May 21-May 25, 2007
We started the week with a greenhouse trip to drop off some fresh compost material from our house, water and clean weeds. While there we planted some more Guachepeli and Cascol seeds. We then filled up water jugs to take over to the Don Pepe and Maria Dolores revegetation sites. A slight dry spell forced us to resume watering a bit. The Don Pepe site looks great, while a handful of trees have died at Maria Dolores. Those that died suffered a lot since being transplanted and never had a chance to really take root. The trees that are alive look very healthy.
Also, a rather large undertaking of installing watering systems for each of the trees at this year’s sites has begun. The most economical, natural and hopefully efficient method appears to be using Caña (bamboo) tubes. This is a method used in the past with some success. I have modified the technique a little this year to hopefully improve upon the previous design. The tubes are cut slightly longer and dug into the ground further to be able to deliver water more directly to the tree roots. Caña trees grow rapidly in the wetter climates nearby Bahia. A nine meter trunk costs two dollars and can be used to make roughly twenty-seven tubes suitable for watering trees. The plan for installing them is to dig as close to the tree as possible without disturbing the root system and bury the entire tube except the top couple of inches. The tubes will help get water to the soil around the roots. They should also minimize the effects of evaporation since they will allow the ground under the surface to get the water directly. The top couple inches of the tubes are painted to help identify trees. This is helpful for volunteers who are carrying water around in the woods who need to be able to tell quickly where planted trees are. It also helps to notify passerby’s that there is a project underway on the land; this is more important at some of sites than others.
On Tuesday after going to Bosque Encantado to do some watering, I acquired the poles from the local Caña dealer. At the same time part of our ten person crew stayed at the house translating Bioregional Education materials and starting a mural on the wall outside the house.
On Wednesday, Caña poles were cut into pieces small enough to fit in Ricardito’s pickup truck to take them to the greenhouse. At the greenhouse we filled up gallon jugs and took a trip to El Toro to do some more watering. Water sources at El Toro, Don Pepe, and Maria Dolores still need to be finalized, so for now water has to be taken to them. Back at the house resident volunteer artists finished up a beautiful new house entrance. Tomas continued translating the Bioregional Education booklet. That night it rained, perhaps because we had begun watering our sites by hand again.
On Thursday we cut and painted a load of Caña tubes, carried them to the Maria Dolores site and installed them at the trees.
Friday the same was done for the site at Bosque en Medio de las Ruinas. While there, we discovered that more of the hand rails had been stolen again. This is clearly an act by someone determined to prevent progress in the park. The handrails themselves are worthless; they only represent the work of volunteers who are trying to create an attraction to help the neighborhood. The local residents are clearly upset by the news, but they don’t have much in the way of solutions. For now it seems as though there isn’t a lot that can be done to prevent someone from stealing Muyuyo poles (the handrails) from a park which can’t be monitored. This represents an unfortunate hindrance to developing the park, particularly at a time when more people, such as the Universidad Catolica, are getting involved in the project. Since this has already happened three times while I’ve been here (since January), I’m quite reluctant to simply replace the stolen handrails again. We’ll have to see what the University thinks about the situation and decide how to continue. My current plans are to begin development in a different direction, which is to build a community greenhouse. I’ve talked to some community members and it appears as though there is a possible location, and definitely high interest among the local kids. This will take some planning an organizing, but keep an eye out for developments down the line.
Despite the unfortunate set back at Ruinas, it’s been another jam-packed week. I’m hopeful for the new watering system which I think will make a big difference in helping the little trees make it through their first dry season. Additionally, the rains have been picking up, suggesting that the real dry season may be a little ways off. This is great news for the trees that have been planted this year.