This morning the ants near the kitchen have apparently decided to build a fortress:
It’s hot today, and the dogs are showing signs of potential pique infestation. Piques are tiny parasitic bugs that burrow into your feet (near your toenails often) and then lay their eggs on top of themselves. Kim and Marcelo each had one last week, and they showed us how to remove them with a needle and alcohol- and they’re super tiny, so it’s not any big deal at all. Apparently the only way to treat the dogs, however, is to dip their paws in kerosene. That’s what the vets do, so that’s what Kim and Marcelo do here too. After his kerosene spa treatment, Rambo ran off… and he still hasn’t returned. Lulu got wise to us and has been hiding all day… we’ll have to trick her into sticking around for her treatment later. Kim asked me to grab her this morning while she got the kerosene, and despite my best efforts Lulu yelped and squirmed, dragged me through the dirt and kicked my forehead with her paws, and got away.My knees and elbows are scraped, which I don’t mind… it makes me feel a little bit badass really.
Before work we prepared the first parts of lemoncello with . In order to make it, we used the peels of 8 large lemons (zest only, no pith) and 1 liter of rubbing alcohol. Here, rubbing alcohol is basically grain alcohol (at 96% ETOH), and it’s used to make liquors among other things. At home various toxins are added to it so people don’t drink it… so if you’re making lemoncello in the states, use grain alcohol instead! All you need to do is pour the alcohol over the zest and let it sit, covered, for 10 days, shaking it well every other day. There is more to the project, but is encouraging us to be patient by making us wait to hear what comes next.
After our lemoncello adventure, we grabbed our tereré...
and headed up to mix mortar.
With it we laid the rest of the bricks this morning (which were leftover from the building of the Cosmic Cabin, the building Jon’s internship made) and sifted enough clay that we will be ready to mix new mortar tomorrow morning when the new shipment of 2,000 bricks comes.
The bricks we get are made of clay mixed with sawdust, and are not fired, which gives them more thermal mass. This is important when building something that will be passive solar (not something we require of this long-drop toilet), but in this case we’re using them because they are more ecological since they have not been fired. Thus, there are less trees harvested, and less pollution required to make them. Since we are studying natural and earthen building, this better supports our principles than fired bricks would.
Marcelo, demonstrating the strength of the arches in our building after only one day of drying:We are leaving some holes for ventilation and air flow in the composting rooms of the long-drop toilet:
And here are some more images from my day...
Teeny mosses growing on the wood that edges some of our garden beds:
Looking up through the trees:
The hooties and I, enjoying an afternoon swim in the river during siesta:
I brought some of Leonard's Lazy Wife Beans to donate to the seed stock here. We planted them, and they sprouted in only 4 days with all the rain and warmth we've had! We re-named them Blissful Wife Beans (because it seems more accurate), and pounded a little garden tag for them out of aluminum.
I just saw this new bottle green butterfly for the first time today, and it reminded me of you, mom (because you always point out this color exactly):
And this one's for you too... it's one of the smaller giant wood nettle plants here. They grow much taller than us!
I'm very fond of these little green bauble flowers:
Before lunch today Conan flicked an insect he was playing with at my leg. It hit my ankle, bounced off, and I looked down to discover this as I lept up and down, screamed a little, and then ran for my camera:
And we had our first bonfire tonight, thanks to Maggie's determination!
Walking up the path afterwards, I spotted what looked like glimmering diamond dust in the light of my head lamp. On closer examination I found this mama spider, her back absolutely COVERED with little babies (their eyes created the teeny diamond glints). The ants were trying to grab them for a treat, and the mama would kick them off and run a bit farther away. Who knew that spiders made such good mamas?!!