Waking up on Saturday, February 11th after 12 hours of sleep, beginning to feel more in place here. But not quite.
I was asked why I am in Mexico. I am here for many things, such as some much needed R&R, but mainly it is to go see the Monarch Butterflies where they hibernate during the winter months, in the Fir trees of the Sierra Madres. Here in Michoacán. There is still so much I need to learn about the butterflies and the communities around them, their habitats and cultural significance. Especially here in Michoacán.
I learned about this residency from Patrica Watts from EcoArtSpace. I was looking for a safe place to go and visit the butterflies, so here I am. I arrived to a full house made up of a young artist couple traveling all throughout Mexico, a dancer within whose family this Hacidenda has been a home for over 6 generations, a married couple who work as puppeteers in San Diego and a Mexican architect currently getting his PHD in Poland. Throughout the weekend we shared fantastic meals cooked up by Alicia the owner and director, took a tour of the grounds where we were introduced to the farm animals living in the roofless barn made of adobe bricks slowly melting back into the earth, and sprouting cactus plants. Chickens, turkeys, 2 giant rabbits and a small herd of sheep who need to be protected from the 3 dogs who live on the grounds outside. There is also a mamma cat who had just had 5 kittens, but only 1 survived an attack by the male cat. So this little guy named Torino was getting a lot of attention. And always trying to get in. Frankie, part of the young couple from Italy and England would bring him in while doing dishes to feed him a bowl of milk.
On our tour of the grounds we followed the stream that runs around the house, which once used to provide hydro power to the original flour mill, now buried in detritus. The milling stones serving as outdoor tables in the garden. Along the stream grow an abundance of Calla Lillies, hanging from the eucalyptus trees are flowering airplants, And an avocado tree on its side still sprouts up shoots of trunks. Surrounding the grounds are agricultural fields, maintained by the families of the Hacienda. They have planted strawberries, and while the farmer turned over the fields behind his tractor a group of egrets followed behind to eat up the worms and bugs exposed to the sunlight. We have to be careful to lock the gates behind us so the sheep don’t get out. Apparently the game keeper got back too late to butcher one of the lambs tonight, so no lamb chops for Valentines Dinner. Looks like I am not going to loose much weight during this trip. The food is just fabulous! Organic, local, healthy and fresh. We spent much of the weekend working with Ivan the Architect, studying and considering building for insects and biodiversity. Taking into account both the macro and the micro worlds surrounding us here on the Hacienda. At the end on Sunday afternoon we all gave a little presentation about our work. Alicia turns in early each night after dinner. The rest stay up late drinking beer, sitting by the fire and talking. I stayed up for a little of this, but needed to turn in early.
Still trying to find me way here. The architect and young European couple have just left, so we have gone from 7 to 4. All middle aged, and ready to get to work on our own projects. For me, we shall see. For now I have started to gather from the ground the fresh and dried up flowers of the bougainvillea tree that is slowly taking over the west side of the garden. I am thinking to try and process them into paper. Papers of Place…