Finca ViVerde is Born

By Diane

Have you been wondering what the heck we are up to here in Granada? Well, turns out, lots! We are now the proud owners of a 15 acre finca (Spanish for farm) with giant trees, fruit orchards, two houses (rustic but nice), infrastructure such as an 85 meter deep well (needs a pump), rainwater catchment system (needs work), city water and electricity, previous animal structures in various states of disrepair that will be perfect for developing volunteer housing/hangout areas, and many birds, butterflies, and a climate cooler than Granada proper.  We are only 2 miles from Granada, 20 minutes by bicycle.

After much research and many trips visiting properties with our local realtor, Carlos (who speaks very good English and “got” what we were looking for), and much deliberation, we tried very hard to “not leave our brains behind when buying property in a foreign county.” Brett and Nathan helped us choose the property and we all believe it was just waiting for us and will be perfect for our project. The previous owner, Yvan, who now resides in France, purchased the property twenty years ago when in his early twenties, and he planted hundreds of trees, now mature, with the idea of developing a place for people to retreat in a delightful rural environment. We had the pleasure of meeting him and his family recently while he is visiting his mother in Nicaragua. He spent much time with us, identifying trees, discussing water systems, sharing his story and his love for the property.

Previous owner Yvan and wife Delphine

Previous owner Yvan and wife Delphine

It is a beautiful place. There is much to do and if you know us, you know we love fix-it-up projects, and we can now do them in the shade and beauty of all those trees.

Brett and Nathan spent the month of June in Costa Rica, she getting her permaculture design certification and he at a cacao farm (yes, he knows a lot now about processing chocolate and yes, he brought back a pod from which we have 33 healthy plants.) Brett’s teacher, Chris Shanks, is a renowned permaculture specialist who has a farm, Bona Fide, on the island of Ometepe (a wonderful island formed by two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua). We hired Chris to visit and assess our property, give us advice on how to tackle things like rebuilding the perimeter fence, revitalizing the orchards, and clearing so we can plant new fruit trees, shrubs and vegetables to meet our needs. We got a good report card (tons of organic matter, lots to work with) and advice that will save us mucho time and money. Brett is working on a permaculture plan for our place under his ongoing guidance. We have two teams working on rebuilding our living fence. They will meet in the middle of the back side in approximately two weeks. We had some “milpa” beds dug with serious swales, they have been mulched, manure added (it comes from the dairy farm next door), vetiver grass planted to retain soil and water.

One of our first tasks in June was planting forty banana trees and they grow fast! We have a nursery now with trees and shrubs and plants we bought, started from cuttings, and grew from seed. Brett and Nathan are in the US now for four months, visiting family and friends and then working a season of the Naturalist At Large program in California. They will be back in December to move the finca to the next level. In the mean time, no shortage of activity. We are moving at the end of August from our rental house in the city to the farm, with grandma, caregivers, and all. Much, much to do to get our new home ready but we cannot wait.

See photos below.

Front of the main house

Front of the main house

Gerard and Nathan on the back porch

Gerard and Nathan on the back porch

Rustic outdoor kitchen

Rustic outdoor kitchen

Toilets and showers

Toilets and showers

Well and adjacent water reservoir

Well and adjacent water reservoir

Tumble-down house (future volunteer pad)

Tumble-down house (future volunteer pad)

One of the animal structures to be converted to volunteer quarters

Animal structure to be converted to volunteer quarters

Digging banana circles

Digging banana circles

Banana circle six weeks later

Banana circle six weeks later

Planting vetiver grass in milpa beds

Gerard planting vetiver grass in milpa beds

Diane labeling plants for the nursery

Diane labeling plants for the nursery

Fence team #1: Juan Lopez, Juan Sanchez

Fence team #1: Juan Lopez, Juan Sanchez

Fence team #2: Juan and son Ervin Garcia

Fence team #2: Juan and son Ervin Garcia

Farm’s Latitude: 11.917435 deg.; Longitude: -85.985989 deg.

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn
    Aug 11, 2014 @ 19:09:29

    It is sooo good to hear from you! We were indeed wondering what was happening :-)) Now we understand. What great pics and description of the project, new home/work space and people! It sounds just right to us, and we believe you will have good success.

    Reply

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