Calm before the storm

We’ve now been working on this project for about 3,5 years. First there was the period of looking-for-land; then (a little over 3 years ago) we came here, fell in love and bought our land. Since then, there has been a lot of travelling to and fro; at first we lived in Amsterdam and came here on “vacation” to talk to the architect, get to know the area and arrange for things to happen on our land. After a while, we travelled back and forth so much we started feeling a bit homeless; we would rent something in Spain, have a base in Belgium and a few people who always had our backs (and a bed to sleep in) in Amsterdam – but there was no place we could really call “home”. Until 3 weeks ago, when we decided to spend the first night in our new house; it wasn’t finished yet, but it immediately felt like home.

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Your weekly rainbow (although this one is very, very faint)

Two weeks ago, we celebrated our marriage and our new lives here with friends and family (mostly friends from abroad, and a few people from over here who have been sharing our lives intensively for the past few months). After the last guest was gone, we took a deep breath, and took a bit of time off to unpack, get to know our new house, get a few smaller things done and generally relax. Today is officially the last day of this “calm before the storm”; tomorrow there will be a meeting and a workshop, and the arrival of new workawayers.

We’ve got quite a planning for the next few weeks. The first week will be all about landscaping: getting rid of all the stones that somehow got dumped around our house, preparing (and maybe building?) the wall that will form a terrace in front of the house, setting up slightly raised beds so I can start planting tons of stuff in them for the summer, and building a low wall around the planter in the gallery.

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We even surprised ourselves and volunteered to host a Kurkum EcoVida gathering on Sunday 29th. In the morning, everyone and anyone is free to come to our place and help us out for a few hours; we will set up garden beds in front of the house (clean out small construction leftovers first), gather stones to build terrace walls with, and de-assemble pallets so we can use the wood to make furniture with. After the work, everybody brings something so we can have a big lunch together; there’s some amazing vegetarian / vegan cooks in that group – and I’m excited about being able to bake something again. If you happen to find yourself in the area that morning, feel free to come and drop by to see the new house, get a tour of the finca, meet some great people and maybe lend us a hand in the process. In the afternoon (after lunch), we’re all invited to go to the Boodaville Festival in Caseres which looks amazing with loads of interesting workshops.

June will be all about getting ready for summer: we have the guest rooms to finish – they need bathroom sinks, a few accessories (night stands, lamps, bathroom stuff) and a last layer of paint before the first guests can come in July. We’ll need to work (more!) in the veggie garden, so we will hopefully get a decent yield from it again – I’m hoping for at least zucchini, tomatoes and pumpkin, like last year. We’ll also set up the garden in front of the house; the design I have in my head has a mix of herbs, flowers and vegetables, an automatic watering system and winding footpaths that allow us to easily care for the garden, but also to get from A to B fast. Needless to say, I’m still working on that design.

A lemon tree, the first one to add some colour to our gallery.

A lemon tree, the first one to add some colour to our gallery.

In between all that, and as it’s getting too hot to work outside already in the afternoon (26 degrees as we speak!) I plan to do a fair lot of writing – or rather, a fair lot of research and a bit of writing. As I’m a sociologist by education, I’m fascinated by the big picture of what’s happening here – groups of people moving elsewhere and congregating in certain places to start a different kind of life; I also want to get more into the sociology of permaculture, and rest assured that you will hear all about that in one or more blog posts over the next few months.

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