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~

Monday, June 27, 2011

Settling in

We have now been in the new home for a week, and we have settled in nicely.
Many people told me before we came here, that Tulum has a very dense energy that either takes you in or spits you out, and judging by our first week here we have been taken in.
Having a place for the first time in almost three years where we can feel at home 
is a blessing beyond words. We are slowly finding our rhythm and living the way we as a family would.
Certainly it is not without "problems".  I have not had a warm shower since being here, and I LOVE my warm showers. Also we have no internet although the house was supposed to have wireless access, and for that matter my computer has been acting up again also.
We are on a tight budget and our meals have been very simple and repetitive, and also a lot of our luggage is still at our friends house 45 minutes away.
Even with all of these little inconveniences our little tribe is thriving. 

We have been without a car most of the time and have not been able to get to the land as much as we would have liked, yet have used the time to settle in nicely and doing lots of research. 
The plans for the initial house which had already been done before we arrived turned out to be for a far more expensive house than the budget could hold, so Miguel has been designing a sweet little house, that we are hoping will fit within the budget.
Besides that we are realizing that the first step in creating the gardens and growing food successfully, will require lots and lots of compost, as we have next to no topsoil, in fact we will need to grow mostly in raised beds, to avoid hauling massive amounts of rock all around the land.

So here we are, settling in in Tulum, getting ready for the creatively fun work ahead of us.
Cherishing being all together in our own space!
I have not had a chance to upload any pictures, so they will follow later.
~Blessing to all~

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our new temporary home

While we build the first house on the land we will be renting a house near by.
We have been looking around for the past few days, and ended up with two options that were both tempting. One was "on" the beach, primitive, off the grid, solar wind power and an immense amount of mosquitoes, the other was in town, more spacious and comfortable and with pool access.
While the beach community in Tulum is very appealing, we decided to go with the place in town.
Having moved around so much over the past  couple of years I felt that a more homey feel, 
with children around to form friendships made more sense. Had it been just Miguel and I, I think we would have certainly moved to the beach, yet this way the children can make connections with other children before we move out to the mangroves in a few months.
Below are a few pictures of the new "home" as well as the surrounding area of Tulum beaches and pueblo.

The front of the house..
La playa
El pueblo
~feeling grateful~

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Mexico

Following three months in Venezuela, a short solo trip for me to Denmark, one week in Miami and here we are, ready to begin a new adventure.
Like I mentioned in the earlier post we are here to help create an eco village in the jungle of Tulum.
An eco village in the sense that we are a group of people coming together with the intention 
of creating a low impact way of life that integrates various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building and much more.
We, our family, will be the Robinson Crusoe family of this project. We will be the first to move unto the land, to start creating the gardens, the orchards. To clean and to build.
The land which we saw yesterday for the first time is hostile at first impression, not friendly in the least.
A fire cleared many trees a couple of years ago, and left big parts of the property barren of vegetation.
Now trees are growing back among the rocks, yet it is still far from the lush oasis and sanctuary that we envision it be. There is a big Cenote (deep natural well ) on the land which provides a clean fresh water source, as well as a swimming hole.
First step is to build a house for us to live in, before we can get started with that we need a bridge over the cenote, and this project is already under way. We hope to get started building in one months time.
As you will see in the photos below we have our work cut out for us, failures as well as successes, and I intend to document the process open and honestly here..

Below is what most of the first hectare looks like
 this is where the bridge is being built
 lush environment around the cenote
 the children have already fallen in love with the cenote...
 and this is the site where we will build the first house, the house where we will live