Friday, September 23, 2011

The past week

Lots of activity on the Land this week. 
At the beginning of the week we did lots of transplanting of seedlings, all from seeds of fruits we have eaten, mostly avocado, mango and papaya. We also transplanted little tree saplings from The Royal Ponsienna that were growing crowded together in a small spot at the front of the land.
We planted the first mango tree on the land from a seed we sprouted when we first arrived.
We plan to grow as many fruit trees as we can reasonably fit. 
Already on the land before we arrived was about 40 citric trees, mandarines, 
sour oranges (huge in mexican cooking) sweet oranges, lemon and limes and a couple of other species.
Growing trees with deep tap roots such a the mango is a bit challenging here, as the depth of soil in any given area is very shallow. We have "breathers" all around, these are holes in the rock that open to the underground rivers and cenotes, and when we find small openings we plant trees such a mango here.

 Kaleena was very inspired, and planted many little plants that she plans to plant in an area around the house for her to take care of, her own garden as she says. 
Then we started clearing out this area which is right next to the kitchen, I plan to keep many different types of herbs here. So far we have added sweet basil, the local basil variety, and a few varieties of mint, also 6 larger papaya trees and also some chaya cuttings gifted to us by a friend( as of yet I do not know much of this plant, only that it is well loved here and considered very nutritious).
 Later once I have more things sprouted I will also add medicinal herbs, 
tomatoes and other culinary herbs. 
 Keenan was a great help with his wheel barrow, he is such a good worker!!
 Even though surely it looks hot, it is hard to appreciate from a picture how insanely hot it is working in this intense heat. This particular day left me with a splitting headache that whole night.
To make sure that we drink enough liquid is essential and still it 
wears you out unlike anything I have ever experienced. 
It is a must to get into the shade every so often to bring the body heat just a bit lower.

Once we had removed the weeds we added a layer of mulch from the cenote and then a thick layer of 
cenote sediments, I will add some compost and finish off with a layer of bark mulch collected from all the trees used in the construction.
 The next day we were fortunate to have some heavy rains, 
and it was a welcome relief to work wet and cool.
 Far from done, but already so much nicer looking...
Yesterday a new rooster arrived to the land, the old one was not doing his job properly. 
The rooster plays an important role in the keeping of the flock, he protects them and leads them to their roosting sticks at night, a good rooster will also bring food to all his ladies, a true gentleman.
 Also we wanted to diversify the blood lines and last week 10 new hens arrived.
The new hens and the new rooster were kept for the day in the new, beautifully constructed hen house, 
 to get acquainted.
Isn't he a handsome rooster, so beautiful and really friendly.
The hen house is so lovely, I really like how it came out, complete with roosting sticks and all.
There is a little door that allows them out to the grazing area. 
There are three grazing area between which they alternate.
As of yet, I know very little about the art of keeping chickens, but I am looking forward to learn all I can.

 And so as the old rooster was no longer needed he became food for us.
Neither Keenan nor Kaleena have ever seen and animal killed as such before, and both were fascinated, though both also wanted to save the poor creature.
Considering that we are currently eating some meat in our diet, I think it is a valuable lesson for the children to see and to know how the animal is killed, it puts eating meat in a different perspective than for example just picking it up in meat department of the super market.

As I was working in the garden this praying mantis came around and as I was taking a picture of him he started attacking with his front legs, so alien these creatures, and quite aggressive, I was surprised at his courage considering how big even my hand is compared to him.
 In the back of the land the water is slowly receding.
It is currently much like a wet meadow, filled with wild flowers and many birds and insects.
It is lovely and so peaceful, and Kaleena says she will spend lots of time there when 
we live on the land.

We are thinking that it will make the most sense to leave it a somewhat wild place, but allowing for human access, perhaps by an elevated wooden pathway to the center of the laguna, with a small deck a hammock or a comfy chair, a perfect spot for bird watching.
In the dry season we will find a different use for it.

 The same thoughts have been occurring to us about the cenote.
Rather than to clean the entire cenote we thought we might keep parts of it wild.
We are hoping that we can create some kind of walkway into the grassy area, 
with perhaps some kind of observation deck/area. 
There are the possibilities of creating little connecting islands through the big trees already there.
We shall see how we do, but the point being that we think it better to allow for wilderness with access to safely experience this wilderness. Then tame other areas for human living and enjoyment.
Creating a nice balance of allowing for nature to be, while also allowing for humans to safely enjoy!
We humans have such a tendency to come in and take over, such as cleaning out the entire cenote, removing all the sediments to allow for a crystal clear pristine swimming hole.
The more we thought about it the less it made sense, 
we will still have a pristine clear swimming hole, just smaller.
Loving the organic process of observing the place, really watching nature and then allowing for things to unfold slowly and naturally. 

 We moved Kaleena's school to the shady area by the cenote and considering that it was the first week I think it went alright, we did have a bit of catching up to do today though.
I went back to somewhat following a Waldorf curriculum.
I like how they present basic grammar through animal fables while at the same time 
learning about the animals and human behavior.
And I really appreciate how this approach catches Kaleena's attention.
 Meanwhile Keenan finds plenty to do, life on the Land is truly right up his alley.
He finds so many tasks to imitate, it is a joy to observe.

Well that was a long post, thanks for staying with me for this long, I would have broken it up, 
but found no time during the week to post.


  1. Over a year after I first started reading it, I am still captivated by your blog! Your adventures are beautiful and inspiring, and I adore the progress of your homesteading! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

  2. I love the approach that you're taking to make the land accessible yet still wild. A smaller swimming hole seems fine to me. :) I'm interested in the surrounding geology - so it is mostly rock with some cracks that have soil? And the cracks are connected to the subterranean rivers and the cenotes?

    Just beautiful - what an amazing place to have your lessons.


  3. Beautiful place and gorgeous pictures!
    I have couple of question for you my friend, what Waldorf curriculum do you work with Kaleena? and are your children learning spanish over there, how is that working for you?
    Have great weekend.

  4. Patty,
    I use the Live Education second grade, I only have parts of it as it was gifted to me. My children are slowly learning spanish though not as much as I would like. A few classes where everything happened in spanish would help for sure. I am also teaching Kaleena Danish which she is much better at:)


    The whole of Yucatan peninsula sits on top of a limestone shelf, the cenotes are sinkholes, openings to the ground water essentially as I understand it, and all the cenotes are connected though this underground river system. Basically we live on top of water. In most places, on the land, the depth of the soil is no more than 30 centimeters so most growing in these parts happens in raised beds. And yes, there are holes and cracks that connect to the underground world.


  5. Of course, there are so many things to remark upon. I heartily agree with you about the children experiencing what it means to make meat. I have never had to see that end of things, myself - and I'm afraid I'd have starved to death after, if I had. But people need to know what real life means, what things that end up being good for them cost other creatures, including people. We need to eat with gratitude, not with arrogance and a sense of our deserving to be fed.

    I don't know how you last in the heat. I have never been able to do it. The pounding headaches I know well, and have been told they are partially because of dehydration. But the work is so real, and the beauty also real -

    I do admit that I would rather watch as you do it than be doing it myself. I am one of the least worth of God's creatures. I don't expect to be blessed, but I always hope that I will be, and that the work I will be given to do ends up being something that fits me naturally and doesn't hurt too much.

    I wonder what the children will be when they grow up, after all this very exotic growing up? Where will they live as adults? Who will they marry? It is interesting to think about.

  6. Thanks Cristina for the replay to my comment.Love the way your children are experimenting the world.


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