Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Day in Lina’s Life at the Ranch

Here’s a sample day at the Ranch

5:30am: Go to the main house to make breakfast. Today we served poached eggs, fresh fruit, kefir and crepes (peanut butter banana, mango cream cheese, and bean filled).

7:30am: Meeting Time. This is when all the volunteers at the ranch meet and talk about what project are going on during the day and what specific things need to be done.

8:00am: Design menu for lunch and dinner for everyone at the Ranch.

8:30am: Goats! I go out to the “Goat Slope” as we call it to give the goats and chickens their second feeding of the day. This includes walking around the Ranch to find greens for our three goats. We have two babies named Agnes and Mabel and a one-year-old named Bonnie. I also give them some left over fruit rinds from breakfast. After their feeding I need to cleanout the goat house, which mainly just consists of sweeping, sometimes a bit more.
Then I make my way over to the crazy chickens. As of now we have about 35 chickens. By the time I come out they are going a bit crazy and I have to use diversion tactics to be able to step into the house without them pecking me to death! All the while avoiding the four ducks that hang out waiting for handfuls of chicken food when I come out of the house. I also have a constant reminder of the goats who start to bray as soon as I am out of sight. It’s a zoo out there!

10:00am: Out to the main garden! Today I took cuttings of Brazilian Spinach and sweet potato and transplanted a some older cuttings of the spinach. Then I organized the vivero (nursery) and did some piddling among the garden like weeding etc.

12:30: Lunch. Yummy…I then proceed to stuff myself like usual. ;-) Today Jorge, from the local chocolate farm, came selling chocolate. So of course I had to get my weekly chocolate fix. It’s delicious organic dark chocolate in many flavors!

1:30- 4:00pm: I helped a bit with baking and learned two types of stitches to make macramé bracelets, very cool! Then I made kimchi. Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut, it’s a fermented cabbage side dish with ginger, chili, onion, garlic and cilantro. It will take about a week for the entire process to finish.

4:00-6:45pm: Down Time. I worked more on my bracelet, read a little and eventually helped cut up the bagels for dinner. Oh, and I drank a beer!

6:45pm: Dinner

8:30pm: Bed, or at least thoughts of bed. I normally go to sleep by about 9:30 or 10. If I make it to ten it’s real late! Crazy times! Now don’t you all wanna come visit!?

The Gully

The Gully

We’ve decided to name our new orchard area the Gully, after Fern Gully (the movie) because we needed to clear out a bunch of old unproductive Mango trees and we labeled them with a painted X to show we would cut them, it was straight out of the movie! Minus the fairies of course! ;-) We’ve got a ton of fruit trees in and we’ve been planting handfuls of nitrogen fixing trees called Gallinazo (locally) or Shizlobium (latin) along with creating a footpath lined by vetiver to hold the soil in place. Harvesting vetiver is a dangerous job! For those of you who are not familiar it is a type of deep rooted grass that is great for erosion control. BUT…here’s the catch…it has sharp edges that like to slice your arms, legs and hands while harvesting. You look like you’ve been through a battle when you’re done, but it’s worth it to save the soil and the hill!!
Anyway I’ve been learning a ton working here with all the awesome mentors that are here. Sometimes I surprise myself by how much knowledge about species and processes that I have gained. (I just gave myself a little pat on the back there!)