Sunday, September 18, 2011

Improvements in Yungilla!

We started doing a few minor improvements in Yungilla last weekend, which basically just consisted of opening up an access road and leveling the area that we plan to use one day for fruit trees or a small vacation house or whatnot. 

I left the house at 6:30 a.m. on Friday in order to meet the bulldozer operator at 8:00, but of course he didn't show up and I ended up waiting for him for five hours and he finally came around 1:00 p.m., so unfortunately we were only able to get 4 hours of bulldozer time in.

In this little video you can see how he opened up the access road. I just love they way these machines can known down anything in their path!

This is a photo taken before the road was opened, so now there is a driveway coming down from the highway to the area where this little adobe ranch house is.

This is Don Lucho, our hired hand. He is going to help us administer the irrigation water and help us with the planting when the rainy season comes.

Nelly and Don Lucho making some sort of plans...

We had the bulldozer operator flatten out a few dips and rises in the land to make it more usable in the future. It's nice to do this before we do any planting or building because it creates more flat, usable space, and it's one of those things that you can't do very easily down the road...

This is our little reservoir that holds irrigation water for the entire property. I don't know if you can see from this picture, but one of the banks caved in years ago and it's full of reeds so we have to drain it during the dry season and then have the bulldozer dig it out again.

And here is the latest Ali and Gabe video...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So, the latest news from us is that we bought a little piece of land about an hour out of town from Cuenca in an area called Yungilla. Since the elevation is much lower, the weather is actually quite a bit warmer than it is in Cuenca, and it's a popular place for people from Cuenca to have vacation houses. The property that we bought is about 8.5 hectares or 20 acres, which is pretty big for us of course but we got it relatively cheap because it is so far out of Cuenca and because only about 1/3 is flat, another third is inclined but useful, and the other third is basically mountain and not so useful.

The property also has water rights from two different reservoirs, which is a good thing in the long term but a bad thing for us in the short term. The good news is that one really does need to have irrigation for all your cows and crops and whatnot, but the bad news is that we have to pay someone to take care of it because the water currently is fed to the property through a series of channels or irrigation ditches, which is a great system for cattle but it requires quite a bit of maintenance, and we learned the hard way that if one of those ditches gets clogged, the water can accumulate and cause a landslide. We are going to have a reservoir dug and a system of sprinklers installed as soon as we are able, which will distribute the irrigation water evenly around the property. We also plan to plant coffee and bananas just for fun!

Nice view, eh?

Lots of space for cows! The cows are not there anymore since they belong to the family that sold us the land (it was a cows-not-included contract).

Lots of space for raising livestock and youngins.

There is an ancient little house made of adobe, but aside from that there isn't anything there yet except for the cows and the trees.


This little creek marks the border of our property at the lower end.

I took this photo standing in the creek bed looking up.

Jason and Gabe, on patrol!

Nelly posing in front of her new hacienda!

Hangin' around the house!

Yeah! I've got Mommy's glasses!

This one is pretty self poor son! He gets hand-me-down girly toys, he has to wear girly pajamas, and now Ali is using him as her make-up doll!


Just hanging out in the back yard!

Ali and I have an ongoing battle with the landscaping. Pretty much I plant 'em she stomps 'em! The more I tell her not to walk through the plants, the more she loves to do exactly that...