Today is our last full day at Coyhaique. We will learn all about sheep farming and attend an Asado-a South American Barbeque!
What better way to start the day than a a lemon meringue tart at breakfast? Well maybe if I had a raspberry Pisco sour also! I am trying to get Julio to make me a raspberry Pisco sour at dinner tonight. I think it gets lost in translation as he nods his head, yes to me, but always gives me a regular.
Gaston and I are off on our adventure. Cathy and Juan will hike as she doesn’t care to ride. On the right you see poplar trees that are so popular here. That and fences. Those are the key factors that I use to determine where I am. The country side is similar to New Zealand or Montana. They may have fences, but not in front of all the properties in town! Nor so many poplar trees!
Here you can see the effects of the constant Pantagonian wind. Tree growth is stunted on one side of the tree.
Off to the hills above Coyhaique we will go.
Our destination was Fundo Panguilemu. http://turismopanguilemu.com/en/ One of the products of the ranch is baby greens that they sell to local restaurants, inns and local markets. They also sell strawberries and fresh eggs.
This gentleman works on the farm and was packaging greens. He is from Denmark. That’s a long way from home. He also had a beautiful blonde man bun. I did not flirt with him. I might have wanted to though!
Here I am all saddled up. I forgot the horses name, but he was a delight. He looked intimidating as he was very dark. But he was a sweet heart. I got to wear chaps, to protect me from the prickers and gloves as it was very windy and cold. I also wore a helmet.
And we are off. Jose who owns the farm led us on the ride. We would be gone for three hours.
This was a wonderful horse riding experience. The scenery was tremendous and listening to Jose was incredible. He had been involved in consulting on sustainable agriculture and breeding of sheep. He finally got a chance to buy a ranch and put his ideas into action.
Here I am in Patagonian heaven. Shoulders back, heels down, toes up, chest open, head up and a big smile on my face!
Here is a photo showing the differences in farming methods using sustainable agriculture versus traditional methods. Field on the upper part of the screen is farmed using traditional Chilean methods. Grass appears brown and sparse. Field on the lower part of the photo shows thick green grass and flowers. Jose’s property used to look like the brown property. In just four years he has changed the land with his methods!
Jose’s theory is to have large numbers of sheep on smaller parcels with a shorter rotation. The poop fertilizes the ground, the weight of the animals compress the plants into the ground which enriches the soil. He feels you don’t necessarily need large amounts of property, just the proper number of animals and the right rotation from feeding area to area.
Such gorgeous scenery.
This is the sheep shearing shed. It was constructed to minimize animal stress when shearing.
Here I am avidly listening and thinking up my next set of questions.
Here is Gaston. I hope to find out if his wife’s name is Belle.
I would call Jose’s outfit half gaucho.
The dirt is so rich looking!
Jose and his wife Lizzie own approximately 2000 sheep. They have eight Pyrenees dogs to protect the flock from predators and rustlers. Unfortunately 20 sheep were recently stolen. The dogs lead the sheep from pasture to pasture.
There are 50 rams that are kept in a pasture until it is time for sheep sex. Pregnancy lasts about 5 months. There is only a short time that the male and female are allowed to get together. Lambing is controlled, you don’t want birthing to last for many weeks. It can’t be too early as it might be too cold, and the lambs will die. You don’t want it to late, as the fleece might not be ready for market. A ewe (mama lamb) often has twins.
This is Jose giving us a demonstration how the dogs herd the sheep. Some of the sheep were not rounded up when the group was moved to the new pasture. So Jose got his New Zealand herding dog (who had accompanied us on our ride) to send the sheep off to the other herd. Jose used a series of whistles to get the dog to move the sheep and then return to us. The Pyrenees dogs lead the sheep.
Here are hundreds of sheep , it was magical.
All those white dots are sheep and a few dogs.
Running and cavorting all over!
Just spread my ashes here when I die.
Rio Simpson. The ranch goes all the way down to the river. I was too polite to ask how many acres the ranch is.
A closeup of a healthy field.
Come on down! We will go see the cattle and the chicken sheds. The chicken sheds are the little white buildings on the right. Jose has a very large ranch!
The chicken coops are on trailers that move. They are moved every week or so. The ground beneath becomes very fertile. The chickens are free to come and go into the coops. This is considered pasture range chickens. Free range only means that the chickens can go outside. These guys get a fenced in large yard, with plenty of bugs and grass to eat. Healthy chickens produce eggs high in omega 3. The doors are shut at night so puma and mink can’t eat chicken for dinner.
Many happy chickens. About 500 eggs are collected each day at three different times. There are too many eggs to be gathered at once!
These cattle will not be happy much longer. They have just arrived at the farm. They will be castrated and then join the rest of the herd.
These cows and a few oxen are in the happy field. What happened to them, happened a long time ago!
Gaston leads the way to the yurts where we are to warm up and have some coffee to warm up. The Patagonian wind is fierce!
We cross the little bridges and go down hill. It’s hard to walk after a morning riding a horse.
Gaston says “Lindita, come inside!”
The interior is set up for a small snack.
This is the communal living and dining area. Jose and his wife Lizzie have ecotourists who can also stay here.
Do you need to wash your hands before lunch? Come along with me.
Toilet, sink and shower, but no cell coverage.
Who wants to sit for awhile? Doesn’t this room look cozy?
I did perch here before snack, that was really lunch.
The ceiling of the yurt. A gentle fan kept the air nice.
This is zucchini jam with almonds, I have never had that before. Delicious.
Scrambled eggs, the eggs were collected only hours ago! We also had Ham and local butter and cheese.
Jose has hair! I have helmet head!
Strawberries with whipped cream.
Beautiful flowers! This was a top notch operation.
A warm brownie with more whipped cream. I am calling this my Volcan Hudson that I didn’t get the day before.
Jose and Lizzie. She is from New Zealand. She always wanted to live on a sheep farm. I told them each how lucky they were to be married to an attractive wonderful person whose careers matched what they wanted to do!
Some fine wool in the making.
We are off to see the inside of they yurts that they have for guests. Are you curious? I was.
Just your basic yurt with bathroom attached.
A romantic bed set up for two.
Julio says “Gaston, you must see the view!”
Insert “awesome” in Spanish!
A full shower and toilet.
Heat and electricity, but no cell service!
My hips say no more horse back riding! I will ride along with Lizzie in the beat up car.
This is called the monkey puzzle tree. Araucaria. It is very prickly. It is considered sacred to the natives. It brings good luck to those that plant it.
Alas, it’s time to head back in the fancy jeep and return to Coyhaique River Lodge.
A final good bye to the farmhouse.
Our last gate. This has been one of my favorite rides. The scenery was breathtaking, and the lessons I learned on sustainable agriculture were very interesting.
Cattle on another ranch.
Another one lane bridge, and incoming on the bridge. We must wait our turn.
Rio Simpson, due to all the rain, the river has been too turbid to fish in. Perhaps we will come again so Steve can try his luck. Part of this river flows through Jose’s ranch.
I didn’t show you the kitchen in the lodge. Lots of garlic!
Do you want to see where they are roasting the lamb for dinner? Vegetarians avert your eyes! We will have dinner in the shed tonight.
Julio says “Si! You may take a picture!”
The split lamb is near the fire. All the fat drips away, leaving only the meat.
I can’t wait for dinner! Think that will be enough wine for dinner?
Raspberry Pisco Sour, Julio came through!
Steve was back on the smaller streams today and caught 34 trout. All in all he had a great week fishing, and is looking forward to fishing in South America again!
Here is one of his beauties that he caught.
A montage from his pictures.
These are some of the flies used by the anglers. This is the coffee table in the great room.
I mentioned before about adding ito or city to names to give nicknames. I inquired of Gaston and Francisco (Pancho) what the nicknames for all the guests would be. Steve=Stevito, Linda=Lindita, Gaston=Gastonito, Tim=Timisoara, Dan=Danilo, Cathy=Cathacito, Dave=Davito, and Eric=Ericito. Poor Bert was told no nickname for you, but Gaston and Pancho said that he could be called Tito!
Salud! Gaston’s wife did not show up, so C and I held court at our end of the table. Her husband had a conference call and had to miss dinner.
The Coderoelpole was ready.
The appetizer was empanadas. I thought mine was empty at first, and then realized that I was supposed to fill them with the pico de gallo.
The carving of the beast.
A few pieces got a little more cooked.
The lamb and a potato. The lamb tasted like roast pork. It was very good, but I thought that it would taste like lamb chops. It did not.
I told C that she got the Patagonian oyster.
Here is Steve telling C another story about a fish that he caught. C was very attentive to Steve’s story; as a fishing spouse, she knew when to nod her head and appear interested while Steve nattered on!
Alejandro, one of the guides does not like lamb. He likes potatoes. I asked if he was part Irish. Yes, by then I had drunk many Pisco Sours, and much wine, and thought that my question was exceedingly clever!
Here is Tito, one of the guests doing the wine flask drinking game. He is a pro! Have I mentioned yet that I hate the sound of my voice?
Gaston is a real pro also!
Steve was a good sport and tried it also. You can tell that he was not a party animal in college! I kept him on a tight leash. I tried it also, but as Steve was taking the video, there was no usable video!
Yes, we finished many bottles of wine. This is halfway through the evening!
Dessert was a fried donut with caramel sauce. It was piping hot, and delicious, but if it were served with vanilla ice cream then it would have been spectacular!
Here I am, making the moves on Julio. I asked if he had a wife? No. A girlfriend? Gaston said that he had several! And now, one more!
More Saluds . As it was our last night there was a lot of toasting!
After dinner snackling of the Carcass . (You read that right, in our family we call snacking on a roast snackling).
Me and Julio. Girlfriend numero seis!
He looks totally unsurprised by my actions!
I left the men to discuss world issues. Like what fly is their favorite.
No questions today, as the post is long enough already!