Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Day on the Farm

Cotopaxi Not Visible in the Distance

Maya's recurrent fantasy is to live on a farm with horses and cows and chickens, and she was able to live her fantasy today. Our friend Andres has asked us to join him on his farm at the base of Cotopaxi several times now, but for all sorts of reasons it has never happened until this afternoon. He owns twelve hectares and twenty eight cows, along with chickens, six horses and several dogs. He farms corn and potatoes and avas and sells his milk to a local cheese maker in Pintag nearby and the milk pays to run the farm. He and his wife Andrea have built a spacious log cabin with huge windows facing Cotopaxi (which we could not see because of the clouds and fog covering everything).

Milking the Calf

View in Direction of Quito

Maya was in heaven! To get to the farm, we had to drive south through Quito to San Rafael and passed the huge shopping centre of San Luis. We had driven this way when we went to Pasachoa, but at a traffic circle with a huge mosaic covered 'colibri' statue, we turned three quarters around in a new direction. The last few kilometres were along a cobblestoned one lane windy road. 'La Serena' was a quiet and peaceful respite from the din of the city. Maya wore her cowboy boots and first on her agenda was a bareback ride in the fields behind the house. Andres' daughters Andrea (10) and Anna (8) were perfect companions, while Alberto (4) spent most of his time with Eric. We all tried to milk a cow, with varying success. Anna and Andrea were experts, but it took several attempts to figure out the technique, and for Maya it appeared to come more easily. The cows until recently had all been milked by hand, but Andres had installed milking machines, which are far more efficient. Juana and her three daughters live in a small house on the farm and take care of the cows and the fields, while her son Diego, who is recently married and lives nearby, takes care of the horses.
Maya, Anna and Andrea

Fields and Mountains

The children wandered off to pick blackberries in the rain. The adults ate and drank and talked and Andres barbequed beef and sausage to accompany corn on the cob (picked from the fields that day!) for our late lunch. I kept hoping that the mountains would show themselves, but the rain and the clouds worsened as the day progressed. It was beautiful nevertheless, and it was difficult to pry Maya away, even when it was dark and the children were changed out of their wet clothes and exhausted after their adventuresome afternoon. I think Maya's day has been even better than her dream of country living!

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