December 29, 2008-January 16, 2009
Summary: House repairs continued. Stakes for tree markers are cut and painted. A new site at Bosque Encantado is created.
Completed house repairs include (but are not limited to):
- hiring a contractor to repaint the front of the house,
- refinishing the Planet Drum sign,
- repairing the sign’s metal hanger that was in danger of falling to the sidewalk below,
- overhauling a bathroom that never functioned (the house now has two full bathrooms),
- repairing the stove,
- repairing the main door that never quite shut correctly,
- fixing volunteer beds,
- electrical wiring repairs,
- changing a burnt out hot-water shower switch,
- installing a second light in the kitchen for improved lighting,
- installing door handles and fixing doors that never shut correctly,
- removal of two pickup trucks worth of materials that will either be recycled as building materials at the greenhouse or thrown away,
- along with general cleaning of all of the rooms and stairwell.
Over a week was dedicated to cutting hundreds and hundreds of Neem stakes for identification of the trees we will plant at the new revegetation sites. We were joined by three volunteers who passed by and came to work for a day around New Year’s and then by a couple of local kids who wanted to help paint stake tops another day. Each stake needs to have a point cut with the machete so that it can be pushed into the dirt. The opposite point is shaved of bark and then painted with the 2009 identification color: yellow. Last year was red.
On Monday the 12th Jaime and I dropped off compost from our apartment at the greenhouse and took care of weeding of the trees. From there we walked to Maria Dolores to scout for another new site and attempt to locate some landowners to discuss possibilities for planting. Along the way we checked up on sites at Don Pepe and above the houses in the small barrio there.
Several of the trees above the barrio were still visible from the road, despite problems with neighbors repeatedly planting corn in between the trees. The 2008 Don Pepe site looks good, many of the trees survived the transplanting and first dry season. The 2007 site has some really healthy looking trees, particularly some Algarrobo’s. We talked to Don Pepe about landowners for more sites and got the name of a landowner for a nice looking hillside.
Tuesday we cut more stakes.
Wednesday and Thursday Jaime and I broke trail at the 2009 Bosque Encantado site. Thursday, Planet Drum surfer friend Blas joined us for some machete action.
On Friday, with the new volunteer, Marketa from the Czech Republic, who will be spending 2 months with us, we dug nearly all of the holes. Hole digging has become 2 to 3 times more difficult since the rains have begun due to the high percentage of clay in the soil. Thankfully, not counting the new Bosque Encantado site, we already have 1,332 holes dug.
The rainy season has kicked in with frequent night time drizzles and the occasional nighttime downpour along with excessive humidity and a broiling hot sun. Planting begins next week!