Being water.

This post is going to be a difficult one to write.  It is about a magical week spent with the most fabulous people one can find. I hope you feel like reading and get a bit of the spirit we shared.

This post is basically a summary of the “Voluntary days of regeneration of the Mediterranean forest ”, where I had the pleasure to meet people from Nuevos Recolectores, Bioconstruyendo Murcia, Permacultores del Sureste, Jardines de Acuario and the school of permaculture “ Finca los albaricoqueros”.

I am not going to get too technical. In summary, the goal of the “action” was to reduce the water erosion suffered by uncovered earth, create new soil and promote the growth of vegetation in a little patch in Sierra Espuña, Murcia.

In the south of Spain rain is very scarce, but when it rains, it does in a torrential kind of way. If there is no vegetal coverage, the water sweeps along all the organic material, making impossible the further formation of soil and evolution of the forest ( which is now mostly populated with pine trees and little diversity of bush vegetation).  In the plot of forest were the regeneration took place, a “carcaca” ( a narrow dry river bed formed by water erosion) was growing, with a lot of erosion involved. Our action aimed to, using straw bales and “bio-rolls” ( branches of pine tree sewed together and placed in the floor following the contour plan), decrease the strength and speed of water, taking it away from the carcava. In this fashion the little streams of water formed after a strong rainfall  would be deviated sideways away from the carcava, forming soil that would support vegetation formation. And that’s why the post is titled like that, because a lot of job involved was imaging we were water.Where would the water go? How would the water react if we placed this straw bale here? Would it stop? Would it erode further?

Anyone understood the explanation? Probably not. Better I show some pictures

This is how a “bio-roll” would look like when finished:


A “bio-roll” can be made of everything really. In this case we used pine tree branches twined and sewed together with string. This is a closer look:


“ Bio-rolls” are placed in the floor following the contour and their function is to deviate the water from its course while reducing its speed and strength. The idea was as well to reduce the speed of the water inside the “carcave” using stones, more pine tree branches and straw bales:



But I thing our biggest achievement was what we ended up calling “The pit-bull bridge” in honour to the dog that spent the week with us ( No picture of the dog, sorry. Silly me!)


where we ended up celebrating:


Our last job was mixing seeds with mud. I really like the next one, because everyone seems to be doing something. Usually it was more “ the Spanish way” ( one working and four looking and saying “ Pero que haces? Asi no, hombre!”. Ha,ha…it’s not true but we laughed a lot about it. Sorry for the stereotype!)


…seeds that we planted around the bio-rolls and straw bales under the moon ( See what I meant about the Spanish way? : )


But not everything was work. No at all. He had time to rest as well:


And fun. We had lots of fun. While cooking:



while eating:


We also saved time at the end of the day to reconsider what we had done during the day and prepare the work for the next day ( always after eating, ha,ha, so we were always in agreement : )


and music. Plenty of music:



With Fran from “El huerto de los albaricoqueros”


Here with people from Jardines de Acuario and Permacultores del sureste and “super Pepe” at the flute:


Thank you people. I am sure the seeds we planted will grow as tall as the sky. We did good.

Many hugs.

Jose Quemaoviejo.


About Quemao Viejo

A project to scape the Rat Race with a micro-camping site and a veterinary practice using local medicinal plants.
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3 Responses to Being water.

  1. Don Herano says:

    Holla! Have a question about your project to “catch” water. Do you think it is really problem that water not linger on mountain soil?
    I watch around your place and it is beauty full like it is! Every thing in nature in harmonic connection. And all these pine trees on sierra will not grow up if soil will be changed.
    For agricultural purpose better to take part of land free of trees and change soil of these land only, and we have plenty ways to do it better! 🙂 As I see all equipment available now! Especially, open minded people!
    In my place, near Novorossiysk, on sierra side people have same problem. To solve problem they use different kinds of water collectors and upgrade soil to be used with enough quantity of HUMUS! Only humus can give you best harvest without any fertilisers. To make land like foliated cake )) and put on top more and more humus. Humus will save as if we will save him! ))
    Problem starts with humus when people destroying it using a lot of fertilisers and mechanical treatment. But, it so easy all organic products you’d got after using, after dinner and etc. put back in land, not to garbage, to land!
    What do you think about it?

    • Quemao Viejo says:

      Many thanks for your comment, Don Herano.
      I want to collect water not only to grow trees/plants, but to be able to take a shower from time to time 🙂
      If you have read the whole project, I want to set an off-grid camping, and I am sure people would like to take a shower after a day walking/biking.

      About the humus…I cannot agree more with you. I try to follow Fukuoka’s natural farming, and taking care of the soil is the important thing.
      Take care.

      • Don Herano says:

        Thanks a lot for the shower and toilet also! 🙂 I remember it!
        So, about soil, we spoke about same thing but from different view.
        I saw another man recently – Sepp Holzer. He also works under permaculture. He has his village very high on mountains. Do you aware with his researches?
        Take care too.
        Wish good rain for you land and well full of water!

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