Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tacuara, Mariposas, y otros Projectos

Spring weather is finally here, and we have been busy busy busy in the sunshine. Lots of projects going on simultaneously, which makes for interesting workdays, and mild exhaustion at night!

Water update: We now have water running directly into our kitchen and to our gardens! Marcelo installed the water tank (which gravity fills up with water from our spring) under the apricot trees just above the upper garden beds. The photo is of Marcelo´s legs and our volunteers working hard not to let him roll down the hill (oops!)

And since the summer sun is on its way, we added a shade awning on the north side of the community kitchen. We harvested the giant bamboo (called "tacuara" here) from the river, split it, and wove it into a fabulous shady covering, which will one day suport some lovely fruiting vine!

Here´s Eleanor, Danielle, and Libby modeling the awning.

Also, we are plastering the Earthbag half wall in the community kitchen. This is a photo of the first plaster (sifted earth with dried grass) and Rambo installed in his new favorite nap spot. This week, we should finish the final plaster and start painting it.

Also, we took a little afternoon outing to our friends Butterfly Reserve. They are creating a project focused on attracting butterflies and birds (their passion is nature photography), and conserving the jungle and reforesting with the native flora. They have lovely trails through a bamboo forest and this ittle bitty waterfall...!

Oh, and the wooden cabin now has a lovely sturdy plank floor (sorry no photos yet) and this week we should start putting up the outside walls (with salvaged eucalyptus rolls) and putting in the loft floor (with mixed leftover hardwood pieces.)

Also, the gardens are growing, and we are trying to organically encourage the cutter ants to find some other greens to eat... but I might not be so nice if they keep eating my arugula!!

Lots to keep us busy!!

Bonus photo this week: Bug On A Stick!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Map of Mama Roja... so far

Danielle, one of current volunteers, got stuck in her tent during a rainstorm and drew a lovely map of the farm´s living spaces... It´s hard to believe this was all overgrown weeds and jungle vines just two months back!

(It was requested by Rambo-- who changed his name recently to "Rambeax"-- that we add this photo in honor of Danielle, who he still howls for in the wee hours of the night...)

And let´s not forget those blue overalls...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Towards the Within... and Green Bugs too

There were lots of butterflies around this week. They especially like our toes (and the uric acid left on the ground after peeing.)

So...... The wooden cabin is framed... that´s Kim standing in the loft.

And it´s crowned with an aluminum roof...
... this week we will put in the floor, and start thinking about walls, windows, (a) door, etc.

We also installed our Cool Box for storing our veggies below ground, thus keeping them fresh and bugless. Yup, it´s an old refrigerator, sassied up with anti-rust paint (Marcelo picked the color) and stuck in a giant hole by the kitchen. So far so fresh!

What did we do with all that dirt from the hole, you ask? Why, we built an earthbag wall with it, of course! It´s a lovely arching halfwall in the kitchen, which protects us from the raindrop drips splashing in from the forest trees, and makes a nice sitting bench/earthbag yoga stretcher. This week we will plaster it with straw, lime, and love!

Bonus photo: this is a snapshot of the Rio Uruguay, which is the big river into which the little rivers at Mama Roja eventually run. It also divides Brasil from Argentina. This was the viewspot on the way to do Kim´s border run. We also saw toucans munching berries and a giant hollowed-out tree so big that you could do yoga in it!!