It seems a bit strange, writing this blog entry so far from Sacred Sueňos, in space and time. I’ve been in California for almost 3 months, spending some quality time with Amanda, raising some funds, and spending December at Esalen (participating in a Non-Violent Communication work study).
I’ve left the farm to responsible caretakers: Roselia and Taylor, and Whitney and Collin (and, later, a number of their friends). They participated in a packed two week training (thanks to Jake for sticking around and helping out!). They not only learned all the daily chores and logistics, but also put through countless scenarios that they may or may not have to face while i’m gone. I think i’ve generally avoided the mistakes of last year, but it ended up initially overwhelming them. The adapted quickly, and got everything so under control that i received requests for guidance on accomplishing some extra projects. Many thanks to everyone who nourished Sacred Sueňos in my absence!!!
When last i wrote, nearly six months ago, i was lamenting the rains, watching springs burst out of places where i’ve never seen flowing water. The water saturated the clay mountainside, causing devastating landslides down a couple of the valleys here. And then the rain stopped. There were some moments of light drizzle, but generally, for the next six months, evaporation exceeded precipitation. All but three springs dried up. The winds picked up, and the sun cooked. The greens in the mountains turned to yellows and browns. The Aliso trees lost their leaves, but the Seed Camp managed to provide an oasis of agroforest. Pastures, on the other hand, became an issue, and the horses and donkeys have been movin’ all over the mountain in search of grass. Fires, lit to clear scrub for cow pasture, raged out of control throughout the country. One came within meters of the property. Special thanks to Darren for coming to help me keep it at bay, and the Kiwi crew who managed an orderly evacuation of the animals. It was a harrowing time, especially after watching how fast and furiously fires had destroyed the ecosystems of mountains in our view. I’m so happy to hear that the rains have now come. I hope the caretakers are handling the transition from water scarcity to surplus well.
The Seed Camp had been blessed by community the months after my last entry. It became the kind of environment where everyone resonated, and planned stays extended by weeks, into months. It seems magical, how the Seed Camp can bring people from all over the world together, and turn them into a family. They kept the earth alive through the drought, use some donated and and recently harvested greens seeds to bring the chicken tractor back into operation, and developed a new model of wood oven based on rocket stove technology. They also helped me fulfill my commitment to the Water Woman Festival, installing shower and kitchen greywater diversion, and tipi style composting toilets. The festival was very cool, but I was a little disappointed that not as many people donated their fertility as i’d hoped. I’ll have to put energy into signs full of information that may convince fecal-phobes the virtues of composting toilets 😉 .
There have been some advances at the RADi site. I spent my free time there putting up a roof extension. Before leaving, Kimmy (Seed Camp facilitator), and Chloe (RADi intern), and i installed the coolest model of composting toilet with urine diverter. (Chloe also started a greywater system at the RADi site, and a mushroom project at the Seed Camp!). At the house, i built a roof extension, started work on a deck floor, and installed the solar electric system. Because of the weather and some poor pasture management last year, i ended up doing quite a bit of work keeping the goats happy. Their gratitude provided another successful year of cheese production. Grandma Santi, and mamma Elli, are both pregnant, due within the next moon. Cheese season will begin in February, Vilcabamba!
The furry family continues to change. Negra had a litter of pups, two of whom (Oso and Foca), are growing up at the RADi site. They get along so well with the best little kitty in the world, Adobe. Negra sharing the Seed Camp with the cats, Nezzie and Mishu. Mani, the cute little daughter goat, is also blessing the Seed Camp. There were some tough horse trials in search of a replacement for Two Socks. I worked with several horses, fitting them with awkward and/or heavy loads, and after quite an ordeal, have welcomed Bosque to the logistics squad. He’s got some issues based on past abuses, but i can see great potential for him. J0 is doing a wonderful job as leader and role model. Bonita disappeared for over a month, but has recently returned and been given retirement status. Her little guy, Clyde, disappeared about a month before i left, and i haven’t heard about him since. Fingers crossed, we’ll see him again, soon. I Love the horses, but i miss having a long ears in the logistics squad.
For the next few months, i imagine our focus will be on planting trees, making soil, fencing pasture. I’m particularly interested in building the RADi house floor, and begin development on the kitchen, shower, and a little hot tub. I’m excited to get working on my projects, excited to meet beautiful people with their own projects, excited to work with many of those beautiful people! 🙂