Thursday, June 30, 2011

A long day

Yesterday was a long day, I felt very overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work in front of us.
When we arrived at the land I looked around and for a moment it seemed almost impossible to do what we have set out to do, so unfriendly and harsh is the terrain.
Rocks are everywhere, and the first step is to be able to get around the land with a wheel barrow without braking it on all the rocks in the path, so in reality before anything else the paths must be formed. That job alone is huge as many of the rocks will not be moved easily, and we must instead fill in with gravel and such, and how to get any gravel to the back of land...well it is an organic process, and by simply moving forward one step at the time, we will work out how to best proceed. Patience and more patience!
But I am getting way ahead of myself, the day actually started by scavenging for food scraps at the local market, we were able to get plenty of fruit and veggie scraps for the chickens and the compost piles.
Then we went scavenging for other material to use, and found a big pile filled with discarded wood from a recently finished construction. Keenan was a great help, and worked proudly until we had finished.
 Ready to go..
Once on the land I did a simple soil test and found that the PH in our soil is just slightly acid, just below 7 and perfect, yet every other nutrient is depleted, so far as I could make out from the tests. To remedy this we need to create lots of good compost, as well as mulch everything heavily. I was able to get two good piles started, attempting a good balance between carbon and nitrogen material. That being one part nitrogen (chicken manure, fruit scraps and such) to every ten parts of carbon material (generally brown dry material, such as leaf litter, saw dust news paper , cardboard and such) We have so much woody debris on the land, but for the best result we would need to mulch it all, for now, we do the best we can with what we have. It is no problem keeping it moist as we are in the middle of rainy season and getting lots and lots of rain. We will 
be poking sticks deep into the piles everyday to aerate them and turn them once a week, hoping to have dark rich compost in a few months.
Keenan was again a great help getting sawdust to the piles..
 I am pretty sure it is not a good idea to put many whole citrus fruits in a pile, yet for now we will use what we have an observe the different results, also the big sticks will take longer to decompose, again using what we have..
Then, time for a swim and a snack in the shade by the cenote
Some planting of plants and little trees that we found discarded and broken. We created a whole garden at our house in Miami by using mostly abandoned plants and cuttings from all around us.
Then a last swim before piling in the truck tired, sore and plenty bitten by mosquitos 
The children and adults alike adore the freshness of the cenote, it really makes it all worth while..
My favorite part of the day was to see how inspired Keenan was from watching us work the land.
When we arrived home he brought out his wheel barrow and proceed gathering soil from around the garden, then with his boots and gloves he walked around asking all the neighbors if they needed any soil, when they did not, he asked Miguel if he would please walk around town offering soil to people. 
The two of them headed out, wheel barrow and all for a ten block walk to Frida's Garden, a little garden cafe, where I am right now using the internet, asking Rafael if he might need some soil. He happened to have a banana palm in need of soil, and in return for the soil Keenan was promised some bananas from the tree once it fruits.
It was the most precious thing.
Ahh and the other favorite part was a hot shower, yeah, it turned out we just needed a bit of patience to get the water heater working.
Now we just need internet at the house:)
 On the way Keenan found a bat that had been run over, he found a nice spot on the side to put the body to rest.
~in honor of the organic process~


  1. it all is indeed a remarkable story but i must say that little wheelbarrow and boy are the cutest thing! so nice to see you all as a family rebuilding your lives from scratch. we are too - but in a much different way.

  2. Use the rocks. In the early days of the US, the people who lived in New England had the same problem -rocks everywhere, all sizes. You couldn't plow. So they built rock houses and rock walls everywhere, using them, and clearing the fields at the same time. A rock bench by the water. You can scavenge those, too. You guys look very happy.

  3. Dear Christina, I have been visiting around your blog and everything is Great. I have a blog of creative activities for busy parents. It is not so fresh as yours, but it is funny. María.


Thank you for stopping by, I love to know you were here and enjoy comments so much.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.