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Mother Earth Day ...

posted 17 Jun 2013, 09:31 by Jose Lorenzo Zamora   [ updated 23 Jun 2013, 12:03 ]

We celebrate the crazy spring flowers 
we enjoyed so much over march, april & may 
by launching a new format for our newsletters :)

Hoping that in this way we can approximate here
the sensation we get when we lie in the grass 
& soak in the outrageous beauty of the 
great mini-world of the luscious herbage that surrounds us.

This spring has been bountiful with rain & this has made the whole landscape amazingly beautiful ... and especially full of forage for our sheep & flowers!

Direct mini-link to this page: http://bit.ly/8L-MEDnews
Direct mini-link to newsletter email: http://eepurl.com/A5R7n (do forward to your friends)

Every year it seems there are more flowers, more varieties, more lushness when the rains come to bring out all the seeds & roots that have been resting in the ground waiting for the blessed water from the sky ...

We hoped to get this newsletter out in time for Mother Earth Day, but in the end it wanted to be born mid June, sorry about that.   But it's full of juicy news & pictures, so we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it!     Do give us any feedback, ask questions, etc. in our Facebook Group :)

Mother Earth Day

In Celebration of Mother Earth, we had a little party with the neighbors (by invitation): 
Music, Food, Tour of Wild Medicinal & Edible Plants (in spanish), Planting Trees, Plant Propagation ... & surprises :)

& was is the Events Map for the day so you can check out what other EcoVillage projects were doing.

& it was great that we left it mostly open to surprises as we ended up, after sharing lots of lovely food & inaugurating our summer kitchen, visiting the projects of two of our friends who live nearby: having tea & cakes in the restaurant of one & then relaxing with earth-movies at the spectacular caves of another, leaving the planned Plants Tour to another day as we didn't in the end manage to find the camera to film it with, & we really did want to share it with everyone ... 

Quite a few of our friends work on sundays (in the various weekend markets) so we ended up with a cozy reunion of just 8 of us & mostly of eco-business women.   Here are a few photos from the day:


After making & sharing a meal at our farm, talking a lot and hatching the Earth Day Gift idea,

we had tea at a friend's restaurant (who was working so she couldn't join us for dinner), then ...


... we went then to see an earth day movie (Princess Mononoke) at another friend's beautiful caves.

We'll upload the wildlife walk video when it's ready, & we'll do it in english & spanish.  

Blue Tajinaste

We'd like to feature one of the interesting plants we have here in each newsletter.   Here is one of the very beautiful & rare Canarian endemic plants that we're propagating lots in the nursery (they grow quite easily from cuttings) & have some big bushes now in several places all over the finca.   

Very threatened species because of its rarity. One of the main threats is the appearance of invasive species in its habitat, and also uncontrolled logging and the destruction of its natural habitat.   Butterflies & Bees love these.   

We also have some of the more common white tajinaste & our lovely neighbour Lucho has promised us some cuttings of the rarer red tajinaste ... coming soon!

Earth Day Gift

  After doing the Visits video (see below) 

  and then being inspired by spending Earth Day with 

  local permaculture pioneers & business-women, 

  as we spoke about supporting others in setting up 

  their own eco-businesses, we had an inspiration 

  to revive the ButterflyJobs site & promote it here in 

  the menu of this page, to get the word out about 

  all the interesting vacancies still waiting for talented people.

Of course there always needs to be a very careful selection process for any job, and even more so if we're aiming to live with the people, so we talked about this at length with the friends who showed up for our Earth Day party, who are all very enterprising local people (mostly women) with EcoBusinesses of their own & decided to launch this as our gift for Mother Earth, on her day - but hopefully her whole year, decade, however long it takes, as we are looking for quite exceptional people.

We already have one very talented applicant, 
who is interested in exploring being our camping site manager.

But we'll see ... 
there are lots of trials to pass on the way to setting up any business,
& additional, equally challenging trials when joining a community project, 
but if all goes well we will eventually be able to welcome on site 
all of the people who contact us wanting to visit
& which we simply cannot attend to right now because we don't have a great 'host person'
here take on this important & quite time-consuming task.

More Babies ...

Jose's passion has liberated a whole new set of experiments & projects with animals, inspired by Lierre Keith, who helped him join the dots with her book, The Vegetarian Myth, one of the recommended books in the  Integral Permaculture Designers' Manual, where you can check out these related links: The Future of FarmingGood Food & Nutrition and Reversing Climate Change.

One of the early incubator trials

Two of the baby guinea-pigs

He's also learning from (& exchanging biodiversity with) locals, like the neighbour's nephew, a 13 year old boy who is very smart & incredibly knowledgeable about animals & hunting, who visits us when he's at his uncle's next door farm.

He taught Jose a quick way to catch the goldfish that have reproduced so spectacularly in our tank.


& is exchanging guinea-pigs with his in order to reduce inbreeding.

Also, we now have a working egg incubator, as well as several chicks born from chickens that we encouraged to go broody (in the end, 4 of different ages have survived, after a period of finding new chicks every now and again thanks to the chickens' wonderful community mothering)

And 8 ducklings... who arrived looking like this

    and within weeks 
    were more like this!


Jose is also growing an odd assortment of crustaceans (because they're interesting transformers of 'waste' material into very nutritious little animals).  For the moment we have these around the farm:


brine shrimp & water fleas

(they look like this, but are too small to capture with our own camera)

And also 2 kinds of mealworms (great food for chickens & ducks, if we manage to grow lots of them easily)

These convert common straw & grass into good quality protein, so Jose is experimenting with an optimum design for their homes, and next time will hopefully give news of their thriving colonies.

A New 'Visit Video'

Because we still don't have a camping site manager & we like the finca (our home) to be a very tranquil & serene space for hatching all sorts of creative sustainability projects, (with at least half of our time dedicated to taking care of all the animals, nursery plants, trees, construction projects + basic maintenance), we don't usually find the time to explain to the many people who write to us wanting to come visit & see the eco-village site, why we aren't open to casual visitors at the moment.    

So we made this video to explain a little better...

Vídeo de YouTube

We added the video on our main Visiting page, http://bit.ly/WhenVisit

Another reason we don't mention in the video is that our only truly extroverted founder resident member (who loves meeting lots of new people, going to parties, speaking for hours about anything with almost anyone ... ) is Julio, who however doesn't speak english & also has a rather unpredictable schedule of being on & off site with his carpentry work.   The  rest of us are more introvert-types who much prefer being with family, neighbors & close friends, when not spending (most of our time) on maintenance work or the projects we're passionate about ... like these ones below.

Transitioning LaPalma 

In a strangely round-about way ... 

we started visualizing a Transition LaPalma eco-economy project, 
& ended up doing a very international event instead, 
creating the EcoNova Conferences (see below), with a great new team.

This started with a very fertile working collaboration 
with Carlos, who is the economy entrepreneur on the Island 

One of the projects we had started last year with Vanessa was Canarina Radio, which basically consisted of interviewing eco-activists on the island & asking them about their vision for a sustainable LaPalma.

Now we decided to add video & so here is Canarina RadioTV ...

... & the first video-interview we did, with Carlos is here (in spanish only).

Later Jose interviewed Anatael & Joel, two young entrepreneurs who are working in many interesting projects around the island.

You can see more about them in the video descriptions (also just in spanish).

The EcoNova Conference

The EcoNova Conference turned out to be amazingly international & with a great level of expertise & variety in terms of uniting all the important facets we need to be working on now, in order to change the economy.

Vídeo de YouTube

We were very honored to speak to Enric Duran, Stephanie Rearick, John Rogers, Glenn Gall, Heloisa Primavera, Deirdre Kent, Nicole Foss, Hazel Henderson & Robin Upton ... each of whom has worked for decades in building up a new EcoEconomics from the roots up, and each of whom brought their unique perspective & very important pieces of the puzzle that we're now challenged to put together, as transitioning humans.

You can click on their pictures to see their biogs & a sample of their interviews.


Jose did an amazing job of translating for most of the interviews, and we're very pleased to be providing our youngest resident & investor in the EcoVillage such great life experience & contacts.  

This is the kind of 'action-learning' education we envisage for all (young & old) in the EcoVillage: doing what we're passionate about, serving the Transition, & learning lots on the way, naturally.

Gran Canaria University 

Quite coincidentally (or not :) Jose got the opportunity soon after to go talk to university students in Gran Canaria about EcoEconomy!   En Búsqueda de Alternativas Económicas (in Search of Economic Alternatives).

The University Center of International Cooperation for Development invited us to talk at the conference about EcoVillages & how they are an important part of sustainable economies, & since that is something Jose knows a lot about already, we sent him to talk to them as he was a university student like them only last year.

They did not have facilities to film the lectures so Jose set up his laptop to do some impromptu recording, & here he is, in action.    

& PermaCulture Day

With NodoEspiral, we were honored to be invited by the International Permaculture Day (5th May) team to take on an ambitious 24 hour online Live show case event of permaculture projects around the world.  See News in NodoEspiral site, click picture below to see the Grow Local Live site we created for this event.

Abuela Ambrosia

We hadn't put Angustia in our Founder Members page yet, and got round to it recently, as we were moved by the call of a man from Ireland who rang asking if at 60 he was too old to be considered for the eco-village ...   

Of course not!

Jose is our youngest investor & resident, at 20yrs old, and Angustia (whom we call Abuela Ambrosia*),  our oldest, at 83 years old, but we'd love even younger and older people to join us, eventually.

* ("Ambrosia" because she's mostly very cheerful & irreverent, and calls everyone 'Ambrosio' & 'Ambrosia' in an affectionate way)

She spends some times living with us & enjoying going back to her roots, very much, other times with her family home in the city.    She was raised on farms when a child but then went to live in the city when she married, although she kept goats & chickens in the small piece of land behind her house, until the death of her husband, 12 years ago.


Here she loves picking weeds for the chickens & feeding the sheep, watering her pumpkin patch & very much enjoys all of the animals (here she is playing with Fisco, one of the dogs that keep the rat population in check on the farm & serve as an intruder alarm).   

The land behind the wall she's sitting on is the neighbour's field & very different from our 'over-grown' land.

Angustia is an endless source of wisdom & information for us in all of the arts & sciences of caring for the land and all its creatures, & it's lovely listening to her reminiscing about her family & past, as she raised many children & has a large extended family, full of colorful tales with which she transmits the culture & history of the island in a very vivid way.

At the beginning of April we celebrated her 83rd Birthday (she was born in 1930) and as she's not to eat wheat or sugar, we made her the delicious (real) cheese-cake you can see below (with recipe)

Abuela is very adventurous and fun to be with, most of the time, & she's very amused at some of the 'modern' things we do around here ...  

 ... like, she totally loves Skype, she thinks it's a great toy & we involve her as much as possible in the selection process for new members that we mostly do using this great tool.

She even sometimes assists on the many meetings with have with work colleagues, as she's so taken with watching people's faces to see what she can learn about them, that she doesn't care we're speaking in english or spanish as she's quite hard of hearing. 

Then she often suddenly comes out with very personal & sometimes irreverent questions (she has a great sense of humor) & has us all interrupting work & our conversation flow for a spot of surrealist comic relief...

Here she is talking to Jose, many months before meeting in the flesh, more than a year ago.  You can see her in action giggling at skype in the Woman of the Week video, right at the end.

Woman of the Week Blog

At the end of April Stella was asked by Wiser.org, the social network we chose for the dialogues of the conference (which is specifically designed for social activists, unlike Facebook) if she wouldn't mind being on their Woman of the Week Blog, and did this interview. 

Soon after she was interviewed for an article on women in permaculture for Permaculture Activist,  and started doing some interesting research of her own on the subject   >> see next newsletter.

Jose's Real CheeseCake Recipe

Start with ...

a whole small sheep-milk fresh cheese (from Nora in the local market, who we got our sheep from & have now borrowed the ram from)

carefully cut in two layers horizontally, 
stick layers back together with a thick spreading of sun-dried tomato butter 
(blend in mixer with a little olive oil & a few olives)
then decorate generously with olives & lettuce

This was adapted from the birthday cake he created for Stella's birthday in march, which was very beautiful, as well as tasty & healthy (no sugar whatsoever)

which has a middle layer of small pieces of dried tomato & garlic 
a top glazing of butter decorated with nasturtium petals and a local spice similar to saffron, 
and is surrounded by wedges of cured cheese topped with whipped cream, oregano and olives.