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help exchange   Host 14425
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 0,5
Persons: 2
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 14425
Country: Spain

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Last Updated: July 31, 2014

If you read comments, Arianne is fair. I answered to the others, though partially, as it is just full of false interpretations. For example I am a dog behaviourist and clicker trainer, that is to say specialised in training without domination.

Also, when I say that my farm is not comercial, peole say that it is not a problem for them. But they miss the point! I mean that you will not have to endlessly do the same job in an endless field, and that I do not save money by using you instead of paying someone for a comercial job.

So, what am I doing here?
Helping a land that used to be at the same time nature and food producer to come back to its former state, or even a better food producer. I believe that the best way is in between the extremes, not intensive agriculture (and ecological is also often intensive...) but not either wilderness left on its own! This kind of wild nature does not produce enough food (even for animals, yes! That is why a lot of them live near humans, well, near human gardens!), and thus we have to buy the main calories from intensive agriculture. Most people do not produce their fats and proteins, and only partially their carbo-hydrates...
The main reference you can find about this topic is Kat Anderson's book "TENDING THE WILD".

If you want a resumé of the main message of the book, ask me and I will send it to you, even if you do not plan to come to my place.

I basically ask to come to my place as you would to "a remote tribe": try the local habits and play the game. If you visit zulus or pigmees, then it will seem obvious to you, and you will try. When you go to a European place, then you might not see the diferences at once, but they are still there. So be curious about my tribe!

You might not understand all of my ways at once, just because any customs are an adaptation to a specific place, and you are not from there! Also, life in nature is a big path, and I do not want to go back, so I do not want to be polluted by pure city habits. If you need music instead of nature sounds, then go else where for example. If you really want to go to bed late, you might not like to follow sun rythm either. If you are picky about food, such as not liking veggies, then you will have problems. Here, the main food is collected from the garden, and we might eat more of something just because it produces at this moment. You might like it more when there is an over-production of mangoes! I do provide enough of other things, like a full range of cereals, pulses, and local meat and goat cheese.

I will not ask strange things, but to use cleaning products in the right way, little throw-away stuff, and to learn about the correct use of tools or any product according to its chemistry. Any acid food will damage my lime, also cement, my ceramic knives also have special requirements, or they break more than metal. Here the sun is strong but most people do not know about what is damaged by the sun for example. If you let bread crumbs etc as is very usual, then we will face ants' armies. I also ask that you avoid leaving stains on the mattress as some have done. Etc, etc. And not only if you break something but if you just damage something, please find a way to replace it. You will keep the one you damaged if you think you can still use it.
Also, come here for being in real contact with nature, which can be disturbing when you are not used to it, and even if you are motivated. Nature needs constant attention, the famous "here and now" of many teachings. Some helpers have been able to "weed" half of a patch of parsley before they notice and recognize the tipical strong smell... When I ask you to weed, I actually propose you a very powerful attention exercise. You will also develop memory and concentration if you have to differenciate different herbs, and remove only the undesirable ones! Even watering is not the easiest task you can imagine. The way I frame my life is for my own teaching, and for yours as well. Almost nothing is a pure task. My pleasure here is also to see some result, little by little, as the finca changes.
Conclusion, first trust that I KNOW what I am doing, and THEN ASK AFTERWARD, if you want to understand.

If you do not want to learn, and more over, if you do not want to be taught, you obviously will not like that I tell you what I have found through years to work out, because I will probably have to tell you a lot. Instead of being discouraged, just think that all the time you spent in school made you loose time in practical learning. This learning in the smooth way, slowly, by looking at parents as in the old ways, takes YEARS. If you want to learn faster, then make profit, and you might keep a lot of this knowledge for saving money and your health.

Any simple life is not simple to learn, as it needs to be very precise to be efficient. A natural environment also need a kind of attention, presence and sense of observation that we had not enough opportunity to practice in an ordinary westerner way of life.

If you on your side also have a lot to transmit, I will be opened, as I go on learning. But you will have to learn my local habits first, for a simple reason. You first have to check out if your tips are adapted to a place that is not where you learned yourself. And I can tell you that I am very pleased each time I can add a new tip to my owns!

Now a more formal description...

Finca in the Canary island of La Palma. Fruit trees (old orange orchard) and vegetables and herbs for own consumption. One goal is to produce more diversity and buy less food.
Camping and house in caves, all in terraces in a small valley. There is electricity, water and regular bathroom.

Natural living with no addiction... Well, some wine is not a problem sometimes, and you can be a smoker, do not hide it (some thought my requirement would help them to stop smoking and they did not, but could smell them from my bed!), just be respecful and establish the rule with me.

The project includes some heart meditation (internal exercise that enhances a good mood) and the place is quiet (you are asked to participate in this quietness!). A lot of herbs are produced for salads, woks and soups (that have a piece of -only local- meat). There is a big iron pot on a wood fire...

Help is needed to organize the place that has been left out of care for years. This is also a tribute to the brave people who made this incredible place and build the walls (just have a look at the photo website). Clearing and planting trees, making paths and stairways and new rooms in cave, preparing for future hens and lombricompost, weeding etc. The job that is done is not for selling anything, this is not a commercial farm, I get no income from the work you or I will do.

Recent update (even if I repeat myself somehow.....):
Please read my answers to the hosts that did not feel ok, as you will not see it unless you click under their comments.
Please tell me francfully if come for any other reason than learning (and been taught...). We both have the right to know what the other wants. If you do not want to learn something and accept to learn another, then less energy will be lost, as I will take it into account. Let me know who you are and your reasons of travelling before you come. Respect is nothing, respect of what you know the other wants to be respected is all.
I want the "spirit" of the place to be respected: quiet natural place for learning close to nature living. I will write what I usually say: I live in Europe and I am European, so you might think that it is close to your way of living. It will mostly be, be please do not considere it like this. I would like you to considere that you play a game: pretend that you arrive at a "pigmee village", and that you have the necessity to adapt to all different customs.
I simply do not want to change my own habits with every new host. I had to adapt myself here when I arrived, so I already did some changes myself. Just live the experience and keep whatever new habit that will suit you. You will easily understand that you would change your habits if you go to a remote rainforest village in central America, and you can go back to your own habits when you go back home. So do the same at my place.

When you write to me, feel free to ask, and to tell me really what you want and need.

I mainly want a natural life, so I do not like that you come with industrial own food even if you buy it, nor breathe the smell of ordinary synthetic perfumed cosmetics. About music, well the birds sing well here.
I also live as much as possible with the sun, so I go to bed early, and awake happily with the first blackbirds singing!
Also please tell about your food requirements and dislike. I'd rather that you eat veggies from the garden that are of season of course. I also shop on saturdays at the local market, so I will need to know what to buy and respect your tastes.
The work I do is varied, and I always explain all the scientific reasons I know about soil life and so on. You may not be living in my climate, so I want to teach you what is universal enough for you to re-use what you will learn.
If you do some weeding for example, then I will teach you how to use this as a plant identifying game. And I will also show you how to get more efficiency in your gestures, because this is a usual drawback, and if you want to have a nice life in the countryside, then you have to learn how to be efficient, or else you will be overflowed!
I know permaculture, but it has done some bad job in making think that this is for lazy persons because the design wil save time. No, it will allow you to do more, but this is a lot of effort.
Well, actually, you ave to be in this with the same energy that you put in sport! And the reward is the same as sport.
This is also great to be in the now famous "here and now", with a good conexion to your roots, to what you are doing etc.
I am also in a process of reducing my foot-print, so please accept to learn how do do the washing up with little liquid and how to do some savings in every aspect of life.

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