Every afternoon we see José arrive at La Jarilla, usually with leftover food for the chikens and with the intention of enjoying a few hours with the care of the pigs.
José was born in the year 1955, in the village of Plasenzuela, the youngest of seven brothers; when you ask him how was his childhood he points with a smile that occupies his entire face to his younger grandson, who is often running around barefoot discovering what surrounds him, and proudly says: likewise, I was raised in herds, playing freely in contact with nature, with the only concern of hooking myself to my mother’s breast when my body asked for it.
He grew up surrounded by a food autonomy necessary for survival, in the maintenance of crops and livestock maintenance there was a balance between pleasure and need. It was normal to spend most of their time taking care of what provided them with the most important, food and with it security.
Since childhood learnt the hobby of his father and older brothers for the construction with dry stone, without any type of glue between stones; he helped in the creation of walls of great length that made to delimit farms, without knowing that in the future it would become his profession for a long time. At that time, mortar was used in stone construction, providing the possibility of creating innovative mampostery and wall draping techniques.
Most of the buildings seen in the village were designed, directed and made by him and his brothers; here in La Jarilla, the hostel, the hermitage, several bridges and the huts are part of the list of family constructions.
Nowadays he runs the hotel in the village with the great help of Toñi, her life partner; hotel that was rebuilt with stones that he was collecting from works in which he participated. A work of art worth visiting.
But his favorite occupation is the meticulous care of a herd of Iberian pigs (guarros in Extremadura) where he finds and experiences his sense of life. While we accompany him in the almost meditative contemplation of animals he shares with us reflections full of wisdom and in a way, without knowing it, are principles and values within the permaculture, that culture that remains.
He speaks to us of the importance of observation, of planning before acting, of not being afraid of error, of humility, of love, of self love, loving what surrounds us and what we do... creating a space, he begins to recite a poem by Antonio Machado...
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.
He returns to the conversation with an analysis of reality loaded with a hopeful message: "the traditional is disappearing, but I believe one day someone will realize the benefits of traditional methods. He will look at health ahead of money, begin to value what surrounds him, to connect with nature again, respecting it, adapting to it."
I certainly agree with his words and I see this change that is gradually being made. We are in the moment to recognize the error and amend, to create a more peripheral vision, to reconnect with the earth, to return all that was extracted from it in an abusive way, to begin to create resilient ecosystems, and then resilient people will come, resilient communities and that society that some peolple point to as idyllic... I trust that changes begin with something small, but contagion is present, which turns change into something exponential.
Here Lui, I want to add more information about José’s work with pigs, he highlights a lot do things with patience and tranquility, that is to say that planning things is essential; according to the need of pigs are organized in different areas: in the first area (more extensive and full of oaks) are the majority, young pigs, mothers who have not given birth and fathers, feed them with barley flour, the second area is intended for pigs destined to be slaughtered in the future, gives them more barley ration for fattening, in the third zone are the fattest pigs that will kill before and in the fourth zone where are the kennels where the mother and newborns are protected from cold and other pigs. By looking at nature itself you can learn, just by looking, and by taking things out for your work. An example of the holm oak is a tree that does not need much water and offers the acorn which is a very complete food that serves to feed animals.
On the subject of the slaughter, José tells us that in October it usually rains in Extremadura and the acorn will be ready from October to December, in granite soils the acorn grows earlier. José says that "By San Andrés kill them all three, fat, skinny or whatever they are", San Andrés is at the end of November, José returns to the theme of observing nature, because after San Andrés there are no more acorns that feed and fatten the pigs.
José note the importance of doing things collectively, when the time of the massacres approaches, the whole family and neighbors came together to enjoy a day of work, and "between laughts and food" prepared products like patatera, morcillo, chorizo, bacon among others.
To conclude, this talk has made me reflect on the way I relate to my environment in Sao Paulo, which is where I live in Brazil. I have perceived that there I have a way of living very busy, full of routine that does not allow me to stimulate observation, something that for Joseph is fundamental to plan his work, since he has told us that patience and tranquility is the basis of everything so that you can do it with pleasure and well.
Thank you José for your time, your advice and your affection.