Trabajos de finca: Numa

Leah plantando Iñames
Prototipo de trampa de grasas para lavamano biblioteca
Qué hace Maggie?

Qué hicimos?

Preparamos una terraza con el sistema de riego de goteo para luego plantar una milpa (maiz, judías y calabazas).

 

Qué disfruté? Qué ha ido bien?

Disfruté podar la palmera y construir el protótipo de filtro de aguas grises para la biblioteca. Fue genial ver el taller ordenado y con espacio para moverse!

Qué fue difícil?

Fue difícil hacer las conexiones de tubos de riego porque me duele el hombre y hay que hacer mucha fuerza. Anouk se fue 🙁

Qué aprendí? Qué haría diferente la próxima vez?

No recuerdo, la próxima trataré de anotar cada día lo que aprendí.

Numa

Coordinador de 8th Life La Palma

  • Perfil
  • Diseños
  • Proceso de aprendizaje

Perfil

Crecí y viví en Suiza hasta los 20 años cuando me fui para estudiar gestión de empresas en el caribe francés. Allí dediqué mucho tiempo a practicar yoga, meditación y a pensar el mundo. Apenas empezados mis estudios de negocios ya tenía claro que el mundo no podía seguir este rumbo de destrucción ambiental y de profundización de desigualdades. Entonces aproveché mis practicas y tiempo libre para involucrarme con proyectos de transformación social y para imaginar y diseñar “nuevos” sistemas económicos y políticos. Participaba de una iniciativa para promover el comercio justo, conducí una colecta de medicamentos para la zona en conflicto de Costa de Marfil, fui pasante en la Comisión Nacional Dominicana para la UNESCO en Santo Domingo y finalmente realizé mi proyecto de licenciatura en la oficina de vínculos con ONGs en el departamento económico y social de la ONU en Nueva York. Luego de completar una maestría en estudios de paz, conflictos y desarrollo en España, fundé una iniciativa de desarrollo comunitario llamada GoPacifia. Pero en vez de dedicarme a fondo en este proyecto, creía que era necesario desarrollar más la base teórica del mismo y me embarré en una tésis de doctorado que finalmente abandoné depués de varios años. Durante estos años vivía en Buenos Aires (donde conocí a Sole, mi pareja), donde primero intenté montar varios negocios con el fin de financiar los proyectos de mi futura ONG. Aunque tengo un espíritu emprendedor, claramente no estoy hecho para los negocios. Después de vivir unos meses en Brasil con Sole y mi hijastra, volvimos a Buenos Aires y me decidí por finalmente dedicarme a lo que tengo en las tripas. Trabajé como coordinador de voluntariado para una ONG local, y luego como mentor en Argentina para los jóvenes voluntarios de una ONG alemana (Internationaler Bund). Trabajando en gran parte desde casa, pudé combinar estos trabajos con el de cuidado de nuestra hija y de la casa. Ocupaba mi tiempo libre en jugar Ultimate frisbee y sobre todo diseñar y dar charlas sobre sistemas monetarios alterativos. También me involucré con un proyecto de economía colaborativa (Minka), donde conocí a Heloisa Primavera (co-fundadora de 8th Life y miembro de la Academia de Permacultura Integral). Mi participación en varios espacios activistas en Buenos Aires me permitió conectar con personas afines. Con varias de ellas hemos finalmente dado vida a GoPacifia enfocando la iniciativa en la promoción y desarollo de monedas comunitarias. Dabamos charlas, talleres y facilitabamos procesos de creación de monedas comunitarias (aunque ninguna vio la luz todas hemos aprendido un montón). A inicios de 2019, nos mudamos a la isla de La Palma, Canarias, invitadas por la Asocación Gaia Tasiri, para cuidar de la hermosa finca de 8thlife, y para reactivar el proyecto de eco-aldea después de la muerte de Stella, su fundadora.

Proyectos de diseño

  • Extensión vivienda residente
  • Gestión de aguas grises casa residente
  • Re-diseño gallinero
  • Diseño de actividades sinérgicas de voluntariado: gallofas, talleres
  • Re-diseño residentes ecoaldea
  • Gestión del agua: recuperación, tratamiento, almacenamiento y usos
  • Diseño energético de la ecoaldea
NombreNivelTemáticaDuraciónImpactoEstado
Extensión vivienda residenteIndividualPersonas/Eco-construcciónMedio plazoBienestar humano / Permanencia residentesEjecución terminal
Gestión de aguas grises casa residenteLocalizadoAguaCorto plazoDisponibilidad de agua y biodiversidadEjecución inicial
Re-diseño gallineroLocalizadoAnimalesCorto plazoBienestar animalDiseño
actividades sinérgicas de voluntariadoComunitarioComunidadInstantáneoIntegración comunidad local y desarrollo de capacidadesEjecución inicial
Re-diseño residentes ecoaldeaEcoaldeaPersonasCorto plazoDesarrollo de la ecoaldeaDiseño
Gestión del agua: recuperación, tratamiento, almacenamiento y usosEcoaldeaAguaMedio plazoAhorro y disponibilidad de agua, resiliencia a las sequíasIdea
Diseño energético de la ecoaldeaEcoaldeaEnergíaMedio plazoReducción de emisiones y autonomía energéticaIdea

Evaluación de capacidades  y objetivos de aprendizaje

CapacidadesEstado inicialEstado actualObjetivo prioritario
Metodología en diseño permaculturalnuloprincipianteCDP 2021
CDP avanzado 2022
Diploma 2023
Conocimientos científicos en agricultura ecológicanuloprincipiantenecesidades nutrientes frutales, reconocer enfermedades y métodos preventivos y remedios
CC. en arquitectura e ingenieríabajomediocomportamientos de arcillas y materiales naturales
CC. en sociologíaavanzadoavanzado
CC. en gestión de proyectoavanzadoavanzado
CC. en pedagogíamediomedio
Habilidades técnicas en construcción (carpintería, albañileria, electricidad, herrería, bioconstrucción, etc.)bajoMedio en carpintería, albañileria y bioconstrucción
Bajo en electricidad
Nulo en herrería
Nivel avanzado de bioconstrucción
HT. en agricultura (plantar, abonar, podar, injertar, compostar, cuidar/tratar)nulobajonivel medio a través de la práctica y de talleres
HT. en artesanías (..nulobajo

Proceso de aprendizaje

26/03/2021
Qué funcionó bien esta semana? Qué estoy disfrutando?

Esta semana pude avanzar con varias tareas administrativas que tenía pendiente hace varias semanas. Hemos plantado 50 boniatos (batatas) de 6 variedades locales. Hemos trabajado la metodología de diseño. Enseñé a las voluntarias como usar el sistema de irrigación de la finca y nos divertimos con una competencia para encontrar las llaves de riego. Podé algunos tagasastes y parte de olivos (delicadamente porque ya es tarde). Con Sole miramos un video sobre técnicas de construcción con barro. Y Jessica tuvo 11 o 12 pollitos!

Cuáles son los desafíos/dudas/dificultades que tuve/que tengo? Qué puedo/podemos mejorar?

 

Qué aprendí esta semana?

 

Cuáles son mis objetivos para la próxima semana? Qué quiero mejorar/aprender/avanzar/terminar?

 

8th Life La Palma is rebirthing

We owe you some news after almost 2 years of silence. We’ll briefly tell you what happened during this time and what we are up to next!

Our project in La Palma has gone through difficult times since the death of our founder and leader Stefania in September 2018. It was emotionally too hard for Maja to keep living in the finca without  her mentor and friend, so the ecovillage lost its 2 hosts and all activities stopped.

The board of Gaia Tasiri found volunteers to maintain the food forest until a family was chosen to settle down and take care of the project in March 2019. Numa, Sole and Katy dedicated the first 6 months to restore the spaces into good condition, to fixing basic infrastructure and to start cultivating again (while our urban adolescent doughter keep saying everything we do is so hippie).

The project really started to move forward in February 2020 when Numa started studying his CDP with the Integral Permaculture Academy. He got further involved in the association becoming its Treasurer, and in the Academy becoming its platform administrator. This firmer ground and confluence of positive energy opened the way to reactivate 8th Life activities. The association decided to start small but strong by applying to the volunteer programme of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). Numa successfully wrote the application by May and we had planned to receive volunteers by September, but the SARS-CoV-2 global hysteria pushed the starting date further to January 2021.

The good thing is that it’s giving us more time to plan for the volunteer project and to prepare the volunteer’s arrival. There is always a lot mainteance work in the finca, plus an eco-construction project going on, the redesigning of gardens and the new chickens’ relationship with them.

Thankfully, since October we receive the precious help of Dario who’s main project is to preparing a lot of compost to give food to the soil and gardens. We also had the chance to have Karine coming to volunteer during the afternoons to prepare the garden beds and to help with the cob walls.

The plan for the beginning of 2021 is to receive 4 volunteers from the ESC program (for 2 and 6 months), to organize a Permaculture introductory course (in January) and an onsite Permaculture Design Certificate (in March). As we are starting all over again and we need to focus on getting well organized, we will not yet open the ecovillage for visitors. If you wish to participate as a volunteer, please have a look at our volunteer page.

We are very excited to embrace a new begining with this fascinating permaculture training and ecovillage project!

Stefania passed away

that Stefania Stella Strega Scoz has passed away.
Our activities will be on hold for the time being while we focus on grieving this great loss.
As son as we can, we will continue with the work to keep manifesting her visions and honor her life mission.

We have also created this Facebook Group to share about her and the any ways in which she enriched our lives, and you are also invited to contribute in honoring her together.

 

 

August course

August was the month of the first on-site PDC in a new form. According to one of Permaculture Principles, we decided to start small, so we had 3 students : Maya from Slovakia and Alessandro and Matteo from Italy. Our diplomate student – Maja used this opportunity to train in a true Action-Learning way for an Apprentice Teacher, so she took on the organization of practical work on the farm and facilitation of discussions during the classes, to practice and experiment with her facilitation skills.

Here you can read about their experiences:

 

Maja (the Apprentice Teacher)

The whole course was quite challenging for me. I felt from the beginning that I’m totally unprepared and unfit to organize a course like that.

As it started though, I discovered that it is not so hard and I am quite capable. What I needed was to stop trying to solve in my head potential problems, but stay focused on the present time and just do 

things. I also managed to project my own self-confidence in the times that called for it. Something with which I surprised myself.

I think I did particularly well with organizing the practical work. This is the field in which I feel much more confident, and we did a lot of useful work on the farm. I am very happy with the amount of trees we composted and mulched and the construction of the wall that was waiting to be done for a long time.

Facilitating the discussions was more difficult for me. I really enjoyed watching all of our classes again and answering the questions, but had problems with encouraging engagement from the rest of the students. Also, I was too doubtful to guard the dynamics of the group in terms of evenly distributed time of speaking for example. This is something I still need to work on, but I believe it just takes practice. I realised that our course is even more different than what people are used to, because it is focused on action-learning and requires pro-activity from students to be maximally beneficial. I was taking it for granted.

 

 

I realised the importance of silly games that I met with on different courses and conferences that have a purpose of making people laugh and move. I always felt very silly and uncomfortable with them but now I think that I will have to learn some of them to move people’s energy before and during classes.

There is still a lot for me to learn in terms of facilitating groups and being on a position of a leader, but I am happy with the work I did and how I managed stretching my comfort zone for a whole month!

 

 

 

 

 

Maya (the student)

 

I came here looking for the change of environment from lonely and low-energy city life, I wanted to spend my time in nature. I wanted to meet people with mindsets different to what I’m used to, to have meaningful conversations and more than anything – to start doing something meaningful with my life.

Here, I put first step on that way. I managed to do all of the things I wanted and more!

I really enjoyed working on the farm and the classes were very interesting, plenty of information! I came here knowing nothing about permaculture and now I have a general idea what is about and a lot of particular information that open up a way to more research.

I also learned a lot about myself during our everyday life in here, the work and studying.

 

Matteo

This period was difficult for me to stay in a little community. I wanted to stay alone, but I wanted more to overcome my limitations, so I challenged myself and it went well. I managed to stay present and was getting more organized day by day. The contact with nature was very helpful.

I liked working physically every morning, I can see how it helps my body and general health, even though sometimes I had pains from working more than I’m used to.

The content of the clases was very interesting! I had some contact with permaculture in Italy, but it was very fragmented, this course helped me a lot in putting it all together. I can see now how many possibilities there are to do something with the land, with the system. I can create my own system.

I am working on my design portfolio now, which is going well.

 

Alessandro

I really like this place. The nature is amazing and I met a lot of great people around. I was already studying permaculture, but this course let me to look at it from more integral perspective, which is interesting. It has a lot of information and there is still a lot of studying I want to do on some of the topics that interest me.

I enjoyed working on the farm, taking care of the animals and forest gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

We also had a guest teacher – Tone – that is a graduate of our Permaculture Design Course from many years and a neighbor on the island. She came to share with the students her expertise on vegetable garden care.

We are very happy to have been able to offer an interesting, unique and enriching experience to 4 people.

We have learned a lot from this experience about organizing this kind of course, thanks to our brave pioneers!


Next course will take place in November 2018, you can see more information about it in this leaflet : http://bit.ly/iPDC-8thLife


As a farewell a bit of cuteness. A new member of our family – Muffy – was delighted to have an attention of more people. She was following us around and helping wherever she could. For example – while planting trees :

 

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!

 

May Bliss

In May we actually decided to relax and take a part-time holiday to rest and recover after quite a busy and stressful 6 months.  And it was blissful!  So it was surprising and gratifying to see how much we actually got done, even so, once we sat down to compile this newsletter …

August iPDC Course

We’ve changed the dates of this a few times (sorry if that confused anyone!) but now we have the lovely Noemie here, who is able to take on the course organising, we’re happy to be able to offer this onsite Integral PermaCulture month Certificate course for the month of August.  And start a new cycle of quarterly courses.   
www.bit.ly/iPDC-8thLife

 

It is an intensive, full-immersion 4 week course, with practical farm routines and design work every morning, focused on Forest Gardens design and maintenance, and permaculture classes & discussions every afternoon.  Weekends are for trips around the island and fun time.
See details here > www.bit.ly/iPDC-8thLife
And this is now the passport / first step of our new graduated Internship Programme, explained in the leaflet.

EcoVillage Project ReDesign!

We are delighted to present how we have radically changed the design of the ecovillage in formation.  Now, instead of a big farm, there are 4 neighbouring farms that we rent (and in the future can be sold) independently.
We are very happy with this result of very creative meetings and discussions over several months with our fantastic colleagues and co-founders, Heloisa Primavera, Esther Cuenca y María José Rodríguez + 2 consultant colleagues, Hamza & Romeck (who, like our co-founders, are experts in organisational design, eco-projects, etc.)
There's a dialogue related to this page in the Integral Permaculture FB group (click icon to go there)
There is a Dialogue thread about this in our FB group
<< click icon to go there <<
with the leaflet for the project (in Spanish) explaining the more technical details.
There are important advantages we see with this re-design:
1) it is ideal for people who are interested in trying out, in a much less risky way than by buying a farm, if they really have the capacity to lead a new life in the countryside, but with some additional facilities, since these are mini-farms already in production, with basic services, and with neighbours doing the same thing.  And with option to buy;
2) it is also an option for people who don’t have the possibility to buy their own farm, since the cost is the same as renting any apartment, but with the option of part-work-exchange and also with the option of setting up / participating in local eco-businesses;

 

3) for everyone, it is also a much more ‘light’ and easy way of ‘living in community’ – but step by step, in a much more natural way: only if & when we wish, since there is no obligation to share spaces and time (which we already know is quite difficult), but as simple neighbours we can help each other and get closer as much and when we wish;
And the advantages also for us (the permanent residents here) are also considerable …

4) mainly the one of having – at last! 🙂 – a much more ‘normal’ home, where we can enjoy the intimacy, peace and silence that we all need to live well (& with just one month of this … we already feel like new people! … incredible ..), and we can share our lives and personal spaces only with family and close friends;

 

5) we are delighted that we realised there was another way to share this little paradise with more people (which is important for us since we feel very selfish in keeping all this abundance just for ourselves), but without having to have a ‘circus’ life – with lots of coming and going of visitors, the stress of constant changes, to put up with the (sometimes many, and heavy…) dramas of people in the middle of changing their lives, etc.;

6) And also be able to share this fabulous rural life & environment with more people **as equals** (other people who manage their farms, like the other neighbours) … and not so much with ‘dependants’ – as the visitors who (consciously or not) often expected us to be giving them lots of attention, teach them stuff, to be providing them with their instant ‘community’, etc.   And other unrealistic expectations.

7) an unexpected advantage was that immediately at re-taking full responsibility for the care of the animals and gardens (simple daily jobs that it made sense to leave to the interns and volunteers before, so we could do more of the things only we can do), we re-connected in a deeper way to our family here, and our real constant community: the land, trees, plants, … and especially the animals.  
The sense of home and deep peace that flows from this daily connection is indescribable.   As are the many hilarious things that the animals get up to once they feel more connected to us, also … 
8) this is our magic number here, in 8thLife … and this is an example of how we always listen to what the place tries to tell us, of what it wants, also.   And we knew we were on the right track with this re-design when, at the end of April, just after we decided to rent Finca Fortuna (but still with a few lingering doubts…), and precisely after some 15 minutes that the last 2 volunteers left (& Stef was cleaning the house), Noemie arrived, walking on the path beside the house, and asking for houses to rent!   Which had never happened before, in all the time we’ve been here (for us to meet anyone who wanted to rent in the area).
And as it turned out she even had an idea of creating a rural hostel (Finca Fortuna was our rural hostel ..) like her sister in France.   
 
So we already have our first new neighbour, and she is currently looking for other people to share Finca Fortuna with her, whilst she organises the Hostel project and also is taking on the role of course organiser for our residential Permaculture courses.   Perfect for everyone. 
Lots of ‘magic coincidences’ like this happen to us here, but only when we are attentive, and well aligned with the great magic of this place, which has a very strong, beautiful and particular energy, and is probably trying to communicate to us all the time what design it wants done here …

GDPR Compliance

This month we also did our bit to redesign stuff to make sure we comply with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (see www.eugdpr.org if you don’t know what that is), which has been an interesting and occasionally frustrating challenge.

We did some staff training with our management committee so that everyone is up to date with our legal duties for this and learned a lot of interesting stuff about cookies, data laws, etc. together.  
We also took the opportunity to refresh and ‘turn a new page’ in May also in a symbolic way by deleting all of our records of information from our past students, voluteers, guests, etc. which we don’t need any more.   So a fresh new start month in many ways!
http://www.lopdat.es/noticias/aprobado-el-reglamento-europeo-de-proteccion-de-datos-nuevas-reglas-adaptadas-la-era

Bonita was Sick

Bonita is our only goat, a very cheeky, funny and lively member of the family who still follows Stef around because she bottle-raised her from when she was very little (a gift from our shepherd friend Cece, who has hundreds of Garafiano goats and makes huge cheeses with their milk). 
She seemed in pain and stopped eating for a few days, but recovered very quickly after a few injections from our friendly local vet Eduardo, and was head-butting the sheep in her usual playful way in no time.    
But before calling Eduardo we consulted with two other shepherd colleagues, Antonio and Shaun (who also have hundreds of goats and sheep and so tons of experience) since now we’re all connected with wasapp and is so much easier to communicate … and they were lovely in being very concerned and giving us advice.
So afterwards Maja created a wasapp group “Alegrías de la Ganadería” (Husbandry Joys?) so that we can remember to share the fun stuff (which is the vast majority) not just contact each other when we have some problem!

Chooks were Born

Certainly one of the most delightful things about living with animals is welcoming the babies 

… as we did this month with the new baby chickens, which are now livening up the place with their shrill “pio pio pio” as they follow their mothers everywhere.

And note that the naked neck of the mother isn’t a disease!   It is the characteristic of one of the 5 different breeds of chickens we have here.

Potatoes and Pigs 

We usually don’t grow any potatoes (because they come up spontaneously in the garden from remains of the old ones), but we decided to do a whole field a few months ago … and now they’re ready.  Another embarrassingly abundant aspect. 
< just picked                                                                                 

< and just cleaned:

We have so much lard now that it makes sense to make delicious potato chips whenever we like.     We literally a huge barrel of the stuff, lovingly rendered from our animals and the exchanges we do with our local butcher, so we’ve even started selling it, together with our excess of delicious eggs.
And much of it now is thanks to our last 2 vietnamese pigs, Ora and Badu, whom we said goodbye to in May, as we decided to downsize to only having chickens and sheep for now, which still provide us with a big surplus in terms of our food needs, and are so very productive for such little effort on our part.
We are glad we experimented with keeping guinea-pigs, quails and pigs over many years, as we now know the most efficient way to keep them in this environment, and they are perfect complementary animals to keep for any of our neighbours who might wish to do so, in the future.

Ora and Badu were free to roam (as our chickens are) every afternoon, and they did a great job of picking up fallen fruit, almonds, eating snails and generally snuffling around delighting us with their funny antics.

Changing the Story

Fundamentally, this is what we are trying to do here.

We end this newsletter with a quote from a wonderful philosoply book, Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, which we playfully call the ‘pre-text’ of the Integral PermaCulture science that we base all our work on.

“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. 
Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, 
they will live in accord with the world. 
But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, 
as yours does, 
they will live at odds with the world. 
Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, 
they will ACT like lords of the world. 
And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, 
they will conquer it like a foe, 
and one day, inevitably, 
their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, 
as the world is now.” 

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

Spring in Flower

 
 
The first week of March was rainy, but the rain soon went away to give place to hot, canarian sun. Our fertile soil keeps feeding plants all around us, so that I have to now go through flowery, smelly jungle to get to my house. 
 
 
 
The babies of Monarch butterfly that you could see in the February blog are now up and runnin, munching on what’s left from their favorite and only plant.
 
 
 
Having such an abundance of water, sun and nutrients, our favorite green veggies – wild mustard started to flower and we needed to pick them fast and dry. Luckily, Astrid and Mateo – our guests, came just in time to help us out.
 
We are preparing for the big group of students to come for the on-site iPDC, about which you can read in the February blog.
Stef spends most of her recent time preparing and organising their arrival. You would be surprised how much time we have to spend in front of the computer to have everything properly organized so that the finca runs smoothly and everyone knows where they’re at.
 
I sometimes get a headache from that, but Stef loves talking to her students and gets really excited about them coming here and feeling empowered about all the possibilities that she creates for them.
 
One of the things we need to think about concerning big group of people is food. We want to be able to provide as much food from the farm as we can, so we started intensive planting of potatoes!
 
 
Here you can see and hear (in spanish) short description of our work.

 
 
On the 8th of March me, Sandra and Stef went to Huelga Feminista – Feminist March in Santa Cruz. In this year La Palma, as well as all of Spain reached their record numbers in attendance of women of all age and professions.

It was great to take part in it and apart from getting insired and hopefull about further work to dismantle sexism, we had a lot of fun too!

 
It wasn’t the end of our feminist endaveours
 
Two weeks after me and Stef attended the Feminist Breakfast at Casa Amarilla – befriended project in Breña Alta, on the other side of the island, that I visit sometimes to help them out in their gardens. You can see their facebook page to find out more about those great people here
 

 

The breakfast was delicious, fruits, juice and conversations very juicy!
 
 
Back in the finca Sanda and Jeff were studying the Integral Peraculture Course, doing the classes together.
Sandra spent a lot of time designing the transformation of her room into an independent apartment. She learnt a lot of sketch-up from nothing thanks to Jeff’s expertise.
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
She also made some advances in the practical part of the job, clearning up the space for the kitchen and shower and re-doing the roof that will be above the compost toilet. 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeff, having finished his sketch-up visualization and measurements, and after getting all the materials, finally started building the rocket stove!
 

 

Luckily, he had help from outher volunteers (on the picture with Kevin) and guests. It involved moving around heavy bricks and barrels!
 
 
 
The result looks very promising and exciting! We had a first try a week ago and it still needs some improvements, but we’re well on the way!
 
 
 
In the video below you can see Jeff explaining shortly the idea behind this strange looking construction
 
 

In this time of the year, when the fields everywhere around are growing like crazy, changing colors from green to yellow, purple and pink, the neighbors trouble their minds with cutting it all down, to protect us all from summer fires.
 
This time our closest neigbors will not need to use noisy and smelly machines, because our sheep came for help!
 
 
Henk, our friend that also borrows us his jeep from time to time, asked me to put the sheep on his field. They were very happy to have new fields full of fresh food and they also got a new friend! Chico is actually a breed of local shepherd dogs and he loves our sheep!
 
Bonita – the Goar keeps giving us about 1l of milk per week, even though she has never been pregnant!
 
 
Encouraged by that phenomenon (and quite hooked on her delicious, soft, fatty milk with the aroma of almonds), we decided to get her pregnant! (we also didn’t have any babies on the farm for quite a while…)
 
 
Luckily, our neighbor has a very handsome male goat, who was very happy to see Bonita.
 
 
 
We took her to his house once, so that she gets his smell and second time after 4 days, as this is the time in which she is supposed to go on heat after smelling the maile around.
 
 
 
We will see if we succeeded in the next few months. Fingers crossed!
 
 
 
Our piggies – Ora and Badu were also enjoying the lush grass and sun. We let them out every evening to forage in our forest gardens. They love the almonds, wild veggies and naps in the sun!
 
 

Also chickens experienced an improvement in their life conditions.

 
Sandra, Jeff and Stef spent a lot of time adapting old guinea pigs cages so that they can accommodate our growing population of chickens.
 
We have also extended their chicken coop, so that their living area has doubled. That of course, where they are not running around the forest gardens in the forage frenzy, which is basically every evening.
 
Our new chics are loving their new home and are growing really fast!
 
 
 
To rest from the intellectual work in sketch up and often fatigue in the previous month, Jeff took some days off to explore the island. He went to Los Tilos and Charco Azul, which are on the north-east side of the island. 
 
Charco Azul is a beach, but in the traditional sense of the world. You will not find sand in there, but a lovely natural pool in which you can swim in almost every weather. It is surrounded by volcanic rocks and part of it is tiled, so it is a pleasure to rest in between swimming.
 
 
Los Tilos is part of the National Park that coincides of the Laurisilva forest – the anciet rainforest that used to cover much bigger area of the island and is still one of the main sources of water. It is personally my favorite place on the island!
 
Back at the finca Kevin was working hard all March to re-wire our hostel. He finished in the last week of this month. Now, we have modern and safe plugs and internet by cable in every room, so there is no need for toxic WiFi!
 
 
One of the favorite moments of everyone in the farm is friday banquet when we share the food all together. Kevin, apart from being a brilliant electrician, was a great cook! We loved making us healthy desserts and amazing dishes every Friday
 
 

And in the evening, everyday, we enjoy our recorded meetings, thanks to which these blogs are possible! Otherwise we would never remember all the great things that we make hapen!