Winter life at the Freedom Farm has fallen into a comfortable pattern of communal work in the mornings, a shared lunch, leisure time in the afternoons and early to bed for long peaceful sleeps.
However, every now and then we like to take on a special project day where we exhaust ourselves doing something different. This week we all squeezed into our car, with the trailer filled to the brim with shovels, pick axes, and pre-made sandwiches, and headed out to El Gozo de Aragón, in Caspe, to offer our assistance to a sister permaculture project in need of some helping hands.
“El Gozo de Aragón or ‘happiness of Aragón’ is a Spanish finca in the Aragón region. We are creating a magical place where you can just be you, experience sustainable living, learn about eco building techniques & permaculture, get in touch with nature, get creative, work on personal growth or simply just relax. Our aim is to be as eco-friendly and self-sufficient as possible.”
Our volunteers Isaac and Megan had already been in place for a few days working on the grey water system and doing some prep work for the worm-powered compost toilet.
“Vermicomposting toilets allow for the use of a conventional flush, which removes the main objection many people have to composting toilets.
There are two main parts to the system (apart from the flush toilet): an insulated tank which houses worms with their associated ecosystem, and a ‘greenfilter’ or soakaway area to allow the vermifiltered water to be cleaned further and returned to the environment.”
Jaschenka, the proprietress of El Gozo de Aragón, greeted us warmly with a short brief about the science behind the process, and without delay we were all working together to break ground, dig deep and shovel mountains of hard, heavy, unyielding clay soil.
Heidi is our chief digger, and through a combination of skill and diligence she can shift huge quantities of earth with her preferred weapon of choice: the Spanish hoe.
Even the children chipped in when it was time to fill the giant hole we had created.
After a delicious lunch made using our homegrown produce we all climbed the hill to enjoy the majestic views.
Bellies filled and legs stretched, we all jumped back into the trenches for a 90minute push to finish as much as possible before it was time to pack up and go home.
Lauren and Tom took over at the coal face, fitting the drainage pipes into the trenches that Heidi and Isaac dug out.
We had a wonderful day, the kind of day you remember forever. The December weather was perfect and we were all warmed by the sun and by our togetherness – cheesy but true!