OK ... so about 80% of the plastic is up and Rick has started sculpturing garden beds to serve as the entrance to the greenhouse. In the language of Permaculture, there is a beautiful bamboo "key hole" to the greenhouse amidst a rock garden. The greenhouse is about 36 meters (about 100 feet) long and 10 meters (about 30 feet) wide. There are more and more seeds and plants being prepared for planting. Mike is helping fill soil bags. The work oxen arrived at the farm. They were trained by Vivian's father and he walked them over today from his home in Argentina, about 5km away. They got their first work at FRP helping to haul some wood and other things. We will call them Cheech and Chang. Over the weekend we had very nice overnight guests, Christophe and Sakura and baby Noah. They live in San Jose, but are from Canada. They just wanted to chill for a long weekend. They loved the food, and the place and the waterfalls and the cheese-making. Lauren's cooking was incredibly delicious. Alonso, our lawyer, and his mom came to the farm. Her 1st visit. She really loved the place. Who knows, maybe they are interested in building a home here ... Pura Vida. Paulo
Efrain had heard rumors of a tractor-drawn disc-plow for sale. Well, we do not have a tractor, but it is great to have the disc-plow. Efrain, Lauren and Will (our neighbor, who is always helping) and I went to Alegria, the next big/little town (about 5km away) to check out the disc-plow. A real beauty ... and very big.
I negotiated a price that included transport to the farm. I had the cash ready ... so we have a disc-plow. This will be great to prepare land for improved pasture, and for field crops like sugarcane and others, like pineapple. Our neighbor Isaac has a big tractor that we hope we can rent. Also, we still are training 2 work oxen with Vivian's father. They will be good for hauling and plowing and preparing the soil with a small plow after the big disc-plow has turned over the land. The new goat area is looking great. They seem really happy in the new fenced off area. We are looking to buy more goats, and finish the new goat infrastructure.
Rex and familia visited today. Rex is a Tico-born but multi-cultural guy wtth a Canadian wife and baby son. He is interested in buying as much of our organic macadamias as he can. But, we need to cut the under-brush around the macadamia trees to clear up some areas to harvest nuts that fall under trees. The nuts fall to the ground and they are picked-up by hand. Our trees are transitioning organic, and no chemicals have been used for over 3 years. The nuts are amazing ... varieties from Australia, Hawiall. and Israel. We need to renovate the macadamia trees and the entire 36 hectare area where the macadamia trees are located. a big, but exciting challenge. A big reforestation project, that integrates macadamia trees with fruit trees and wood trees. The macadamia farm area has great soil and is good for food and feed and forage crops. The altitude is 650-750 meters. We just planted coffee at the highest altitudes (500 trees). Anyway, we are considering several ways to get the macadamia area cleaned up for harvest. To be continued ... Pura Vida, Paulo .
Yesterday Vivian and Lauren helped to make a delivery package of a variety of cow and goat cheeses, and we also organized 300 eggs to take to the Caribbean beach-town Puerto Viejo, to the restaurant Chile Rojo. Rick also packed up some organic fudge. On the way, we dropped off some samples at Caribbean Dish restaurant outside of Siquirres. It was good to see Andrew, the owner/chef of Chile Rojo on his Wednesday "day-off" and have time to have a really good meeting. We discussed plans to start day trips from Puerto Viejo to FRP, that are promoted by Chile Rojo. Ami made some really nice promotional materials that we shared with Andrew. Thanks Ami. We also met a tour operator, Ivan, who own CostaRicaSnorkeling. Before heading back to the farm, we had a great meeting with Junior, a local guide/driver who wants to work with FRP. When Junior visited FRP, it was "love at 1st sight". Him with FRP and FRP with Junior. Back at the farm, Mike and Sarah learned how to make cheese with Vivian. Efrain, Roger and Miguel were busy improving the fencing for our expanding goat operation, and more work on the horse arena area. So, today we are all back to focusing on the gardens and the new greenhouse.
So, we finally will start the blog!
This morning we started a transitional process by cutting down on livestock. We sold off 15 cattle and 19 sheep (all the sheep), and 4 horses. This will help us take better care of the remaining 40+ cattle, 16 horses, 13 goats, and 50+ chickens..The horse arena is being finished and the new horse stables are being planned. We will be able to have horse lessons and training. The goat area is being upgraded and made more efficient. We have decided to move more into goats and less into dairy cows and to totally stop growing sheep. We are really excited about our goats and our goat milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream. Delicious. Our dairy cow cheeses are incredible too (especially those with vegies and herbs). Waste from the dairy cows is collecting in the new bio-digestor that is "gassing-up". We are also fixing up the pasture-fed egg-laying feeding/housing too.
We thank our amigo Dr. Raul Jimenez, a veterinary doctor, who visited us from Miami and gave us expert advice about improving our livestock management. Of course, we need to mention our new greenhouse project. Rick already has lot of seeds sprouted to be planted in the new (BIG) greenhouse. The plastic is being placed on the roof this week and the plant nursery is getting full. Efrain, Roger, Miguel and Esteban were out at 4am getting the livestock ready to be sold. They did a great job getting things organized and done quickly. Vivian was at the Posada Rustica early to take care of the garden and house, and off to the Stablo to make cheese. As the day progresses the skies are clearer and clearer. And the views in one direction are toward the Caribbean and in the other direction you see the smoke coming out of Volcan Turrialba, Wow!
Also, Bienvenidos to Sarah, a new volunteer that arrived from San Franciso via Dominical. We are looking forward to Mike's return from San Jose. Lauren and Vivian continue to make great meals with great fresh food.