June and July

Since we decided about the re-design of EcoVillage project, our existence have been blissful.    Doing the necessary maintenance of the farm is an easy, pleasant routine that allows us to notice the beauty of life every day and gives us more than enough time to learn new things, explore new ideas and spend time together in a relaxed atmosphere.

This time of the year the sheep have mainly dry food and it is not their favourite, so we give them extra green bananas as an evening snack.   We still take them out to spend time on the fields, to nibble on the straw but they spend most of their time enjoying shade of trees, and in the evening Stef takes them for a walkabout, so they can enjoy running up and down the road.

 

The chickens are delightful!   

Maja:

We had 6 new chicks in May, and watching their mom taking care of them is one of Maya’s favourite activities during the day.    Their mom not only shows them how to look for food, but she finds it, shreds it for them and gives it to them, making a very particular kind of noise.   Have you ever noticed that animals use a very specific kind of sound to communicate with their babies?   Calm, warm, reserved only for them.

The meat chickens that we bought in February have gotten bigger and bigger, we ate one already and it was delicious as well as very heavy!     And we discovered we have two roosters. 

Interesting to realise that roosters also go through a voice mutation.   They were practicing a lot for few months, which most of the times looked like the strange sound suddenly came out of nowhere in their bodies and they were very surprised about it. 

Now they are crowing almost like the adults, but their tone of voice is much softer and lower.

It is the sheep-shearing time and we were lucky enough to get a lot of wool for free, to use in our gardens. We put it on the soil as a mulch. Not only our veggies look really cute, as if sprouting from a cloud, but the soil is very well protected from the heat and evaporation. Thanks to Noemi’s help, all of our garden soil is now covered in a cosy wooly duvet.

 

and some wool is black ..

Maja also sheared our own sheep and she is very proud of how well and fast she did it.  Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures from that process, but maybe you can imagine that holding down a sheep and cutting her wool is a two-hand and two-leg job 😉

We are also getting lots of milk from Bonita!  We are waiting for kefir and yogurt grains to arrive in order to use it well (fermented foods always the best and making cheese is quite wasteful: most of the liquid is whey, which we don’t have a good use for).

In June we were still processing all the delicious meat and lard from them, in small batches taken from the freezer in order to make it more manageable.    The pieces that are left from rendering lard we call ‘crunchy bits’ and are very delicious also.    Anything we can’t eat or process quickly (like the guts, heads, etc.) we let the flies process and then cycle those through the chicken into yummy eggs (which were extra plentiful this year, for some reason).

And now we have a huge stash (in the freezers) of first-class, organic and (almost) free-range pork that is a delicious addition to our favourite, 100%-from-the-farm paleo meals.

 

After this stint of hard work, Maja decided to travel to the heart of the island – Caldera de Taburiente to spend there few days in total peace, in the wilderness, fasting and contemplating. 

I was sleeping under a willow, next to small spring among the mountains. 

And spending my days meditating, admiring the beauty of nature, listening to pine trees, swimming in the river… To live in a place where we can just walk into this kind of paradise is extremely lucky.   Pure happiness.

I took out a lot of inspiration, memory of the mountains watching over me and feeling of being relaxed and content with myself and my life. 

I also had an idea to start organizing retreats for other people to enjoy this kind of bliss with me:

Now I’m learning about marketing to get the word out there.


In June we were treated to the first plums… and they are the most aromatic, delicious ones too …


We are still blessed with very cool summer so far, which is wonderful … during June and July we had only two days of change of wind direction that brings hot dry air from the Sahara (Calima), instead of cool wet winds from Iceland (the Alisios).   And we even had rain and lovely mists during June …

Let’s hope it keeps like this during the next half of summer.  The fire-fighting troops (helicopters and trucks) are out in force doing their habitual trainings in the hot season.


 

on 14 July in Tazacorte, there was the first LGBT Pride march in La Palma. We went there to support love equality and we got to take some of those colourful balloons home  🙂

Then we stayed to listen to the very gay music whilst enjoying a pizza … 

finishingoff with a nutella pizza for dessert 😉

In the meantime, we were slowly preparing for hosting the on-site iPDC course in August, doing the online inductions & getting to know the interns arriving soon: looking forward to their arrival!

 

Have a cool summer!

 

An April full of Flowers

April is one of the months in which flowers abound here, like clumps of wild freesias …
but particularly yellow flowers for some reason, like the mimosa trees that we sowed from seed years ago, that make gorgeous fluffy golden clouds everywhere …
The land to the right is not ours … can you tell the difference?

A Small Family …

Djamel and Valeriya were interns for a month and used their stay to practice transitioning their lives from the city to the countryside, together with their 1 year old daughter, Mercedes.
They learned to take care of the farm maintenance routines like feeding the animals, taking care of gardens and forest gardens, planting out vegetables and some basic construction skills, whilst finishing off one of the light camping domos.
These are simple shells that can be used like tents or to put tents inside for more insulation, both from cold in winter and heat in summer.
They are made almost exclusively of recycled materials: basically they are cardboard sheets sewn together over a wire frame, then covered with plastic, netting and (yet to grow…) climbing plants, so eventually they will disappear into the landscape.   The internal floor space is made of 4 pallets both for extra insulation and to prevent the soil being compressed unnecessarily.
 
They also helped to finish some details of the rocket stove for the hot bath.
 

Working and Living in Groups

At the beginning of the month, Stef prepared a presentation about living and working together, in an effort to summarise some of the essential items we talk about at more length on the iPDC course.

You can see the presentation here …

and in the talk thread in  our FB group where you can comment or participate in the discussion about these topics.

Baby Chicks

In the meantime, this fertile land keeps delighting us with an endless abundance of life!    Three of our chickens started sitting on their eggs this month, so now we’re waiting for little chooks to be born.
We finally will get to see whether our new ‘incubator part’ of our chicken coop will work well.   The mothers need to be segregated to help them get the peace and quiet (+ relative darkness) they prefer whilst incubating, and the tiny chooks, when born, need protection from predators like rats and eagles … so we have special ‘motherhood ward’ for all this which we hope will work well.

Lots of Potatoes

The potato field grows like crazy and we can’t wait for eating potato chips every day!

Sheep & Pigs

The evening walks with the sheep fill us with joy!  Watching happy animals do their thing is one of the most rewarding things about living here, and a great way to spend our time and relax with them.
Sometimes even the piggies join us …

We also got a new baby ram from a neighbour to breed with our best milking sheep when he comes of age. His name is Canelo and he’s a constant delight!

 
You are welcome to comment in our Facebook group about this newsletter, here