As most of you know, we are farmers at heart. Whether in containers, in raised beds, in the ground or in string suspended reused plastic soda bottles, we grow food. My mother, Rebecca has instilled in me the love of growing...she grows flowers and fruit trees....Brad and I grow vegetables, fruit...truly, anything we can grow.
Our Wild Lote
We start the job
So moving to a new country and leaving most of what we had behind, we were dearly missing a garden. It's taken us 3 months to settle in and yesterday we started work on one of our dreams...our own small organic farm/garden.
Farmer Brad y familia
Our lot sits just 1 block from the lake, and while we wait for paperwork to go through the Mexican bureaucratic process, we've decided to clear the lot and plant food...we envision a community garden of sorts, where friends who want to grow food can come and claim a piece of the land for a season or more.
The magic of the area just flows. We met Santiago, a farmer from Mezcala, his wife Marisela and their wonderful family, who are helping us prepare and plant our lot. Santiago has 4 girls and one young boy...and all were out in force, along with Brad and I yesterday clearing our lot.
We started the day with gusto and enthusiasm. Clearing a lot that has stood vacant for many years, requires alot of energy...so by mid morning we needed a break. We had almuerzo, a small meal between breakfast and comida....such a wonderful concept...to have a break and small meal between two major meals....why not? We dined on lovely mangos, tacos, organic huevos, under one of our own trees. The shade was heavenly and the company ideal.
Once sated and hydrated, we continued with the task at hand. Our lot had numerous wild plants, trash, gravel and rocks on it, but it all magically was transformed into a beautiful piece of earth with the help of Santiago and his family.
As magic would have it I ran into a couple of new friends on one of my morning lakeside bike rides...Kima and Josh, who were living right on the lake and had planted a beautiful vegetable garden. They were moving in a few days and needed a place to leave their garden vegetable plants. I show up with the news that our lot is just a block away and of course, we'd be happy to take the transplants...everything balanced out.
Time to burn
After clearing the lot it was time to make some humo of our own. Santiago and Marisela sent me for some fuel to start our fires to burn the plants we had just cleared...this is a local custom and a way to return nutrients into the soil before planting. Both inexperienced Brad and I were concerned with this phase of our project...but Santiago and Marisela just took it in stride and it all burned beautifully and quickly. Soon we were kicking around ash and planning where to plant trees, vegetables, etc.
Our work day done, Brad and I invited the family to comida at one of our favorite haunts...the grilled chicken place on the carretera. It may not be the swankiest place in town, but they do have the best grilled chicken...as attested to by half of the town showing up during our meal to buy chicken take away. We were introduced to several of Marisela and Santiago's friends during our lunch, had a wonderful meal with the family and watched as Ivan, the youngest family member showed us how photography, via the eyes of a child, was done.
A great meal needs to be topped off with a great dessert...so we bought paletas from the paleta lady and enjoyed jamaica, tamarindo, mango, guayaba, lime and grape paletas...to die for!
Smiles all around
Self portrait by Fco.
Self portrait by Ivan
The Farmers by Ivan
We bid a warm farewell to Santiago and his family, thanking them for all their splendid work and headed home for a much needed siesta.