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Retirement on hold.
#1
Returned from Colombia this March in the middle of a pandemic we had plans but now they have been put on hold for the time. We started to build a small house on a piece of land in a rural area at a 3 hour bus ride from Medellin. In the two months we were there ( my wife and son were there three months) we managed to build a wooden cabin just over 100 square feet. And a rock house that is about 250 square feet. The house has a solid flat roof with 120 square feet extension and a half metre overhang on three sides so there is plenty of room to build on top. Right now we have no electricity. We borrowed from the neighbor who lives about 100 metres away in return we paid her electric bill. Water is not a problem we have a stream with beautiful clean water running at the side of our property. For now we are using a dry toilet. ( A toilet seat is mounted on a wooden box with a hole on top and a removable panel in the front, we used fittings from a portable comode that slips into a 10 gallon pail below. )We installed a shower tent around the dry toilet for privacy. This toilet is primarily for #2 ( boys can find a tree for #1). It is just like a normal toilet. We use toilet paper. We just dispose of the toilet paper in a separate container.
The only differences is we put a scoop of talc on top of the feces after every session to neutralize the smell and prevent flies from laying eggs. For two people after a week or 10 days we bury the contents, wash the bucket thoroughly and line the bottom with mulch to prevent sticking. My wife is Colombian so she is able to relate to the locals which is why she went to Colombia earlier than I. She was also from a rural area and is an agronomist( engineer at farming) . So far the project has been a success but there is still a lot to accomplish. Electricity, plumbing and septic. And the biggest challenge is can a guy who has lived almost 60 years in small cities in Canada can adapt to life in the mountains of Colombia on a more permanent basis. I will never fully leave Canada I have brothers, sons, daughter and grandkids here. All the poisonous snakes,spiders and scorpions are not a problem for me. My bigger problem seems to be the local dogs. Every farmer has at least one of them, they are not on leases and they don't seem to like the sound or smell of white people; was attacked by dogs so much I took to carrying a 2 metre stick with me whenever I went for a walk.
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#2
(04-25-2020, 12:35 PM)Jupiter Wrote: Returned from Colombia this March in the middle of a pandemic we had plans but now they have been put on hold for the time. We started to build a small house on a piece of land in a rural area at a 3 hour bus ride from Medellin. In the two months we were there ( my wife and son were there three months)  we managed to build a wooden cabin just over 100 square feet. And a rock house that is about 250 square feet. The house has a solid flat roof with 120 square feet extension  and a half metre overhang on three sides so there is plenty of room to build on top. Right now we have no electricity. We borrowed from the neighbor who lives about 100 metres away in return we paid her electric bill. Water is not a problem we have a stream with beautiful clean water running at the side of our property. For now we are using a dry toilet. ( A toilet seat is mounted on a wooden box with a hole on top and a removable panel in the front, we used fittings from a portable comode that slips into a 10 gallon pail below. )We installed a shower tent around the dry toilet for privacy. This toilet is primarily for #2 ( boys can find a tree for #1). It is just like a normal toilet. We use toilet paper. We just dispose of the toilet paper in a separate container.
The only differences is we put a scoop of talc on top of the feces after every session to neutralize the smell and prevent flies from laying eggs. For two people after a week or 10 days we bury the contents, wash the bucket thoroughly and line the bottom with mulch to prevent sticking. My wife is Colombian so she is able to relate to the locals which is why she went to Colombia earlier than I. She was also from a rural area and is an agronomist( engineer at farming) . So far  the project has been a success but there is still a lot to accomplish. Electricity, plumbing and septic. And the biggest challenge is can a guy who has lived almost 60 years in small cities in Canada can adapt to life in the mountains of Colombia on a more permanent basis. I will never fully leave Canada I have brothers, sons, daughter and grandkids here. All the poisonous snakes,spiders and scorpions are not a problem for me. My bigger problem seems to be the local dogs. Every farmer has at least one of them, they are not on leases and they don't seem to like the sound or smell of white people; was attacked by dogs so much I took to carrying a 2 metre stick with me whenever I went for a walk.

That is quite a story you have there!

I believe the dogs differ people by smell, not race... and as it so happens, each culture has certain things that they eat a lot of. Maybe after a year or so of eating a typical Columbian diet, the dogs will lay off?? Otherwise that would scare me some. Are the mountains right there near you? I would think that would come with some different and equally scary animal challenges. lol
Fight the Good Fight
(Listen with lyrics here!)
Make it worth the price we pay!
All your life you've been waiting for your chance,
Pray you'll fit into the Plan.
But you're the master of your own destiny,
So give and take the best that you can!
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#3
(04-25-2020, 11:41 PM)Squirrel Wrote:
(04-25-2020, 12:35 PM)Jupiter Wrote: Returned from Colombia this March in the middle of a pandemic we had plans but now they have been put on hold for the time. We started to build a small house on a piece of land in a rural area at a 3 hour bus ride from Medellin. In the two months we were there ( my wife and son were there three months)  we managed to build a wooden cabin just over 100 square feet. And a rock house that is about 250 square feet. The house has a solid flat roof with 120 square feet extension  and a half metre overhang on three sides so there is plenty of room to build on top. Right now we have no electricity. We borrowed from the neighbor who lives about 100 metres away in return we paid her electric bill. Water is not a problem we have a stream with beautiful clean water running at the side of our property. For now we are using a dry toilet. ( A toilet seat is mounted on a wooden box with a hole on top and a removable panel in the front, we used fittings from a portable comode that slips into a 10 gallon pail below. )We installed a shower tent around the dry toilet for privacy. This toilet is primarily for #2 ( boys can find a tree for #1). It is just like a normal toilet. We use toilet paper. We just dispose of the toilet paper in a separate container.
The only differences is we put a scoop of talc on top of the feces after every session to neutralize the smell and prevent flies from laying eggs. For two people after a week or 10 days we bury the contents, wash the bucket thoroughly and line the bottom with mulch to prevent sticking. My wife is Colombian so she is able to relate to the locals which is why she went to Colombia earlier than I. She was also from a rural area and is an agronomist( engineer at farming) . So far  the project has been a success but there is still a lot to accomplish. Electricity, plumbing and septic. And the biggest challenge is can a guy who has lived almost 60 years in small cities in Canada can adapt to life in the mountains of Colombia on a more permanent basis. I will never fully leave Canada I have brothers, sons, daughter and grandkids here. All the poisonous snakes,spiders and scorpions are not a problem for me. My bigger problem seems to be the local dogs. Every farmer has at least one of them, they are not on leases and they don't seem to like the sound or smell of white people; was attacked by dogs so much I took to carrying a 2 metre stick with me whenever I went for a walk.

That is quite a story you have there!

I believe the dogs differ people by smell, not race... and as it so happens, each culture has certain things that they eat a lot of. Maybe after a year or so of eating a typical Columbian diet, the dogs will lay off?? Otherwise that would scare me some. Are the mountains right there near you? I would think that would come with some different and equally scary animal challenges. lol
   Yes squirrel we are right in the mountains, about 1400 metres above sea level. Ideal for growing coffee and chocolate. It is a side of a mountain so the views from the cabin are spectacular.  Underneath the cabin seemed to be a scorpion nest as we encountered a few baby scorpions in and around our cabin. The one helper we had encountered two pit vipers, killed one ( he always has a machete). Talking to my wife one day in the stream I witnessed a good sized scorpion crawl across her shirt ( was a panic moment for both of us) we killed it, she didn't get stung. On the other hand I get to bathe in the stream surrounded by beautiful plants while a large variety of butterflies float by including those huge blue morphos. At night we have two types of fireflies visit us one is greenish similar to the ones we have in Canada and the other is a larger one with red or orange luminescent bellies( they look like a hot embers flying in the forest) and luminescent green spots behind their eyes. Lots of colourful birds as well as vultures ( they seem almost as plentiful as sea gulls in Canada).  
   Haven't seen monkeys but the wife tells me they were in the forest when she first arrived. Probably scared off by the construction when they cleared the forest. Just because I don't see them doesn't mean they are not there. No doubt there is plenty of life in our forest. Waking up and being able to see ten thousand trees from the balcony of our cabin while enjoying a coffee that was grown next door that I helped roast is something so good for my sense of well being.
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#4
Wow. Can’t imagine to have a life like this. It’s fascinating but also scary! Scorpions, oh my gosh! What would you do if it stings you? Do you have anti septics?

And how is the internet connection? Big Grin
Are you even able to play online games?

And how far away is the next hospital?
And do you have a gib to defend against big animals or well evil people?
(^.^)
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#5
(04-26-2020, 01:29 PM)samira Wrote: Wow. Can’t imagine to have a life like this. It’s fascinating but also scary! Scorpions, oh my gosh! What would you do if it stings you? Do you have anti septics?

And how is the internet connection? Big Grin
Are you even able to play online games?

And how far away is the next hospital?
And do you have a gib to defend against big animals or well evil people?
 In Colombia the biggest town near us(San Rafael) has a hospital  and there are doctors and dentist ( had to visit a doctor while there, cost was $15 dollars Canadian. I had no internet while I was there and had to walk a Kilometre to the main road to use my cellphone. I could get satellite for internet, phone and t.v. for approximately $65 Canadian a month. Maybe in the future. Pit vipers are the scariest animals for me there as there bite can be lethal. Not to worried about evil people as we live in a community with honest hard working people who have been texting us regularly to tell us our property is good. San Rafael has many streams and rivers so it is a big draw for the rich. They have been buying and developing in this area for a while. San Rafael did have a bloody history as I've talked with many people over 40, a lot had stories of leaving their land because of guerillas or paramilitary back in the Pablo Escobar days. But a lot have returned now cause it is a beautiful land and it is a lot safer now. That's not to say that Colombia is out of trouble. The F.A.R.C. ( a large guerilla group) have pretty much disbanded. They made a deal with the government. But right now they are" negotiating" with the E.L.N. another guerilla group. Hasn't been going too well. Lots of attacks on military and police installations over the last few years. While I was there they shut down the country for a weekend. They warned people not to be near anything military or police. Or to use public transportation. The people in our community listened. There was no busses running, they closed the school on Friday. San Rafael was like a ghost town that weekend. there were a few incidents in other parts of Colombia. The E.L.N. did stop a passenger bus near Mompox and removed the passengers and burned the bus. So life is very much different here than in Canada.
   For the most part scorpion stings are not as deadly but they are extremely painful I'm told.
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#6
(04-26-2020, 11:56 AM)Jupiter Wrote:    Yes squirrel we are right in the mountains, about 1400 metres above sea level. Ideal for growing coffee and chocolate. It is a side of a mountain so the views from the cabin are spectacular.  Underneath the cabin seemed to be a scorpion nest as we encountered a few baby scorpions in and around our cabin. The one helper we had encountered two pit vipers, killed one ( he always has a machete). Talking to my wife one day in the stream I witnessed a good sized scorpion crawl across her shirt ( was a panic moment for both of us) we killed it, she didn't get stung. On the other hand I get to bathe in the stream surrounded by beautiful plants while a large variety of butterflies float by including those huge blue morphos. At night we have two types of fireflies visit us one is greenish similar to the ones we have in Canada and the other is a larger one with red or orange luminescent bellies( they look like a hot embers flying in the forest) and luminescent green spots behind their eyes. Lots of colourful birds as well as vultures ( they seem almost as plentiful as sea gulls in Canada).  
   Haven't seen monkeys but the wife tells me they were in the forest when she first arrived. Probably scared off by the construction when they cleared the forest. Just because I don't see them doesn't mean they are not there. No doubt there is plenty of life in our forest. Waking up and being able to see ten thousand trees from the balcony of our cabin while enjoying a coffee that was grown next door that I helped roast is something so good for my sense of well being.

I have witnessed the beauty that a mountain setting can be, back when I honeymooned in the Canadian Rockies, but mannnn… there is a whole lot more to be afraid of in Columbia, than I would want to deal with. Not just the poisonous insects and snakes, and likely some larger members of the 'cat' family... but cartels, and regime change as well! Here's hoping that you have no bad experiences to look forward to, based on those possibilities!

Samira makes some great points...

And I'd just like to add, I would tire of climbing up and down the mountain within my first month, and after that, I would feel 'partly trapped' by where I was instead!
Fight the Good Fight
(Listen with lyrics here!)
Make it worth the price we pay!
All your life you've been waiting for your chance,
Pray you'll fit into the Plan.
But you're the master of your own destiny,
So give and take the best that you can!
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#7
(04-26-2020, 10:36 PM)Squirrel Wrote:
(04-26-2020, 11:56 AM)Jupiter Wrote:    Yes squirrel we are right in the mountains, about 1400 metres above sea level. Ideal for growing coffee and chocolate. It is a side of a mountain so the views from the cabin are spectacular.  Underneath the cabin seemed to be a scorpion nest as we encountered a few baby scorpions in and around our cabin. The one helper we had encountered two pit vipers, killed one ( he always has a machete). Talking to my wife one day in the stream I witnessed a good sized scorpion crawl across her shirt ( was a panic moment for both of us) we killed it, she didn't get stung. On the other hand I get to bathe in the stream surrounded by beautiful plants while a large variety of butterflies float by including those huge blue morphos. At night we have two types of fireflies visit us one is greenish similar to the ones we have in Canada and the other is a larger one with red or orange luminescent bellies( they look like a hot embers flying in the forest) and luminescent green spots behind their eyes. Lots of colourful birds as well as vultures ( they seem almost as plentiful as sea gulls in Canada).  
   Haven't seen monkeys but the wife tells me they were in the forest when she first arrived. Probably scared off by the construction when they cleared the forest. Just because I don't see them doesn't mean they are not there. No doubt there is plenty of life in our forest. Waking up and being able to see ten thousand trees from the balcony of our cabin while enjoying a coffee that was grown next door that I helped roast is something so good for my sense of well being.

I have witnessed the beauty that a mountain setting can be, back when I honeymooned in the Canadian Rockies, but mannnn… there is a whole lot more to be afraid of in Columbia, than I would want to deal with. Not just the poisonous insects and snakes, and likely some larger members of the 'cat' family... but cartels, and regime change as well! Here's hoping that you have no bad experiences to look forward to, based on those possibilities!

Samira makes some great points...

And I'd just like to add, I would tire of climbing up and down the mountain within my first month, and after that, I would feel 'partly trapped' by where I was instead!
 Colombia has a democratic process much like U.S.A. but they are plagued with the cocaine business. It what the paramilitary and guerillas fight about ( it's always about the money). I don't think the "Pablo Escobar days" will ever come back to Colombia.
   British Columbia does have cougars along with grizzlies and wolves. While Colombia has Jaguars and Pumas(I think they are the same as cougars) sightings are rare. You are right about it getting a little tiring trekking up and down steep areas. Ontario is relatively flat but it is something I'll just have to get used to. Beauty comes with a price.
   I know I wouldn't have done this without my wife for sure. Her being Colombian and from another rural area she was able to relate to the locals. I could never have done this alone. At first when I was looking at a side of a mountain that was full of sawgrass I really didn't see her dream. I thought of the logistics of getting materials and workers out there. Little did I know the workers were next door.  But here we are now and I do like being there.
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#8
(04-27-2020, 12:06 AM)Jupiter Wrote:  Colombia has a democratic process much like U.S.A. but they are plagued with the cocaine business. It what the paramilitary and guerillas fight about ( it's always about the money). I don't think the "Pablo Escobar days" will ever come back to Colombia.
   British Columbia does have cougars along with grizzlies and wolves. While Colombia has Jaguars and Pumas(I think they are the same as cougars) sightings are rare. You are right about it getting a little tiring trekking up and down steep areas. Ontario is relatively flat but it is something I'll just have to get used to. Beauty comes with a price.
   I know I wouldn't have done this without my wife for sure. Her being Colombian and from another rural area she was able to relate to the locals. I could never have done this alone. At first when I was looking at a side of a mountain that was full of sawgrass I really didn't see her dream. I thought of the logistics of getting materials and workers out there. Little did I know the workers were next door.  But here we are now and I do like being there.

Is it possible to "snake proof" a house?? Or will they always find a way in, if they want one?

I could deal with scorpions, if their sting is just very painful. The dead can feel no pain!!

But venomous snakes too? And I bet the markings on their body help them to blend in with the land all too well.

That would be my biggest fear. I've had a few close encounters... in a group, the grizzly above the treeline in B.C. In Ontario, camping in a tent in Algonquin Park, a black bear made an incision into the tent I was in because two foolish boys (not me, lol) didn't think that "gum" counted as food.... And I twice carried a wasps nest over my shoulder without realizing it. (lolol)

I'm guessing that there are no piranhas in the streams that you forgot to mention?? I know there's a rain forest there too, but not sure how widespread they are.

May your health endure so you can enjoy as much time in your new beautiful surroundings as possible!
Fight the Good Fight
(Listen with lyrics here!)
Make it worth the price we pay!
All your life you've been waiting for your chance,
Pray you'll fit into the Plan.
But you're the master of your own destiny,
So give and take the best that you can!
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#9
(04-27-2020, 01:10 AM)Squirrel Wrote:
(04-27-2020, 12:06 AM)Jupiter Wrote:  Colombia has a democratic process much like U.S.A. but they are plagued with the cocaine business. It what the paramilitary and guerillas fight about ( it's always about the money). I don't think the "Pablo Escobar days" will ever come back to Colombia.
   British Columbia does have cougars along with grizzlies and wolves. While Colombia has Jaguars and Pumas(I think they are the same as cougars) sightings are rare. You are right about it getting a little tiring trekking up and down steep areas. Ontario is relatively flat but it is something I'll just have to get used to. Beauty comes with a price.
   I know I wouldn't have done this without my wife for sure. Her being Colombian and from another rural area she was able to relate to the locals. I could never have done this alone. At first when I was looking at a side of a mountain that was full of sawgrass I really didn't see her dream. I thought of the logistics of getting materials and workers out there. Little did I know the workers were next door.  But here we are now and I do like being there.

Is it possible to "snake proof" a house?? Or will they always find a way in, if they want one?

I could deal with scorpions, if their sting is just very painful. The dead can feel no pain!!

But venomous snakes too? And I bet the markings on their body help them to blend in with the land all too well.

That would be my biggest fear. I've had a few close encounters... in a group, the grizzly above the treeline in B.C.  In Ontario, camping in a tent in Algonquin Park, a black bear made an incision into the tent I was in because two foolish boys (not me, lol) didn't think that "gum" counted as food.... And I twice carried a wasps nest over my shoulder without realizing it. (lolol)

I'm guessing that there are no piranhas in the streams that you forgot to mention??  I know there's a rain forest there too, but not sure how widespread they are.

May your health endure so you can enjoy as much time in your new beautiful surroundings as possible!
There you have it. Every place has its dangers. Even in a safe haven like Toronto. Gangs in certain areas or you could be run over by a vehicle. The wasp story is interesting to me. My youngest son is deathly allergic to wasps. There are three basic climates in the mountain areas. The valleys where my wife is from. There it is extremely hot. That is where you will find caimans ( crocodiles) piranhas, more poisonous snakes than we have here in San Rafael. Where I live is more temperate. The temperature doesn't get so hot( not much more than 30° Celsius).  And higher up you have cooler temperatures. Different crops are grown ( carrots potatoes and cabbages). So while there is no piranhas in our stream they do exist in the lower valleys but mostly in the Amazon.
   As for snake proofing a house I think that's virtually impossible. They seem to be able to fit into any tiny hole. If you asked me a year or more ago if I really wanted to live in rural Colombia I would have answered no. But now that I've been there for two months I can see a potential for me to live there. I definitely can breathe better there. My apnea went away while I was there. Now it's back. So maybe just for my health I need to move to Colombia.
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#10
(04-27-2020, 02:14 AM)Jupiter Wrote: There you have it. Every place has its dangers. Even in a safe haven like Toronto. Gangs in certain areas or you could be run over by a vehicle. The wasp story is interesting to me. My youngest son is deathly allergic to wasps. There are three basic climates in the mountain areas. The valleys where my wife is from. There it is extremely hot. That is where you will find caimans ( crocodiles) piranhas, more poisonous snakes than we have here in San Rafael. Where I live is more temperate. The temperature doesn't get so hot( not much more than 30° Celsius).  And higher up you have cooler temperatures. Different crops are grown ( carrots potatoes and cabbages). So while there is no piranhas in our stream they do exist in the lower valleys but mostly in the Amazon.
   As for snake proofing a house I think that's virtually impossible. They seem to be able to fit into any tiny hole. If you asked me a year or more ago if I really wanted to live in rural Colombia I would have answered no. But now that I've been there for two months I can see a potential for me to live there. I definitely can breathe better there. My apnea went away while I was there. Now it's back. So maybe just for my health I need to move to Colombia.

Interesting! The quality of air was not mentioned to me as a possible factor in sleep apnea. You can get a CPAP machine to help you with that. But I'll bet you're already aware of that.

I have a mild case of that, and am hoping to make it go away by losing weight. (lol) Alas, I'm also mired in anemia, and stats have been released that with most people's movements being restricted, people are eating more, not going out to exercise, and are gaining weight. (lol)

Here's hoping that a pit viper doesn't decide to make entry in the dark, get scared because you rolled over, and become your executioner. Sad

I rrrrreaally doubt that I could handle living there, even if the country is fairly stable politically right now.

People will always try to make cocaine there, and humans are always greedy, even if a few can ignore the pull, there will always be someone trying to "get rich quick".
Fight the Good Fight
(Listen with lyrics here!)
Make it worth the price we pay!
All your life you've been waiting for your chance,
Pray you'll fit into the Plan.
But you're the master of your own destiny,
So give and take the best that you can!
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