Bom dia everyone,
It’s starting to look and feel like Sol Nascente is passing from being a theoretical plan for the next 15 years into being a real presence in our life. And, because of this, we’re starting to notice that if left unchecked it could easily take over the whole of our lives. Lately, it's been leaving us with a growing list of deeper personal issues that we’ve been putting off in order to handle the practical day to day ones.
Basically, the pace we’ve kept was a bit too fast, and a bit too much. So we’ll be taking a page from the handbook on how to be a bear and spending autumn fattening up on all the things this year has brought and then retreating into a cave until spring.
In the cave we expect to spend the cold winter months:
2. In introspection, retrospection, and conversation.
3. Figuring some things out about ourselves as people and as a project.
4. And emerging in spring with a richer story and a culture of care that knows how to value trees and people.
But, before we can climb into that cave, we’ll be fattening up on a few final projects like our series of documents about the challenge of coexisting with wildfire in Portugal (which is entirely too long and unedited to share but we’ll send it over if anyone is interested), this policy document, (which is the most complete view of our project to date), and a planting weekend with volunteers where we’ll be inviting some of you to help us plant some trees.
Speaking of which,
For those of you in or around Northern Portugal on November 30th and December 1st, we’ll be hosting a planting weekend on our land in Silverto. Those of you who’d like to come for a few hours, or a couple of days to talk about forests and plant some trees are cordially invited to do just that. And, since our home is becoming winter ready (we’ve just installed a little wood-burning stove) and getting cozier by the minute, we’d love to host you.
Basically, over the course of the weekend we’ll be planting a small section (~1500 square meters) of our land that had its pine and eucalyptus cut two years ago, and has been left mostly bare. There’s a handful of oaks, some pine, a single chestnut, a lone eucalyptus, and a couple of other invasive trees, while the majority of the space is composed of low ferns and gorse.
For more info, and ongoing communication about this weekend, you can look here:
Forest Design - The Moat
In Portugal, we have the unfortunate duty to ask the question, ‘How will this land burn?’ instead of the much more appealing ‘Will it burn?’
With that in mind, this plantation will be our first attempt at a forest with the specific design goal of fire resilience and resistance. We'll be planting a piece of land that sits between our oak forest and the neighbor's pines. As this is the part of our land that is in greatest risk of wildfire, in effect, we’ll be building a moat to protect ourselves. But instead of digging it down into the ground and filling it with water, we’re building it up with soil and filling it with a forest that serves as a living body of water to protect us.
In a temperate implementation of syntropic techniques, our goal is to create the most humid forest we can grow by planting about 800 trees to shade the ground, build soil, and help the native forest create rain. In a few years, we’ll have a biodiverse forest that regenerates the ecosystem as it’s grown, produces a bunch of goods and food, and allows us to begin gathering data on a few experimental questions we have about how to improve future plantations.
If you want to find out more, send us a line or stop by!
For anyone who’d like to help fund us through winter or give us a very nice Christmas gift, you can donate here, or make a wire transfer to NL30 BUNQ 2207 9045 04 under the name of ’Stichting Sol Nascente’. Our bank details can be found here.
And for those of you from the Netherlands, as of last night, Sol Nascente is an ANBI Stichting! So you'll get all sorts of tax benefits from donating. If you're wondering what they are, we'd be more than happy to answer your questions.
These days we’re investing in a bunch of small things like trees, compost, and tools..., and we’ll be investing in a few big things like people’s time, installing a water system, or fencing certain spaces to protect them from wild grazers until the trees are big enough to protect themselves.
Here’s an example of something small and cool we’re investing in.
A few months back we gave some soil samples to a few fellow foresters and friends who made us these really cool chromatographies.
So far, the majority of information about soil chromatography is in Spanish, but for a quick explanation, they are a qualitative snapshot of what’s happening within our soil. Soil chromatography gives us all sorts of information that traditional soil analysis can’t provide. It can tell a story not only about the amount and quality of the organic content, mineral, and microbiological communities but also the relationship among them and often a story of how the soil is behaving.
For example, our chromatographies revealed that our soil has a very high mineral and organic matter content, but a very low community of microorganisms. The three are only now in the opening stages of being able to communicate. This tells us that our efforts will be much more effectively placed in activating the soil we already have, instead of trying to regenerate it with large amounts of external inputs and fertilizers.
Thanks for reading! And, you’ll hear from us again when we’ve got a bit of strength beneath us.