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.


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

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