News update

Hi everyone, i know that it’s been a while since i’ve written… quite a while. Almost six months, eh. i suppose a bit has happened since then, though not too much, farmwise, i don’t think. This update won’t be too long…

Silvia and her daughter, Maia, had arrived when i last wrote, way back in April. They’re still here! Though they took a few weeks vacation in Columbia, Sacred Sueños has become their home while out of Germany. i guess it helped that Silvia and i got into a relationship. With all its’ ups and downs, i can’t say it was an easy one, but it was still good to have someone to connect to for a while. Unfortunately, she’ll be leaving very soon, as their stay reaches the six months permitted stay in Ecuador.

Through May, work began putting stones into the terrace in front of the kitchen, a project that’s been dragging, still not finished. Through Silvias’ petitioning (and my reluctance), we built a corral and let Martha lend us one of her goats and her kid. i was terrified that they would destroy the garden, and they did do some damage when they got free in the beginning, but in the end they weren’t much of a problem. Actually, they gave us some tasty milk, and we had a few fantastic results from our experiments making cheese. We had to give the goats back in August, but i’m now contemplating getting a rotating electric fence system, acquiring several goats, and getting into the cheese business to help support the farm. Crazy, eh.

June and July were a special treat because i was visited by a good friend, Jean Francios, who i’ld met many years ago in Guatemala and have been lucky to have kept in touch with. He gave the farm a great energy, and built us a sweet little bedroom before returning to Quebec. Through these months, we also dug a second water harvesting pond, and started digging a site for a greenhouse. By August we started making adobes for the greenhouse, a project that’s still going on.

Trini came back from Spain in June, but part of her didn’t come with her. Her parents are getting very old, and she’s preoccupied. It looks like the next time she goes to Spain (most likely this spring), she’ll stay there and take care of them. It’ll be sad to see her go. It was great to have had her help. This past month, though, she hasn’t been able to help at all. At the end of August, she was hiking up with the horse, Jo, when he decided to leave the trail. While she was trying to apprehend him, she had a fall and ended up fracturing her ankle. So, she’s been stuck in Vilcabamba for the past month, three weeks in a cast. We’re hoping Jo can carry her up in a few days, and she can continue her recovery at the farm.

i should note that we had some bad kitty luck this summer. We first brought up Comino, a real sweety that had a special bond with little Maia. He had a freak accident that left him dead a couple months later. So i brought up tiny orange Clemson, a born runt who just wanted to cuddle up close to people. So sweet. He ate a turantula and died a couple of days later. Well, we’re pretty stubborn over here, so we’ve got another kitten. Nobody’s given him a name that’s stuck, yet, but it looks like he’ll be around for a while. He’s already fended off Rumbi’s attempt to defend his food dish, and shown Nezzie who’s boss. Tough kitty. While i’m on the topic of small animals, we’ve had a contribution to the chicken tractor. i’m happy to announce that the tractor now has three laying chickens, and a fourth that will hopefully lay soon. No ! more rooster curry for a while.

The gardens are coming along very well. Some plants which didn’t stand a chance in the past are actually producing fruit now, thanks to our extensive composting work. It’s great to finally eat something from the garden!

Well, there goes the summer, eh. Compared to the past, it doesn’t seem like it’s been very productive lately. With some exceptions, there admittedly hadn’t been the hardest workers volunteering. Perhaps another excuse is that maintenane is becoming more of a work load than development. i hope not. There’s so much more that can be done on the farm, so much more to develop. Right now i’ve finally got a pretty good crew, so look for the terrace and greenhouse to be finished in october (i hope).

Also, look for me to be leaving the farm for a while as soon as October. i was initially planning on leaving next summer to make some money (the farm will have spent all the money a gave it by next august at the average monthly expenditures). But since i haven’t recieved any commitments as caretakers while i’ld be gone, Trini’s offered me a chance to go while she’s still around. It’s an offer i don’t think i can refuse. My plans up until today were to go to fort lauderdale for their annual boat show in about a month, and try to find a job working on a yacht. It’s still an interesting option, but it looks like i may have found a new source of funds. A wealthy friend in Vilcabamba has just promised to give the farm $300/month, just enough to keep it going! So, i may still head north, just for a quick visit to some friends and fam! ily, get some resources that i can’t find here (such as electric fencing gear), and come home without making any money. i think i need to leave for a bit, to be honest. i’ve been feeling a little burnt out recently, and this hasn’t made for a great time for many of the volunteers. Time for a bit of fresh air. Exactly where and when…well, we’ll see, eh.

So, i hope all is well with all of you. Drop me a word or two sometime! Take care, everyone,

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