Beyond the daily essential chores we do here to help maintain the place (cleaning and loading the fireplaces, monitoring the boilers, preparing firewood, cleaning up around the house) we get to be involved in several other projects of our choosing that we find particularly interesting. This allows us to be engaged with and excited about our participation at Los Gazquez, and gives us each the opportunity to learn new skills and contribute in ways we feel enthusiastic about. Because let’s be honest: chainsawing and stacking firewood every day gets to be tiring in more ways than one.
As our previous post mentioned, we’ve started to learn the art of dry stone walling. This is the first of our special-interest projects. We’ve been informed that skilled dry stone wall builders are in high demand and are paid very well in northern England. (Our hosts have kindly informed us that American stone wall builders in Spain are not paid at all, and since we’re not planning to move to northern England we’ll be sure to file this skill away next to tea leaf fortune telling and balloon animal artistry.) So far it’s been a lot of fun and we both enjoy that the task is simultaneously puzzle, craft and work-out. Check out the photos below to see our slow but sure wall-building progress.
One of the other projects we’ve chosen to take on and that we are most excited about is designing a disc golf (or “disco golf”, as it is called here) course on the property! We’ve been told that it will be Spain’s first public course. Today we scouted the land with our host and an aerial satellite image of the area to get familiar with the property boundaries and the features of the landscape. The initial idea (though this project is still in its infancy) is to create a 9-hole course that highlights the natural beauty of the land while also acting as an educational resource to the public. Ideally the course will help to demonstrate such topics as returning the land to a natural state while utilizing its resources, harnessing water, minimizing erosion and preserving natural areas to increase pollinators for crops (including a soon-to-be-planted vineyard). We hope to wind the course through a canyon on the land, called a “barranco”.The disc golf baskets will likely be made of natural materials and designed by visiting artists.