Aid Projects, Building, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Juan Pablo Martinez September 13, 2012
To be sure, buying a nice piece of land requires a lot of effort and a few happy accidents. Things have to happen ‘just right’ in order for you to acquire a highly valuable property with little cash and a lot of complications, but, who said it was going to be easy?
As with everything in this life, when you overcome great complications, you feel like you’ve accomplished a great thing, and tend to think that things afterwards will be easier. Most of the time, things go the other way: once you’ve proved to yourself that you can do great things, you’ll probably find an even greater challenge lying ahead, so you can prove again that you have more capabilities than you ever thought you had.
So, this has been the case with La Angostura project.Comments (8)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites — by Juan Pablo Martinez August 27, 2012
If you read my last article (Inspiration and First Moves), you might know already that when I got motivated to do something with permaculture my financial situation wasn’t the best. To be precise, it was rather precarious. Nevertheless, as a dreamer that tries to see not the evidence that would discourage others, I kept on going, being sure that when the right piece of land appeared, the way to buy it would appear as well.
No money, no partner, no credit
I had no money, no partner, no credit and a negotiation half-way through with the Boca de la Angostura ranch in the Guatemalan Caribbean. It was, to be sure, the materialized expression of my dream. In a few words: The perfect spot. Maybe it was not quite perfect, since there were a few issues to resolve, but the land had everything I needed to start and execute my demonstration site using Bill Mollison’s books as a guide. Check out the aerial picture.Comments (7)
Tales from La Angostura, Guatemala, A Project in the Making – Chapter I: Inspiration and First Moves
Demonstration Sites — by Juan Pablo Martinez August 16, 2012
When I was Young
I was born in 1973 in a middle class family. My first memories were of our living in Nicaragua, where my father went to earn his masters degree in business administration in INCAE. We lived there for two years and then we came back to a home my grandmother gave us in the suburbs of Guatemala City.
Our house had a mere 700 sq. ft. and later, my father built other rooms to accommodate my newborn brothers. We ended with 1300 sq. ft for six people, including the help.
I began to consider the size of our house when we visited our grandparents’ houses. It never bothered me, but in my mind there was always the idea to buy a large house for my family, when and if I got married. When listening to grown-ups, an ever present topic of conversation was regarding land, properties, and houses. Big and beautiful was the recurring theme.Comments (3)
Consumerism, Energy Systems — by Juan Pablo Martinez August 6, 2012
Trying to live more sustainably and save a buck or two….
Sustainability and economics
Almost every time, more sustainable systems are far more expensive than our regular way of doing things. This may be the most difficult obstacle to overcome when converting. However, this observation only takes money and cash flow into consideration. There are other points of view that need to be included in a truly objective discussion of this topic.
We may tend to see things in absolutes, and the easiest ‘absolute’ to monitor is the amount in your bank account. In the case of sustainable systems, however, there is a lot more to evaluate. Even though it may be difficult to assess these benefits, they are as real as cash and you should consider them as tangible as the temperature you’re experiencing.Comments (5)
Energy Systems — by Juan Pablo Martinez August 3, 2012
Welcome back to my Step by Step permaculture process.
We have been studying the uses of passive solar space heating around the house; now it’s time for solar water heating.
Solar water heating can be as simple as filling a transparent PET bottle with water and leaving it in sunlight, nevertheless, efficiency and high output both come as a result of precise engineering and attention to detail.
Before making a decision to change from your electric or gas system to solar, you must learn a few things to dismiss the myths and learn the reality about solar water heating.Comments (4)
Building, Consumerism, Energy Systems, Urban Projects, peak oil — by Juan Pablo Martinez July 31, 2012
The most important step
Maybe the most important step in the permaculture change is mindset. The day you get motivated to follow into a life of change towards freedom from the grid, the system and advertising; that day you will have taken the first and most important step in the permaculture change process.
When your mind settles into the permaculture mode, you will begin to see things differently. You will start to question every action you take and everything that happens in your surroundings. It is thrilling. You begin to learn that there is another way of doing things. You rise out of the bubble, let yourself look behind the petroleum revolution and understand that before oil, gasoline, fertilizers and plastics, there was a civilization going on, and it didn’t need great quantities of energy to function.
Some say that countries in the third world are 200 years behind in development from the first world ones. You can look at these places. They have whole lives with food, transport and internet. They just pollute less; use a fraction of the energy developed countries use, and are closer to green living. If they have to change abruptly, it may be easier; since they’re accustomed to living with less.Comments (2)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Urban Projects — by Juan Pablo Martinez July 26, 2012
Now I will share with you my Beautiful Gardens with Little Work method, so you can enjoy a nice garden — and one that does not require your throwing a lot of chemicals, fertilizers and a ton of money at it in order for it to thrive.
Beautiful gardens are often created by designers and use exotic plants that need special soil and a lot of chemicals and fertilizers to look good. Without these inputs, if you are lucky enough for your exotic plants to survive at all, it will likely be little more than a green (or brownish) shrub, with few or no flowers.
Frequently, beautiful flowers only bloom because of chemicals. If you don’t add these to the soil (or leaves), plants will refuse to give you any bloom, and you will see only green, or the feared brown of an unhappy plant. Therefore, you will have to spend a lot, poison your soil and be aware at all times about the needs of your plants.
So, how can we get beautiful gardens without spending a lot of money, time and effort? Read on.Comments (5)
Consumerism, General, Society — by Juan Pablo Martinez July 21, 2012
Over the weekend, my wife and I were discussing my last article (Permaculture, a Step by Step Change), and someone asked: And why are you doing this Permaculture thing? The answer somehow is quite difficult to address, but one has to have his thoughts and motivations clear in order to respond in a way that may inspire others to follow the path.Comments (11)
Consumerism, General, Society — by Juan Pablo Martinez July 13, 2012
To me, the simple idea of changing from an energy guzzling, water polluting, fertilizer junkie to a full ecological ‘Permie’ was just bogus. So far, it has proven impossible to make the full change in the last three years.
I want to share with you some of my thoughts, ideas and frustrations; maybe you’ll find them familiar. What I have found is that my most important asset is my will. I am sure you have it to. Without it you will be disappointed after the first setback or caustic comment from someone you care about.Comments (15)