Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Of Birds and Bunnies and Shrooms...

The flowers are calling the butterflies out of their cocoons, and the birds are whistling love songs to each other in the trees.  The air is getting hotter as summer approaches, and the jungle is bursting with green.
Not only are there wild birds (like the whistle-screamer mohawked fellow above), but our own feathered flock increased in size: new chicks!
 And introducing (drum roll here): our new bunnies!! 
We have three new little bunnies, and one mama rabbit due to have a new litter any day now.  More photos to come (of course).
We've been filling the garden with heat-loving plants, and fighting back the over-abundance of grasshoppers this season. 

 But all this heat and rain has done the fungal world lots of good.
We took a meandering foray into the woods to look at the mycelium in all its wonderful forms. 
 This one, for example, is a rough-tough shroom on the outside...
 ... and fabulously zebra-striped on the inside!
This is a type of Parasol mushroom that we found growing wild, and are now trying to propagate for eating. Mmmmm...
 Mushrooms in mud??
 Speaking of mud buildings, our cabin is going up up up:
 Adobes in line, and bottles going in:

 Windows fixed in for added light.
 Bottles, wattle-n-cob in the inbetween spaces.

 Bottles-jewels and car windows, cobbed into place.  More indirect lighting.
We just started the plaster layers, so soon enough the cabin will be ready for final touches.
The local school kids came out for a visit, and then made a mock-up of Mama Roja to present in a state-wide ecology competition.  They won round 1, so now they are off to spread the word at the next level.  The model was made out of mud and recycled materials. They included so many details: solar panel, fire circle, solar cooker, cabins, trees, the yoga shala, even the African-style fridge in the community kitchen! We wish them good luck!
 Bread-art: (crazy interns!)
 Our intern field trip to visit Paulina at the Chacra Suiza. 
 Bonus photo: pollinator and iris.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Flowers poking their heads out of the jungle, butterflies flitting about, gardens getting planted, mud forming into buildings... it's spring at Mama Roja!
The flutterers are about, as are the creepy-crawlers in all their magnificent outfits dressed up for the springtime parade..
Our new kitchen is getting lots of use! We didn't paint the walls yet, but that rich red-brown is it's own lovely color.
The pantry: lime-painted, and full of preserves (and more coming.)
Look closely for the bird in one of his favorite observation spots.
And look for the cat in her sneaky watch-spot...
It was a rainy winter, and it is proving to be an equally rainy spring. So, our interns are in full workshop mode, here making papaya jam and peanut butter. Sandwiches for lunch?
Lemoncello and orange-lemoncello on their way! 
Out of the kitchen, into the jungle: New composts and worm bins set up for all organic donations.
Gathering flowers and other herbs for our skin-tastic salves.
The gardens are growing! We recently opened up a new spot higher up in the valley where we are putting in lots of beds and plants.
Hugelkulture joy!
Our neighbors have been helping us harvest the yerba mate and prep the fields for crop planting.
In between the yerba goes the mandioca, peanuts, and even some tumeric. Later, we'll add in some sable beans for nitrogen, and some experimental quinoa.
It's a mandioca hoe-down!
One of our many  visitors: this one's eyeing the loquats and other high-growing tree fruits.
Careful where you land, little friend.  That's our meal table!
Mushroom delights after all these rain storms.  The fascinating world of forest fungi!
But we can't just frolic in the woods all day! We have a cabin to construct. Here's the roof frame going up up up...
And the stem walls (with bamboo rebar) for the adobes going on top.
The adobe bricks lining up on that gorgeous red floor.  The walls are on their way!
Bonus shots:
Looking closely at the trees, there are so many things growing...
... the trees are full of life...
A match made in heaven: Taca and Josephine teaching each other to dance and draw.