We really need a break from the STRESS! - Van Life Ecuador

We really need a break from the STRESS! - Van Life Ecuador

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we're leaving cuenca and going on a two-week  adventure before we return to cuenca for   snow's return dentist appointment because of the  emergency dental detour we're backtracking to see   several big points of interest we missed in this  area of ecuador like banyos el pylon del hablo   which is possibly the most epic medieval waterfall  ever code epoxy earth's second highest volcano   kilatoa a massive turquoise volcano crater  lake with a cool indigenous vibe gimbrazo the   planet's closest place to the sun and furthest  from the earth's core home of the oh so cute and all the while we'll be showing the countryside  small towns along the way the fascinating   indigenous culture ecuadorian food these crazy  winding landslide muddled andean roads and of   course anything we interesting we encounter along  the way like today we have a three and a half hour   drive to an amazing i doubt you'll guess it but  please leave your guests in the comments right now   farms day i found this place on the google  maps and well we've been traveling through all   this beautiful south american countryside with  all these different types of farms and fincas   and we thought what an opportunity to see an  ecuadorian alpaca permaculture farm up close   one look at the reviews and  we can't wait to get there we have pulled out of cuenca we are heading  back up into the rural farm areas of ecuador   unfortunately we will have to go back to cuenca  in about two weeks for a follow-up dentist   appointment if you missed our last episode our  visit to the amazon got cut short and our plans   kind of got tossed up in the air and all mixed up  because i had to have an emergency dental visit   so we had to drive all the way to the city and  now we'll be doing some backtracking to go get   the things we missed between here in the amazon  and our first stop is literally going to be a farm   we hope so we've been driving on this flat spot  for a couple of miles now and you would think   that we were just driving through a valley but  no we're driving at 11 660 feet elevation there's   a flat spot on the top of these mountains huge  farmland up here is crazy no trees hardly at all   all right we're coming through the town center  of another town did you catch what town this is   el tambo and one of the things that we've  noticed about ecuador in total and in this area   specifically is there are is a lot more indigenous  dress and as you come through these little towns   a lot of them have murals and different paintings  and things that kind of depict a dog just ran out   in front of us they have a lot of pictures  murals things like that that kind of depict   what the town or the city or the community is  good at so for example this one they make a lot   of clothes sewing also in this area is famous for  their trains and so it's just kind of unique when   you can identify kind of what they specialize in  i also love as you come through these little towns   the little city centers are mixed with farms  and agriculture so if there's a little patch   of grass you might see some corn growing there  or maybe a cow grazing just past a bowl and you   can see these are kind of simple and rustic  houses but the vegetables and the produce   are absolutely beautiful so yeah really enjoying  the scenery countryside that ecuador has to offer   now the big question is is snow gonna eat a  cooy are you i guess the big question that's   that's something we haven't decided it's  something that's really kind of up for debate   some of our some of you guys have been telling  us to try it some of you've been telling us no   don't try it you gotta tell them what cool is  for the ones that weren't following back then   and if you don't know what cui is it's it's  a what is it it's a guinea pig you eat guinea   it's a little guinea pig i don't know if i can do  it and so we're kind of conflicted it's kind of a   delicacy here it used to be sort of a normal  thing but nowadays it's more of a delicacy   but we do see him roasting on the side of the road  all over the place and uh so i think snow's a no   no what do y'all think should kirk try it or not  yeah yeah we'll give you guys some time we'll get   your feedback and uh we definitely need a vote  should kurt try it snow is a definite no i can   do it guys we had guinea pig as a pet when we were  little i can't do it something you guys may have   noticed is number one snow's driving number two  the road has kind of gone away in terms of quality   at number three we're up in the  clouds and the rain so never fails   timing for me bailing on the driving hopefully  we won't have her drive that long with the   tooth and all but we'll see it's a short drive  today so we'll see how it goes but the irony   all right i'm not going to vlog much about this  other than to say here we go again another foggy   rainy chattery road lots of potholes and  we're also starting to see lots of fresh   mudslides along the way nothing big and major  but it's another day in the clouds in ecuador   all right it looks like they've just cleared the  opening but this is a huge slide the biggest one   by far we've seen almost all the way across the  road they just had like a half a lane cleared   around the curve and there it was yeah this  is crazy here comes a big semi slow down buddy   and there's even some more smaller mud slides  up along here we just need to be cautious and on   the lookout we're almost to our campsite so we're  almost there so fingers crossed all right whenever   we get an open view the clouds clear it is green  lush and pretty up here guys but unfortunately we   haven't been getting too many peaks and it looks  like this little peak is just about over right   up here around the corner so we can kind of see  down into the valley into our destination alusa   so we're headed down to the valley and the next  thing is is to make sure that we get secure our   camp spot find the camp find our camp spot  all right we don't see many train tracks   in ecuador but this little town right here  is kind of famous for their train tracks   all right this is a little bit of it tricky  entrance we came in through this town   and now they've kind of  got us winding down through   snaking down through these little houses and  narrow road and along this mossy wall but   it's starting to open up now and look a little  more promising for a while we weren't sure so things got a little sketchy on our drive  down to the campsite that we wanted   and it was a long narrow curvy dirt road  and when we got to where we wanted to camp   uh there didn't seem to be anybody there it looked  closed there was no way to contact the place   so you missed all the excitement of us having to  back down that road maybe 400 yards curt yeah down   a windy road curt directed and i drove and we made  it to our second option we drove down there and we   just got settled in and it started raining pretty  hard so we'll have to show you this place a little   bit later but for now what are you up to kurt  well after another white knuckle drive through the   through the fog and mudslides i'm gonna make a  little lunch it's a late lunch it's about two   o'clock but we're gonna have a little spaghetti  something soft for snow's sore teeth teeth yeah   yeah and we're gonna try to get a hold of the  owner to see if we can get this situation figured   out because it'd be nice to be able to do some  stuff here it's beautiful but we'll see yeah good   news everybody so the second camp there's nothing  terribly wrong with it except for the owner is not   here and was unable to give us the wi-fi password  so we kind of depend on wi-fi quite a bit plus the   first original place curt had scoped out and was  super excited about well we just whatsapped with   them and they said come on down they'll open up  the gate so that's good news the big thing on   the wi-fi guys in case you're wondering is we have  to do some research so we don't exactly know where   this stuff is how much your tickets how to access  of all the logistics and we've got a big journey   going on here for the next yeah the next couple of  days we got a lot of things you need to research   so wi-fi was important plus i think kurt was  a little bit more excited about the next place   vanna she could care less as long as she  can sit on the dash but we're packing up   and moving we were only here about 10 minutes  so now that we're going back to our original   campsite you get to see the road that i had to  back down this is it which in a car or even a   pickup truck or an suv not a big deal in a 23 foot  long giant van this was a tricky backup but uh   here we are we're at this beautiful little farm  stay we had a great night's sleep but honestly   as you guys know it was raining and cloudy on the  way in but good news the sun actually decided to   show itself today and we also have other good  news monica the owner the developer the creator   the muscle behind the scenes is gonna tell us a  little bit about this place so you guys are in   for a treat i can't wait for you to see this i've  already been walking around and kind of got a tour   and i kind of dork out on this kind of stuff so  i hope you guys enjoy it so this is monica so   monica what is the name of this place this farm is  called eagle condor farm why'd you name that and   what's this place all about it's um it's based  on an ancient prophecy of the eagle and condor   which is a 500 year old prophecy where the  northern or westernized culture and the southern   cultures or indigenous cultures we're going to  reunite and share knowledge again and that's   what this is about we found this as a farm stay  place you have a farm and you have a stay so   let's talk about the state park first literally  i opened up um my old garage studio apartment   here um in the first structure i built which  is a waddle and dab natural building technique   um garage and we're going to talk about waddling  dog guys because we've been talking about mud huts   for a while as we've passed them and we've  been humbled so we'll talk about that later   um so i lived in the garage apartment and since  i've unoccupied it three years ago i did a   bathroom addition and um i made it an airbnb  okay so airbnb yeah and so and people find my   lodging space um on my website okay on google and  on airbnb and then you also welcome overlanders   yeah i do limited space though right and call  first for sure i have you know the option to camp   okay so there's a fire pit and uh picnic table  access um you have access to the whole farm you   can walk around i have alpacas people like taking  photos with them and yeah you know um i have geese   and ducks um and it's just a very peaceful place  i've got a lot of native birds you hear them all   the time and it's it's nice and a place to connect  and kind of decompress you started talking about   the farm let's talk more about the farm this is  like some kind of polyculture or permaculture   what do you what do you how do you describe it and  you give us a short view of what that looks like   yeah it's um it's it's from the inception it  started as a permaculture permaculture so i just   had raw land with um some fruit trees that um that  were already here so i basically inherited this   land in 2010 when my father passed away and i was  living in los angeles working as a full-time nurse   and i came across permaculture and i fell in love  with it and i i decided to further my education   in australia i got my teacher training certificate  and i did a second permaculture design course   and then i just practiced my final design project  which was approved i started to execute the design   um slowly over the last nine years yeah this  property and it's been great it's been really   intense but also fun you know i have food forest  i have swells on contour i have vermiculture   i have banana circles i have grey water systems  black water evo transpiration septic tanks i have   uh everything designed in zones and i  have um polyculture so i have a variety of   annual and perennial gardens and food  forests and i have ducks geese alpaca   and um dogs cats and chickens my goal was  to not get into debt so what i did was   i spent the first two years straight here um doing  the the basics which they teach us in permaculture   is the access point so the whatever you're gonna  walk on and whatever the cars or the tractors are   gonna be on and um and the swales because you're  doing a lot of earth moving and that was to you   know swells are to recharge the groundwater and to  grow trees on so it did take me nine years because   i was going back and forth after those initial two  years i started to spend time in the states as a   travel nurse and then come back here and spend  the money doing another big build or project   so you were working and building this and you  were working in another country and building at   the same time yeah i've been non-stop working for  nine years wow absolutely amazing then i finally   hit a plateau i and now that i have the lodging  and i have um the last structure that i built   um is a earth bag structure a two-story earth  bag round structure i live on the top floor   and on the first floor is a cafe i have  a small farm to table cafe where i can do   my workshops and also just serve meals for the  hosts i do a breakfast included a home to tail   table breakfast and i um you know i can make  food from there and sell to the public as well   so what's this about the workshops i started to  finally host workshops last year because i have i   had now lodging and i had um i was more organized  to do it i'm planning on doing uh which was the   original plan to do two permaculture design  courses per year one in spanish uh for ecuador   and spanish-speaking people uh locals and a second  one for foreigners in english okay and so you were   telling me earlier earlier that sort of part of  your mission is to bring some of the technology   or the techniques from the western culture here  as well as bringing some of the the the customs   or cultures or technologies or traditions that you  have from ecuador uh to the western world as well   yes so so permaculture has its roots in indigenous  um practices as permaculture has evolved too we've   also you know incorporated different techniques  that let's say um let's say that are not used   in this area as far as the local uh wisdom  uh which is very rich and um and ancient um   there's a lot of things that i've learned here  techniques and things i i have not picked up in   permaculture design courses and a lot of it is  just ancient wisdom herbs different things for   different ailments for humans and animals i've  learned how to manage parasites in my alpacas   for example i mean huge for me because animal care  is important as we all know in a farm but i don't   have a lot of access to local veterinarians who  are familiar with alpacas yeah so i've had to take   on a lot of that own that that stuff on my own i  can't wait to go out and touch them and pet them   and play with them i hope they're like that but  tell me more about the alpacas the alpacas well   i i've always alpacas are extremely uh adorable  they're very goofy too and very curious   and intelligent they know their own names um i  basically came across an alpaca um when i went to   uh a big farm fair with with animals being sold  and i saw this uh mellow pack i fell in love with   them and bought them home i didn't know anything  about alpacas but i said okay i'm going to learn   so i dove into reading about them but what i what  i started with was the fact that in permaculture   we any element that we incorporate into the design  plan of the farm is it has to have more multiple   purpose or use so that it makes sense so an alpaca  for example when you bring in an alpaca i thought   alpaca is valuable for its fiber so it's  hypoallergenic it's um very soft and warm   and you can it comes in a varied colors and so my  plan is to do alpaca workshops from a to z so from   shearing all the way to young making so that's in  the works and then also people just love alpacas   they've become very popular and over the recent  years and so for tourism people want to come and   take photos of them they also provide a um compost  so poop right their poop is very valuable they   poop gold yeah they cook gold so you can you can  make a compost tea out of their poop you could   also just use their poop directly into the soil  and gardens because it's not hot and so you don't   have to make it decompose and um they are sold for  meat as well in in the andean cultures um they're   they're very low cholesterol lean meat so it's  actually very healthy a lot of diabetic people   are into eating alpaca meats um because it  doesn't seem to be you know very fatty and stuff   and um also their grass becomes the grass that  they eat becomes poop which is green gold and   becomes their fur so there you go yeah that's the  the magic of alpacas magic of alpaca all right so   i have one more question for you monica and that  is tell me a little bit about the sustainability   of this place like you know is this  truly self-sustaining and how um   yes that was always the goal is to reach um  nothing is 100 sustainable um however the goal is   to to to get as far along that path as possible  and so at this point um now that i've built   the number of structures i have my my my living  structure and my cafe my lodging which is also a   garage and a house that for my worker that helps  me take care of everything here um i and i grow   everything i grow either is sold in the cafe  sold locally in the local restaurants um   i i personally you know used to consume and or  my animals so i grow everything all the grains   for my chickens um the alfalfa and for my alpacas  and for my for my geese everything is pretty much   grown here and consumed here um let's see i don't  have you know dairy or that kind of thing so which   i don't consume a lot of but that you know i buy  outside of here but uh i have you know annual   gardens that that i consume from and then it's  a closed loop system because nothing is get is   wasted so i either um any of the vegetable waste  or animal waste you know goes right back into the   system so it goes to the to the compost pile or  it goes to the worms or it goes to the chickens   um and even my paper and carton that kind of stuff  gets composted so yeah there's very little waste   here um i also have solar down in the cafe space  composting toilet in the garage for the campers   i have the gray water system so the water  gets used again i collect rain water as well   and then the i you know i'm creating replenishing  the groundwater over time with the swale systems   as well as i don't contaminate with my black  water evo transpiration tanks they're kind of like   wetland sort of systems for black water yeah so  everything is nothing's contaminating anything   here and you know even the animals that pass  away we bury them here and you know they become   part of the soil of the soil and everything  is just becoming a tighter and tighter closed   unit which is really nice and we've reforested  trees we planted over 2000 trees gifted by the   government at the time when the government  was doing a reforestation project so we did   two two layers of windbreak trees  around the entire perimeter of the farm   we have a spring water we have spring water for  irrigation so we're not using the city water   um and of course that we have the rainwater  collection so we're pretty much getting very close   to a high percentage of sustainability financially  sustainable with the lodging i i think as a as a   tourism project this is great um also which is  bringing in people from out of town and travelers   that come through here and they um they provide  an income for me as well so that's also becoming   more and more financially sustainable so little  bits and pieces of in revenue streams everywhere   right fruits the the fibers from the al palace the  vegetables and also the classes the teachings that   you do and then you also have the tourism aspect  as well so yes and ultimately it's it's really   has been about lowering my costs too because the  more sustainable i become the lower my costs get   and now with the tourism aspect and the lodging  the more the inc the income is increasing so   it's it i'm i'm well on my path to financial  sustainability so yesterday kurt was   pretty much flying solo here at this  vinca i was recovering from my dental mess   still a little sore today but much much better  it's time to leave this little place but i told   kurt i was not leaving until i walked out here to  get a closer look at the alpacas let's go see them if you like this 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2022-05-28 12:29

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