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Summer Ending ...

posted 31 Aug 2012, 10:30 by Stella Ne   [ updated 13 Jan 2013, 08:42 by Jose Lorenzo Zamora ]

It's been an amazing, busy, wonderful summer, and we're enormously grateful for the abundance, peace & sheer hard but very satisfying work that we've been allocated, to make this tiny dot on the planet a fertile, beautiful & sustainable home for our growing community.

It's been unusually dry because we had fewer rain than usual in the spring, but we were delighted to see how the sheep adapted to well to eating lots of dry grass.

A New Carpentry Workshop

Whilst we were moving things around to make space for the new residents arriving this summer & autumn, Julio was offered a bargain from some builder friends: a very cheap metal container, of the large 6m type, something he's been dreaming about for some time.

Preparing the container

This which made possible another big improvement: to have a carpentry workshop much closer to the finca entrance, in order to facilitate the moving in and out of tools & materials + the finished products.    

This makes quite a big difference to the effectiveness of our work, as the only workshop space we had available before-hand was some 200m from the road, and down narrow paths in between the buildings & terraces.

Sheep eating the prunings

Although Julio is totally delighted with his new space, the new container-workshop looks pretty un-inviting right now, but will eventually be hidden in plenty of lush greenery, both to to keep it nice & cool when sunny, and also to ensure it fits in the edible forest landscape we are generally aiming toward. 

The New Super-Clay Cooker

by Jose
Another very beautiful but quite involved & messy process that  were able to get going, thanks to the good will, hard work & skill of Diego, one of our visitors this August, was the long-awaited building of a new rocket-stove super-clay cooker.

We've been cooking with this interesting prototype built by Antoine & David from the 2001 ActionLearning course although it was never quite finished.  As we never found the time to complete the chimney part, we just got used to its smoking problems & simply accepted black pots & fingers - because even with all its defects it was still more interesting & useful than the ordinary gas cooker that we used to have. Here it is being dismantled, and pictures of the sketches of its replacement.

              Half demolished old oven          

Making the mix of sand and clay

                                                    Mixing clay and sand for the new oven

With gas bottles now reaching 16€ here (& we still remember when they were just 6€, some 10years ago), and as fossil-fuels prices will just keep raising, of course the pine-cones-burning alternative can only become increasingly tasty, both in flavor & in price, even as we will probably be moving more toward less cooking, as Jose has great plans for  re-designing our diets to make them a lot more sustainable, health-& environment-wise.  



The oven's design


200 Clay bricks for the oven 

We've yet to finish the cooker + oven rocket ensemble (which will eventually also have a BBQ & ricotta-making section) so - hopefully - you'll see it in its completed form in the next newsletter, but here are the pictures of the 200 clay bricks which Diego made to start it off, and the first steps of the building works:


Rocket stove progress

Thanks so much Diego for your wonderful dedication to this project, the great skill & experience you shared with us & especially for giving Jose & Lidia an intensive master-class in oven-building in just their first week here

And then...

By Lydia

Everyone worked hard for a day in order to finish the rocket stove structure! Now we need to wait for the bricks to dry. Then we will cover it with the mixing that Diego recommended to use. We will have to light the oven a few times, just in case something went wrong. Then it'll be finally finished and ready to use.


Making Summer Conferences Accessible

by Stella

This will be the second Transition conference that we help supply a 'virtual edge' to, coming up mid October.

One of the 'downsides' of enjoying getting more & more connected to the land that we're so lovingly improving ... is that it becomes increasingly unattractive to travel, both because we'd much rather invest all possible time, effort & money resources in this life-work which we are so passionately engaged in, but also because the love, joy & pleasure we feel for all the creatures & landscape we are living on (in short, Home) - which are very difficult to leave behind even for short times.

The love of home just keeps growing all the time, but this does not mean that our wish to contribute to national or international conferences in the permaculture & sustainability worlds gets any less, and indeed what we have that is useful to contribute is also only increasing with time & experience.

We've had a pretty intense summer in terms of conferences we attended ... although we didn't go anywhere.    This has actually represented a great start of a long-held interest for Stella, who has been thinking, conversing & writing for some time about how to design more inclusive conferences, which is especially important for all permaculture subjects.

It seems obvious that some kind of mix of presencial & virtual (or traditional & modern) communication would be what we're looking for but how exactly to design this?   We helped get the very first European Permaculture Conference online & live also, see news item here  http://bit.ly/vEUPC2012

Also we had a great opportunity to experiment starting with the fifth complementary currencies conference in Spain, and we have a news item about this here, in the NodoEspiral website:  http://bit.ly/MoneyConf2012

The highlights for us were that we managed to get two of the most interesting & experienced activists & thinkers on this crucial subject, Bernard Lietaer & Heloisa Primavera, to give the two of the online conferences, and you can access the recordings by clicking on their respective pictures.

Heloisa Primavera

Gaiasis Campers

by Stella

Still no camping site!  Sorry...  but in fact we really don't yet have the resources to welcome occasional guests, as there is too much work to do on site & we need to organize this well, if we're to be effective.  Also we'd like to provide better structures for the campers, so maybe next summer!?

But we're increasingly happy with havin perfecte the GaiaSis internships programme, which seems much more promising than the more 'spontaneous' (chaotic..) ways we tried to organize working visits by people who are 

a) interested in learning hands-on permaculture

b) want to visit as possible future eco-village members

This is an extract from the GaiaSis Internships page >> http://bit.ly/GaiaSisCanaries

The 8thLife EcoVillage project in LaPalma, Canary Islands is one of the projects you can join through the GaiaSis Intensive Practicals option.

< making clay bricks to build our kitchen cooker & oven, August 2012

There are a lot of planting & building projects to do in this new project
& we welcome very focused, enthusiastic Integral Permaculture students 
who wish to contribute in co-creating the eco-village. 

The GaiaSis option offers a a unique series of 
hybrid on-line / on-site Integral Permaculture 
Design Certificate, Advanced Certificate & Diploma courses.

The Canaries is one of the places where you can take 
this GaiaSis option, with these special benefits:

Note that this is a bilingual course, in spanish & english, so it's a great way to learn or practice other languages, to get to know & work with people from other countries.

And also a great way to get fit, with lots of physical work in the open air, sleeping in nature & getting up early and (hopefully - also depends on you!) eating healthy food: you can even take an option of 'lifestyle change' and re-design your eating habits toward something more sustainable, whilst you're here.

But primarily ... you will be benefiting from all this resource:

a) you can participate in setting up the new "8th Life EcoVillage" in one of the smallest & greenest of the Canary Islands, as a co-designer, from the start (note that ALL income we make from all courses, residency contributions, etc. go directly into building up this big resource for future generations);

b) you will have a range of real-life design projects to choose from which are at various stages of development, in all of these categories: PermaBuilding projects, AnimalHusbandry, FoodGrowing, EcoBusiness development & PeopleCare structures;

c) for any designs that you complete as agreed, you can gain Gaias* toward EcoVillage Shares, which you are free to use as a saving/ investment, gift or sell, as you wish 
*(Gaias represent 'earth value' & are one of the internal currencies we use with which we value infrastructure work, which can be exchanged for Euros when buying shares of the EcoVillage)

d) this EcoVillage is still open to new founder members, and taking the whole PDC+ course is a basic requirement for joining, so this program is an excellent, multi-functional way to not only 

i) learn a lot in an exciting, new, real-life & innovative project, 

ii) do something different, useful & worthwhile for everyone,

 but to also 

iii) check out possible future partnerships, from both sides - including exploring setting up your own eco-business here, as we are looking for enterprising hard-working people who seriously want to help move the local economy toward a sustainable model  

Join us in Facebook

... where you can comment on this newsletter, ask questions, etc.

Just ask for entry to the 8thLife Facebook Group (EcoVillage Project):

Support the Project

You can also become a co-investor 
or supporter of the project 
if you wish to contribute to this adventure:
see the new For Investors page for details

- taking any of the 
is also a way of supporting the project directly - 

All donations, large or small, 
are used to create the EcoVillage infrastructure.