Highlights of 2010

January started with a test drive of the new offroad trailer, putting doors on it and we also gave it a nice paint job to match the colors of the Jeep that hauls it. Another project was the construction of a wood rickshaw to be used in a job at a teak plantation. The offroad trailer was used to move the rickshaw to the site and then the rickshaw was used to harvest teak. During more exploration to find an access road we had to use the Jeep to haul away a tree. We then made another attempt on horseback to find a better way and also find a good river crossing when we looked at the last 300m of the trail to the farm. Despite the successes there was also the analysis of the legal problems with Right of Possession.

Nonetheless in February I decided to go ahead and start building a dirt road in the jungle so that we can drive to the land instead of walking or have someone bring us the horses to the village. The village is where the existing dirt road ends. Progress was good and eventually we could go where no car has gone before. Later there was another big tree to remove and again the Jeep served as a logging tool. As part of the attempts to resolve the legal issues we also had a meeting with the district administator from Chepo and went with him to see one more alternate path to the farm crossing one of the two rivers further upstream and using a dirt road he had built. If you own cattle, you need to put your brand on them. So we registered our brand with the local authorities in Chepo.

As outdoor activities with horses turned out to be so much fun and I had the opportunity to ride a Peruvian Paso horse before, in March I got two of these fine animals named Topacio and Diadema. They were in great shape and looking good but after relocating them just 30km and providing them a slightly different food, they developed a health issue which had to be treated. We also constructed a temporary horse stable to provide them shelter. During one of the tours we made with these horses we discovered they were city girls and had to get trained to get used to rough terrain. In another attempt to resolve the legal issues I took the regional administrator of the authority reforma agraria over the new dirt road to the farm but he was too afraid to act and the case went on to the national director.

By April the two Peruvia Paso mares were mastering rough terrain very well. I was still working remotely as a team member on a software project from our home at Altos del Maria in the mountains of Western Panama. To improve my Internet connection I set out to built a transmitter to bring a connection with much higher quality and speed to the place.

Unfortunately by the end of April I had a horse accident and resumed blogging in May when I was teaching remotely Ruby on Rails with just one useable hand.

In August the plans to set up a farm in the rainforest of Panama were put on hold. It turned out to be impossible to resolve the legal issues.

I also got involved into a new project at a new client in Columbus, Ohio, and in October wrote about programmers having a dream. While waiting on my flight at Columbus airport I jokingly created my own testing DSL in Java.

Photo Galleries

Transmitter Altos Del Maria shows the construction of a solar and wind powered transmission tower for Internet access at a small settlement in Western Panama.