Our first contact with La Jarilla's beautiful project
Laura and me have been in La Jarilla for a month through the European Solidarity Corps programme. We're learning so many things. We started by learning about the irrigation system. There are three orchards in La Jarilla, a syntropic orchard, a technique that was born in Switzerland with the idea of recovering soils and creating biodiversity among other things. Its terraces have different water needs: in the dry part the plants don't need too much water instead the soil of the other part needs to be wet. There are gooseberry and nispero trees that need water every day, we use the rainwater stored in pails. I started by irrigation because it's my favorite activity and I always end up watching the wonderful sunset.
There are also many books, I am reading the Revolution of a straw blade of Fukuoka and Laura is studying the flora of the surroundings with the help of a guide on fauna and flora of Extremadura. I also love trees and La Jarilla is surrounded by holm oaks.
Another task is to collect seeds from the orchard, for example sunflowers seeds we use to eat or to keep it on the seed bank. We select the best fruits to get the seeds we will use for upcoming plantations, same goes for tomatoes, zucchini and others.
I remember with affection the memory of the sunflower seeds collection, the stem need to be dry, then we cut it and store the seeds. There's a seed bank in the living room. At the moment there are seeds of the family of solanaceas, cruciceas, cucurbitaceae, grasses, umbeliferous, legumes, compounds, in addition to cereals and flowers.
Let's learn how to make a hotbed that is a small place to put the seeds with black earth and let them germinate.
In La Jarilla we use a lot ferments, for the garden and to consume them too. For the garden we use fertilizers by pouring cow manure, mixing yogurt, milk, yeast for bread and mumbing, thus nourishing the soil with the microorganisms.
We've made water kefir, kombucha, yogurt and planned to use chickpea water to make bread, cakes and other things.
It's being an experience full of emotions and learning. Extremaduran culture is very rich, I enjoy a lot its typical products like sausage, crumbs and salmorejo.
Here Laura, my experience here is being very positive, I enjoy the tasks we have done at the moment previously discussed by my co-worked Lui; I would like to add my experience with the bioconstruction of a cupboard/warehouse that we are carrying out. During construction we are learning building techniques like the leveling of the terrain where our structure will settle. The use of straw bullets for the creation of the walls of the construction is a simple, economical system, without environmental impact, and also with a great efficiency in terms of energy and termicity. At the moment we're carrying out the installation of the beams on the structure, the idea is to create a green roof for water collection and the maintenance of moisture and freshness, it's being a hard job but with a great contribution of knowledge. Finally we will carry out the walls covering using a mixture of straw, clay and sand, to ensure resistance, perspiration, waterproofness and the possibility of creating unique walls, with shapes and drawings that incite imagination and creativity.
Another interesting task I would like to share is the use of holistic management of sheep cattle; a few days ago we guided them and a couple of donkeys to an olive grove area where the cattle can graze freely cleaning the area, nourishing the soil with their excrement and stepping on the ground to fight against caking. Nowadays aware ranchers are trying to recover this technique to fight against the abusive use of feed to feed livestock and all that this entails, also to ending pasture desertification.
Concluding with this brief follow-up of the tasks that we are carrying out here in La Jarilla, I would like to insist on how positive and educational this experience is being. Thanks for the opportunity, and thanks to the souls whom I live with for making this experience a continuous learning and a fun game.