January 31, 2017
Video by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.
January 31, 2017
Video by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.
January 31, 2017 | Permalink
January 31, 2017
Urban Sprawl in Nogales?
INTRODUCTION: Hard to believe that the area on the road from Chilefarms to the town of Nogales has just sprouted a subdivision of parcels of land for sale. I haven’t seen development like this in the ten years I’ve visited here. I wonder if the number of homes built will have the same effect on this community in South America that big housing developments have on communities in the USA…demands on water and electricity, schools, increased traffic, subtle changes in community life. Time will tell.
Amazing. The heretofore sleepy area between Ruta 5 and Nogales 12 miles away is experiencing a boom in housing. On a bike ride from the farm to Nogales this afternoon I passed a huge area of cleared and leveled land with signs saying “TOPOGRAPHIA SUBDIVISIÓN PLANÓS” then “VENDO PARCELAS 5000 M SQ”
Businesses along Ruta 5 north and south of La Calera, a city of 50,000 eight miles from the Chilefarms in La Peña (an outskirt of Nogales) have appeared since my visit last January. The economy must be in good shape and jobs must be being created (sound familiar?). Saturday and especially Sunday parking places in the huge parking lot of super stores like Tottus and Sodimac and Falabella at the edge of La Calera are jammed.
During a weekday visit shopping for SIM cards, medicine from the pharmacy and a trip to an ATM machine for me, La Calera was bustling.
Pedaling back to the farm, I passed a house being built on land previously pasture. There’s a stark contrast between the house under construction and the ramshackle houses across the street.
Are there yuppies in Chile? We'll find out soon.
Sign advertising “TOPOGRAPHIA SUBDIVISIÓN PLANÓS”
One house being bult on the property.
Property is for sale, buyers build their own homes. Are there any restrictions about what is built? Who will maintain the roads, build the wells for water, install electricity? No matter what, the subdivisions will attract skilled and non skilled labor, increase traffic on roads now often used by tractors and men on horseback.
The neighborhood road
Panoramic view, road from Nogales to La Peña is on the right.
New house being built on the road between La Peña and Nogales
This road heads to superhighway Ruta 5 about 12 miles away. The 2093 mile well maintained toll highway stretches from Puerto Montt in the south all the way to the border of Peru.
The location of the 5000 sq meter subdivisions (a little more than one acre) makes it an easy commute for people working in the large businesses on Ruta 5 like Propal and more recently built Europlant, Amdes Quality, and Emu Chile.
Propal is an international company that exports avocados, lemons, oranges, clementines, kiwis, and onions. Euro plant is a worldwide import/export company of fruits and vegetables. Andes Quality is a global company that exports raisins.You might have bought something produced by one of these companies when you shopped yesterday.
Photos by Paul A, Tamburello, Jr.
Recent photos and data from the New York Times
Gigantic wildfires in south central Chile
• so far destroyed more than 700,000 acres of forest land
• caused the government to declare a state of emergency in four regions
• caused 4,000 people — including firefighters, troops and national forestry bureau officers to be deployed to fight the fires
• more than 2,700 people have lost their homes
• thousands have been evacuated from the affected areas
• killed ten people, mainly firefighters and police
The wildfires are from 100 to 400 miles south of Nogales. The smoke from the fires obscures the sky for hundreds of miles.
Volunteers in Pumanque on Saturday. Some residents have used tree branches and bottles of water to try to douse the flames;Near the town of Florida, in Bío Bío region, on Monday, 364 miles from Nogales.
Nogales is 74 miles from Santiago.
Photos and data from New York Times
Massive fires , the "greatest forest disaster" in Chile's history, are ravaging south-central Chile.
View toward the south from Nogales, Chile, January, 2017
View toward the south in a past visit to Nogales in January
The fires thousands of kilometers away are so massive that their smoke obscures the views of the mountains from the farm I’m visiting in Nogales. A daily coating of microscopic ash covers the wraparound porch of the farmhouse.
When we visit Ricardo’s sister in nearby Quillota for lunch, the fires and all the news associated with them consume every minute on TV. Same when we pass TVs in stores in La Calera, a few miles from the farm in Nogales. Think Katrina.
In Nogales, a few miles away, a tractor trailer is parked on the main street. It’s destination? South- central Chile where the fires rage and thousands of people have lost homes and everything in them.
Within a day the trailer is filled with rice, staples, water, bread, fruit, even dog food. By the next morning, fully loaded, it’s on its way south.
People did the same thing when the earthquakes struck the southern parts of the country three years ago, says Ricardo. As awful as that was, this disaster is worse, causing more loss of property, homes, perhaps even a way of life.
Listen to the audio that accompanies the video on this link.
This link below is more horrifying. Entire towns have been wiped out. In Santa Olga, a town of 5,000 in Maule, 1,000 homes were destroyed. Santa Olga is 400 miles south of Nogales.
More videos that show the vastness of the wildfire's fury. Above: The entire town of Santa Olga, 1200 homes, were burned to the ground.
The wildfires have caused displacement of thousands, destruction of residential and business properties and huge swaths of countryside. On January 3, I saw one story about an earthquake and some fires in Chile. Since then, I found nada in The Boston Globe. The New York Times has been covering it all along.
Earlier this week, the Colorado Springs-based Global SuperTanker Services LLC sent a Boeing 747-400 Supertanker to help fight over 120 wild fires that have scorched about 700,000 acres of land in what President Michelle Bachelet calls "the greatest forest disaster in our history."
According to The Gazette of Colorado Springs, "The company sent a crew of 12 people to Chile that was underwritten with a grant from Fundación Viento Sur (South Wind Foundation), which is part of the Walton Family Foundation and is headed by Boulder residents Ben Walton and Lucy Ana Walton de Avilés, who is a native of Chile."
The political heat from the fires is focused on President Michelle Bachelet. Many in the countryside around Nogales say she is acting too slowly to marshal forces to combat the fires. Some say that conservative former President Piñera was more direct and timely dealing with disasters.
There is a rumor in the countryside (that I have not been able to substantiate...fake news?) that the government waited two days before allowing the supertanker to douse the fires. Meanwhile, the government has accepted offers of aircraft and firefighters from several other countries to help control the mind-boggling size of the wildfires.
There will be political consequences to pay when the fires are under control and the final ashes have fallen from the sky.
Top photos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr. Other images courtesy of local news stations.
January 27, 2017
The upgrade to a small section of trees at Chilefarms in Nogales began in January 2016 when he orange trees in the sector did not produce the quantity and quality of oranges anticipated. The backstory at
The story continues in January 2017,
The upgrade began in January 2016 when the orange trees in the sector were not producing the quantity and quality of oranges anticipated.
Orange trees with the qualities that Ricardo desires are grafted onto root stock, a sturdy base tree trunk with deep and tenacious roots that will be able to support thousands of pounds when oranges on them mature. Will the grafts grow successfully?
Think of it as a layer cake. Grafts of a type of orange tree that will not be as large as the first grafted tree were inserted onto the flat stump grafted of the trees that were cut down. We now have grafts of new trees inserted into the stumps of trees that grew from grafts that were unsuccessful, both of them placed on a sturdy base of root stock. Of 700 trees whose graft base were cut down, 350 are promising enough, 350 not good enough.
Videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Three sectors of walnut trees were planted on Chilefarms last August. Ricardo has asked Rodrigo, an agronomist, to inspect the sectors. Rodrigo says that the trees in sector one and three are doing just fine. Some of the trees in sector 2, not so good. A few appear to be dying and some are growing more slowly than the others.
Rodrigo decides to do some random checking. He suspects some trees may be receiving too much water from the irrigation tubes that run alongside each tree.
As he watches, Juan Vila digs up soil at the base of several trees. At one tree, Rodrigo hands me a handful of soil. He speaks enough English so I can get the drift of what he’s doing. He wants me to crumble a handful of soil that’s been dug up. It is moist but crumbles easily. “Good,” he says. Juan Vila replaces the soil and both of them replace the poles that help the tree maintain its shape.
Next Juan Vila digs up soil under a tree that is clearly dying.
“Try to crumble this,” Rodrigo says. It is a heavy chunk of clay soil so thick that I cannot make it crumble. It feels like the clay I used to play with when I was a kid. The solid clay is so thick and heavy that roots cannot penetrate it and the tree is dying.
Ricardo arrives. A pow-wow ensues. The trees in this sector that are doing poorly are all next to the alfalfa field. And the affected trees are all next to a low point in the footpath between the fields.
During the weekly irrigation of the alfalfa field, water from the irrigation ditch a few feet away is cresting the ditch and migrating into walnut sector 2. Ricardo will have the ditch deepened. Water meant to irrigate the alfalfa field will stay in the alfalfa field.
Water will no longer migrate toward the adjacent walnut trees and load the clay soil with so much water that the roots cannot grow properly.
Not all problems on the farm are solved so quickly. This is a good day.
The story in photos.
While Luis applies herbicide to control the voracious 'malessa' (weeds), an agronomist inspects the tree roots. The soil under this tree is not compacted with too much water. He points out that tiny roots are growing through the soil, a sign of good health.
Next, they inspect a tree that is clearly dying. The clay soil is soaked, so heavily compact that root structure cannot penetrate it, depriving the tree of nutrients. If I were to leave a chunk of it in the sun, it would be hard as a rock in one day.
Photos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.
January 26, 2017
Bird flu is serious matter around here. Thousands of chickens are kept at tens of thousands of homes in central Chile. Outbreaks of avian bird flu have been detected in the Valparaiso region of Chile in which Nogales is situated.
Yesterday, two officials drove to the farm and informed Ricardo and Susaan that they needed capture one rooster and two hens. Tomorrow they will return to test the birds. If blood samples are positive, all the chickens on the farm will be killed and incinerated. So far they have inspected over 8000 farms with no flu detected. http://afludiary.blogspot.cl/2017/01/chile-moa-reports-2nd-lpai-h7-outbreak.html
Roosters and hens, with a great deal of cock-a-doodle-do-ing and clucking, roam around the farm all day long. Try to get near them an they scramble, always staying out of reach. Their lives depend on being alert and a fast moving target.
Did you ever try to catch a chicken with a long pole with a hook at the end to grab their bright yellow feet? I didn't think so.
In what was a comical pursuit reminiscent of the Keystone Cops from the barn to the yard in front and back of the farmhouse, it took two wily men one hour to capture this rooster. Half hour later, they captured two hens.
Don Pedro and Juanito got the easy jobs of trussing up the hens.
And were pretty pleased with themselves, and probably pretty happy they weren't the ones doing the chasing.
Luis, Don Pedro and Juan Vila place the birds in an orange crate with some food and water.They will be tested tomorrow.
The preventative measures began on January 5, 2017. The first outbreak of avian influenza occurred near Valparaiso. Over 350,000 birds were slaughtered. Another case occurred on January 18 at a nearby turkey farm called Sopraval located in the El Melon district of Nogales.
According to news sources, "All protocols exist to prevent the spread of the virus biosafety were triggered, and the immediate slaughter of about 35,000 turkeys of the sector, the sanitary landfill in the same place and the implementation of actions determined disinfection." Wherever it is found, no traces of bird flu are allowed to remain on the farms.
The Agriculture and Livestock Service ordered that chickens on every farm in the region had to be tested for avian influenza.
I won't keep you in suspense.The next day, the blood samples officials took from the chickens were negative. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Photos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.
The details of this story began in 2016. An upcoming post, written at about the same time in 2017, will illustrate the need to have patience, good luck, and the long view that farmers across the world have come to understand as facts of life.
January 11, 2016
The learning curve on a small farm can be steep and filled with surprises. Lesson number one is that agronomists, the people with training and experience, are not always right.
The orange trees in the northeast sector have not produced the quantity and quality of oranges anticipated.
The trees in this section had grown so large that a tractor could not drive down the rows between them, making it difficult to apply insecticides and then to harvest the oranges. The oranges, crowded out by the unwanted brush, were slower to ripen because sunlight could not penetrate the overgrown area, were not as good quality as those in other parts of the property and therefore not a good return on investment.
To correct the situation, an agronomist recommended that the trees in 22 rows affected be chopped down to within a foot of the ground and a new type of orange tree grafted on top.
Farm crew Juan Vila and Luis are clearing the area of downed trees, back breaking work since the wood has dried, become very hard and the branches have nasty two inch thorns. Juan Vila cuts away large branches and piles them on the high rise of ground the trees are planted on.
Ricardo has made arrangements for someone to remove the wood. In Chile, there is always a way to re-purpose material.Smaller brush cut away from the trees will be tossed into the rows between the trees and cleared away.
The moment of truth for the brush comes when José Pablo drags a seriously noisy and heavy machine called a triturador through them. The machine has powerful blades that shred everything in the rows. After three passes, down each row, it will have shredded the piles into bits. The shredded debris from the weeds will be several inches thick and act as mulch thick enough prevent new weeds from growing. It will take three seasons for the grafts on the trees to produce - if everything goes according to plan.
After clearing 5 rows, it is clear to Ricardo that it take months to cut down then add grafts to remaining 17 rows in the section. He makes a Plan B. He will have his crew cut back the overgrowth in the remaining rows to allow the tractor to squeeze through and hope they produce enough oranges to be profitable.
At least, that’s the plan. Mother Nature and other unpredictable forces may alter the reality. I just returned in 2017 to see how the plan worked. Or didn't.
Stay tuned. Report coming in a few days.
The triturador shreds everything in its path.
You wouldn't want to use this machine to mow your lawn!
Photos and videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.ispai
Buck and Johnny’s
100 Berard Street
Breaux Bridge, LA 70157
December 31. 2016
In my book, any establishment called Buck and Johnny’s deserves a visit. If you hazard a guess it’s about food or music or coffee and home made desserts you’d probably be in the ball park. As it turns out, this place offers up all of them.
My first visit is on December 31, 2016 at 11 AM. What I hadn’t counted on is that the place is in the former home of a now defunct auto dealership in Breaux Bridge, LA. And that this morning, it is ground zero for over 100 dancers pounding their feet and wiggling their butts (well, most of the women and some of the men) on the showroom floor to the beat of Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble.
If ever there was a time to let music be the soundtrack of a morning in your life, temporarily canceling out politics, terrorism, and fake news, this is it.
The whole area around Breaux Bridge, about 10 miles from Lafayette, is loaded with places that offer food and drink, feature live music, and in which, no matter what the size of the place, customers find room to dance. I don’t think any of these places used to have shiny new Ford or Chevrolets parked inside them.
People have been here since 8 AM (yes, AM) to dance. Some of them even sit down from time to time to order breakfast. In case you wonder, this is not just a holiday event. Buck and Johnny's hosts music Wednesday through Sunday every week.
A place right next door, Joie de Vivre, has a Cajun Jam Session every Saturday morning from 11 AM until 1:30 PM and offers live music during the week. After Curley Taylor finishes, many walk to Joie de Vivre to listen, eat, dance, or all the above.
A Zydeco Breakfast Dance happens every Saturday. People down here seem to define breakfast as something you do as well as something you eat. And today, there are scads of dancers here from all over the country. For them, celebrating the New Year is synonymous with dancing right through it. Buck and Johnny's hosts music Wednesday through Sunday every week.
This is their first stop. They’ll keep dancing till someone turns out the lights at one of the bars or dance halls sometime in the early hours of 2017.
Photos and Videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.