Thursday, February 16, 2017

Neverland News Update!

Tina comes home...
A Neverland News Post! Yay! Please sharE!

So come and visit anytime! Just send me a message or a note so we can expect you! I, me, Tina has come home to stay at the farm (after a year off) and it's clean and green and a gloriously lush paradise! Right now it's Carnaval season, so there's Pirates and Indians water fights and it's also raining cats and dogs. It's all so nice. We've finished a wonderful upgrade on our rooms and while it's still very country rustic this is a much more comfortable place than years past. Please contact us for info on room and house rates, student, volunteer, backpacker and 'room relax and rest' rates available. A stay at Neverland farm includes all meals (we respect all dietary needs, we 'do' meat, vegetarian, lactose free, but we cannot provide meals for fruitarians or devout raw foodists at this time) and snacks, coffee and juices, linens, hot showers and at least some degree of immersion Spanish language and Ecuadorian culture. We have 3 nice kitchens with all stainless and cast iron wares, stocked with staples and most spices, for your and our use. We all work together, so at the least you will be expected to help with some meal preparation and to wash some dishes! 

I have several houses, there's always room, and frequently it's just me and the kids and the dog. Goat kids that is... The neighbours are here most days as we constantly do projects and we help each other. Today we built a simple goat milking salon w materials we had on hand, not one thing purchased specifically to accomplish this project. Although I did have to borrow some small nails. It's not quite elegant, but it's pretty sweet, we transformed a pig pen, it has a good roof and now a goat stanchion! We need painters, there are now 5 inside and 5 outside walls that require art! They're completely plain at the moment! Ewe (heehee)! The 3 of us keep our goats in a herd together, cooperation makes all things less work intensive, we currently have 5 milking goats, a few more are pregnant, a big Billy named Jack and 6-8 kids. We are just beginning a cheese making and selling small biz together. We do make some great goat cheeses.The hard part is getting it to market, it often doesn't make it out of our kitchen and our own food. Yum.

Tomorrow we are going to make a probably-too-big-but-who-cares-chicken-tractor, I'm so sick of free range chicken shit all over- NO MORE I SAY! The garden has to get turned any way, chickens are great for that, and no one locally has ever seen a chicken tractor- I'm so excited! We will still have chickens free ranging in the coffee orchards, they're an important part of our biodynamic disease and pest controls as well as soil fertility plan, but those that used to live near the houses, tomorrow you girls are Moving Out! It's really too bad, this will cut way down on our early morning Easter egg hunts for breakfast eggs, but I guess I can live with having all my eggs in one basket..

In the next days we also need to build an additional rabbit hutch for dad rabbit, as mom rabbit, Amaretto la Angora, is expecting. We have a neighbour lady, one of the ancient ones, who can teach anyone, (must be willing to sit with her and listen to her stories, in a very real and poor Old Ecuadorian womens home) to hand spin onto a spool. Of course first you have to spend some time combing the rabbits... 

 We have plenty to occupy you here at Neverland farm. While most of our projects are building small things, working in gardens or the coffee, it's always fun to get them done together. We laugh a lot.

There is constant harvesting, weeding and cleaning of our massive coffee plantations going on- Neverland farm is a great place to learn first hand about ALL aspects of coffee farming. We do it all by hand, the manera Antigua. No machines. We sun dry, because even though it's more labor intensive, it's tastier and it's the traditional manner of this place. We have 6 large areas in cultivation and we are pleased with our results! A smooth, low acid, slightly fruity sweet and nutty taste- Brewing Hope coffee is a great tasting biodynamic, shaded, high altitude, select hand picked and sorted, artsenal roasted coffee. A great cup of coffee. And buyers can visit the farms, live with the producers and see first hand the direct benefits to the growers of this direct to consumer no middle man single source coffee. 

We milk goats and make cheese daily, we have started harvesting and drying coffee for 2017 (we sell Brewing Hope cafe, our coffee, internationally as a service project and income stream) there's a horse, some cows, burro, three legged dog named Skippy, Wilson, Skippys cat, a natural waterfall jacuzzi in the creek behind the kitchen, it's paradise in the form of an organic sustainable coffee farm. Anyway, lots to learn, lots to teach! And even when there's nothing special happening on the farm, there's always something happening. 

There's a shuttle bus from Cuenca to Vilcabamba. It goes to the Hostal Izhycaluma, German place, veeerry nice. With cheap and safe dorm rooms. $30. round trip in the shuttle, no Se how much is Hostal? Google them, call them and tell them you're on your way to see Hans and Tina at Neverland, they know us, might give you a better price. They're also who to call to reserve for the shuttle. My friend Guillermo and family run the shuttle, reserve the front seat and he or his son will tell you all about where you're driving through on the trip, in Spanish and broken English, they're very nice people. The shuttle leaves Cuenca from the Hostal Cigale on Honorato Vasquez y Luis Cordero at 1 (or 2?) most days. It doesn't arrive in time to get all the way here to Neverland in the same day, you'd have to stop and spend the night in Izhycaluma . Saturday mornings several artisans display their goods there, and breakfast is pretty good. Hans lives here and displays most Saturday's. You could come home with him around noon if it's Saturday or they can help you with the bus or a taxi here from the Hostal. Spend a night or two, but we prfer  you come for a week or more, 2 weeks is the minimum for volunteer stays. 

Come and visit, relax, meet the kids (haha)(it's spring, we have 5 baby goats this week)! Let me know you're coming so we have your room or house ready for you. Please make sure your first time coming out that there's plenty of daylight!Once you've made the walk here you'll know the way and  you can safely come in the early evening no problem, but first timers tend to get very lost if it gets dark... All of our neighbours know to take in the lost gringo, feed them and give them floor space and show them the way in the morning. Not at all an uncommon event. But to be avoided.

Here's a link to a site that gives good directions and GPS points.

Volunteer opportunities. 
These are subject to change at a moments notice and there are not always chances to do community volunteer/service work off the farm. Often it is dependent on how much time you can commit. Elementary school volunteers must commit to at least one month. 
Current work available- Feb 15, 2017. Volunteers to read aloud with local high school classes, this is to help work on their pronunciation and it is ok to speak English with an accent. That teacher is also seeking conversational English experiences and practice. The elementary school sometimes needs recreation time help and tutors in all subjects. There's a local Kindergarten that seems to have too high a student teacher ratio and she's asked me for help. They may have an additional aide coming soon. I have one child in town who is #1 at our other local high school in all subjects for the all grade levels, she's our shining star, wants to study at George Mason U in the US. I delivered her and she's my god daughter as well... I've promised to find her someone to help her with English and she lives fairly close to the farm. And then we have bingobailable now and then (best party ever)(we try to offer set up and clean up help), the local fiestas always need helpers in August... Plenty to volunteer at, and just hanging on the farm is fun too.