KuleMichelle blog – 1/12/12 (just catching up after returning to the U.S.!)
|Overlooking the Uvita beach whale tail from Casa Tordesillas|
|Chema teaching dome building!|
|With Lorna and Blanca in Casa Tordesillas|
Living off the grid sounds too rustic for most, but at Casa Tordesillas it is elegant living. Their dome structure is large and accommodates 20 very comfortably, including the hosts who live upstairs. We are lucky to have the “pareja” (couple) room to ourselves, and all 5 guest rooms, built around a central fireplace under the second floor dome, have their own bathroom with hot showers and flush toilets. Not too rustic, huh?
The hot water is a mixture of solar and propane; the latter kicks in sparingly as needed. The lighting is provided by romantic candelabras and occasional flashlight and headlamp use. Cooking is done with propane, and perhaps in the future Kule can set them up with a solar cooker, like the one he designed and built at Lost Valley this summer. They use their fireplace in the evenings to warm up the cooler night air and to dry up the humidity of the cloud forest. They have been able to harvest most of the wood they need by the side of the dirt road they live on, and they also have several acres of forest to draw on.
Although Casa Tordesillas is off the grid, Chema solar-charges his 3.5G cell phone, with internet connectivity, for important business communications. He writes important documents on his phone, and colleagues type them up into documents needed for the school and other workshops and the B&B business. Chema is a manifester! Not having electricity doesn’t get in the way of progress!
Being remote poses travel challenges, and most people are dependent on 4-wheel vehicles on these mountain roads. There is a bus from the nearest pueblo, ½ hr by foot, into town once a day. The 45 minute taxi ride from San Isidro costs $40, which is much less expensive than renting a car at $55 a day. However, Chema and Marga ride their horses into town to get basic provisions and take the bus in to San Isidro for other needed shopping. Visitors come and go to Casa Tordesillas, and they often bring what is needed from the city on their trip up the mountain.
Those unfamiliar with this region of Costa Rica assume that bugs must be a major issue. In fact, we are not even using the natural bug spray we travel with, and the only insects we have seen in this open-window house so far is a large spider (that does its job to keep the small pest population very low), an owl butterfly, a dragonfly at the end of its life cycle, and tiny ants that get to unswept crumbs in the dining area (no eating in the bedrooms for this reason). Chema and Marga have consciously designed their home with insect-repelling landscaping, natural insect-repelling wood materials, and EM (bacterial fertilizer) that provides a balance of nature and keeps insects out of the home.
The trick to living sustainably is to follow the natural rhythm of light, rising with the sun at 5:30 AM (to do morning Do-In and yoga), doing the day’s work before the sun sets at 5:30 PM, relaxing with interesting discussion, music, and hangout time after dinner by candlelight, and retiring by 9 PM. We’re getting into the flow, and it feels really really good and natural to follow the sun.
Speaking of natural flow, I’m doing what I’m guided to do, moment by moment. I’m enjoying writing, reading, visioning, connecting with nature, taking walks, and meditating. I’m getting a break from email and internet, and I’m experiencing what it’s like to not be in the electronic environment, with communication demands. I’m actually finding myself wishing that one of the parents hadn’t loaned them a generator (actually needed for refrigeration of the large amount of food) being used to charge cell phones and computers. Of course, then I couldn’t be writing this blog right now, and documenting daily progress of the school. Well, electronics has its place in sustainable living in our modern world!
|An evening in Casa Tordesillas with Chema and Marga|