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On Sunday we took a trip to Malargue, the mountain town where clear air and clear water  create an ideal environment for two activities: observing the heavens and raising trout.  Sky and water combined to make this an exceptionally satisfying day.  

Following Route 40 up and over a ridge of the Sierra Pintadas that borders San Rafael, the landscape levels out on a plateau known as Pampa Amarilla.  There's a salt lake Salinas del Diamante to the south of the highway and dry desert land to the north and straight ahead a view of three majestic Andean snow-capped peaks.  Our driver points out El Sosneado, the site of the airline crash in 1972 that tragically took the lives of many members of a Uruguayan rugby team.   The survivors headed west towards Chile seeking rescue, a rugged journey that took several months.  Had they chosen to walk eastward, they would have arrived on the Argentine pampa and found help within a day or two.  Every year, parents and relatives of the team members make a special pilgrimage to visit the mountain grave. 

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At intervals across the hardscrabble desert ranches where Black Angus cattle graze on sparse vegetation and gauchos can be seen riding their horses, plastic tanks stand out like strange beige mushrooms amidst cacti and sagebrush.  The Pierre Auger Observatory in Malargue has installed 1600 water tanks as part of an international project designed to attract and record cosmic rays.   The inside of each tank is a completely dark environment until cosmic rays enter and electromagnetic shock waves produce light.  Solving the mystery of high energy particles  is the goal for  280 scientists from 70 countries involved in the project.  Where do they come from?  How can  energy be harnessed for use here on earth?  What do cosmic rays tell us about the origin of the universe?   A few questions to ponder on the two hour drive to Malargue....
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Pierre Auger Observatory in Malargue
About 12 km  outside of town, past the Dique Blas-Brisoli and Rio Malargue, a dirt road leads to a trout farm called Cuyam-Co Truchas.  This family business includes a campground, a series of freshwater pools for raising fish and a restaurant where trout is featured on the menu.   A worker catches, kills and cleans the trout that will be served for our lunch. 
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The restaurant overlooks the pools where trout are swimming.
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A worker scoops fish from the pond.
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The trout are cleaned.
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The restaurant fills up with families enjoying Sunday lunch.
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Slices of smoked trout and trout pate are served as appetizers.
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The foil-baked trout is moist and delicious.
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A perfect pairing with the fish.
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Remains of a fine meal
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Ambrosia, a light-textured, lemon-flavoured polenta dessert.
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"We have heard so far the voice of life on one small world only.  But we have at last begun to listen for other voices in the cosmic fugue." 
                                                                                                 - Carl Sagan
 
 
There is only one option for air travel between San Rafael and BsAs, and that's a flight with Aerolineas Argentinas.   As a non-resident required to leave the country every three months in order to extend your visa, you become very familiar with this escape route to international destinations.   In time, you become accustomed to the quirks of Aerolineas travel -  the frequent delays,  last-minute schedule changes,  the unexplained re-routing of your luggage via ground transport,  even the junk food snack that's served in a ziplock bag on board.   There are no movies available, but the in-flight magazine offers plenty of entertainment.   Once you reach cruising altitude over the Pampas, it's a treat to read the Spanish to English translations offered in "Cielos". 
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The January 2011 issue  included an article about cybertherapy, the recent practice of offering psychological counselling via the internet.   The subject was serious, but the stilted, strange English text became a comedy of errors when I  read the bold blue sidebar sentence shown here.   

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I had just stopped laughing when I came across this gem.  Puzzled by the author's reference to fear of marijuana, I went back to the Spanish version and extracted the verb "optar."  Not really a difficult verb to translate, given its English cognate.

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Translators used to work with a pencil, an eraser, a sheet of paper,  a dictionary and a brain.  Today they use computer software programs that promise to instantly change text from one language to another while retaining  meaning.  What has been sacrificed in the race for innovative computer programs  is the sensitivity of a human being who knows not only the rules, but the nuances of two languages, and can transpose those subtleties with grace, as well as accuracy.   Like fine penmanship, it seems to be a lost art.   Readers are left with copy so bizarre, that it becomes either a source of irritation or a joke.   


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Sugar high
Perhaps Aerolineas Argentinas  is in the vanguard,  introducing its passengers to a totally new language that I just haven't caught on to yet.  Frequent fliers will no doubt adopt Aerospeak as their lingua franca in the very near future, so I'm practising basic phrases.   The next time the ticket clerk asks about my preference for seating, I will confidently declare,
"On my trips going from strength to strength in Argentina of latex,   I always pot for the window seat."   

 
 
This post is a warning directed to all blog readers who dream of buying a finca in Argentina.  You're the ones who have contacted me regarding advice and tips for making your expat journey from home base to South America a smooth and easy transition.  You won't hear the following  from the real estate agents that you encounter in Argentina, or from the charming escribano (notary ) who does the transfer of  title.    

Argentina's labour laws are designed to protect the worker.   When you, as a foreigner landowner, employ a worker to help with irrigation, planting, maintenance, harvesting,  or any other job on the farm, you are responsible for ensuring that the worker is registered with the government and is paid the standard minimum wage.  That monthly wage for labour  includes payment for support of his family (a figure based on the number of children), disability  insurance, one extra month of pay per year,  vacation pay and his funeral.  This is called working in "White."  

Many foreign employers opt for payment of workers in "Black" to avoid the hassle of government registration and the inevitable annual increases that are part of the "White" plan.  Some workers insist on " Black" payment  so that they can continue to collect welfare cheques from the government and be employed at the same time.  

Whether you choose to hire in "White" or in "Black", the outcome is the same:  if there is a labour grievance, if you fire your worker, if your worker quits his job, if you sell your finca, you will owe money to your employee.  It doesn't matter how well you treated your worker, how many times you gave him a bonus, or extra pay for weekend hours.  In addition to fair wages, you may have provided  food from your garden to feed his family, or tools and materials from your garage to fix his roof.  You may have bought a motorcycle or car for your worker, or paid for his dental bills.   None of the merits of your performance as an employer, or the deficits in his performance as a worker or the specific terms of your business relationship make a particle of  difference.   As a foreigner, you owe him, and the law will invariably back him up.

Workers receive free legal aid in Argentina, and most (even the illiterate ones)  are intimately familiar with the labour laws.   The disgruntled or displaced worker presents his case to a labour lawyer, and a telegram is sent to his employer, demanding payment.  The employer has to respond to the telegram within two days, otherwise the case is moved up to the next level, requiring an appearance in labour court.  You need to hire a lawyer and be prepared for a long drawn-out process of negotiating a settlement payment with your worker.   It's not fair, or logical, but that's how it's done in Argentina.  

The outrage of a foreign employer who has been ripped off by the system prompts nothing more than a shrug from the Argentineans.  One highly-regarded, well-educated notary in San Rafael responded to my cries of injustice with "Well, you had to pay him in the end, but it wasn't really very much, was it?"   To the Argentines,  this is not a moral issue, it's a matter of degree.   Taking crumbs from the foreigner's table is a fact of life and it's a common practice that is legally endorsed.  

So beware, before you sign the escritura to take  ownership of that lush vineyard, plum orchard or olive grove.    Fincas require workers; workers do not come cheap in Argentina;  they will never be your "friends."      Sooner or later, the telegram will come.   
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It's not exactly Pieter Cornelius Hooftstraat in Amsterdam, or Oxford  Street in London, or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, but the west end of Avenida Hypolito Yrigoyen is gradually evolving as the chic shopping district of San Rafael. It is close to the upscale residential area called "Las Paredes," where many American expats choose to live in  gated communities.   There are a number of new businesses in the area, and the zone has developed a decidedly trendy atmosphere.  This is where affluent shoppers go to find fancy evening wear, fine wines, exquisite baby clothes, expensive pet supplies or a high-end  Johnson kitchen.  It's a world away from the modest auto-servicio stores in Rama Caida and the barrio just across the river with the telling name of  "Pobre Diablo".  
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La Cava wine store

La Cava, located  at the corner of Yrigoyen and Manuel Donega offers a full range of wine and spirits, an assortment of  local gourmet food items and accessories such as bottle openers and crystal decanters.  Their inventory includes some fine vintages from boutique bodegas with limited production, as well as the more familiar wines by Bianchi, Goyenchea and Roca.  

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We purchased a bottle of Lavaque Pinot Noir 2006, a wine elaborated from grapes grown in the district of Canada Seca, near San Rafael.  The Bodega Lavaque is owned and operated by the fifth generation of the founding family.    This wine was a fortunate discovery, with good balance of fruit and tannins, a silky texture and a complex, rich cocoa and herb flavour, characteristics that we rarely find in a Pinot Noir grown in such a warm, dry climate.   This bottle costs 16 pesos at La Cava, and is great value for that price. 

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Celia Parasecoli boutique
For couture clothing and one-of-a-kind fashion accessories, Celia Parasecoli is a boutique that offers great designs and unusually sumptuous fabrics.  The walls of this shop are graced with abstract paintings by artist Antonio Camba,  whose bright canvases succeded in drawing me in the first time I passed by.  I purchased a grey floral print silk blouse with rhinestone buttons on that initial visit and obtained the contact information for the artist, who sells work from his own downtown studio.  (I ended up buying 7 of Camba's paintings, too.)

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Frills, florals and ultra-feminine shapes are fashion-forward elements in Argentine ladies' wear.
This flouncy  little sundress costs 390 pesos at Celia's shop and can be paid for over time,  in quotas. 

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Just a little further down the street one finds the brand new branch of La Delicia Boulevard ice cream and sandwich shop.  The interior is light and open, with natural stone details and off-white modern furnishings.  This is where San Rafael's young people congregate for ice cream treats  and people-watching on hot summer evenings.

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There's a bright mosaic covered counter, with the word for "Welcome" translated in a dozen languages overhead.  The young clerk at the till speaks English with an American accent, as well as Castellano.

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For lunch we order  a sandwich of jamon crudo, arugula and cream cheese  on "pan Arabe" with an espresso coffee.  

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There's a mile-long counter serving ice cream in over 50 flavours,  ready to fill waffle cones or styrofoam tubs, and a host of sundae toppings.  La Delicia also delivers ice cream and pastries by motor scooter to addresses within the city limits of San Rafael. 

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We sampled  Chocolate Bariloche/Chocolate Granizado and Dulce de Leche/Coco.  Rich and refreshing!  The bill for lunch came to 145 pesos, with a tip for our waiter.  

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Delicia interior
 
 
I now have my "Eye on Uruguay"  .  


"Finca la Providencia" our farm near San Rafael is for sale, and all the details are posted here.  It's a wonderful property for self-sufficient living, located  in a beautiful part of Argentina.  Have a look and contact me if you are interested in viewing the farm.
 
 
The truth is, I never left you.  Yes, I'm living in Montevideo, Uruguay now, but a part of my heart still  remains in Mendoza on the finca.
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Three years in Argentina enriched my life and taught me many things.  I loved the bright, clear mornings filled with birdsong.  I loved the view of the snow-capped Andes mountains on the horizon.  I loved having my own fruit trees, vineyard and vegetable garden.  I loved the sound of the water rushing down the canal.   I loved the  fresh strawberries, asparagus, cherries, melons and apples. I loved the wine and most of all,  I loved harvest time.  

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I loved the warm, generous Argentine farm folk who did not hesitate to help us out when we needed assistance in managing the farm.  And we often needed help, believe me.  From the locals  I learned that sticks and wire can be fashioned into a sturdy ladder.  I learned that eating a meal is a social event, not just a chance to fill your stomach.  I learned to make do, using the resources at hand.  I learned to slow down and be mindful of the present moment.  I learned to drink mate and take siesta on hot afternoons.   I learned that poverty has many forms and  isn't simply defined by a lack of money: there are more impoverished people living behind the walls of an upscale gated community in San Rafael than on the humble, traditional farms in Rama Caida.   

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I never got used to the garbage carelessly thrown into the canals and riverbeds, and the piles of trash burned in toxic fires.  I never got used to the sick, stray, unneutered dogs that wander the streets of San Rafael in search of food.  I never got used to the chaos of Argentine driving,  and the dangerous practice of riding bicycles on the road at night without lights.  I never got used to the noise level in the city.   I never got used to the long line ups and the inefficiency of government offices.  I never got used to bribery as a means of getting things done.  There were many things that I just couldn't understand or accept. 

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Getting out of Argentina was not easy.  First the bank informed us that a transfer of funds to an acount in Uruguay would require a deduction of 35%  in the form of an exit tax.  Can you imagine how nervous-making it was to carry the cash in my purse?   On the day of our departure, we got to the airport early with our multiple fully-loaded suitcases  only to be told by the Aerolineas Argentina official that the plane would not be taking any checked luggage.  Our bags were sent by car to Mendoza city  (a 3 hour drive)  and then flown to Buenos Aires Aeroparque, arriving on the luggage belt in a vacant airport in the middle of the night.  We stayed for one night in BsAs,  retrieved our bags the next  morning and flew, triumphant at last, over Rio de la Plata to our  home in Montevideo.  

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Montevideo offers a new adventure, with new challenges.  We are enjoying the cultural aspects of the city and the availability of goods and services that make daily life just a little bit easier.  There are exciting opportunities to work on creative projects, form  new friendships, and expand our language skills.    Look for the launch of Eye on Uruguay coming soon.  I'll be writing reviews of  visual  and performing arts events, making notes on historical and architectural highlights and recording my impressions of the city of Montevideo and other Uruguayan destinations.  




 
 
The Dutch imagination has always been expansive, looking beyond the borders of its own small territory to acquire perspective and influence of global dimensions.  The Golden Age in Dutch history (17th c.) established The Netherlands as a dominant force in world trade, commerce, science and the arts.  
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Replica of Dutch East Indies merchant ship
Our  three week stay in Amsterdam reveals that the Dutch still regard themselves in a privileged position within the EU and in the global community, with strong ties to foreign places and exotic cultures.   They maintain a fascination for the new and different that is as genuine as the cabinet of curiosities we viewed in the Tropen Museum with its multiple drawers containing labelled samples of minerals, plants, spices, feathers and animal skeletons brought back from voyages to far off shores during the 1600s.  

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Vendor at the market
When Robert, who was born in The Netherlands, speaks his mother tongue, Amsterdammers listen carefully to his accent and intonation.  They clearly understand him, answer his questions politely and then invariably remark, "You speak excellent Dutch, sir, but I can tell that you've been away for a while."   This line, as intended, prompts a brief life history from Robert, an account that traces his emigration to Canada at the age of 18, his career as an art dealer and his path to retirement on a farm in Argentina.  On a day of touring around Amsterdam, the tale gets told many times (and gets better with each repetition. )  Mention Argentina in this city,  and Dutch faces instantly light up.   

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The heir to the Dutch throne,  Prince Willem-Alexander married  Maxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in Amsterdam on February 2, 2002.   Princess Maxima hails from Argentina, from a wealthy Buenos Aires family of Basque/Italian heritage.  She has captured the attention of the popular press and appears in the Dutch newspapers almost every day attending official functions, enjoying family gatherings, opening a new arts centre or christening a new ship in the harbour.  Her inclusion in the Dutch Royal Family has sparked a wave of interest in things Argentine and on this trip we note a string of newly-opened steak grill restaurants in Amsterdam with names like La Pampa,  Gaucho, and El Rancho.  

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Maxima is featured in De Telegraph
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The Argentine connection also has business interests in San Rafael.  Princess Maxima is producing and marketing  a line of wine under the label 1830 which is elaborated by Bombal y Aldao bodega, the winery that offers a buy-your-own-barrel program.  1830 is the year that Finca los Alamos was established, and that's where the grapes for this wine are grown and harvested - a vineyard right in our own backyard.   

The more one travels, the more foreign threads are woven into the fabric of your own personal history.  The traces of other lives and past events become a part of you.   We take a walk along the canals of Amsterdam and end up buying cheese, fish and flowers at the same open-air market where Robert's grandmother used to shop.  

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

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My eldest son Aaron Nutting married Julie Lawrence in Halifax, Nova Scotia exactly one week ago.  The happy event was celebrated with friends and family who gathered for four days of intense partying, marked by plenty of socializing, dancing, good food and fine wine.  Even Hurricane Earl's direct hit on the Maritimes did not dampen the hospitality and high spirits of the wedding entourage.  
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Family feast
The rehearsal party was held at the Lawrence family cottage overlooking the Atlantic ocean, with food prepared by Nicholas Nutting, brother of the groom and chef from the Wickaninnish Inn.  Nick  brought seven sockeye salmon in his luggage,  flying the catch fresh from West coast waters to a sizzling hot East coast grill.  He and his skilled assistants Rhonda Rusk and George Wrobel shopped for ingredients at specialty markets and spent a whole day in the kitchen preparing huge platters of zucchini and eggplant,  tomato and basil salad, fresh corn and green beans, barbecued pork tenderloin, watermelon and a blueberry custard dessert.  The menu was a testament to the quality of seasonal produce, lovingly prepared with an East meets West fusion theme. 

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Sockeye Salmon
The extraordinary B.C. sockeye salmon run  this year is a scientific mystery that clearly demonstrates how little is known about fishing in Canada.  A record amount of salmon, topping 30 million,  returned to the Fraser River this year after a 3 year moratorium on commercial harvesting. Last year,  in comparison, yielded only 1.5 million.    Was it the cooler water temperatures, or the reduction in sea lice that breed in fish farms that facilitated this windfall?   No one is sure, but Canadian chefs are now confident about reintroducing this variety to their menus, and serving it up in style.  

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Bride and Groom
The bride and groom were married at Pier 21, the historic entry point for groups of immigrants arriving by boat to Canada.  For many newcomers, this port marked the end of a long voyage and the beginning of a new life in a foreign land.    Safe passage across the Atlantic to Halifax harbour was a transition leading to a host of challenges,  opportunities and rewards that may never have been part of their experience had they decided to stay home.     On September 5th, I watched my son Aaron standing at the front of the hall, waiting out the few moments before his bride appeared.  There was  a tangible sense of anticipation in the air, and Aaron displayed a quiet confidence fostered by the certainty of true love, pride and great expectations.   He was about to step off the boat, take the plunge and begin a new stage in his life.  When the radiant and beautiful Julie glided toward him down the aisle, tears welled up in his eyes (and his mother's.)  The assembled guests and extended family witnessed Aaron's poignant emotional passage to the grown-up, demanding, fulfilling role of "husband."

Like the salmon run, love remains a mystery, and no one knows why some marriages blossom for a lifetime and others wither and die.   I pray that this young couple will be blessed with many years of steadfast devotion, caring and meaningful experiences.   They have so much promise;  so much to offer one another.  

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Quail's Gate, a Canadian Pinot Noir
We toasted the bride and groom with Quail's Gate Pinot Noir 2007 from B.C.   This wine has enough gusto to complement the strong flavours of the West Coast salmon. It has a rich ruby red colour, aroma of cherries, chocolate and crushed flowers, a spicy palate followed by tart fruit and cedar notes.   The estate winery in the Okanagan Valley is owned and operated by the Stewart family, whose ancestors arrived in Canada and settled in B. C. in the year 1908.  A bottle of  Quail's Gate Pinot Noir costs $24.99 (Canadian dollars).

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Sails in the harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia
 
 
Even the most creative individuals occasionally find themselves stuck in a rut, or as they say in Spanish "ser esclavo de la rutina."  Working in the same location,  using the same method, approaching the same subject matter, employing the same style, ad nauseum, can be a mind-numbing trap for artistic types.   When art-making loses its lustre and spark, it's time to cut loose, break out of the studio,  seek new experiences and get back into joy mode.  
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Valle Grande
Artist Kate Kirby and her friend Vicky Stuart have organized a get-away program for visual artists that allows painters to practise their craft, while enjoying the scenic environs of San Rafael, Argentina.   "Art in the Andes" includes art instruction, accommodation, all meals, sightseeing, wine-tasting and more, as part of a combined education/travel package.  It's like summer camp designed for grown-ups.

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Finca la Susana
The Stuarts, a Scottish couple whose family has been established in Argentina for three generations, play host to visiting artists in their gracious Victorian country house. Finca la Susana has a lush perennial garden, a swimming pool and a large screened-in porch that's ideal for summer gatherings.  The grounds provide plenty of interesting locations for plein air painting, but if garden subject matter seems too tame, the desert,  Sierra Pintada mountains, Valle Grande and the snow-capped Andes are not far away.  Instruction is offered on a one-to-one basis by Kate Kirby whose background includes 11 years of teaching experience at the Open College of Art in the UK.  Both Vicky and Kate are graduates of the Edinburgh College of Art, where observational drawing was taught as an essential skill, one that serves as a solid foundation for painting.  They encourage the use of sketchbooks,  facilitate group discussions about art-making, and help individuals to discover and develop a personal style.  

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At work outdoors
Kate explains that she adapts her painting and drawing program to meet a variety of objectives.  "If the client is a complete beginner, I can provide a structured teaching approach for however many days are required.  Alternatively, if an established artist wants to spend time here and just wants to be pointed in the direction of interesting landscapes and then have a chat about their work at the end of the day, they are welcome, too. (And of course anyone at any stage in between can participate.)"  
The atmosphere for this art adventure  is informal, relaxed and open-minded because after all, it is intended to be a holiday - a  refreshing  break  from the usual routine.

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In keeping with the Scottish theme and in the spirit of experimentation,  we opened a bottle of thistle and tartan-labelled Caledonia Torrontes/Semillon 2008.  Ronald MacKay, who hails from Coupar Angus, near Dundee, Scotland produces this wine from the grapes grown on his finca in Rama Caida.  He also owns and operates a  nursery which sells quality vinifera rootlings for five varietals.  The Finca Caledonia website offers some fascinating historical tidbits regarding Scottish settlement in Argentina.  This lightly-oaked blend of fruity Torrontes and  dry, citrus Semillon is a pleasant, elegant vino, perfect for summer porch-and-patio days.  

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Scotch eggs
I made Scotch eggs, a simple-to-prepare treat that's ideal  fingerfood  for Sunday brunch, a picnic or a tailgate party.  In the UK, this is pub food, a hearty snack enjoyed with a pint.  The eggs are boiled for 8 minutes, peeled and cooled, then covered evenly with a layer of pork sausage meat.  I spice the meat mwith nutmeg, cinnamon and a little  grated onion.   The meat-covered eggs are then rolled in dry breadcrumbs and deep fried in hot oil for about 1o minutes, until thoroughly browned and crisp on the outside.  These eggs can be eaten warm or cold, and are great with a spoonful of mango chutney.  For an unusual  variation on the Scotch egg recipe that's become a big hit in Manchester, England, have a look at this article from BBC news.
A bottle of Caledonia Torrontes/Semillon sells for 16 pesos at La Cava wine store.
The all-inclusive rate for "Art in the Andes" painting holiday is 400 pesos per day.

Here's an image of a Kate Kirby painting that I purchased at a 2009 exhibition of her work at Casa Burgos in San Rafael.  It's a piece that lifts my heart every time I look at it. 

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'Once More' mixed media, by Kate Kirby
"The Last Knit" an animated film directed by Laura Neuvonen of Finland,  gives a humorous account of creativity that leans toward obsession, the exhausting struggle to relinquish a familiar routine and the exciting discovery of a new source of inspiration.  Sometimes letting go is the hardest part of change.
 
 
When I studied  Cultural Conservation at the University of Victoria many years ago, one of the assignments was to complete an inventory of buildings.  The houses on one city block were recorded, photographed and evaluated using a weighted scoring system.  A building's significance was determined according to criteria such as historic features, style, condition, authenticity and age.   This exercise was a preliminary step in the process of heritage designation and long-term preservation of the city's architectural gems.   The lesson learned was that you have to know  and understand what is out there before you can protect it.
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I read with interest an article in Los Andes newspaper reporting that a team of high school students is creating an inventory of trees in the district of Guaymallen, near Mendoza city.   The students each have a section of the city to work on, and are busy recording location,  identifying species and evaluating the overall condition of individual trees.   What a great project for raising environmental awareness and laying the groundwork for an arboreal preservation plan!

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Trees at the edge of the canal on our finca
Canadian scientist Diane Beresford-Kroeger would applaud this endeavour.  In her 2010 book "The Global Forest" she stresses the importance of trees as "healers" of the planet, while explaining their vital role as hosts for diverse insect and bird life, and as anti-erosion and anti-famine plants.    She states that the Western forest has not been intelligently managed since the Middle Ages, when a seven-year renewable cycle meant continuity, and 64 items of market value were carefully harvested from the sustainable woodlot.   Beresford-Kroeger promotes the idea of creating a bioplan for one's farm that includes the addition of trees at the edges of the cultivated agricultural field.  


"A bioplan will walk organic farming one step further to increase the biodiversity of native species of plants and animals.  Quite often an organic farm, good though it may be, can be a desert, too, if the farm is just composed of mile upon mile of crops in an empty acreage.  The forest must come back to the farm in the form of an orchard, nut orchards and set-asides of select trees. "

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If you want to reintroduce a forest to your property, Beresford-Kroeger has these suggestions: 
  • Choose quality seeds or saplings  of species native to the local area, selected from the oldest, healthiest specimens.  These epicenter trees are the most resistant to drought, climate change, and pestilence.
  • Mix deciduous and coniferous trees.
  • Post bird boxes to encourage wildlife presence, (their manure adds necessary nitrogen and an assortment of plant seeds to the forest floor).
  • Allow wind to pass through, bringing spores for lichens, mosses, ferns and mushrooms.

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Alamos, a windbreak for the vineyards
Beresford-Kroeger would also be pleased to know that I am reading  the Kindle version of "The Global Forest" which was delivered in paperless format.   She points out that the sex hormones in trees called "gibberellins" are bleeding into the large bodies of water where trees are milled for the pulp and paper industry.  This huge  hormonal load is being dumped directly into our drinking water and xenochemicals  can now be found in the bodies of all mammals, including humans.   As she so eloquently says, "The broken forest is in our children's tears."

At her country home near Ottawa, Ontario,  Beresford-Kroeger has planted and cultivated, over a 30 year period, an incredible garden comprised of over 6000 species of trees, shrubs and flowers.  She also maintains a seed bank for the future, and is actively working to educate people about methods for the renewal and preservation of biodiversity.  


"The civilized world has not put a finger on the pulse of nature. It has ignored the pattern in which nature works, as if man himself is an independent species apart from the web of it.  The truth is that man is only one species and he stands on a fragile platform of life that is but a whisper away from death.  There is some time left.  There is time for a different way of thinking in which man can rethread the needle and sew a life for the future."

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Bodegas Los Toneles ( the barrels)  is located in Guaymallen at Bandera de los Andes 1393.  The winery boasts an excellent restaurant and conducts guided tours of their facility with wine-tastings.   Owned by the Millan family, Los Toneles  produced this bottle of  2 Estacas Chardonnay 2008, with its aroma of tropical fruit and toasted bread, a medium body and a pineapple finish.   We paired the wine with a citrus salad that celebrates the fruit of our trees -  grapefruit and orange segments, walnuts and green olives -  tossed with arugula, butter lettuce, endive and thin slices of goat cheese.   A bottle of 2 Estacas sells for 15 pesos.

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Citrus Salad