Empty nest

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Bertha: red footed tortoise #2

Today we said goodbye to two of our best WWOOF volunteers, Landen and Miko, who have helped us to come so far with all the projects over the past weeks. With their help we have thinned an area of genip forest and planted what will ideally become a “food forest” area of very low maintenance, removed much of the invasive vines that overtake all the trees on the property, planted new garden beds, moved material around for landscaping purposes, and done a great deal of work on the Nid, among other things. After having a rocky start to becoming a WWOOF host farm, with our first two volunteers being a complete disaster, these two have proven that it can indeed be a good and mutually beneficial experience. We’re now looking forward to hosting our next volunteer, who will be joining us in a few weeks!

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Banana muffins for our little Saturday market.

Since TS Bertha came through last weekend, we’ve been getting a good amount of rain which is making the garden – both edible plants and weeds – spring forth ecstatically. This bodes well for everything we’ve recently planted, and for having garden greens throughout the rest of the summer, however, it also means that there are many many hours of weedwhacking in my near future before the entire property becomes choked with guinea grass and weeds. This is still better than having to carry water by hand to the newly planted slips…

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Lamb and pork sausages – our first time making them, using a meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachment on the wonderful Kitchen Aid mixer that a friend passed on to me a while ago.

The Nid is coming along, and seems bigger every day. Somehow a mere 200 square feet seems gigantic, with the vaulted ceiling and open floor plan. The ceiling especially feels huge, as I struggle to plaster above my head on a curved and ever more horizontal plain. The walls, though endless, are quick and relatively easy to plaster. I’m taking this week slow, as I’ve now worked several weeks straight through, and can finally take a little recovery time while there is no one to keep up with on all the work! Doubtless by halfway through the week I’ll be back at it all, having become hopelessly bored with the concept of resting.

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Plastering the ceiling.

Here was supposed to be a video of the plastering process, but my connection refuses to cooperate in loading it, so next time!

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Reed matting around the back of the bathroom.
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First plaster on the walls!
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2nd section of the ceiling – getting more and more horizontal.
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starting the inside of the walls.

Mandy is preparing for her departure to Haiti for three weeks, where she’ll be working to make sure that the many projects she runs with the Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti are on track after the recent outbreaks of malaria and chikungunya. They are doing really important work; providing free education programs, health care programs, and much more, in a remote part of the poorest nation in the Caribbean – not so very far from here. They are making an extremely small amount of resources go a very long way – please check out their website and consider supporting GSF in any way you can.

While Mandy is gone, I’ll be keeping everything rolling along with some assistance from Jan. I hope to remain fairly focused on my building, though it will be far slower without help in mixing cement! Despite having a small cement mixer, sieving material, measuring, putting in it and out of the mixer, and then plastering and finally cleaning up is grueling work, particularly as I get higher on the roof and walls and have to hop up and down from scaffolding with materials and tools. Yet somehow work shall continue, and hopefully we’ll get no more major storms before I have at least the outer cement shell on the Nid complete.

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Great progress on the outside of the walls.

That’s it for my somewhat tardy post this week, Cheers!

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