While the world was changing and doing everything differently, here, the building on the finca had been progressing. Over the past month however it slowly came to a pause. The shops where we needed to get materials were closed still and money ran out. Charlie had made arrangements with a bank in Brussels where he basically only needed to sign to get money, but because of covid-19, that became impossible. The bank turned out to be difficult to reach. After about 9 weeks of calling and trying to find out more, he got to talk to the right person, who told him this deal was not going to happen. All the plans we had all of a sudden felt so far away. Fortunately, with help of his family he managed to get a loan from a Spanish bank. That covers the expenses to get the waterwell working and solar power distributed on the finca and leaves a little bit for construction, but definitely not enough for the whole project. In the coming weeks we should get the water sorted. After being able to use the water from the well of our generous neighbours, we will finally be independent. The solar panel on Lotje her roof has been serving us well so far. The panel is now also totally facing South and with the longer sunny days, the panel is much more efficient. I had never realised how much difference that makes.
So now, our plans have changed a bit. Charlies idea had always been to make this a project supported by the community. However, we now really need this help. The forest school project would be really nice to be able to realise with help of the parents who want to have their children playing and learning in the forest whilst growing up. On one hand that now feels more difficult, since a lot of the families who live here are dependent on tourism. Normally, tourist season starts around Easter, but now with Corona, let’s see what will happen. On the other hand, due to the lockdown, people have also found a new appreciation for being outside and in nature. Charlie just needs to find the right parents. He has been talking to several people to collaborate with, who are interested in working with the children here.
Also, the community spaces: the kitchen and the dome, which we will use for workshops, therapy sessions, gatherings and retreats will need to be funded in some way. We might be able to manage to build the kitchen with a big porch and terrace, which we could use for outdoor activities in summer and raise money that way. Time to become creative (anyone any suggestions?)! We’re receiving help with building our website from Celia and designing our logo with Bruno. That will help a lot to get the information about the project out into the world. We’ve also been shooting some video material with Stefan (who also made my beautiful massage video), to make it all a bit more personal and visual. Exciting stuff! We hope that this will also greatly help with finding funding.
So, if you’re reading this and would love to help out, either with your expertise and time or financially, or know of someone who would want to do that, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In a way the slowing down has been good for me. I really enjoyed having Juancar and Koker over and helping them out when possible. They taught me how to insulate walls with a mix of straw, sand and lime. Mixing this in a different ratio, I learned to plaster walls with it. It is so much fun to be part of the creation of a beautiful building. However, I do also really enjoy not hearing the generator at 8 in the morning. That always made me feel like I needed to get up and start doing something. As my aunt always says: ‘it is a luxury to be able to wake up when you do, without an alarm’. Living in my van has really made me live more with the rhythm of the sun and the moon. In late spring and summer, the sun here still only rises at 7am. This is quite new to me, since it’s my first summer in Spain.
Normally, when I’m more North, the sun rises a lot earlier (5.30 in the Netherlands to even 4 am when I was in Sweden, crazy times…). It’s easier for me to get up then. Here, I wake up between 7-7.30 and I need at least an hour for my morning rituals of movement or meditation practice and preparing and eating my porridge. At times, it felt a bit stressy to want be ready to help early (I didn’t have to and no one was making me, counting my blessings… but still). The thing is though, now that summer has arrived here, you want to stop physical outdoor work around 13.00, because it’s just too freaking warm (and it’s not even full on summer yet, we just had some hot days). I knew that it would be warm in Spain in summer and I heard of siestas, but now I actually understand it. You just can’t. So, to make use of the day, I will probably have to get up earlier and just take a nap in the afternoon and do my movement practice then too. One of my current life’s challenges… it’s not all bad 😉
One thing I really enjoy about corona is that I have been able to join online practices with teachers I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. They live on the other side of the world and even if they do come to Europe I would have to travel to them, which I just don’t have the money for. I joined a Feldenkrais summit and listened to some very inspiring talks. It’s so great to hear how all these somatic/embodied/mindful movement practices are coming together and are becoming more gentle, slower and focused on the neurological system instead of ‘no pain no gain’, which I feel is so outdated. I also started a short anatomy trains online training, a birthday gift from my sister. I’m trying to practice on Charlie, but we’re struggling to make time for it. The practice just looks so much easier on the video than while doing it myself, which is quite frustrating for me. I also feel that I would like to integrate the anatomy trains practices with the Thai bodywork I’m doing, since there is also great power in bringing awareness through touch besides more deep ‘manipulation’. That differentiation between neurological and the musculoskeletal system, that there is more to it. The past month I’ve been following online essential somatics classes with Martha Peterson. I’ve read her book several years ago and practiced her youtube video’s, but it is so inspiring to now be able to practice live with her. It’s helping me reconnect to my movement patterns in a more profound way. These practices are also great to share with future massage therapy clients as homework to help them to help themselves. In the end, creating more awareness is what will work long term. I feel so grateful I’ve been able to make time for these practices and some studying.
With the projects on the finca I had also been reading up a lot on permaculture, companion planting and biodynamic gardening, where you work with the cycles of the moon. I have no idea if it is really making a difference, but since the past month we’ve been eating a bit from the huerta number 1. The rucola, chard and spinach were ready! It feels so rewarding to be able to eat from our own land. I also started a huerta number 2 next to the yurt. Huerta 1 receives a lot of sun, which, with my Dutchy background is what I think is good for the plants. But I’m not in Dutchyland, I’m in sunny, hot Spain. We also have Levante here, which is an incredibly strong warm East wind, that is kind of a blowdryer and burns the little leafy greens. Luckily, we have quite some trees, and it’s not so bad, but still, it all looks quite sad at the end of the afternoon. There is also a big difference between what I put on the raised bed or in the ground. the soil is quite clayish around huerta 1 and that really restricts the growthwhen it’s not loosened. The soil also always needs to be covered with straw to keep the soil from drying out. Around the yurt there is a lot more protection and quite some shade from all the surrounding trees. We had to elevate the ground to level it for the yurt, making it nice and loose, with really rich soil that was already there. And so, huerta 2 was born! Amazingly enough the ecosystem is so different there, the beetroots grew like crazy and the leaves are still in perfect shape, no bugs eating them there. We do have oil beetles, fast big bugs that love young fresh leaves. So, daily patrol is needed to keep them away and minimize damage. It really annoys me when I come and they have eaten new plants…
The land and the veggies are teaching me a lot here. I’m happy to be able to apply the things I read and have learned from others in our gardens. Everything we can grow ourselves also helps us save money for groceries, especially if there will be volunteers in the near future. The courgette, cucumbers, tomatoes and pumpkins are starting to flower and the broccoli, kale, cabbage, lettuce and fennel are looking happy too, so fingers crossed that they will make it! We’ve bought fruittrees. A bit late in the season though, so we’ve planted the stonefruits and the rest we’ll put in bigger pots till autumn, to give them a better chance of survival. We have had some rain lately, which is a bit unusual but very welcome. Hopefully the trees will be able to survive and give us fruits in the years to come!