Another Day


There hasn’t been anything interesting about today, really.  I spent the last few days working on a translation project, so I spent today catching up on the rest of my life.  My big accomplishment was sweeping and hosing down the porch and driveway.  We have chickens and chickens are not potty-trained.  So that was fun.

We also paid our rent today.  I brought two of my daughters with me.  Our car is still with the mechanic, so I called a taxi when it was time to go.  While making a three point turn at our gate, the taxi driver got his truck stuck in a ditch.  He went and got our neighbors and, with a half-dozen people pushing, we got the car out of the ditch.

I managed to pay rent, buy a few groceries, drinking water and “gas” (propane), along with food for the animals.  Coming home, I was aware that getting up the driveway might be tricky.  The driveway is still wet from yesterday’s torrential downpour, which can make it impossible for taxis to make it up our driveway.  However, we had enough weight in the back of the returning taxi that it was able to make it up to the house.

We’re in a sort of limbo right now, not knowing if and when we are moving.  I am not going to rehome animals until/unless we know for certain that there is a job for Michael in Alaska.  We just had six baby goats born within the past couple weeks–and there are still more to come.

Our pony, Ayla, is also pregnant.  She should foal at the end of September or early October.  A red stallion smelled her from far away and decided that she needed his help.  He jumped our fence and romped around with her for a month until his owner came for him.  Our gelding learned that “three’s a crowd” and was very happy to see him go!


Another recent highlight is that we butchered our big female pig last Saturday.  Three Ecuadorian friends of ours did most of the work, but we helped too!  The meat is in the deep freezer for a month to make sure that any Trichinosis eggs die.  And we have many pounds of rendered fat that should last for a long time.  Maybe I’ll make soap…

With all these baby animals being born, I struggle with the idea of moving far away to a life without them.  We are closer than ever to our dream of being off grid and reasonably self-sufficient.  We have chickens, goats, pigs, bees and horses, not to mention our five dogs and two cats.  Garfield, who just came in a window, says hello.  Rebekah has pet birds that she loves.  If only we had our own little piece of land, it would be just about perfect.

We’ll see what God’s plan is for us.  One thing I’ve learned is patience.  Whatever God has in store for us, His plans are good and He loves us.  He may not get us from Point A to Point B the way we think He should, but it will make sense later.

Belle (our Corgi) says she needs to go outside, so I’m going to sign off for now.  Animals are great at telling us not to worry the big picture.  “Pet me,” they say.  So we do.



Another Day in Paradise

My husband Michael recently showed me some decade-old blog posts of mine that he had just found.  It made me want to get back into recording our adventures for our friends and families.

If all goes according to plan, we will be joining Michael in Anchorage, Alaska in a little over two months.  The rest of us are down here in Malacatos, in the Loja Province of Ecuador.  I’m going to do my best to record our final few months here.

All day, every day, I look at our belongings and calculate what is coming and what is being sold or donated.  First thing this morning, I made coffee.  Everything is complicated here, and making coffee is no exception.  We have a coffeemaker, but the local coffee is too fine for it.  So I use our espresso maker.  I love being able to steam the milk.  The espresso maker is not coming, but will have to be replaced ASAP.  I made pancakes for breakfast on one of our cast iron skillets.  That won’t be coming either, but will also have to be replaced.  My daughter Rachel tends to be anemic, so we cook using cast iron.

I have spent a good deal of time today doing laundry.  We have a washing machine but it broke months ago.  I eventually opened it up to see if there was a broken belt.  There wasn’t.  But I didn’t put the back on the machine soon enough:  Now I have a broody hen sitting on eggs inside the back of the washing machine.  We’ll move her after she hatches her chicks.  If you move a broody hen, you risk upsetting her and having her abandon her eggs.  I’m not sure when she started sitting, but her eggs should hatch pretty soon.  It feels like it’s coming up on three weeks now, which is the incubation period for eggs.

So, back to laundry.  Since the washing machine no sirve, I wash our clothes by hand.  We have a couple of plastic tubs that I fill up in the shower.  I put in the dry soap powder first and fill up the tubs halfway before adding the clothes.  I swish around the clothes for a while, tip the tub and squeeze out the water.  I rinse the clothes once or twice, depending on how brown and/or soapy the rinse water is the first time.  So I’ve washed a blanket, a sheet, and a couple tubs of laundry so far.  I have a couple more loads soaking that are ready to be hung up as soon as I free up some clothespins by bringing in some dry laundry.  I need to do a few more tubs of laundry today, because today is Friday.  “Why should that matter?” you ask.

Water.  When we moved to Ecuador, we calculated that it was important to live in a place that doesn’t have a water shortage.  Indeed, there is a river that goes right through Malacatos.  And there are lots of green fields, which indicates that there must be water.  But what Ecuador lacks is infrastructure.  Getting the water to the people is the issue.  Our agua potable or “potable” water is not dependable.  Scarcely a day goes by without the water randomly going out for some period of time.  Indeed, we can count on water going out all day long on Saturday and Sunday.  Sometimes Monday and Tuesday are bad too.  But not everyone has constant problems like this.  We chose to live on a hill with a million-dollar view.  The problem is that the water doesn’t always have enough pressure to come up the pipe along our driveway.  The water problems are more pronounced on the weekends, when all the Lojanos leave the city to go to their vacation houses.  We are always grateful for rainy weekends, since the Lojanos are more likely to stay in Loja where they belong.

So my big accomplishment of the day has been load after load of laundry.  But my secondary accomplishment has been doing some moving-related tasks.  I finished scanning some covers of craft books, which I will try to sell/re-home.  I am also scanning old papers of mine that I am not lugging back to the U.S.  Today I scanned papers I wrote back in Advanced Placement English in my senior year of high school.  I have gone on a trip down memory lane, just glancing at the pages as I put them on the scanning bed, before tossing them.  I have already scanned notes from second year Algebra and Chemistry, and notes/papers from various Linguistics courses from college.

One of the nice things about moving is that it forces us to interact with these material possessions, evaluating and organizing/getting rid of them.  I am working on keeping memories and information, but getting rid of all pieces of paper that I don’t need.

As we look at the last couple of years, it is easy to lament the financial cost of our great Ecuadorian adventure.  All our adventures have cost money, but I wouldn’t give up those experiences if I had things to do over again.  So far I have only written one small children’s book, but I feel that our adventures around this planet have given me a lot of fodder for that book and the next ones in the series.  In speaking of my book, coming to the U.S. should make it a little easier to sell it…

I think Rachel is the one who motivated me to take up blogging again, since she just started a memory book.  I don’t want these memories to slip away into the fog of forgetfulness.

If you enjoy reading about our experiences, please let us know.