Our 1st anniversary in our dream home

Last week (10 Jan) Rodrigo and I celebrated 6 years of being married and 1 year living in our dream house. And what a year it has turned out to be…

We have now experienced all 4 seasons in our passivhaus-inspired home and have seen how comfortable it is in freezing -2°C or boiling 30 degrees and more. We have discovered how important it is to use the sun is for heating in winter and how crucial it is to keep it out during the boiling hot summer months. While writing this post, it is 34 degrees outside in the shade, but a much cooler 26 degrees inside (with no aircon or fans). 

And in August we hit a milestone one night, at 21:40 when we registered less than 5 degrees outside (and dropping fast), yet inside it was a comfortable 24,8 degrees, without having turned on the heating.

All in all, we could not be happier with how things have turned out and we feel incredibly grateful to have been able to pass this crazy pandemic year here in our little piece of paradise.

I think my motto for this year has definitely been “day by day…”. When the pandemic hit Chile at the beginning of March, we truly had no idea what was in store for us all, so we took life one step at a time and focused on things that were completely in our control.

We focused on starting our garden, which really was hit and miss as our soil is clay, with poor drainage and I just googled what plants would work well with these conditions and the very hot summers and frosty winters. So far most things have survived, so I can’t be doing too badly.

We also put a lot of energy into our vegetable garden.

I learnt all about the ideal soil for sowing seeds, then waiting impatiently each day to see how many would sprout and then caring for them until they were ready to be planted outside. Luckily we could turn one of our spare rooms into a makeshift greenhouse over winter given that the pandemic meant we had no visitors.
We have had the most success with lettuce, spinach, rocket, cherry tomatoes and zucchini. I am also thrilled that my raspberries have grown well (bottom, right photo). In the middle top photo is Don Jorge, our wonderful gardener working away on the cherry tomato seedlings with Rodrigo.

There really was nothing more satisfying than picking lettuce, spinach or rocket leaves daily for lunch. Watching things grow from seed (or in some cases not grow) taught me infinite patience. Some crops were not a great success for us, such as the carrots and broccoli. But right now we are enjoying a very abundant crop of cherry tomatoes and zucchini. I am also managing to grow raspberry bushes but am in a daily fight with the local birds as to who gets to the red berries first. Most of the time the birds win. 

Rodrigo has become our expert in compost and I am looking forward to using the results in our vegetable garden this year. It is incredible how much our weekly rubbish has been reduced since we have been able to compost all our organic waste, along with the normal recycling.
Rodrigo built me a permaculture spiral which is now full of basil, spring onions, parsley, oregano, camomile and various other herbs. I am learning which herbs can withstand the summer heat without bolting early – the coriander was a disaster in this regard.

Spring was a great time for watching nature, especially the birds in their mating rituals, such as the male Chimango Caracara fighting for the female´s attention in the nearby eucalyptus trees. One day Rodrigo and I must have spent nearly half an hour watching the aerial acrobatics, it was better than a WWII movie. We had 3 resident Southern Lapwings who made our plot their home. We named them the Three Stooges as they followed eachother around everywhere in a very comical way.

They had 2 babies in early spring, but sadly both were hunted by a bird of prey within a week of being born. That is the sad reality of nature.

We have had our ups and downs with the pool that was here when we bought the property. But thankfully since the beginning of December it has been up and running and we have been able to enjoy a balmy dip on hot afternoons.

While preparing this post I was browsing through all my photos that we have taken over the year, either with my camera or phone. It is amazing to see the progress we have made, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Due to the pandemic, we have had many challenges and delays and have not yet been able to finish the appraisal process with the bank to then be able to do the final reception by the Municipality and based on that be able to apply officially for Chile’s Housing Energy Rating (which comes into force in 2021). We will qualitfy with an A+ rating, so are really keen to get the process underway. But as I said, day by day…in the meantime, we will keep putting our energy into ourselves and our little piece of paradise.

Oh, and a very happy 6th anniversary to my dearest Rodrigo. I am so happy and grateful for the life we are building together here in Maria Pinto.

2 thoughts on “Our 1st anniversary in our dream home”

  1. Hello Ingrid & Rodrigo! Hope you are both well still….& safe – probably in the best place possible! Wonderful to read about the Dream Home & all the challenges yu have taken on & resolved – There’s always a solution – just finding the right one?!…. I so admire your tenacity & practical thinking. Loving the permaculture Spiral – a brilliant space saving & beautiful design…. if I only had room! No doubt, as yr compost increases, it’s use will be invaluable! It all looks amazing 🤩- takes time,hard work & thinking outside the 📦 – you’ve both created a beautiful & sustainable life! 👏

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  2. Dear Sara. Thank you so much for your lovely message. We so look forward to the day when we can hopefully sit on the patio here with you and Will and share a nice glass of wine. The only thing we have missed over this first year is not being able to share our home with friends and family. Hopefully soon…

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