Cotacachi / Cotacachi / Ecuador Culture / Living in Ecuador

And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon

Monday when Gary and I drove out to our land to inspect the latest work on our arched stone bridge, we saw a sight that made me think I was in a nursery rhyme.

Two black and white cows and a brown calf came tearing out of our fields and leaped over our arched bridge, evoking childhood memories of  the nursery rhyme, “The Cow Jumped Over the Moon.”  In my mind’s eye I could vividly see a page from my children’s book and a cow placidly careening through the heavens.

But that event was just a part of an unfolding saga that began on Saturday with a call from an indigenous man in a nearby village.  Gary couldn’t understand what the man was trying to say so he arranged to meet him on our land on Sunday.

He told us he’d been watching our property and the progress on our building project from his village just down the road.  And what he’d seen hadn’t pleased him.  He had plenty to say about the construction of our caretaker house:  our workers are lazy, they take long lunch breaks and naps during the afternoon.  He was most upset about another man from a village up the mountain who’d let his nine cows and bulls loose in our fields to graze.

When the nearby neighbor asked the cow man what he was doing, he told him that he had permission from Gary to graze his herd.  The animals proceeded to literally have a field day, stomping, chewing and destroying the three new trees we planted two weeks ago.  All that was left of them were some mangled branches dangling loosely from the trunks.

We discovered that the man with the marauding bovines was working for us on the caretaker house!  What a surprise.  A pretty cheeky fellow, if you ask me.

Today we confronted the issue and the man apologized for his lapse of good judgment and the rambunctious greediness of his four-legged, four stomached friends. The animals were feeding en masse again today and we asked him to remove them.  He didn’t get around to it until later in the afternoon.  That was when the cows jumped over the moon-shaped arch.

It was such an amazing sight that I am tempted to forgive and forget. . . unless the cows are back tomorrow.  If they return, they will perhaps join the ten white sheep that were chomping grass around our piles of brick today.  They are tended by a watchful old indigenous lady in black skirt and white blouse, her head wrapped in a blanket.

She appeared to be about 90, no teeth and she mumbled in Quechua whenever we asked her questions such as, “Would you please remove your sheep from our property?”  Either she was cagily avoiding our request or she doesn’t even speak Spanish.

All that’s missing is the cat and the fiddle.  Hey, diddle, diddle.



  1. Linda,

    Your blog is just the greatest! Your writing is very sarcastically humorous and enjoyable. The “Fence” discussion, w/the photos of your husband’s sign languaged sheep eating cherade for the little “indigenous” woman, was just priceless!

    I’m a semi-retired, tired teacher, with not much savings or a large pension, who is thinking about relocating internationally. Is renting a possibility? I’ll continue perusing your site and thanks for the enjoyable read!

    • Hi Mel,

      Linda is in the states now so I will answer this for her. She will appreciate your comments. I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read that article. Renting is definitely a possibility. Actually, Linda and I have been renting ever since we got here. Rents are reasonable, especially is you rent an unfurnished apartment and buy your own furnishings. It is getting more difficult to find something and more people are coming who wanting to rent. The best thing is to just come here, check into a low cost hotel, and look around.

  2. Hi,
    Intriguing blog about the cows, but more so for me on what you’re doing there. You’re building a house?

    I’m looking for my next home, and Ecuador popped up on my list. Would you mind telling me where you’re from and how you ended up there?

    I don’t quite know where to begin with this info seeking, but perhaps you will help.

    Thank you,
    Jim Locke
    58 yo; Ohio

    • Hi Jim,
      I’m from the U.S. but have been traveling my entire life, so I’ve called many states my home. Last one was NC and before that, Idaho. You can read about my life and Gary’s on our website, There are bios and also over 300 pages of information about Ecuador. If you are seeking info, our site is a great place to start. So are other blogs and websites about Ecuador as well as Ecuador forums.

      When will you be visiting Ecuador? I wouldn’t advise purchasing a home sight-unseen, although we’ve sold several that way with good results. As for us, we’ve taken our time, rented for five years and are just now getting ready to build a house on land we bought 3 years ago.

      Have you thought of signing up for one of our 3-day real estate tours of the Cotacachi area?

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