.

A hummingbird 
silhouette 
sups at a yellow flute.

Too cold
we decide
for early bicycle rides.

Mike’s green blanket
my red
keep us in bed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Among so many grasshoppers


Among so many grasshoppers alive & dead in long grass I nearly missed
the zebra stripes along the legs of a half-a-thumb-sized yellow frog.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unforeseen, the snake coils


Unforeseen, the snake coils below the final pile of construction debris
— a duffel, two jugs, a broken wheelbarrow — the worker kills it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Following a Script


Following a script, the pair performs a two-act play: first, the male
inseminates to prolong the species; then, the female won't share lunch.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Lolling



Ahoy land, a sailor shouts
aloud on a barge, a la-la-la
& alack aday. A year or two
I hoped to dawdle along adrift
a layabout, a deck chair
away from honest pursuit
a fair wage, a dollar a day.

A tisket a tasket, I’ve bypassed
cornucopia’s basket, to-dos
gang astray. A cider press
becrazes gnats & bees, adaze
they dip & die, agoggle, amazed.
A penny a play I bask in the breeze
at dusk ablaze in fireflies.

Asleep, amire in dismal slough
I dream about alligators
idling afloat, a wrestle I may
hunker to ante up for:
alas, admit what I’ve lost
not only babies but noon
verses spun in haste, admired

& saved to a file, archived
doodle of digital waste.
Olé, I prefer to lollygag
not flagellate my infantile
gaze at mica-faced arcades
tumbleweeds of macaroni
a gargoyle, a ghost, a maze.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Huerta

huerta maze

I learned first that huerta is the Spanish word for orchard. Then I learned that huerta is also the word for vegetable garden. I have one fruit orchard (apple, apricot, fig, orange, peach, pear, plum, pomegranate), one vineyard (table grapes), an herb garden (anise, basil, chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme), and fifteen or twenty vegetable gardens. For two months we have been eating our own figs — huge, purple, swee-ee-eet — and table grapes.

The vegetable gardens and paths that link them compose a maze, that is to say a labyrinth without a center goal. I reimagined them from a few kidney-shaped vegetable plots drawn in our landscape plan after I realized that no one intended to build them. The narrow winding paths are laid with orange gravel, while the gardens are irregular shapes with mostly rounded corners. Each garden is no wider than I can step easily across. Some are small, some are long. Mike took the above photo of me and my gardens before much of the gravel was laid on the paths.

I spent a couple of weeks building the maze. The work consisted of weeding, removing and hauling away rocks and construction debris, raking, hauling large stones from all corners of our lot, laying stones in pleasing patterns, testing wheelbarrow clearance along the paths, wearing through and stitching up the fingers of two pairs of gloves, extracting thorns from my skin, sweating, eating like a horse, sleeping like the dead.

I miss waking every morning knowing exactly what I will do all day: eat, work, eat, work, eat, shower, sleep. I like that my body rested a suitable amount of time after each wheelbarrow trip to and from the rock pile. I like that I learned to know the cars, trucks, and motos that drove the service road all day, which drivers waved (mostly motos) or hollered Buen día (trash tractor pulling wagon and my gravel delivery man). I like all the workers and horseback riders who stopped to chat. I like the clouds that rolled in most days after lunch and made afternoons better for working than mornings. I like the poems I wrote on my iPhone while standing on fresh-turned earth.

I’ve planted a few seeds I bought from in Salta from Easy (Argentina’s version of Home Depot) and in town at the Pulpería (old-fashioned country store) — beet, carrot, chard, cilantro, cucumber, dill, lettuce, radish, spinach, zucchini. Most are sprouting, though it’s already the season of cosecha — harvest — here in the high desert (even winemaker Cecilia’s baby is almost ripe). I expect we’ll be eating most if not all of my crops before first frost unless the liebres — European hares — eat them first.

Lepus europaeus, European hare, la liebre

Every second evening we uncoil our hoses to water the orchard, the vineyard, the vegetable and herb gardens, the flower gardens, the ornamental grasses. Once a week we water native trees and cactus. It takes two hours to satisfy all the plants on our three-quarter acre. Often the wind blows the water back at us, a chilling spray in these cooling dusks of early fall.

Recently Mike ordered US$1,200 worth of parts from an irrigation vendor in Buenos Aires, the same knowledgeable, delightful señor who designed and supervised the irrigation system for the Bob Culp golf course. Saturday two local workers dug what seems like miles of ditch for electrical cable. Sunday Mike connected the first of six solenoid valves to the underground irrigation water pipes — no leaks! The six-zone controller will be mounted on the south wall of our tender — outdoor laundry-hanging enclosure. We hope the system’s up and running by end of week. It’s Monday: I’m shoveling dirt back into ditches.

An acequia — irrigation canal — runs through our lot and is a principal reason we chose this lot over others. We built two ponds, a small pond that widens the acequia at the front entrance to the house

acequia pond

and a much larger and irregularly-shaped pond south of the driveway. Because the vegetable gardens lie south of the large pond, they will draw overflow water from the ariete — ram pump — that will soon sit in a deep hole next to the maze and move pond water back into the acequia. At night, the acequia running outside our bedroom window relaxes us to sleep.

From today’s few figs, table grapes, and herbs we expect our gardens to grow much fuller a year from now: the detail of the vegetable maze hidden by beans, corn, eggplant, melon, peas, peppers, squash, and tomato; fruit trees bearing small first crops; daylilies crowded, begging for division and sharing with neighbors; native trees and ornamental grasses marking a visible shape to the boundaries of our Argentina home.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mammalia to Aves, Aves to Gastropods

Achatina, Giant South American Snail


                   Dream is the reaching out feelers like a snail’s horns. 
                   Reality is the shell or the thing of crystal boxes. 
                   We must have the two together.
                                                                                          — H. D.


Tantalizingly slow, 
the snail shapeshifts across the road
proceeds without distinction 
to death under wheels 
or to safety on the other side.

Unlike a dead fox —
worth a close examination, a photo too — 
I look aside from a dead snail
the smashed box
fluids drained to a shiny smear.

Likely I'll see
another snail alive
extending fore & aft, but not another fox 
like a dove on a city sidewalk 
circling its dead mate.

Strewn by death
these souls linger for reincarnation: 
mammalia to aves, aves to gastropod
time slows 
while gods shake dice.


Vulpes vulpes, Red Fox, zorro

Friday, March 9, 2012

8 marzo

Cabello de angel — angel hair — an ever-sprouting vine, a try-to-stop-me
twiner, fruitings of radial whiskered struts adrift in summertime.

7 marzo

All night the soft steady rain keeping me awake, teaching me this:
you are old, you needn’t comb your hair, always, more rain will come.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Free Flowing: A Technical Manual


For anger, lie down, close your eyes, repeat until quiet comes, om mani padme sum

For anguish, pick up your bucket & trowel, walk to a weedy spot & weed

For depression, pay no mind to the nonsense your psyche commands, tell a friend who will understand

For envy, remember how much you have & love

For fear, accept it as what will keep you from harm, if you need to, arm

For gluttony, rinse umpteen ribs of celery, peel a peck of carrots, & stuff yourself sick

For hot flashes, indulge in cold splashes

For hunger, think protein, think green or root vegetable, think fruit

For insomnia, find a book to read & drink ginger tea

For loneliness, celebrate yourself with a favorite meal, a gift, a smile

For lust, if you & your target do no harm, welcome your fortune & succumb

For mania, clear rocks from the back forty, shear a sheep, whitewater kayak a big river, twist & shout until you fall asleep

For panic, talk about weather, basketball, or your cell phone to the first stranger you come to, even if she is you

For pride, only you can decide whether you deserve it, whether it’s worth it

For shame, figure out who taught you to feel the shame & at what time in your life, give it back to them: it’s their strife

For sloth, slow down, listen to every part of you, find the hidden pain you must identify & care for

For an upset stomach, suck on ginger candy (always keep it handy)

For wanting to do what you think is evil, better than to shut it off is to pretend, imagine carrying out your evil thought to its natural end

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Time Has a Centipede’s Fear of Clocks

                                                                         — César Vallejo

Lystrophis semicinctus, ringed hognose snake, falsa coral

Time is a snake 
run over streetside
drilled, scaled 
by beetles & flies.

The corpse coral red
inside black inside
cream, head to tail
a loop of road schooling
spasmed to mime
a Paleolithic blade.

I carry the kill
to gravel’s shoulder
lease more snake time
for carrion hawks
to raise snake bits 
aloft at noon’s breeze.

With time I string
snake ribs & spine 
to wear as a totem
of petro-vehicle mind.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fondo los Ruiles, Pencahue, Chile

Mike & I spent much of February 18th-19th at Fondo los Ruiles, an 1,100 acre farm recently purchased by Simon Black of Sovereign Man.

entry to Simon's farm

The property is a working farm that produces & markets crops of blueberry, plum, tomato, & wine grapes. Simon plans to sell lots — 36 in total, that includes one for him — & hoping to create an amicable community of freedom-loving people.

Mike walks up the road next to the plum orchard

The land reminds me of Napa Valley — brown soil on rolling hills, in some places quite steep, covered with oaks, scrub, & long grass that yellows in summer & greens in the winter rains. The previous owner took advantage of a Chilean government pine tree giveaway by planting plenty. The pines add shade & offer privacy between lots.

an irrigation canal

The farm has plenty of water & is on the electric grid, three hours from Santiago, & fifteen minutes from Talca — a city of 200,000 with car dealers, multiple supermarkets, a gorgeous river. The weather was cloudy & pleasantly warm until late morning on Sunday when the sun burst through & sunburned quite a few of us. We & many others hiked as much of the farm as we could manage. My legs are finally recovering from the unaccustomed ups & downs.

one of the large views, possibly from lot 16

Master planner Kimberly sited lots so that nearly all have views, many of them spectacular to ridges & land below. She classifies them as forest, orchard, & view lots. All are at least 5,000 square meters, which maintains their agriculture zoning (for low property taxes). A residence (or two) can utilize up to 15% of the lot area.

splendid rock

Simon put together a first class weekend of interesting people, talks, tours, snacks, & meals during which I & many others naturally ate & drank to excess. I sense that I've gained back the weight I lost during my gastrointestinal miseries last fall. Eating food — plant & animal — produced on the farm was a special treat. Saturday afternoon a saunter through the mixed-fruit orchard & farm garden left me sugar-sticky on my face & arms up to the elbows with pear, peach, nectarine, fig, almond, persimmon, blueberry, cantaloupe, & whatever I've forgotten. Sunday lunch was farm food — chicken, lamb, salad, squash, fruit, wine, watermelon.

Santiago

Above & beyond Simon's farm, we loved Talca & Santiago, clean accessible cities where items you look for — organic peanut butter, quality tea, brand-name socks — are for sale no matter where they were manufactured. Oh to live without Argentine import regulations. Talca also has gyms, playgrounds, good hotels, excellent restaurants. During our six days in Chile we ate seafood & more seafood, including sushi, shrimp, octopus, eel, corvina, salmon. Let's not forget the Pisco Sours — I ordered one every chance I got.

I saw a very large rabbit sprint through the pines

I suppose Simon's project is not for the faint of heart. The roads aren't all in. The lots aren't platted. Purchasing details are TBA. But we're in, we hope to buy a lot, we've already met with architects about the house we'd put up — custom pre-fab, ultra-modern, metallic red . . .

looking back at the walkable-only road to the 30-number lots