Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have been reading posts on Facebook and getting emails from friends and family back in "the old country" telling me all about the horrible weather, and unusually cold or rainy days. So I thought I would give them all a view of some of the pretty stuff  in our yard. We have been having some successes and some failures, but all in all we are learning about the flora and fauna here in our "new country".

Amaryllis? I think these come in a box around Christmas time in the US


I love how they start out orange and end up pink

Such a frilly little lady..

Always have to have a yellow rose
 We have had another bout of furniture delivery. Our fellow who does the "rustico" type furniture has been busy and with the holidays that never end around here, he was even more behind. Our facilitator and friend Arturo, returned from his business in the Amazon and Macara just in time to "remind" our carpenter that we were still waiting on the large bench and queen bed frame.  Well last nite at 6:00 pm, Arturo and the carpenter arrived with the bench and bed. Again all very heavy and very large.

Seats about 4 large gentlemen, with room to spare
 Randy had asked the carpenter to build a very basic bed, queen size, no fancy stuff on it, but sturdy. To prove how sturdy it was, the carpenter stood on the slats so I could see it would hold up. I didn't get a picture, I was laughing too hard.
I cut off the assistants head on purpose; he did not like his picture taken
 While they were assembling the bed, I said to Arturo, well now we just have to get a mattress, He immediately got out his phone, called the mattress company, and got us the exact same queen mattress for our guest room bed, delivered the very next day..Please note, most beds in this country do not have a box spring. I suppose you can get them, we just went with what the norm was here for beds.

Basic Queen bed, $220, Queen pillow top firm  $215 -Delivery & Assembly Included
 I said we had some failures, well I did. I bought some seeds at a seed store. They were supposed to be for this area. But I did not follow the directions on when to plant. Most everyone told me I could plant them anytime. Well they did come up, but they are not moving along as fast as we/I would like so Randy and I have decided to just put in already growing flowers.. and give up on these poor seedlings.

If you look real close you can see the seedlings... about 6 weeks old!
These are in our bedroom window box..

And these

And these.. see the difference?
I wish you all a better February, and on those days that get too dreary.. just go out and buy yourself some flowers! That will cheer you up!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The weather has turned into a delightful streak of sunny days. I am very happy to see them. The river has dropped alot but we know some nite soon we will have a downpour and it will revitalize the flow again.

Because we love to be outside, and because the weather has been so nice, Randy and I have been busy sprucing up the yard.

And we finally got all of the curtains installed and furniture moved and houseplants in the "GreenRoom".

I have even attempted to bake some desserts, they worked out well with the fresh phyllo dough they have here and I added Nutella and bananas to them.. ugly but yum-oh.
We celebrated the sunshine by asking our friends over for a impromptu BBQ of burgers. Randy hates gooey stuff on his hands so I got the honor of 'squishing' the meat with the additives for for the burgers. I made Randy take a picture so I had more proof that I do actually help out occasionally.. notice there are no sharp knives near me..I should be safe.
Clarke and Brennie, rode their motorcycle over for the BBQ, and after a rousing game of rummy, they sped off into the nite. I had to take a picture as this is the first time Brennie has been on the bike with Clarke.
Yep for those who know me, that is my Scooter jacket she is wearing!
Randy, hamming it up in the background
The very next day we were off to an early start. I had a NMT session at 7:30, and by 10:30 we were loaded into our friends, Jason & Donna, car to drive out to Paute. We were all excited to see the new land and house that our other mutual friends had purchased. Since it was lunch time, and everyone knows that a stop in Paute is not complete without lunch at Corvels, we all met up there and had a wondrous lunch.
Here are some photos of Jenny & Chri's new adventure in the hills of Paute. Thank goodness they are so young. All us oldsters wont be too much help, I think we will fall into the Supervision category! Who could resist the beautiful views and countryside! Now I know why the Cuencanos have weekend homes in Paute.

While we were touring their property a sweet lady left her grazing cows to come over and talk to the crazy gringos wandering all over the hills..she had no qualms about trying to speak to someone who probably did not know any Spanish. It was a lovely gesture and as it turns out she had worked for the original family years before and knew all about the history for the house and land. Jenny was thrilled and as you can see here they had a nice chat.
The little lady was quick to offer an Ecuadorian familiar greeting!
Jenny & Francis sat down and let her know they were up for a good chat!
Jenny, Francis and Jenny's new friend
I was intrigued to find out that the house is pretty old, and looking around at some of the outbuildings its amazing how we don't understand that these "primitive" buildings have been standing for years and survive all kinds of weather, and are very reasonable to build!

Here we are inside one of the rooms, we were struck by the phone, Jenny found a machete.. well of course..

OK, so they all look alike... very old, which is which?

Outside, a ancient brick and mud oven. We contemplated oven fired Pizzas!
It was a wonderful day, and great to see how others are enjoying Ecuador. I hope that we are invited back soon. Randy has a stack of empty pots he wants to get cuttings from their plants while we supervise!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The New Year has started off nice and quiet for us. We decided after the huge rain storm that day, to stay in and just enjoy what fireworks we could see from our home. We found out that we were not the only ones who voted to stay home and enjoy from afar, so I do not have any photos, mine or others so share.

I have been lazy and have been posting some interesting photos on Facebook, instead of doing a full blown blog. So I will just pop in a few photos here that I thought were fun.

Pretty rainbow over Cuenca
Argentina is producing 6 packs of Malbec/Cab wine..not too bad..
A tiny parade that went by the Kookaburras's on Friday morning
One of the things I love about Cuenca, is their determination to try to keep the city pretty and clean. There is a wonderful green park area that runs along all of the rivers (3) in town. Occasionally you will see farmers staking out their cows or goats to munch on the grass. But the city has a crew of industrious workers who come out and cut and rake up the grass. You would think with all these miles and miles of grass that there would be huge lawn mowers. Not so. The labor here is very inexpensive, so they are sent out to cut the grass with weed eaters.. yes, all across town you will see on certain days of the month workers out in force weed eating every bit of green found in a public area of town. Then they hand rake it into a huge tarp and carry it off. I have a wonderful upper room with a view so I got these photos the other day.

Speaking of cutting. I decided that I too needed a bit of freshening up, and took advantage of my friend's "bilingual-ness" to adventure into a salon. Rebecca Garate, is a very helpful friend, and she and her mother-in law; Chella, were going to go get the "mani-pedi" special, so they invited me along so I could get a hair cut.

Even in the states when you speak the same language the interpretation of what you want is sometimes "lost in translation". Well considering we were working through three folks I came out with a pretty nice haircut. It's a bit shorter than I had expected, but you know, hair grows..and I have learned not to be defined by what my hair looks like.. haha, now that only took 20 yrs!
Randy has been busy keeping the yard in shape. He bought a huge machete and started hacking at the grass, and created a nice wide trimmed area for roses. This country exports roses by the millions, but finding a plant seems difficult. We did find some nice small ones at a flower market in El Centro. $2 a pc. so we hurried home and planted them then sat back and admired our handiwork.
I know, before planting..
We also bought some ferns to put in this shady area. We are excited to see how fast they grown in this nice climate.

We went with Clarke and Breenie to the Artesa warehouse where some fabulous pottery is made. We were off to hit the seconds room, as we are not budgeted for the showroom pieces. Here are some of the beauties in the showroom.
Luckily for Brennie and I Clarke hates to shop so he opted to hang outside, Randy had no one to torment while picking out the pottery that we needed. Not so just a few minutes later. Randy and Clarke were tormenting the poor lady who was trying to tally our purchases. Brennie had bailed and I had run to the other side of the room... where I took this picture..

The poor lady has her head down trying to ignore their banter..
We have been enjoying our continuing friendship with Clarke and Brennie; but Brennie and I have determined that our husbands only act insane when they are around each other. We are continually amazed at how suddenly they both revert back to high school "high-jinks" and unfortunately we, as their long suffering wives, bear the brunt of the odd looks and pity we receive from other wives who see out dilemma. Because of this, Brennie and I have opted to only get together in our own homes instead of in public. Brennie has told me there is a meeting of wives that is gathering to talk about how to deal with our newly retired husbands and dealing with their "retirement issues"... not really but it sounded good... well the meeting I mean. All the rest is true, Clarke and Randy are nutso when they are together. It is rather fun though, because you don't usually see men joke and play together like that unless they have been buds for dozens of years.. these two have been friends for 6 months.. God help us in the years to come!