The sound of hard rain bouncing off the roof.

February 2- 11, 2004

February 2, 2004

Well, some rain has finally come and the greenhouse, inside and out, is overwhelmed with “weeds.”

Some are nearly as high as my shoulders (I’m 5’6’’). With a machete in one hand and an “L” shaped stick in the other, I begin the tedious task of clearing the paths surrounding the greenhouse and compost pit.  The stick in my left hand is used to push back the grass-like stalks, exposing the base of the plant.  It is necessary to trim low to the ground.  If done correctly the machete is swung parallel to the ground with most movement coming from the flicking of my wrist.  The sharp tool being swung inches from my calf consumes my thoughts, as I try to ignore the masses of mosquitoes that have come with the rains.  Following the removal of the undesirable plants, I create life.  Well, not really create but assist. Over 200 Algarrobo seeds are placed in the empty seedbed and covered with nutrient rich soil.  The seeds will break through the earth in a few weeks and be transplanted some weeks later. 

February 4, 2004

A few hours are spent at the greenhouse this morning.  The weeds that have previously been removed are still at a respectably low level so my attention is devoted to transplanting.  After every ten plants or so I get up and stretch. At times I take a short break to chase the dog from the neighboring farm out of the compost pit or to follow the path of a wandering butterfly.  In the end nearly 70 plants of mixed variety have been repotted.   Following a hearty lunch in the afternoon, we traveled to our site in Jorge Lomas.  During my first visit there it became apparent that this site was so unstable that the impact of us walking through the site to water or plant was causing further damage. To help stabilize the site, we placed cribbing bars in the most vulnerable section.  Fallen trees are hacked into three-foot pieces.  The log is then strategically laid out and held in place with wooden stakes made from tree branches.  The reasons for placing cribbing bars are twofold. First, the log, once settled, acts as a step preventing landslides as we maneuver through the site.  Second, the log creates a secure platform in which trees can be planted.  At this time, ten bars were placed in a concentrated area at the bottom of the site. 

February 9, 2004

Today we maintained the greenhouse and transplanted approximately 50 plants.  The rains have started in full force, pouring down throughout the night.  Although the rain is essential to our work (life) here, it has become the cause of a horrible night’s sleep for us volunteers lying beneath the tin roof of our apartment/office.   The sound of hard rain bouncing off the roof is so loud it numbs the usual tranquil atmosphere.  Regardless of the drowsiness I feel, I’m anxious to get as many saplings transplanted as possible.  If the rain remains constant we will be planting continuously throughout the month. 

February 10, 2004

Another night of rain last night gave us the go ahead to get some plants in the ground this morning.  Sixty in all were planted in the Bosque park site.  The plantings are all hardwoods, mostly guachepeli, guayacan and jigua.  The Bosque is one of our first sites here in Bahia.  It is wonderful to see the succession of trees that were planted nearly five years ago.  We use a previously printed self-guided walking tour map of the park to indicate where we have placed the new trees.  It is a good practice to keep details of all our plantings.  The name and number of each species is written in my notebook and assigned its own authentic symbol. The symbols are sketched on the map to show exactly where each plant was placed.

February 11, 2004

With several sites well established, Brian and I recognize the need to expand our work to other areas.  Today we surveyed two new sites, Jorge Lomas canal and the dairy farm.  Both sites are in desperate need of revegetation.   These two will be major projects and take several years to complete.

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