Stairs from the bottom to the house
After the “Nowhere-Festival” I needed some rest. I got it at Tricia’s organic farm. Tricia is British and bought a piece of land a few years ago near Coin, not far from Malaga. The property is situated on a slope and ends at a river in the valley. Running water is an important aspect when buying land that needs to be cultivated. Tricia has a few fruit and nut trees as well as a vegetable garden. Especially in summer, regular watering is important. In her case, the water supply comes from the river. From there, water is pumped to a station in the higher terrain. Then it is distributed to the various neighbors. There is an exact schedule when each property gets water.
Water is precious
I visited Tricia in mid-July, one of the hottest and driest seasons of the year. The river had very little water left. In some places it was just deep enough to lay down and refresh a bit. For me the river was not only refreshment, but also my shower. There is no tap water at Tricia´s. She lives completely “off the grid”. No water, no electricity and no refrigerator.
The river water is used for watering, but not as drinking water. Since the property is not at the source of the river, the degree of pollution of the water is unknown. So if the farmers near the land of Trisha’s watercourse contaminate the water with e.g. dirty water or pesticides, it is no longer clean. That is already the first problem of organic cultivation. Even if one follows all rules and uses only ecologically justifiable products oneself, the neighbor can destroy everything. In her case it is an orange farmer who sprays his trees with pesticides. That’s a pity, but unfortunately it can’t be changed. She has already tried to talk to him and make him change his mind. But he stays with what has been old and proven.
So much for purely organic cultivation.
So if you want to be absolutely sure, soak the fruit and vegetables before eating them. Vinegar and baking soda are the substances of choice here. You can remove the pesticides by soaking them 15 minutes. I haven’t always been very specific about soaking.
In my time, the mulberry tree carried fruit. I love this fruit. I also can’t remember having eaten it before, either. Maybe it’s because of the shape of the harvest. It is almost impossible to grab the berries from the tree without being completely covered with purple color afterwards. My hands always looked as if I had “slaughtered” a mulberry tree. All this did not stop me from continuing to snack directly from the tree every morning.
This is how I imagine paradise, eating the fruits directly from the tree.
Trisha’s nutritional philosophy is raw vegan. Of course, this is particularly interesting for me. I have been living off a plant-based diet for years. For health reasons, I am interested in how I can continue to optimize my diet. Especially through the Ayurvedic nutrition and body-type theory. So for my Ayurveda type there is no pure raw food recommended. Nevertheless, I wanted to try it out for a few days. Since we had high summer, it was also easy for me. In addition, I had been diagnosed with a wheat intolerance shortly before. Adieu, my beloved German wholemeal bread, wholemeal noodles and baking with spelt, wheat and rye. I should also avoid barley. This is mainly used in beer. But that’s not so bad. I have never been a big beer drinker. Only “Kölsch”, my local beer from Cologne, I always drank at carnival. Now I also know why I always felt so bad afterwards…
Meanwhile I only drink alcohol very rarely. It just doesn’t agree with me anymore. Or has it ever done so?
If there is an amount of alcohol that a person can drink, then I have already reached my quota.
vegan raw food
So “raw vegan” was just right for me. At Tricia`s, this form of nutrition contains no grain at all. We fed on fruit, vegetables, nuts and sprouted legumes. I learned the most delicious recipes from these ingredients. My absolute favorite is a vegetable curry and a carrot cake. Both dishes I have made myself by hand. I only used mechanical kitchen utensils. Tricia uses solar power. She has solar panels on her roof and storage batteries in her house. But you can only use electronic devices to a limited extent. Such a high-performance kitchen machine, as well as hairdryers and electric kettles, eat too much electricity.
But for a Wifi router it is enough. Once again, Internet reception in “no man’s land”. Also my telephone Internet reception was outstanding.
So not completely cut off from civilization after all.
The next neighbors are not far away, but you don’t usually see or hear them. The direct neighbors are fruit growers. They cultivate their land during the day and drive home in the evening. When they are there, you can of course hear cars, farming machines and a radio. At night it is pleasantly quiet. Not even the dogs bark. For me exactly what I had longed for. Absolute silence to sleep deeply.
In the morning I got up with the sunrise. I used this time for myself and made myself a tea. Therefore I heated filtered spring water on the gas stove. This is operated with a gas cartridge. Tricia collects the spring water regularly from the wells of the nearest site. This is typical for Spain. The spring water in the villages is drinkable. If it is not, there is a sign that says “non potable”. Tricia has a professional water filter from which I filled my drinking water bottle. For everything else, unfiltered spring water is used.
The washing up is similar to the Nowhere-Festival
. This time only in two steps: Rinse off and pass through clear water. The water then is used for watering various plants. It goes without saying that Tricia only uses biodegradable dishwashing liquid.
Tricia uses a camping variant for the shower. It is a kind of camel bag, a solid plastic bag. It is filled with water and hung above the head. At the bottom there is a mini shower head. This works well to rinse off the body. To wash the hair, I recommend the water bucket overhead variant. In winter, the water is warmed up on the gas stove. I decided for the river bath. Simply bathing in the river until I felt clean, which I like to do several times a day. In the middle of summer this is a pleasant cooling down.
The compost toilet
When it comes to toilets, it may be a little odd for one or another. A compost toilet is only available for poo. You sit on a toilet seat that is embedded in a large board. Underneath, at a depth of at least one meter, is the pit. After you finish you take a shovel with sand or dried leaves and cover it. I am always amazed that there is no bad smell. Basically it doesn’t smell at all. However, this could also be due to my diet.
Liquids should not go into the hole. One is instructed to pee wherever possible. The land is very dry and only the fruit and nut trees are watered. I already know this kind of “giving back to nature” from a yoga retreat. That’s why it wasn’t strange to me. However, they had a place for it that was protected from sight. Here you have a large, wide country at your disposal. Since there are, as I said, no direct neighbors, it is not quite so dramatic. With a maximum of three people living on the farm at the same time, you will find your place. People who can sit well in the squat position have an advantage here. Anyone who has already travelled around India, like me, knows these toilets in which the squat seat is frequently found. Some know it from France.
Volunteers via WorkAway.com
The compost toilet was built by volunteers. So Tricia also manages to cultivate the land. She offers an exchange program for volunteers. On WorkAway she offers 1-2 volunteers a place to sleep and food. The volunteers don’t have to be vegan raw food vegans, but vegan. The use of the “hippie kitchen” is open to everyone. There is also a “bathroom”, in which there is a camping shower and a washbasin: a pot and a bowl. Also here the old water is poured into nature.
The Hippie Kitchen
The open-air kitchen is mainly used in summer and is one of my favorite places. It reminds me a little of how we used to build houses in the forest as children. Of course Tricia’s kitchen is professionally equipped. Nevertheless it reminds me a little of Pippi Longstocking. Everything looks a little “hippie”. No wonder, as the land was inhabited by a vegan community before. So a little infrastructure was already there before Tricia bought the property.
The cultivation of the land
It is hardly possible to cultivate the land alone. The volunteers mainly work in the garden. Four hours in summer and five hours in winter. This is the exchange for bed and food. I helped Tricia with the mulching. This reduces the amount of water evaporation that the trees and plants receive. And it is as well an ecological way of protecting fruit trees from weeds. It was an exciting challenge for me, but nothing more. I don’t have it that way with plants. My motto at home is “survival of the fittest”. Those who are strong enough survive. And the plants on my terrace don’t look so bad for that.
I had many good conversations with Tricia. I also visited her as an “acquaintance” and not as a “volunteer”. I was also only there for six days. Volunteers stay two to six weeks. That’s certainly how long it takes to get used to life there. For me it was a welcome change and I learned a lot. Especially how to conserve food without a refrigerator. When we had leftover food, it was placed airtight in a bowl of water. The next day you should eat the leftovers anyway. The salad is kept in a clay jug. The whole thing is closed with a plate, a wet cloth and again a plate that is weighted down with a stone. All other food is stored in a self-built “open air” cupboard. It has a barbed wire fence on the doors so that no animals can enter. And also for the deterrence of ants there is a biologically justifiable remedy. So the storage of food outside is no problem.
The vegan raw food was good for me. I felt light and energetic. I took a few recipes with me. I will integrate them into my everyday life. Especially at lunchtime and in summer I can eat raw very well. However in winter I like warm food. Since I have been working with Ayurveda for some time now, I now know my type. As already mentioned above, I am not a raw food expert per se. In the end, everyone notices for himself which food he feels best with.
The few days in the countryside felt very good for me. I slept well and also had an extensive “siesta” every day. This afternoon nap is very advisable especially in the heat. Above all, in the shade.
Living in the country side
Living in the countryside
I know that I want to live in the country, but I don’t want to cultivate land. A cottage with a little green around it, that’s enough. It shouldn’t be so big that I can’t take care of it alone. It should also not challenge me every day or require volunteers. I would also like to have water. A connection to the water supply is a luxury that I don’t necessarily want to miss. I would use it economically. I already do that now.
I can well imagine electricity from solar panels. Because it is quite possible to have a refrigerator with it if you want. I learned that on the third part of my journey. “Hidden Paradise” perfected “off the grid” for me. A complete retreat, cut off from electricity and water, whereby this place has fresh spring water at its disposal. This is unbelievable luck. More about that in the next blog.