It’s been a long while since last writing anything related to our big project – that’s mainly because I felt like I’d jinx the last one by getting too excited about it. So instead, we just moved on with determination and lips sealed until we finally found what we were looking for – AND WE DID, *woohoo*!
Papers signed and hands shaken, and we are now the proud owners of 48 000m² of land (plus lake-thing formed by the river that runs through, which is going to be soooo beautiful once we pull out the dead trees etc and grow some of those huge lily pads)! Jeez it is a lot of land, the majority of which is forest – hurray, masses of forest to save and spend days wondering through admiring how beautiful it all is. In the future I’d love to look into a concept that’s called Forest Gardening, which basically involves planting perennial plants (those that last for years and years, bearing fruit each year and thus being superbly sustainable) in certain (generally height) orders in a forest so that they all look after each other, never needing much if any attention except when you’d like something to eat.
Check out these vids for more:
Robert Hart’s Forest Gardening (the creator of the concept)
Urban Forest Gardens (a few very pretty and inspiring pics)
A Forest Garden Year (the first part)
Apart from that, we’re about to move out to live on a nearby plot where we’re renting a house for a few months while we build our first communal place. After that we’ll have a better idea of how to build and the next few houses shouldn’t take too long to get under way.
Here’s a vid of the rented place and its AMAZING view!, but beware of the manic sound of a vacuum cleaner in the background (we were cleaning up the house at the time).
VIDEO TO COME
IMMEDIATE PLANS FOR THE PROPERTY
1. Cut lawn and knock down current mud houses to reveal flat terrain properly – this is luckily less than the first property and thus should take much less time to complete.
2. Draw up plans and figure out costs of materials, etc., for our first building – communal kitchen, living room and a couple of bedrooms that will later be converted into offices or storage rooms, etc. – just somewhere to live in the beginning so that we don’t have to live in the rented place until all the houses are done.
The great thing is that there are a number of shops, albeit not particularly nearby, that sell absolutely everything in a sustainable form, down to recycled-plastic pipes and fixtures! Hurray! Really and truly ecological houses!
3. Prepare soil for planting, based on Permaculture systems (anyone yet realized that I’m in love with Permaculture?)
Watch these vids to know why:
Greening the Desert (just amazing!)
And look for more on youtube.com, there’s loads and loads to learn!
And check out how many Permaculture sites there are around the world! There's definitely one near you (check out how many there are in Africa!)
4. Order organic seeds and begin seedlings during these months of winter – the nice thing about living in Brazil is that winter is pretty mild (though for us it’s terrible, having spent months basking in hot Brazilian sunshine), so things keep growing even when they’re not supposed to – I had a few onions begin sprouting in my cupboard so stuck them in a few pots and they’re going like a boeing. My two tomato plants are also making a mad scramble for the ceiling despite the chilliness that’s been upon us recently – maybe because they’re inside and each night I close the door and then the curtain so that they don’t go into shock as the cold seeps through the glass.
Tomatoes Going Bananas in Winter Onion Surprise!
Who knows, but it’s great news for planting because we won’t have to wait for the end of frost or snow – as we get near-ish the end of winter I’m sure we’ll be able to plant loads of seedlings, and in any case we’ll have constructed our greenhouses by then (plastic versions that can be completely opened during the day to allow for some nice direct sun and pest control by birds and beneficial insects coming in to land) so the seedlings will bask during the day and be protected at night. I really can’t wait to get it all started!
5. Figure out and build a small water wheel to generate electricity from the little waterfall we have on our property, which will in turn be used by the pump that we need in order to get the fresh water from the river up to our homes for drinking.
The mini waterfall and river on our property
6. Buy and install catchment systems for water to use on the garden or in basins and toilets so that we don’t need to suck on too much of the river water.
Obviously there are loads more ideas that we need to muddle over and organize (many of which I mentioned in some of the first entries) but that’s it for now.
Excitement is in the air! Only 3 days to go!!!