Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Month: June 2014

The Bus Lane, Continued

The two polar opposites of wheeled transportation: the bus and the bike.

The bus driver, a government employee, drives his route for the eight-thousandth time.

He recently “graduated” to a higher position, and is now driving a caterpillar bus (the really long three-axle kind that pivots in the middle).

A threesome of “flaite” lower-class Chilean hoodlums board without paying. He gives them a stern look.

It’s all he can do. It’s all he’s motivated to do.

He gets his paycheck either way.

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Gluten Free Yum Bars

Yum bars

This is an original.  And they’re good!  Good enough to serve to gluten eaters.

Here in Chile, while shopping at La Vega, I managed to happen upon a tiny health-foody booth.  They didn’t have a big selection at all, but they had some puffed quinoa I had never seen before.  It is quinoa “inflatada infusada con miel”.  That is, puffed quinoa infused with honey.  It tastes as sweet and crunchy as bad-for-you boxed cereal.    I decided to get a small amount, not sure how I would use it.

Months later (I’m slow) I had the idea of trying a granola bar.  After finding several different recipes, I came up with my own concoction, and have made it twice now.  Just thinking about them, I’m ready for more, but alas! my bananas are too green!

If you don’t have access to honey infused quinoa, just use regular puffed quinoa, or any other puffed grain (millet, rice, etc.)  You might want to increase the honey just a tad,  but really these are quite sweet.  I plan to cut back a bit on the amount of honey the next time I make them.  Hope you like them as much as we do.


4-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3 cups puffed quinoa (infused with honey or not), rice, or millet
1-1/2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
1-1/2 cups raisins
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
3 mashed bananas
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cups melted butter
1 cup honey

Grease a 9x13" pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients.  Press into pan.  Bake for ~20 minutes.  (I'm really not sure about the temperature of my oven, so you'll want to watch it closely the first time.  They may need to cook longer.)



Chile’s Wal-Mart bicycles

Back in the U.S. we were a bicycle-savvy family. All of us had a bicycle (and sometimes we had one to spare). Marathon and I knew how to adjust brakes, patch tires, etc.

We always laughed at Wal-Mart bikes. “Cheap junker bikes” we said. We always bought from other higher-quality sources.

We hadn’t been to Chile back then. In the U.S. the typical Wal-Mart bike costs about a hundred bucks. Here in Chile the bikes sold at Wal-Mart also average about a hundred bucks. The only difference is that the bikes here make U.S. Wal-Mart bikes look like the kind of bikes you’d want to ride across Siberia.

Have you ever heard of the wheel hubs coming loose? Or the crank arm that holds the pedal coming off? What about the little screw that holds the seat post in place stripping it’s threads out? These things happened within four months of light use to the bikes we bought shortly after we came here. Guess what… they weren’t Wal-Mart bikes. I haven’t seen bikes of their quality in Wal-Mart.

We bought two of them, and they costed us just over $150 each. We bought them at a dedicated bike shop. Today, one of them is serving as spare parts for all the stuff that breaks on the other one. We have had to go out and buy multiple higher-quality components.

Whenever I walk though a Wal-Mart here, I drop by the bike section and observe the horrors. I’ve seen a pedal crank that fell off the bike in the store, a handlebar that had slipped out of the neck, a plastic shifter arm that had snapped off, etc.

These three brands are the most commonly found in Wal-Mart and other similar stores: Opaltech, Sporttech, and Rave. I doubt that you have ever heard of these brands. If you ever see one, don’t buy it. The quality level is absolutely atrocious. These bikes are literally a swindle. The ones we bought came with a one-year warranty. After three months, we turned one of them in with a loose hub. The vendor happily put another $1 hub on the bike. Three months later…..

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