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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Packing up my cacao nibs and going home

What a loooooooong strange trip it's been.
After nearly 3 years of the adventure of owning my orchard down in Ecuador, I've decided to return to Europe - probably Ireland, but considering Spain (now that I speak Spanish!), England & The Netherlands - to continue my end-of-life care studies. I won't be able to focus on my masters program and manage the farm from thousands of miles away, so I'm selling and investing the funds into a few years of serious study. Considering a thesis on something along the lines of "Ancient Celtic traditions of death and dying," then incorporating them into my practice. Wouldn't you love to hear celtic harp, whistle and fiddle as you lie by your turf fire and transition to the other side? (or, we could offer a wailing banshee, if you prefer)
Feel free to message me if you want more deets on my schedule/plans/whereabouts for the next few months. (Which are, of course, ever evolving)
Thanks for all of your support, my amazing, loving, generous friends - especially those of you who made it down to Terra Nova de Corazón, to help me survive my first year of living here! I'm here through August, if anyone wants to experience it while you can...

Here's the listing, if you know anyone looking for a new adventure:
Terra Nova de Corazón
1.1 Hectare Orchard/Food Forest covered in dozens of varieties of Mature Fruit Trees in Manglaralto, Ecuador

11,000 m2 lot (just under 3 acres)
3 structures:
- 10x10m blue-roofed structure enclosed with bamboo and mosquito netting has kitchen/dining area with tile floor downstairs, and loft/bedroom/yoga studio with wood floor above;
- 2-story white concrete building has bathroom/shower downstairs, bedroom/office + bamboo loft upstairs;
- newly constructed 3-story/split- level bamboo "treehouse" has 3x3m floors, with high ceilings and gorgeous views.
Entirely new electrical system installed in 2016, including transformer
Private well with pump and pressure tank
2000 liter rainwater collection system
Riverfront Property
Over 20 varieties of mature fruit trees
Prepared garden beds
Chicken coop
4 km (2.5 mi) to Manglaralto beach
6 km to Montañita
$25/m2 $275,000 - FINANCING AVAILABLE
Please email me with questions: cat(at)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Update from Ecuador, 3 days post earthquake

Since I have received dozens of concerned messages from friends and family around the globe, I figured I should let everyone know what is happening here on the ground. We had a massive 7.8 earthquake here (and several smaller), Saturday night. We at Terra Nova de Corazón are 5 hours south of the epicenter, but it took down buildings and highways 10 hours away. Ecuador hadn't seen a quake like this for 40 years.
We are safe here in Manglaralto, although all three of our buildings withstood some structural damage, which will need repair - including our new bamboo house* in the trees, scheduled to be completed this week. What Terra Nova is offering to the cause is *housing (hoping to find a family or two who needs a safe place until they can rebuild their lives) & some produce from our orchard. It occurs to me that if everyone in Ecuador who has a spare room or apartment could offer it to a family in need, everyone would be better off. I am slowed down by the broken foot I sustained while rescuing a small goat from the jaws of a street dog two weeks ago, but my support network is strong, and I will be eternally grateful to them.
In case your local news outlets are not showing the extent of the damage, I have included a photo album that depicts it quite well. This is a serious crisis for a country already hard hit by economic decline (due in no small part to declining oil prices and tourism). The annual income here is under $6k/year. Outdated and ill-maintained infrastructure leads to even greater suffering in a time of natural disaster. 
I'm a longtime member of Pachamama Alliance, so if you feel compelled to give financially, please do so here: (They've already met their goal, but I know all of the funds will make it to the relief effort.)
If you want to help me & Terra Nova personally, all we really need are hands. If any more (thank you, Amanda!) of my generous, skilled, hardworking friends want to take a working vacation in South would be a great time. You know I'll feed you well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bamboo Treehouse workshops, commencing this month!

(Sorry to everyone who received a virtually illegible blog posting yesterday. I needed to make the letters light, to be read on the dark background of the blog, but I obviously went a few shades too far!)


We are getting ready to host our first of many workshops on sustainable living. We soon have two architects (from Scotland and Italy) coming from 2 years of building with bamboo in Asia. This workshop will be bamboo TREEHOUSE building! Planning to start March 28, until we complete the build - probably 6-8 weeks. Join us for a week, or stay for the two months. Don't worry if you can't attend the entire time - our maestros will go over what you miss.
Building this tree house gives us the opportunity to learn about every stage of the design and building process from the ground up. The workshop won't just be a lesson on theory, but a chance to get practical hands on experience with the worlds most interesting species of grass. We will cover every aspect of the building process, from the foundation to the eaves of the roof. Through on-site lessons, we will learn to use the right tools to achieve both traditional and modern bamboo construction methods, while also learning the theory of these methods and why bamboo is such a sustainable building material.

Because we are a new community, building as we go, we don't yet have formal housing. Camping, hammocks, mattresses (with access to kitchen, toilet, shower, wifi, etc.) are available to participants. Vegetarian lunch will be prepared each work day and breakfast foods will be available to those staying on-site. Top-notch accommodations (A/C, wifi, pool, breakfast) can be had across the street at Hostería Arandú.

All of our classes, workshops, events, etc. will be donation/sliding-fee. We are asking just $150/week to cover participants meals and leaders' transportation. No one turned away for lack of funds. Because these architects don't speak much Spanish, this workshop will be conducted in English. Our next workshop, earth home construction (June/July), will be bilingual!

If you or anyone you know would like to join us, or if you have questions:
WhatsApp: +16129900046
Ecuador mobile: 0980096331

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