Timber Framing in the Tropics

Timber Framing in the Tropics

The rainforests of Central America might not be the first place that you think of when you hear the term “timber frame construction”, but with initiatives in Monteverde and Mastatal, Costa Rica is starting to make a name for itself in the region for this post and beam building technique. We started to build the infrastructure of Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center in the small rural community of Mastatal, Costa Rica in 2001.

5 "Grow-Your-Own" Mulch Plants for the Tropics

5 "Grow-Your-Own" Mulch Plants for the Tropics

This post was originally published by the ECHO Community newsletter and was reposted from the Porvenir Design blog.

The tropical forest is constantly self-mulching. After a walk in the woods I usually return with bits of leaves and twigs caught in my hair. Lying in bed at night, my partner and I often hear branches and even whole trees tumbling toward the great soil food web below.

Our Natural Building World

Our Natural Building World

In the natural building world at Rancho Mastatal there is no lack of projects to be done. I think as a team we have collected a list that will take us past 2020. And we already have been building our infrastructure for the past 16 years. One could say we are natural building addicts!

Orienting Oneself to Mastatal

Orienting Oneself to Mastatal

If you’re anything like me, then you will find Rancho Mastatal to be a place of incredible beauty, endless inspiration, and powerful community. Even if we have very little in common, you will certainly find it to be unique. Among ecovillages and permaculture communities, over the years Rancho Mastatal has developed a reputation for its intricate systems, well organized educational programs, and gorgeous natural buildings that sprinkle the 300 + acre Ranch.

Getting Inspired About Natural Building

Getting Inspired About Natural Building

Over the years of natural building at Rancho Mastatal my feelings on the process have gone through many stages. From the initial excitement of- wow, how cool you can build a house from the materials on your land, and all it takes is time, practice, and anyone can do this! To over time, after building many walls, an understanding of how long it takes to build a natural home and all the work that it entails.