We have now reached the mid-point of our mission. We have been out nine months of an 18-month mission. From now on, we are on the down-hill side. It came sooner than we expected.
The first Sunday in July proved to be perfect driving weather. Our friends the Mendozas wanted to visit Tata (Grandpa), and we wanted to see his little place in the country, so we loaded up the Outback and headed down Highway 5, Ruta 5, for points south.
Cabrero is a quiet little village on the way to Los Angeles. We passed by it once when we went to Itata Falls.
The chapel was quite small, and extremely cold. I was glad for my wool socks, boots, cowl, gloves, hat, and my Pendleton wool coat. Elder Kennington greeted the two sister missionaries, one from Brazil and one from Ecuador. The branch also has a set of young elders. The chapel was quite full, and most of the testimonies given were from men of the priesthood. Manuel, who grew up in this branch, was pleased to see how many members are now attending.
When church ended, we head back up Ruta 5, past vineyards and winemakers.
The snow-capped Cordillera was visible from the road, if a little hazy in the afternoon sun.
We went off the highway, passing numberless tree farms. Nothing was marked and there were no signs or numbers. You just had to know where things were.
At one point we crossed a stream on this wooden puente, bridge, to a road lined with poplars--alamos.
We were thankful (not for the first time!) for our four-wheel-drive Subaru, especially when navigating muddy roads like this one.
Andrea told us it takes two hours to walk from the highway to Tata's house, so she and Manuel were grateful for the car ride. The casita is not large, and on the rustic side, although it has finally been hooked up to electricity. Electricity to the well, visible in the picture above, was not working. You have to lower a pitcher down to get water. Thankfully, we brought water with us.
Tata Mendoza was happy to see us, although he is accustomed to being alone. Elder Kennington, wearing his wool hat, got him to talk about his vegetable garden, which includes little onions and the lettuce-like chicory he is planting in the cool winter weather.
Prickly pear cactus plant in Tata's back yard, the edible red fruit of which is called Tuna in Chile. Tuna fish is called Atun.
Musca, moss, growing along the chain link fence that divides the property. Andrea and I gathered handfuls to use in dyeing natural wool yarn.
On the other side of the chain link fence was a large pasture surrounded by alamos and species of native Chilean trees. Three horses and several gallinas, hens, shared the pasture.
Andrea told me that moss-covered branches like this are used in Christmas celebrations.
Melissa Officinalis, lemon balm or Toronjil, one of the teas I often drink. The cool and shady spot it is growing in must be limiting the size.
This is ortiga, nettle, used in creams for arthritis and inflammation.
We brought a picnic lunch of sandwiches, apples, a bag of peanuts (which ended up with Manolito) and of course a teapot of water heated on the little wood stove for barley drinks.
Tata's kitchen with his industrial-strength hoes hanging on the wall beyond. The little house also has a storage room and a bedroom, all very clean. The baño (bathroom) is out back, or the alternative, as Andrea says, "al aire fresco," in the fresh air.
The weather was perfect. We saw this pretty view of hills beyond a little laguna on the way out of Cabrero. A day in the country was just what we needed.
Back in our apartment, with its balcony view of the sun setting over the Pacific.