Why Ecuador?

When I saw my best friend from high school last year, she handed me a big stack of International Living magazines and explained that an American of retirement age could survive quite well in Latin America. After my initial shock at realizing that I was indeed old enough to collect Social Security, and that that alone could qualify me to apply for a residence visa in countries like Panama and Ecuador, I gave it some serious consideration. I had the vestiges of Spanish acquired in Chile as an exchange student in 1967 and a couple of months to kill during the slow season at our family owned fireplace store, so off we went, David and I, to Ecuador.

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Fulfilling our tourist obligations on the way to Otavalo to see the largest flea market in South America.

The Air BnB’s in Ecuador were a great way to get to meet the Ecuadorian people. We made some soon to be lifelong friends this way. After a week or two of sightseeing, we started meeting families in the selva (jungle) and the Andes outside of Riobamba and we became involved in their lives in ways that we could not have predicted.

We started our trip in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, by getting accustomed to the altitude of 9350 feet. Quito is overwhelming with it’s 1.6 million people perched atop the peaks and valleys of the city. We stayed in an Air BnB in a middle class neighborhood with a lovely family who introduced us to Ecuadorian food and they even provided tour services to Otavalo for the day.

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View from Casa Elena, Ochideas, Quito

In Riobamba, we stayed at the Casa 1881, a restored Spanish Colonial Bed and Breakfast with a vintage feel and all the luxury of home. While we were there, our host Santiago got us tickets to the bull fight, a rare event even in Ecuador. We came to love staying at the Casa right in the old town of Riobamba and would soon come to think of it as home.

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Casa 1881, Riobamba, Ecuador

 

Our trip to Baños rewarded us with our new friend Sebastian Moya, a guide to the selva and many parts of South America who lived in Europe for many years working as a tree surgeon. Sebastian speaks 5 languages and he organizes volunteer groups all over Ecuador.

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Sebastian showing David how to load his grandfather’s blow gun (think End of the Spear)

Part of Sebastian’s vast network of friends and family lives in Ulpan where they are restoring a 100 year old adobe farm house, named Bio House, for the purpose of entertaining guests from Air BnB. After David helped Sebastian repair his fireplace in Baños, we were asked to join the family in Ulpan to help with another fireplace at the Bio House.

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David working on Sebastian’s fireplace in Baños.

We were met in Ulpan by a rousing group of about 60 school children, parents and dogs all representing their tight knit family structure and community spirit along with their support for the project Bio House. They put on a program of introduction, cakes and dancing while we simply fell in love with the children and the project. In Ulpan, the children have to walk several miles to school in Chambo where they are given a basic education which does not include English. They asked us to stay at the Bio House, run it as an Air BnB and teach English and the Bible to the children at their community center. This was starting to look more like a mission trip all the time…

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The children of Ulpan

The story continues in Ulpan with building projects, fishing trips and English classes, but that is the subject of a few more posts. Why Ecuador? The people.

 

Raw Grapefruit Marmalade

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This is a great way NOT to kill all the enzynes and probiotics in your food and still satisfy your sweet tooth in the morning at the same time! The recipe begins with whey. The whey, the truth and the life. Just kidding. Please do not consume whey protein isolate as it is an exito-toxin like MSG.

You city folks that don’t milk your own goats can simply buy really good yogurt, like Nancy’s Whole Milk or a goat yogurt, if you prefer. Strain it in a bouillon strainer or use cheese cloth, over night in the fridge. You will be left with cream cheese (yum) and whey, about half and half.

Ingredients

4-6 T. whey

8 small or 4 big organic grapefruit or mixed citrus fruit  (Please use organic because there will be rind in the final product)

1 T. sea salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cardamom

1/4 tsp. clove

1 cup of raw honey

Ready?

Peel 1/2 to 3/4 of the fruit.

Slice the fruit into 1/4 inch wide cross sections and then quarter those.

Place grapefruit slices in a wide mouth quart sized mason jar.

Mix whey, salt and spices and pour over fruit in the jar, leaving 1 inch of head room in the jar.

Tighten the lid and leave on the counter out of direct light at 70-80 degrees for 3 days.

Strain fruit from whey. (You can make a smoothy with the whey.)

Using a food processor, grind the fruit into the raw honey and store in glass jars in the fridge for about a month if it lasts that long. The flavor improves over time, as well. This tastes really good with the cream cheese, left over from obtaining the whey, on sourdough toast (stay tuned.)

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Blunderosa Abiding Grace for Sale

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This is A.G. and his sons. He will be 2 years old in November.  He has given me several sons, so I am going to keep Pancho and Cisco for now. He has never been shown, but his bloodlines are royal from Blunderosa. His dam was a top producer. He is very friendly. For sale: $400.

SIRE:

Old Mountain Farm Zip Code (Cody) Sire:  Dawnland Tabby’s Halifax   Dam:  Twin Creeks AH Finale’s Zip DOB 3/1/2008 Cody exhibits everything a dairy buck should…long neck, uphill stance, level topline, supersoft haircoat.  And his personality is the icing on the cake.  He loves attention!

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DAM:

Agape Oaks Amazing Grace 2*M Sire:  Flat Rocks Maestro Dam:  Flat Rocks Golden Rule Gracie is just one of many of Agape Oaks amazing producers, putting gorgeous kids on the ground and LOTS of milk in the pail.

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Gracie’s Udder

Juliene’s Dish Rag

dishrag (2)Upon the passing of my dear friend , Juliene Hoener, I am reflecting.  And I will continue to reflect every time I do the dishes with this dish rag.  Yes, there is a story.

We first met Lloyd and Juliene at Church when David sat next to her and someone asked her if he was her son.  Well, she looked him up and down and replied,”Yes, he is.”  And, so it was.

Juliene was a great friend. In fact, the first time David and I went out to eat with Juliene and Lloyd to the Railroad Cafe was the day I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.  So, you could say she was my spiritual Mom.  We struck up a relationship that lasted till she passed this week.  At first, we just enjoyed their companionship at meals after Church. Then, Lloyd became ill and we got to share some of her trials at his passing just over a year and a half ago. Juliene became interested in many of the health questions I research, including essential oils and diet. Every so often, the phone would ring and it would be Mom.  She would have a question or she would ask me how I was doing.  Any time I shared a concern with her, her immediate reaction was not to commiserate with my distress or complain about her similar problems, but she would start praying out loud, right there and then, in the moment.  She demonstrated such boldness in her faith that it was contagious!

Smith Wigglesworth said in one of his books that healing happens in the moment. If you stop to think about the person in front of you and their circumstances or the fact that they are always complaining, or that they really deserve the fix they are in, you have lost the opportunity to pray effectively.  It’s as if you have added all of your own baggage and judgement to the prayer and it is so heavy it can’t “send.” Mom demonstrated a clear and present pathway to the Lord in her prayers.

I was washing the dishes at the ranch the other morning while Mom lay on her death bed back in town.  Instead of worrying about whether she would survive or not. I kept thinking how I would love to find a dish rag like the one I saw in her sink.  How petty!

So, as David was leaving the house, I said, “David, I can’t believe that Mom is dying and all I can think of is how I wish I could have a dish rag like hers. What do you make of that?”

He said, “Ask her where she got it.”

“I can’t let my last remarks to my dear friend be about her stupid dish rag!”

David simply replied as he walked out the door, “You can if you know that you will see her again.”

I laughed out loud, but how many times do we betray that we really don’t believe what we say we believe? How many times do the petty things in our heart reveal a bigger problem. Do we really believe that Jesus is the only begotten son and that he lived, died and was resurrected? Do we believe His promises?

I told this to Regi and Stan, and they promptly gave me the dish rag with the promise that I would pass it on along, when I go, with the story.

Just in case, here’s the story.

How to Make Ice Cream in a Food Processor

Well, it’s not exactly ice cream, it’s frozen yogurt. I discovered this because goat’s milk doesn’t separate into cream much as it is naturally homogenized. So ice cream was a dismal failure in my conventional Cuisinart ice cream maker, which I have since sold on eBay. So here’s the recipe for my homemade frozen yogurt. Advanced instructions are available by email for people who milk their own dairy animals.

Ingredients:

1 quart yogurt (Please buy real yogurt with probiotics or you might as well eat Rocky Road)

3 cups small frozen berries (If you use strawberries, you must half thaw because they are too big.  I make frozen 1/2 ” cross sections of bananas on a cookie tray )

1 T. real maple syrup

1/4 cup chocolate, carob, or peanut butter chips

Cheesecloth or bouillon strainer

Food Processor

1 Day in Advance Preparation:

Strain quart of yogurt in a colander with 2 layers of cheesecloth or a bouillon strainer (fine,fine,fine) in the refrigerator overnite (8 hours)

You will be left with 1 pint cream cheese (yum on toast) and 1 pint whey (Do not throw out! It can be used to make sauerkraut, sauercarrots or just drink it)

Making the frozen yogurt:

Put 1 pint of cream cheese (as above) in a food processor

Add maple syrup, frozen fruit and chips

Pulse until all ingredients blend at the same rate. Do not over blend or the heat will melt everything.

Serve immediately for a soft custard style treat or freeze in 1 pint jars (wide mouth please, leaving 1 inch of airspace or plastic, if you must)

For best consistency, if frozen for more than a couple of hours, defrost slightly before serving.

I hate to admit it, but 30 seconds in the microwave gives perfect spoonfuls.

Please post your favorite flavors.

Where Did That Come From?

Milking my Nigerian dairy goat this morning, the Lord saw fit to gift me with a message. Usually, I’m singing away or mumbling. This morning, I must have been drifting away from Him. The goat must have noticed, too, because just when the whole quart jar was filled to the brim, she looked back at me and kicked the jar over. Out of my mouth came words that I could never repeat (I shall never repeat). I smacked her on the butt, as a righteously indignant Mom will do, and put her away, still yelling at her on my insides half way back from the barn, when I began to feel remorse for the anger that was exposed in my soul. Where did all that come from?

I recently listened to a teaching from my favorite expositor on the Bible,  Jon Courson, on Revelation 16:21 KJV:

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

Courson goes on to explain that the blasphemy was already present in the hearts of the men and that the hail stones merely exposed it, rather than being the cause. Recognizing the milk incident as one of the hail stones so aptly described in this passage, I asked myself, ” What is causing so much anger to reside so close to the surface of my heart?” I really couldn’t imagine anything that I could point to (or blame).

I did, however, open the Bible in prayer this morning to Job 19:23.

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!  That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! KJV

I wondered, at the time, what that particular scripture was intended to do in my life today. When I connected the dots I felt God saying that all of my words will be recorded eternally.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:26 KJV

What words do I really want recorded for eternity?

Bless you all.