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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Food is medicine, cobing and living with nature.

A month of Costa Rica farming and travel is change though experiential learning.

Physically - 
Our lifestyles have changed. We've become vegetarians 99% of the time. My pants and shorts fall off my body. So do Rohan's. We wake up at 5:30 in the morning and feel great. We sleep when the sun sets. We subscribe to the cycles of the Earth in our eating and living.

Learning -
Traveling on a budget while living an abundant life is possible! Most nights are spent in our tent under the stars lending to a surprisingly restful sleep. Each farm charged $8 a day for a place to camp and to eat a bounty of collected food from our surroundings. Food is medicine and medicine is food. We can identify and consume many plant species of Costa Rica. Plants feed us and keep us healthy. Rohan's blog talks about this concept in specific detail.

We work hard everyday. We have learned the art of cobing floors and walls. We volunteered our hands for cobing projects at both farms. We have learned some structures and mindsets of intentional farming communities that work and that could be improved upon.

Farm Stay #1 - Finca Fruition
Finca Fruition is high in the mountains of Costa Rica. It gets cold at night and light blankets are necessary. The temperature of the day is a wonderful warm. Below is a photo of the view from the mountains.


The FOOD at Finca Fruition is the best/healthiest we have ever consumed! My body responded. I could feel the chemical flow of my cellular functions improving. Finding the micronutrients and amino acids of billion year co-evolution in the seeds and plants is priceless.

We made raw cacao tea. Coconut milk purple kale smoothies. Food forest salads with grated beats. Kombucha vinegar dressing. Pineapples and papaya. Rice and beans and ginger and lemon. Spinach. Wild Costa Rican mint. Rose hibiscus. Banana ice cream. Banana bread. Corn flour tortillas. Avocado pepper salsa spread. Raw pumpkin pie. Veggie burgers. Carrot cake.

We celebrated a birthday for a community member, who turned two. She was most captivated by the professional balloon artist who is also one of the founding members of the farm. We listened to drums around a fire for the Winter Solstice. We cut goat food and cared for goats. Raw goat milk tastes like goat cheese!

At Finca Fruition we cobed an exterior wall that needed maintenance. Building with cob is particularly easy to learn, requires no heavy equipment, uses local materials and can be done in small batches as time allows. This makes it extremely accessible to all people. Hands and feet form various mixes of earth, sand, and coconut husks (or straw), an atheistic and sensory experience similar to sculpting with clay. There are no forms or rectangle bricks to follow thus, cob creations are circular walls, arches and niches that organically develop. Cob homes are warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Cobing can be used to build all kinds of structures. Dog houses, ovens (kivas), walls of your house or any other thing you can imagine. It hardens to a cement-like consistency and will last many years. Rohan and I spent four days learning and applying knowledge of cob on one exterior wall. Cob is a mixture of three materials

1. Clay
2. Sand
3. Straw (we used coconut husks)

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You must learn to identify the right soil as clay and sand. We sifted our river sand to get the rocks out. Then make test batches to see the strength of the mixture. Test batches can be added to walls for sculpting tests or made into bricks for strength tests. Simply make small batches of cob with different ratios of sand and clay. Clearly mark ratios in the cob and allow drying in the sun. On walls, check for cracks. For bricks, drop them from their corner a meter above a flat concrete surface. If it crumbles, you have a weak mix. If it holds up, your mix is strong.

We made a ½ clay to ½ sand batch which, although good for sculpting art, cracked a lot. We decided to cover this outer wall with a 6 parts sand to 1 part clay mix, which is a smooth finish. Here are before and after photos of the wall. 

Farm Stay #2 - Finca Morpho

We will write more about this experience in the days coming.
Sending love and peace to the world,

Cheers to writing something.