Recently, we went to a neighbor's place to check out their DIY systems
Arriba - their version of a solar food dryer; de bajo - their solar water heater
The day after our epic, double beach birthday party, I went to San Isidro for the day. I had lunch at a little soda (cafe) next to La Ceiba (the store/healing space/community center run by Jason and Alana). Imagen Mundial specializes in local, organic, fresh and healthy food options. There are two primary supermarcado chains here that have been bought out by....Walmart. They specialize in overly packaged, preservative laden, nutrient deficient food stuffs.
I had a lovely walking tour of San Isidro with Jim, who we met the first day here. He gave me a great orientation of town since none of the streets have names, it's important to find the primary landmarks. La Iglesia is the central square and time keeper, from there, you just have to look for particular corner stores and things like "the green roof" or "Libraritorio" (bookstore) to know where you are.
Every Thursday is the Ferria (Farmer's Market) and our once-a-week shopping spree to stock up the finch kitchen. In this picture, I am standing near the center of the market, looking one direction - so double the size of what you see here!
There are a handful of growers who do not use pesticides and such, of course, Jason and Alana know them all and have their favorites. The folks who provide the eggs live near Finca Fruicion, we drove past their farm on the way to visit the neighbors I mentioned earlier. A primary reason that so much has been accomplished at Finca Fruicion in the 3 years of stewardship so far is the low cost of labor. The average hourly wage here is under $3. Trouble is, many of the goods cost as much, if not more, than the same product in the USA. That means, for us to work off our expenses here on the farm, we are putting in three times the amount of time for the same dollar. This doesn't leave much time for me to focus on booking gigs in the States for our return. There is a festival in the works here for the end of February, I'll be performing without my usual assists (Digitech JamMan and BOSE tower). The Renegade Spade Tour dates and locations are being assigned by divine appointment!
We see these vultures circling in abundance everyday around here
In the evening, local cane growers light their fields on fire to prepare for harvesting. It's a general practice here, apparently the intention is to rid the field of snakes, insects and weeds to make the harvesting easier. Then, the farmers transport their crops to a nearby factory for processing. The raw cane, before processing, is called tapa dulce (or just dulce) and is what is most commonly used by the locals. It comes in blocks that can be shaved as needed.
The valley at dawn.... fog over the river every morning
Sunrise in the garden
A lily blooming near the pond
The greenhouse, soon-to-be community kitchen area, bodega (tool shed), and upstairs classroom area.
The roof and frame structure of a tent platform in process
Mycelium branches, Blake in the background - our resident Eagle Scout
The Star Lodge where Blake is currently camped
Inside the Star Lodge
The Star Pentagon Hinge in the center of the roof
A strangler fig growing on another tree along the path down to the garden
An epic, tree-sized fern
A new leaf, unfolding
Jason and Cedar
The Bat House - La Casa de Murcielagos
There are at least 15 different species of bats (murcielagos). I'm not sure yet what kind these are, hangin' out makin' great guano used to fertilize the gardens.
A beautiful banana flower that we walk under on our hike up to the main house
Close up, you can see the little black bees
The resident Banana King - Cedar - sometimes eats eight or more a day!
La familia alborozado
Sobre la casa, el recreo para ninos y ninas. Above the house, the playground for the kids! Trampoline, balance logs in spiral formation, swing, and pirate hideout complete with treasure chest. The dream is to add a little swimming pond that can also feed the gardens below the playground; this project may become the community project during the festival in February. The ground is mostly hard, red clay here - best dug during the rainy season when it's soft. Or, run the sprinkler for the kids to jump in on the first day of the festival and dig the pond the next day! We'll see....
The blue "ball" in the photo below is actually an ice cream maker, being tossed from atop the pirate hide out and rolled down the net. The kids were tired of bouncing it on the trampoline. There is no milk in the mix, just banana and maybe some coconut; more the idea of it than anything.
The mango trees are in full bloom right now, we'll miss the fruiting season...darn!
El Gallo y Las Gallinas:
This tree is called "Ice Cream Bean" - see the long, curvy pod? It's a great nitrogen fixer that gets it's name from the white pulp inside the bean that melts in your mouth like....ice cream
Here is Indigo, harvesting salad greens for community dinner. The structure to the left is a hoop house, full of leafy edibles. Banana trees on the right, behind her. Cosechamos unas hojas - We harvest some leaves
A citrus hibiscus, we've been adding the leaves to our salads
A vining spinach (espinoche) that is best cooked
My little harvest helper....the puma bunny, Janga
In the garden, we "chop and drop" - trimming nitrogen rich plants and laying them on the ground around the base of the other fruit trees to feed the soil. In the kitchen, we chop and stir - chewing up the nutrient rich plants to feed our village!