Sunday, March 17, 2019

+++++++++++++++++A New Day, A New Door+++++++++++++++++


One of the first things we do at the La Esperanza Vivero/Nursery is sit and discuss
last week's work and plan the work for the day.

This has been a new concept for the Brigadistas.  I include them in the planning and critique.
And I remind them of the importance of respecting other people's time and efforts.  This seems to be a constant, weekly topic.

Compost Area

Last week I left the task of creating a Compost Area in our Vivero.  Arturo and his crew did a fine job, all on their own.  We still need to properly place materials and signage,  but it is a work in progress.

A lot with a view. 



Our Permacultural teacher, Douglas got to work on his Biochar oven.  
Arturo took a special interest and assisted Douglas.

Biochar is charcoal used as a soil amendment. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon, and can endure in soil for thousands of years. Like most charcoal, biochar is made from 
biomass via pyrolysis.

Biochar is recognized as offering a number of benefits for soil health. Many benefits are related to the extremely porous nature of biochar. This structure is found to be very effective at retaining both water and water-soluble nutrients. Soil biologist Elaine Ingham indicates the extreme suitability of biochar as a habitat for many beneficial soil micro organisms. She points out that when pre-charged with these beneficial organisms biochar becomes an extremely effective soil amendment promoting good soil, and in turn plant, health.

For plants that require high potash and elevated pH, biochar can be used as a soil amendment to improve yield.

Biochar can improve water quality, reduce soil emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce nutrient leaching, reduce soil acidity, and reduce irrigation and fertilizer requirements.


 The final product, ready to be used in our garden.

A New Door

Security has been an issue for us at the Vivero.  We previously had to store any valuable items
(i.e. tools, tables, chairs) in a bodega at a neighbor's house or at the home of one of the Brigadistas.

Our friend, Barbara Reinhart had a wonderful surprise for us at the Vivero.  She had met an ironsmith named Alvaro Salazar from Guadalajara and had him install a metal door complete with heavy locks.  He has completed the work with partial payment and has asked us to pay him as we can.

Thank you both Barb and Alvaro.  Now we can store our tools safely.

As a result, the girls started clearing our second lot, under Barb's direction.

And so we grow...

Sunday, February 24, 2019

++++++++++++++++Dump Trucks and Bobcats+++++++++++++++

"If they give you lemons, make lemonade!"

Today I found out that the lot we were given to garden in, was used as a landfill
site when they paved the street in front.  No wonder we keep finding large rocks and pieces of concrete as we try to clear the land.

Barbara and I were trying to meet this challenge when Barb had a brilliant idea...Call J.P.

John Paul Dwyer is a General Construction & Remodeling expert with many
years of experience in the Lakeside area.

He is also an angel.

He quickly came to our rescue when Barbara called.  He suggested that we use topsoil instead of digging out the landfill site....and offered his machines and crew.  Next thing I know we're driving down the carretera, looking at his soil selections, he is sending a truckload of the stuff to the Vivero and to top it all off, will also send his guy with a Bobcat to distribute the soil.

Soil being delivered.

After the soil delivery, we waited for the Bobcat to arrive.  Just like clockwork, The Mayor decided to pay us a visit to see how the nursery was progressing and found lots of action on the site.

The Baby Bobcat came humming down the street and soon was fast at work distributing the soil.

The soil distributed, it was time for us to get to work, clearing any stones and spreading the final mounds.

A new volunteer, Ana daughter of Doña Catalina, came to the garden today.  Ana is a university student studying Civil Engineer, a bright and strong force herself.  She has experience in gardening both here and in Mexico City and was a wonderful resource.

Soon the newly delivered soil was transformed into true planting beds.

Tune in next week to see how the gardens grow.

We'd like to thank our gardening angel, J.P. Dwyer for his quick and generous assistance with our vivero, Barbara Reinhart, Paula Whittingham, The Mayor, The Brigadistas and the lovely people of San Juan Tecomatlan for allowing us to make this happen in their town.

Friday, February 22, 2019

++++++++++++++Cooking Class In La Zapotera+++++++++++

As with most things gastronomic, we start with a clean, beautiful cooking pot or vessel.

In this case, Karen and Harvey Bernier allowed us to use one of their special cooking pots.

The crew at the La Zapotera Community Center kitchen had asked us to help them broaden their culinary repertoire.  Harvey offered to teach them how to make Italian Tomato Sauce...and they loved the idea.

Harvey brought 2 boxes of ripe tomatoes for us to cook with

as well as lovely Bell Peppers, Chayotes and Chiles Poblanos.

The tomatoes were heavenly.

And Harvey was a great teacher.

Cooking Class Kitchen Staff

The vegetables were cleaned and prepped.

Sra. Yoli approves.

In go the garlic and onion to saute.

Prepped veggies get mixed.

The prep crew at wok

When you start with gorgeous cookware, anything is possible.

Simmer, cook and presto....Italian Tomato Sauce!

Fco. with the cooking staff of La Zapotera.

Italian Sauce in Mexican Cookware

As usual, we always have children around this case Eric, who was interested in what we were doing, but shy.  Perhaps Eric will cook at the Cordon Bleu one day?

Thank you to Harvey and Karen Bernier for their constant support of our efforts.

They are our angels.

We'd also like to invite you to a new monthly event....

"Luncheon in La Zapotera"

Come meet the people of La Zapotera, sample their delicious food
and get to know their culture and their Community Center.

Monday, February 11, 2019

+++++++++++++Putting Your House (Vivero) In Order++++++++++

When we arrived at La Esperanza Vivero this Sat. I noticed that across the street a pile of old tires and broken plastic items was sitting...not a normal sight in San Juan Tecomatlan, 
known for its cleanliness of town.

The Brigadistas had been there during the previous week cleaning up the arroyo
that runs along our Vivero property.

It was an ugly job, but someone had to do it.

 Clean Arroyo

  Gracias Brigadistas!

Plant Donations

We had several plant donations this week, the most impressive being the vanload of plants Brad and I collected at our friend Joan Ward's home in La Salvias.

The potting Brigade was fierce!

They went to town separating, amending, planting.

Beautiful plants for our grand opening sale.

While one group worked on potting, the other worked on clearing our plot.

More buried concrete was found....

The Brigadistas carried on...

And won!

We'd like to thank our friend Joan Ward for her generous plant donations,
our constant volunteers, friends and supporters.

Watch Us Grow!