Monday, August 19, 2019

++++++++++++++++ A Horse In The Garden....Ojo! ++++++++++++

Our computer scientist, inventor and friend Felipe brought his machinery today to the Vivero.

Since we have no electricity on the property the gasoline powered Weed Whacker was perfect.

The kids found this fascinating.

I had been told by our Brigadista Ruth Emily that the town had experienced high winds that week during a storm.  I found most of our equipment and plants had weathered the storm well.

What we had not expected was that a neighbor's black horse would pay a visit to the Vivero and eat and trample our crops.  Unfortunately, the horse especially favored my heirloom maiz/corn plants.

Heirloom Maiz (literally cut down in its youth)

When you grow a plant from seed, when you put it to bed in a blanket of nutrient rich soil and cover it with a warm layer of comfortable compost, when you water it daily until the plant is birthed and grows its first set of leaves, you bond with this new being.

And when someone or something rips the new born out of its environment, or 
chews it unconsciously or cuts the plant haphazardly 
your heart melts at the catastrophe.

As our friend Mino says "Perhaps the horse was just hungry?"

 + Ojos De Dios +

In one of our Victory Gardens in West Los Angeles, CA. Brad and I had created Ojos De Dios
to be used as protective talisman and decorative items for the garden.

So today I had brought Brad's beautiful yarns to teach the kids the craft and ritual.

Little did I know that we did indeed need talismans for our garden.

Santiago and Carlos Alfredo enthusiastically took to the work.

As did the rest of the crew.

One of my favorite things about teaching children is when they take a step, on their own,
and create 'outside the box'.  Karla did just that and when she showed me her creation
I was blown was as original and beautiful as she is.

Jayden wanted to plant his own Ojo in the garden....he choose the exact
spot where the horse had devoured our corn.

This week's harvest

Our Daikon Radish (white) was a hit with the kids....they had not seen one before
and the size of the immature plant was amazing to their eyes.  We all took a bite
and tasted a sweeter flavor than what is usually found with the red radishes 
normally seen in our markets.

As the children finished their first Ojos, the ojos started appearing
throughout the garden...some on poles, some hanging from the 
numerous tree branches.

In the end the universal energies combined to help us 
make our Vivero more beautiful and to make us feel protected.

Now...if only that black horse would stay away from our Vivero
or spooks because of the Ojos, these talisman will have been worth all the effort.

Gracias to the people of San Juan Tecomatlan,

To our constant, wonderful volunteers,

And a special Gracias to Bradley Weaver for his generous
donation of beautiful, natural, hand dyed yarns.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

++++++++++++++++++++ Playing At Work +++++++++++++++++++

Prepping Pots for Seed Germination

Sometimes, as adults, we forget to play.

The young Brigadistas at Vivero La Esperanza are hard workers.  Our Maestra Mino declared just this when she and her husband Felipe arrived at the nursery on Saturday morning.

Our germination tables were organized and full with budding food plants.  Our ornamental plants had been moved and organized as well.

We quickly set out to do a "walk about" of the garden to identify the work needed that day, to see how our plants were growing, to identify problems or plaga and discuss how to meet these challenges organically....head on.

Our amazing volunteer Barb Reinhart brought her laptop and mobile modem to show the kids a short, educational video on plastic six-pack can holders and their effect on our environment.  The kids were attentive and interested.  I asked them how many of their family members use these plastic six-pack can holders and almost all raised their hands.  We showed them the harm they can do to animal life.  We also showed them a simple solution...cut up the plastic pieces and recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash.  All the kids vowed to do just that.

Maestra Mino also showed the youth the proper method of thinning bulging tomato plants and that the cuttings may take root if planted properly, propagating more plants.

Then it was time to harvest.  This week our bounty was fresh basil, eggplant, swiss chard, carrots.

I also introduced the youth to Teslaman, superhero of our environment.  My new friend Jorge A. Santana just published the first issue in the series and generously autographed my copy.

We will be reading a chapter every week at the Vivero.

Meanwhile the work (play) continued.

When I asked the kids to collect our donated plastic pots to store them, they made a game of seeing who could stack them the highest...after much laughter and giggles, our work was done for the week.

See us in the vivero in San Juan Tecomatlan De Los Chiles Verdes.

We are there every Sat. from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

++++++++++++++++++Germinations and Water++++++++++++++++


At Vivero La Esperanza we've moved quickly into Phase II....focusing on germination,
growth, nurturing and harvesting of food plants.  Today our lesson and goal was to prepare, plant and  learn the finer points of plant starts.

The children had prepared the starter pots, courtesy of Laura's Garden Center in Riberas Del Pilar.  Laura has been a stalwart steward and sponsor of our Vivero....Gracias Laura!

Wrangling 13 youngsters to pay attention and work coordinately was a challenge.  
But they were interested so they paid attention and worked beautifully together.

Materials were laid out...patience as well.

Seeds were carefully selected and planted.  Pots were marked with
the name of the plant (and in some cases with the names of the child planter as well).

Soon the pots were planted, labeled and placed on the germination tables,
ready to be constantly watered, watched and nurtured. 

Our ornamental plant inventory was also reorganized into plant categories.

Meanwhile in the garden things were also growing.  The youngsters had created signs for
the different plants growing, to help visitors identify the food plants.

Calabazas (squash)

 Chicharos (peas)

 Happy Acelga (swiss chard)

Happy Berenjena (eggplant)

 Jitomates (tomatoes)

As attention spans are short for young people, we brought out the Reading/Lending library and
the kids were able to read while waiting for the next step in the process.
Thank you Barb for the great books!

 Zucchini (squash)

Zanahorias (carrots)

As an incentive to water and especially weed the Vivero, the kids were given Vales or coupons that can be redeemed at a local store.  This week the children chose Gina's store, because she stocks utiles or school supplies.  The kids wanted to redeem their coupons at Gina's in preparation
for the new school year to start soon.

We were surprised to hear that the lot next door was installed with water and a spigot.  Now we do not have to ask for water from neighbors nor dredge water from the well.

Even in this "rainy" season we have not had very much water.  The town of San Juan Tecomatlan can go days without rain, so this water on site is a blessing.

In San Pedro Itzican, our Brigadista Leader, Anita Torres Guerrero had to buy a Pipa or truckload of water for the Brigadista office and her home there as there was no running water for 3 days.

So let us count our blessing with the family, love and resources we have.

And for all the other wanted necessities, we can count on our community family to assist.

Here's to being part of our wonderful community!