The day began at 7:00 AM with the daily chores. Since it was the first morning here, we did a walk-through of each of the morning jobs. First we went through the chicken coop—let them out, gave more food, changed the water, and swept up. Then we went to the geese coop—let them out, gave them food and changed the water, as well. The geese are definitely a lot less friendly. Afterwards, we went to the mushroom log area where it was my job to remove the logs harvesting in the water and replace them with new logs. Mushrooms are a perfect crop for this humid climate. Finally, we harvested a plethora of veggies, for the salad that we planned to eat for lunch and dinner. At this point, we finally got to eat breakfast, which was beans, Mexican styled eggs, and tortillas. The food, of course was delicious.
After breakfast we headed down to the mushroom log area, once again, to rearrange and label some of the log pieces. We established a nice system where some people wrote labels, some nailed the labels, and some carried them over to the new location.
After the logs, we went over to work on the grey water system. On our way we crossed several leaf cutter ants super highways. Take a look. Ants, it turns out, were the first farmers – harvesting leaves to create compost to grow mushrooms in the underground homes!
One of our themes this week is appropriate technology. One of the buildings we are staying in (Sam is there now) has been recently build. We are working on the grey water treatment system for this house. This task consisted of finding fairly large rocks and placing them in a series of 4 circular ferro-cement containers. Once completed, water from the kitchen sink and the shower will flow through these containers. The rocks we gathered and put in the containers plus the aquatic plants (which we will add later) will serve as a filter. The end result will be re-use of the household’s waste water to either water fruit trees or return harmlessly to the soil.Eventually we ventured over to some neighbors who had the coolest house that I have ever seen. This savvy house was built in a way so that there were plants growing straight out of the ground right inside the house. In the photo you can see us in the center of this home. Hopefully we will get the opportunity to visit again.
On our way back we picked up more rocks and then we had lunch. We ate some more tamales and the beans with tortillas. After lunch we had the opportunity to rest for a little and soon thereafter, we went on a five kilometer hike in a recovering 250 acre patch of cloud forest. It was only the four of us guys, machetes in hand, trekking though the woods. It was a beautiful sight, with many hills, bridges, and trees. After the hike we returned, put the chickens and geese in their coops and got ready for dinner.
I also tried building the fire to take a warm shower, and it didn’t work out well; the wood just didn’t catch (high humidity makes fire starting a real challenge in this climate). Sam eventually got it, and I was looking forward to that shower. We ate dinner first, which was customized pizza in a wood burning barrel oven and the huge salad assortment. After dinner I got to take that shower and then we did an interesting exercise to figure out some goals for the week. After a long day, I sure am ready to head to sleep, ready for tomorrow.