Marisa Dipaola, USA / Portugal

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - July 31, 2017


Bio

Marisa Dipaola was born barefoot on December 12th, 1977, and grew up in the cedar swamps and coastal Atlantic of southern New Jersey. She graduated with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 where she majored in painting and began experimenting with site-specific sculptural installations. Upon graduation, Marisa received a travel grant to study la Mezquita, in Cordoba, Spain, which began a collection of travels to eighteen countries, studying the sacred architecture and natural wonders, producing site-specific artworks in Japan and Iceland as well as entire series of artwork while on residence in Spain, India, Italy, Egypt, Austria, and Bahrain.

She has exhibited her works internationally at museums, galleries, universities, cultural institutions, community gathering places, outdoors within natural sculptural parks and urban revitalization projects.

URL: dropr.com/marisadipaola


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

In the course of being a nomadic artist, Marisa Dipaola has wandered throughout the landscape in diverse surroundings, constantly inspired by the natural world that embraces us all. After residing in the southern Austrian Alps for three years, she and her family are ready for a road trip to move to southern Portugal, in order to buy and renovate an old farm as a sustainable, permaculture project: moonfarmers. Raising her three-year old daughter while this major project is on the go, she is unable to foresee any free-time to take part in the artworld, at least for a year or so. Instead, she will dedicate her time and artistic effort to turning an abandoned property into a sustainable small farm and retreat, and quite possibly a future artist residency.

Her time will be spent with rebuilding a sustainable habitation, sourcing and planting fruit and nut trees, native edibles, sacred seeds, establishing berry patches, grape vines, mushroom patches, a chicken coop, a small fish pond, a huge vegetable patch. She will use sculptural elements to create terraced farming areas, enhance microclimates and enable year-round cultivation courtesy of cold frames fashioned from old windows as well as illuminating indoor growing areas, a few wind-chimes, alternative-energy-generating works, and the interior redesign & redecoration of their living space. On a more scientific front, she hopes to incorporate the skills she learns during this time to create various sculptural projects that encourage growth, combining illuminated works with fungal works and garden projects to create sustainable, living artworks. Any additional free time she finds will be spent mending clothes from the pile she’s had gathering for years and to complete more butterfly carpets -- and there is that quilt she has wanted to make for her bedroom.

She hopes that the time working and reflecting while on-hiatus from the artworld, but proceeding with her moonfarmers project will guide the future, whichever way it grows.


Final Report

After taking a little hiatus from being "on hiatus"
I have had a chance to reflect upon this past year:
how far we've come as moonfarmers,
and how wide open our future can be.

Or perhaps I haven't really been "on hiatus" at all.
Years ago, I did an oil painting of a little wooden cottage,
set amongst a flowering garden, aptly named "storybook cottage"
for its allusions to an imaginary, out-of-a-storybook world.
I eventually used the painting as a proposal sketch
for "storybook cottage" a knitted inhabitable playhouse sculpture
I (& Mohamed) made for an exhibition title "There's No Place Like Home"
at the Paul Robeson Gallery of Rutgers Newark, New Jersey, in 2013.

Coming together in the final moments, the sculpture was visually satisfying:
and at the opening, a hit with the toddlers (& their parents) visiting the exhibition.
But under its intricate surface, this knitted world was only an illusion,
and an indication of my desire for a real storybook cottage to inhabit.

So here we are.
This ongoing project,
or series of projects,
has only just begun.

And yes, I intend to keep some sort of online account
of how we are progressing, with all our various activities
(something I wouldn't have thought of doing without
the encouragement of the RFAOH community).

But this year being on hiatus has given me time to reflect on what else I can be,
how much further, and farther, my life can take me than simply being an artist.

And funny, everything I thought I'd be doing once I was "off" hiatus
(like keeping up with other correspondences & re-entering the art-world)
I hadn't really thought of lately.

Instead, I've been sitting in the shade watching our garden grow,
watching flower petals unfold and bees buzzing from blossom to blossom.
And watching the stars shine, and finally seeing the owl I'd been hearing lately.

Mohamed had recently told a lady,
who had asked if I had been painting,
that "yes, marisa has been painting with water..."
meaning that I had scattered seeds throughout our yard
and as I spray water across the land,
vibrant colors and forms come to life.

But now that it's August, I have really been "on hiatus" from technology,
including emails and taking photos (& apologies to my parents for that);
and instead, focused more on Marmalade's story-time and creative play
(which reminded me of the years ago I spent teaching arts to children
& the years before when I was Marmalade's age, in my own imaginary world),
and reading (especially as a new book on companion planting just arrived from my Dad),
and materials-collecting for our home and gardening projects.

We dug out all the collected glass bottles, driftwood,
seashells, colored stones, and the tangles of gathered fishing ropes,
to prepare our materials for newly repaired outdoor furnishings,
Marmalade's playhouse, our front porch, and bathroom remodeling projects.
And found another nearby trail within Bamboo Parque littered with fallen bamboo,
perfect to complete the outdoor kitchen area and the pergola over our front porch,
which now has three upright posts with three crossbeams.

And, for some time now, I've wanted to make a collection of wind chimes,
and with all the collected random materials, I can finally begin creating them.

And I dug out my oil paints and stash of brushes,
and began repainting a nasturtium painted on a found metal sign in Austria,
as its trailer trip out west last summer left it dirty, scraped, and stained.
Perhaps an apt metaphor for our journey to arrive here;
but I'm ready to move on, move forward,
and so repainting it with our garden's new blossoms.
Once finished, it will become decoration for our fence,
as another friendly welcome to the moonfarm.

And Marmalade and I begun our largest collaborative project yet,
repainting the back wall of our house, which, hopefully,
will soon become the inner wall of Marmalade's own bedroom.
Painting this mural reminds me that I truly love painting on walls;
and that although I am not just a painter, I do love painting.

(& I've wondered how I can share that love here;
& painting our house seems the first logical step.
Yet Marmalade's school, most of Zambujeira do Mar,
& the Casa Viva teahouse in Odemira all seem possibilities
to spread my colors further & to reach a wider audience;
something I imagine would unfold over the next few years.
& speaking of Casa Viva, we'll be there more often,
since Mohamed will be leading a weekly capoeira class there.
So painting their walls seems a very real possibility, too.)

We are also trying to get the place cleaned up a bit,
to feel like we've finally moved in and claimed our home
(& get it ready for a huge visit by Mohamed's family).

And I've been really busy with the bounty from our garden:
jars and jars of blackberry jam, applesauce, and pasta sauce.
With a growing pile of adorable summer and winter squash,
and bush beans, tomatoes, arugula, kale and cauliflower,
and kohlrabis, tomatillos, cucumbers, onions and pears
(which sliced thinly together make a lovely salad!)

And, as our summer harvesting is in full swing;
we are also getting the garden ready for the fall planting season.
We're putting in another few planting beds for an exciting collection of fall favorites: radishes, peas, onions, garlic, broccoli,
rainbow beets and carrots,
and including: fenugreek, red cabbage, celery, shallots, leeks and rutabaga,
that I've never grown before.

We arrived one full year ago,
as our first day in Portugal was Marmalade's third birthday.
This year we have so much to celebrate, so much growth, joy, and surprises.
Marmalade wished for a birthday picnic at the beach,
so we invited the Sebastians to come along,
for lunch and chocolate cupcakes by the sea;
not all that different than a scene from one of her storybooks.

While wandering our land harvesting all the ingredients for the garden salad,
I realized that our home really is out of a storybook:
over a river and through a bamboo forest...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

While our first residents were here in the early summer,
I really saw the potential the moonfarm has as a residency;
not just the location and tranquility and mild weather,
but the abundant found materials and room to experiment.

I've been on enough residencies
(& helped run Townhouse's while there)
to know that I would excel at running a residency,
and hope that the glassbottle construction for the ruin
gives the moonfarm the perfect place to welcome all creatives.

Yet being "off hiatus" hasn't given me any extra free time;
I still spend hours daily watering, cultivating, harvesting, and cooking.
And there's always dirty dishes and laundry piling up.
But the year "on hiatus" has kept me focused on our goals,
and helped me remember that although life is mostly out of our control,
we do have a little time and space to spread happiness
and make our world a little bit brighter.

Thank you for this incredible opportunity.
And please come back to the moonfarm.

With peace and love,
m, M, m (& tuna)


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recent comments

On Aug 23 2017, Lee commented on From RFAOH Co-directors: Marissa, I would love to follow anything you place online! Please let me know hwen you get going![...]

On Jul 31 2017, mathieu commented on revival: part IV: thank you for the reports and for the gorgeous photographs, your adventure is very inspiring![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part IV: I'm all choked up... July 31 happened to be my birthday too; what a last day! Thank you to you all!![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (m) commented on revival: part IV: Thank you so much for your generous contribution to this project Marisa - and everyone (we know it's[...]

On Jul 30 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part three: One thing we regret not to have done sooner is to make the comment section capable of posting images[...]


moonfarmers’ first residents

As hoped for, we had friends come to stay and help eats plums,
each eating at least their two dozen quota of plums per day.
And since they are both sustainable farming researchers,
their assistance far surpassed plums:

they’ve devised a low-tech gravity pump to access water from our well,
designed a low-cost, low-tech solar hot water system on our bedroom roof,
and brainstormed a dam system for the inlet of our canal water system.
Nadine also planned and set-up an innovative composting dry toilet,
in which the waste is easily composted and returned to the soil,
ideally used for planting fruit trees on top of our hillside.

Felipe also offered suggestions to improve our composting process
(flipping more often, moister & with smaller pieces)
and while investigating our current compost piles,
discovered that several of the composted date pits,
from Mohamed’s grandfather’s trees, had sprouted,
so we transplanted those into containers.

While they’ve been brainstorming and testing out their ideas,
I’ve been in the kitchen, making two kinds of plum sauce and plum chutney,
and working a lot in the garden, mostly sowing seeds: catnip for Tuna,
more bi-color sweet corn, more pink-eyed peas and purple bush beans in the garden,
and scattering the crushed pods of our arugula hybrid as a “mulch” under the tomatoes.
And harvesting: all the remaining plums, lots of carrots, bush beans, tomatoes;
and lots of onions and handfuls of orange basil, lamb’s quarters, purslane, and sorrel,
which sautéed together made a tasty, citrusy topping for pasta.

I’ve also been harvesting more of the lemon cucumbers,
which are very mild and sweet, and slightly fruity,
lacking the compounds that make cucumbers difficult to digest,
and their fun, lemon-size makes them easy to add to salads.

During the recent Fruit/Seed transplanting times,
we got the nine remaining Käferbohnen into Horta Nova,
and transplanted one Napolitana fig into the hillside,
and two others into large flowerpots by the porch.

All the sweet corn and melon seeds from last Fruit time have sprouted,
and are receiving the TLC treatment until their spaces are ready in the old compost bin.
On the other side of the old bin, the loofah squash are doing great,
and have a few small looflets on their vines.

And finally an eggplant seed sprouted!
I think our nights might have been too cool until recently for germination.
Fortunately, we have a really long growing season.

Now that the plums have all been picked and either sauced or eaten,
our digestive systems are returning to normal again,
so we’re planning which other fruits we want in abundance:
figs, obviously, since we just got three more trees,
and a few more peaches and maybe a nectarine,
and apricots, since we just saved twelve organic pits,
and maracuja, since we scooped and saved dozens of their seeds,
though I’ll need to research how to sprout them.

Our seedling lemon and nespera (loquats) trees are nestled in the cold frame,
coming along nicely and slowly with several leaves of healthy growth.
During the end of July, there is a recommended time to plant fruit seeds,
so all these saved pots and seeds will await sowing until then.

Today is Marmalade’s last day of school until Fall,
and our first residents’ last day of their first residency;
so, as usual, we have a busy day planned ahead,
also, as usual, ending with an afternoon trip to the beach.

Last night swung from Fruit into Root time, so dinner was quite rooted:
Einkorn (an ancient wheat) rice with garden carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic and dill.

Since it is still a Root day today,
I just planted the remaining sweet potato sprouts into the garden.
And will be harvesting more onion flowers to make more infused sesame oil.
And plan to make more beet chips for a midday snack.

With moonfarmers we always hoped to host an artist residency
using the term “artist” broad enough to include
all sorts of designers, scientists, and other creatives
that want to further the mission of a sustainable future.
And eventually build some treehouses.

Right now residents are hosted in a spacious tent,
with most meal provided fresh from the garden.
Anybody else interested in joining the moonfarm,
please just let us know.

Leave a Comment (4)

marisa wrote on Jul 18:

So if you can save a few pits from some nice plums, dry them out & bring them over,
I'm totally game to try to grow these special plums here!
My first trials of lemon trees & nespera (loquats) have been going nicely,
with two healthy seedlings for each.
& I'm super excited to increase the diversity of life growing here.
Indeed.

co-director (s) wrote on Jul 16:

The ones for umeboshi are rather different kind of plum (not sweet at all and we can never eat them raw) but maybe you could grow one at moonfarm?? It's good for so many things - we even eat the inside of the pits for the longevity so we are told (:

marisa wrote on Jul 8:

I can't wait for your residency here...
perhaps during the next plum season so I can learn how to make Ume-boshi.
And to play with all the bamboo that's laying around.

co-director (s) wrote on Jul 3:

That's so cool Marisa, that moonfarm already had the first residents! I wish I could come and exchange our "making" but "not artmaking" tips! I'm sure we'll have lots of those and have a blast (:

 


reorienting: part two

An unfavorable day yesterday gave me a chance to step back;
and reflect on the Springtime we’ve just had,
and the visitors that have come and gone,
and, among other things, I realized that I never completed my thoughts in the previous post.
Most noticeably, that in the garden, I am constantly being humbled,
by the successes of randomness that happen at the fringes of my garden.

It is humbling.
Humbling is a good thing,
especially when we learn from it.
And I hope to learn a lot from these expressions of growth:


the tomatillos that I carefully tended aren’t thriving as well as the one that grew
from a seed that found its way to the Earth through a tear in the seed packet,
and now stunningly growing at the edge of Horta Nova.


Indeed it must’ve been sown at its favorable Fruit time,
since I would only have the packet outside then.
And indeed it fortunately fell onto cultivated soil,
between a sunflower and a hokkaido squash plant.
And I left the seedling to grow because it looked friendly.
Undeterred, I will plant more tomatillos tomorrow during the Fruit trine,
to see if I can encourage more to reach their full potential.

Also humbling (& delicious!) is the experimental flowerpot
that was filled with the soil from unsprouted seed cups.
Although growing in an overcrowded space with limited soil,
these bush beans have grown larger, lusher, and more bountiful than their garden rivals.
The tomato is twice as large as any of its relatives in the garden,
and the dill is just incredible.

Funny, I’ve tried numerous times to grow dill,
but the seeds’ requirements have proved daunting.
Luckily, some of our compost was chock-full of dill seeds,
that seem to sprout and thrive wherever they are planted:
with the lettuce, in the artichoke patch, in with a blueberry,
next to the loofahs, and even in flowerpots of morning glories.

Sure, seed sprouting is a miracle of chance,
and every seed will not survive, no matter where its sown, and when;
and I have no idea how many accidental seedings didn’t sprout.
But for those that do, the plants are incredible.
Awe-inspiring, even; for I am in awe.

And I am inspired:
to save the seeds from these mammoth dill plants,
hoping that they will thrive here like their parents.

Unexpectedly, I’ve really gotten into seed-saving,
allowing many of the best garden plants to go to seed.
Sure, to observe their process and harvest the seeds for future crops,
but mostly to honor their purpose in their life…
why they sprouted in the first place.

Speaking of sprouting,
my arugula-kale cross-breeding experiment is showing great promise:
several green rosettes have sprouted in the garden,
not quite arugula, not quite kale,
but an edible tender green when cooked,
growing underneath and around the tomatoes
and thriving in the heat of the summer season
when the arugula and kale don’t do so well.
I have been hulling tons of these seeds,
half a jar from the arugula parents
and half a jar from the kale plants;
enough for continuous cultivation forever.

The morning glories grown from our seeds are incredibly vibrant,
more so than others planted from purchased or gathered seeds,
and more colorful, lush and plentiful than their parent plants
from a windowsill patch from Marmalade’s room in Austria.

Reorientation is about adapting
to whatever gets thrown at you.
The rouge tomatillo and volunteer dill reminded me of this lesson.
That life is about surviving, and adapting, in order to thrive.

Leave a Comment (1)

co-director (s) wrote on Jun 27:

And our morning glories are just sprouting right now -- I've been in our mini-petite yard a lot too (and been meaning to send you some photos!) I'm trying to imagine how differently your farm now looks like from what we saw!!

 


reorientation: part one

New visitors are always disorienting,
partly because the trip here is disorienting for them,
(since we live off-the-map as much as off-the-grid)
and partly because I’ve always been a creature of habit,
and my habits shift to accommodate others’ schedules.
Yet our visitors provide a chance to step back,
and to explore new places in Portugal.

(& eat cheesecake! Let’s not forget the cheesecake!)

Through this I find my way from disoriented to reoriented;
as seeing our situation through these fresh eyes
brings a renewed sense of the endless possibilities.

And nothing brings me renewal like a swim in the ocean;
as floating adrift clears my head and refreshes my soul.
And the waves are incredible…

watching within the wave

as in this video of the inside of a wave
from Praia Vale dos Homnes last weekend.

Like much of the Northern hemisphere,
we’ve recently had an atypical heat wave,
which forced most of our garden plants
to reorient as well, if they are to survive.

 

And most things did.


Horta Nova is coming along great.
All the plants are alive and doing well:


the sunflowers are all abloom,
and so are the first of the beans.


The strawberry popcorn are knee-high,
and the hokkaido squashes are all lush.

And in the rest of the yard, things are blooming incredibly:

especially the squashes and sunflowers,


and the morning glories from my own seeds;

and others are growing exponentially:
especially all the watermelons;

while others are ripening swiftly:
such as the first of the lemon cucumbers,

and the insane number of plums from our two trees,

and the yellow bush beans, and the first few tomatoes.

So I made a small bean, parsnip, and tomato salad,
adding lots of the orange basil to the garden salad.
And falling into Root time, I also made a potato salad,
with some garden potatoes, green onion, and dill.

Harvesting out some of the Spring crops has made room in the garden,
so there is room for new life, with new plant neighbors,
and a reorienting of their relationships.

I’ve already planted some violet bush beans in with the wild thyme,
and a few dozen pink-eyed cowpeas in between the seeding spinach.
And I’ve started twenty-two honey and cream bicolor sweet corn seeds,
and some heirloom eggplants and cantaloupes in yogurt cups,
hoping to transplant them soon after their sprouting
to take advantage of the space and the weather.
(Thanks to my mom for bringing a new selection of warm-season seeds!)

Before we depart Root time,
I picked more parsnips and carrots for soups.
And hulled the French breakfast radish seeds,
as they’ve dried and are ready for storage.

And now I’m brainstorming what to make with all the plums,
besides plum sauce, plum chutney, and Pflaumenküchen.
Unfortunately they aren’t freestone;
so pitting them all will be challenging,
and I can only eat two dozen a day out of hand.
During Fruit time we harvested five big bowls of them,
and the trees are still loaded with fruit.

So, anyone interested in coming over to eat plums?

Leave a Comment (2)

Lee wrote on Jun 27:

Plums dry nicely! Blanch them, slip the skins off, trim the four sides around and dehydrate the sections. You can also do fruit leather 'bars' if you cook them to pulp then dehydrate. You may know this but just in case - when I've had clingstone fruit before I found if I cut around the core and then twisted the two halves, one came free and I could dig the pit out with a grapefruit spoon easily.

We've also made 'spirited' plums, preserved them in syrup in mason jars and topped them with brandy.

co-director (s) wrote on Jun 27:

This past week, we've made "Ume-shu", the Japanese plum liquor and also prepared the first stage of pickling the plums to make Ume-boshi (not with our own though - I'm so jealous of you!!) For us, June is the Ume (Japanese plum)-work month during the rainy season -- it's an ancient thing that the Japanese rainy season is even written as "plum rain" in Chinese character! 「梅雨」

 


metamorphosis

The metamorphosis is complete!

The silk worm butterflies emerged from their cocoons;
and apparently set to work laying their little yellow eggs.

We really like their cool, wispy antennas,
which resemble their mulberry leaves .

There are a ton of butterflies flittering around our yard,
which makes my morning watering routine very colorful.

I’ve also enjoyed watching our tadpoles grow large,
as our population of frogs steadily increases.
Most of the tadpoles are in the white plastic tub,
(fitting, since it was once Marmalade’s bathtub);


occasionally they get sucked into the watering can during refilling,
and those have been relocated to the pond.
I wonder if they consider it some kind of alien abduction.
We have dozens of junior frogs that hang all around the pond,
probably some of the tadpoles we moved over in the late winter.
We have more frogs’ eggs on both the pond and the plastic tub,
so this cycle will be continuing for awhile.

Speaking of the circle of life,
we’ve had a bunch of cool-looking beetles doing their thing.
Odd that each species has its chosen plant to mate on,
and throughout the yard, they tend to stick to that one plant.

Here’s some cool mask-like beetles on the mustard,
and these orange and black ones near the pond,
up on a wildflower stalk that overhangs the water lily,
which has begun blooming again. Woo-hoo!

Here’s Tuna hanging out next to the pond, too.
He follows me around in the mornings when I’m doing my watering rounds.

In other news, we got the the blueberry bush planted with its friends
(in the hole that was used for our bbq last week)

and the three cranberries transplanted near the pond.
Also, on a whim, we bought a dark olive tree,
so that joins the other olives up on the hillside.

Our pomegranate tree is blooming again,
while a few more buds await their turn.

Otherwise, all the other trees have finished blossoming,
and some have fruits ripening in the sunshine.
And the gooseberry and golden raspberries
give us a few ripened berries each morning.
Now that I’ve sampled a few of their amber fruits,
I must say that I’m a huge fan of the golden razzies,
and plan to plant more next Spring to fill in the area.

I’m always excited during Flower times;
there is always the glow of growth to inspire us to keep gardening.
In particular, the roses have been splendid.
And the sunflowers…


So full of bees,
We love watching the progression of buds to blossoms to seeds.

And the miniature blossoms
(& miniature cucumbers)
on the Mexican cucumbers.

The first of the garlic and onion bulbs are blooming;
some we’ve eaten unopened as scapes,
some I’ve immersed to flavor sesame oil,
and others I’m allowing to blossom,
to feed the pollinators while I watch their progression,
as I’m very curious to grow out their seeds.

Since it’s now Fruit time,
I picked a bunch of the tart cherries that are ripening
(& getting devoured by birds) on two trees downhill.


I’ve never baked with tart cherries,
so I might explore recipes for ratios and inspiration,
and plan to make a sweetened fruit glaze for a cheesecake
(because I’ve been craving cheesecake for over a month now).

And during this Fruit time, I’ve been weeding Horta Nova, which is growing nicely.

Meanwhile, Marmalade has taken over the artistic efforts of our house,
redecorating our sofa, and walls, and carpet with her unique vision.

Leave a Comment (2)

co-director (s) wrote on Jun 15:

Isn't it so telling about our world -- I always learned/understood silkworm adults as silkworm "moths".

co-director (m) wrote on Jun 13:

Marisa your pictures are beautiful. And Marmalade has discovered her inner Cy Twombly - also beautiful!

 


rooting

I really like the weather on Root days;


often there’s a cool breeze with high clouds floating by.
It’s great for working in the garden.

During the super-favorable Root time
(due to a Root trine during the Root time)
I harvested the French breakfast radish seeds,
and dug up the first third of our potato patch.

That evening I made roasted potato and sweet potato wedges,


to have with a kohlrabi-carrot-apple salad
that I made earlier in the day
and ate by the spoonful
every time I walked by.

I started to root little eyes from the tops of two sweet potatoes,
hoping they sprout leaves and then can join the garden
over where the potatoes were just unearthed.
They are a prolific local crop here,
so here’s hoping they grow roots.

We’ve also been working on the outdoor kitchen area,
adding wooden steps/benches and more stones at the edges.
Day by day this place is getting a little bit nicer.

And a little greener.
I got four more berry bushes from Aldi:
three cranberries and a blueberry.
The cranberries will go down by the pond
next to the elderberry bush.
And the blueberry will join its friends on the hillside,
once we get a stubborn oak root out of its hole,
and Mohamed thought there’s no better way than with a barbecue.

It has been the weekend,
so I have been trying to relax a bit,

by blowing some bubbles
and actually sitting down,

which Tuna encourages by napping on my lap every time I do.
(Though admittedly, his naps don’t last long,
because it has been a super-favorable Root time,
& the carrots, beets & onions all needed weeding.)

As the first Monday of the new month,
we went to the mercado in São Teotónio.
I was hoping to find a guava tree,
since they had them last month
(& after doing some research
found that they grow well here),
but to no avail.

So we got a yellow kiwi vine,
to befriend our three green kiwis.
Since kiwis are not entirely cold-hardy,
I will simply repot it on the next Fruit time,
so that we can bring it and its friends inside on cold winter nights.
Next Spring, when they are all a bit larger and more durable,
we will plant them on the hillside outside the front door
(once we install some bamboo beams over the porch,
so that each may climb up its own support,
& provide shade & life at our entryway).

After school, we all went to the beach,
because it’s a fun way for Marmalade to unwind after school.

And for dinner tonight,
I made a grape and rosemary focaccia,
with the first trimmings of our garden rosemary,

(but not our ruin’s grapes, which won’t be ready for months)


to go with a garlic scape and potato barley soup,
with garden garlic scapes, potatoes, broccoli florets,
and lamb’s quarters, a wild edible I’m propagating in the garden.

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co-director (s) wrote on Jun 12:

Seriously, your BBQ beats any of those shiny Porsche BBQs.

 


grounded in the ground (& floating in the sea)

On either side of the super favorable Fruit time,
we have had two Leaf times,
which are associated with Water.

water time

So it seems fitting to hit the beach on these days:
collecting seawater for cooking pasta and soups,


collecting seaweed for homemade fertilizer tea,
gathering washed-up fishing ropes for woven carpets,
grabbing driftwood for the playhouse and outdoor shower,
and for swimming, of course.
Lots of swimming.
We love swimming.

And communing with the nautical nature,
including the various mollusks and crustaceans,
and checking in on the storks nesting cliffside.


Their little storklets are really visible when you’re out swimming,
yet less so from the shore where I felt safe using our camera.

Every time we are at the ocean
I think “we should do this more often” and yet, we do.
Since it’s gotten warm, we go about every other day.
Thank goodness. For these mini-vacations.

Because this Fruit time has been a doozy.
We got everything that was ready transplanted
into the Three Sisters Garden in Horta Nova:
29 strawberry popcorn seedlings,
26 hokkaido squash seedlings,
and nine Käferbohnen beans.

(Because of the scale of this project,
and the fact that it is now Ramadan,
we did most of this work under the moonlight,
pulling two very long nights in a row to get it in.
It reminded us of past sculptural projects,
up til stupid-o’clock in the morning
frantically trying to meet a deadline.)

Yet this was more relaxed, more serene,
more of a quiet spiritual time,
as each planting is a prayer, isn’t it?
Asking whoever to please watch over these seedlings.
The Three Sisters planting has always been a sacred planting,
as the Sisters: corn, squash and beans are held as sacred plants,
goddesses, if you will, that provide sustenance and life itself.

I also transplanted the nine chickpeas into the garden,
because I really love chickpeas, as the legume, yes, but also the plant.
The leaves are unique, the pods very sculptural, the peas so cool.
And I put the two watermelon seedlings in the agave hole near the pond,
and the three golden popcorn seedlings in with the tomatillos.


And although I thought I’d run out of time,
I also got the last two Mexican cucumbers
and four orange bell peppers into the garden.
And planted a few more bush beans,
as the first have begun flowering,
(& successive plantings ensure a longer harvest,
without being inundated with ripe produce all at once).

We also transplanted the three new golden raspberries
to fill in between the two we got at the mercado in April.
We ate the first golden raspberry in the morning while transplanting:
as promised, it is a sweeter, less tart, but very flavorful berry.
We’ve also been sampling the gooseberries,
as a few seem ripe each morning.
Delicious. Great flavor.

And their Portuguese name “Uva Crispa” makes sense
because “uva” are grapes and they really do seem like crisp grapes,
though they grow on a low, thorny bush,
that sends out low branches to reroot.
I accidentally unearthed one runner while weeding this Spring,
and potted it up, thinking to grow it and then gift to friends.
Now that I’ve tasted them,
I am eager to propagate more runners,
and establish a whole gooseberry patch.

But in the meantime,
I think we need a few days off from planting.
And as we have four days of Root time,
we will be taking that break from hole digging.
And harvesting the radish seeds.
And rooting sweet potato sprouts.

Yet Aldi has berry bushes on sale tomorrow morning,
so we might be bringing home more than groceries,
and have a few more holes to dig next week.

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