Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hippy Holidays!

Milkhouse and Giant Toads

We have been wrapping up several projects so that by the end of the year we will have a clean canvas to start all new creations. Of course, many works will continue... like the cabin. Oh, the cabin. Our first wooden construction--which we chose to use because we have so many usable fallen trees all around us therefore making it super-sustainable-- is definitely making us miss mud-hutting. We aren´t exactly carpenters, (although one of our neighbors is and he does most of the specialty work required) and building by hand--yes, that means no power tools-- is challenging. But here we have an almost finished cabin (lovely, I think)... still needs some windows, stairs, and other detail work, but at least we are out of the tent! Hallalujah!
Here´s the front in the early morning light.And speaking of getting under a roof, I am proud to say that Paloma (the cow) has a new milkhouse to call her own. And just before the calf comes! She´s due around the end of the month or into the new year maybe.
Look at that belly! And those teets! Whew-wee!

Roofing the world, we are. We just extended our community kitchen to have a sun-lit patio eating area. Soon, we hope to build some earthbag benches and reclining walls for post- and pre-meal lounging. It´s sort of a mess still, but it´s coming along.

And this is Burpee. He´s a giant toad (one of the ones we released from the Hungarian reality show.) He lives in the planters boxes now, apparently, and is not lacking food, as you can see. He´s a welcome pet, just as long as he keeps eating the plant pests and mosquitos.

More news from Mama Roja after the holidays...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chickens, Bricks, and Scare-Parrots

Our chickens have a hip (mobile) home, and are being as bossy and squawky as chickens must. We have 6 hens and 2 roosters, all sharing a delux chicken tractor made from scrap wood, veggie crates, and tetra-pak cartons. They get along pretty well, except the one freaky micro-managing hen who steals all the crickets out of the roosters mouths and makes the other hens cower under her beak power. Marcelo says she´s the next to eat, but I kind of like her...

This is an inside view of the fancy two-story, alpine-roofed, tetra-paked hen dorm, the top being the nests and the bottom the roosts.

Our first egg!! They don´t give many so far, since they are pretty young chicks, but we´ve had a few little beauties...

Adobe bricks! Indeed, we´ve started to take advantage of the "dry" season, and make some bricks. These were first ones and we were mostly experimenting with the soil. We tried different mixes (sawdust, sand, straw...) to see what would be the strongest. The best batch was the simplest-- only cut straw and water added to our super clay-ey soil which, if they had been dried in the shade, I think, would be perfect (they cracked quite a bit sunny-side up.) More bricks soon to come!!

Mud-stomping in the jungle... ¡que divertido!

Our gardens are still lovely and generous, especially with cucumbers (which I have been eating, pickling, and giving away.) Since it´s been so dry lately, our little babbling brook stopped flowing, and many people in the area have dry wells. We are lucky, though, to have the river nearby for watering, and our spring still full. And this week the heat was broken up by some rainshowers and welcome clouds. More rain on its way, they say, so our veggies will no doubt be rejoicing soon...

The Scare-Parrot... our version of the famed scare-crow. In fact, our garden of corn is doing so well, we´ve had a few parrot visitors doing fly-bys a little too often. So, we installed this very high-tech anti-parrot remedy...

Can you tell which one he is??? (Hint: not the dramatic one on the left.) The only problem so far is that Rambo keeps forgetting and scaring himself into barking fits. He´s not the brightest dog, as Marcelo likes to remind us, but we love him just the same...

Bonus Photos:

Weird bug invasion! This is a bug... for real!

And this is an attempt to capture the full moon rising in the Mama Roja tree... She was magnificent!