Sunday, December 13, 2009

The rain finally came - after almost a month

We experienced our first rainfall since we've arrived here. (Couldn't believe it's been almost a month!) I could smell it coming and we sat in the hammocks and watched the clouds build to head towards us from over the mountains - quite a lovely sight! At first it was just a little light drizzle and then it came pouring down for about three hours. What is interesting about this area is that once the ground gets really wet, it also gets very slippery.

So, due to the remote and steep hills on the road to the finca, generally no one attempts to travel the drive until after the rain. Unfortunately, our campo director and his partner had to return from Barichari just as the rain started and had a challenging time getting back. "G" said she was never going to drive to town if it looked like rain again. We all laughed because when she left it wasn't that cloudy, so who knew?

The next morning the skies were clear and the air felt especially fresh, although it seems quite fresh all the time anyhow, so that wasn't really so different. But the plants were happy to have three weeks of dust washed away and all the birds were very vocal. I saw this little yellow and green 'sparrow-like' bird hopping around the garden and I have a personal objective to try and identify the many birds we have here. When we were in Bogota, I found a great book, "Birds of Colombia," which will be a big help.
The little casita for Senor C., father of our director's wife, is nearly done. It has been an interesting study of how a rammed earth house is constructed. I've been taking pictures and will share that progress in my next blog. If we can get some of the paperwork processed to stay here, we would like to build one, too. After the first of the year we will go to Bucaramanga to the visa office to get some questions answered and get our first extension.

On our return from Bogota, we saw several very large fires with lots of smoke. It looked a little disturbing until we realized it is time to burn the cane to harvest it for making into sugar. And alongside the road we saw loads of coffee plants - my future latte! I couldn't take pictures of everything I saw, but imagine seeing a horse and cart on the freeway! It's very common here. Driving through the little towns between Barichari and Bogota we often saw goats, cows, and horses grazing right next to the road, and even saw horses tied up to a hitching post while the riders went inside for a cerveza, a meal or to pick up groceries. There is still a lot of remote and harsh back country which is best accessed by a mule or horse and although the roads here are improving, according to our host, there are still lots more dirt roads than paved. This final shot is looking back toward the central part of the state of Santander, up the Rio Suarez valley. Pretty, huh?

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