Here at the Ranch the year long apprentices have various roles and functions that support the Ranch community. By taking on responsibilities and managing certain areas we the chance to learn and experience those areas on a deeper level . Part of the educational model created by the ranch team is a monthly rotation of these so called life skills. Each apprentice transitions their life skill to the next apprentice, passing on all of the relevant information to their colleague in order to complete the various tasks associated with each life skill.
When the rainy season arrived, it started with a sense of relief - dry season went on longer than expected and our trees and plants were scorching in the heat. For myself the cooler air was welcome comfort, and the rains a reminder of home and getting cozy. Mornings were beautiful with the sight of the sun rising through the dewy mist.
Even before the start of my apprenticeship at the ranch, I would not have described myself as a particularly squeamish person. I like to think that I reacted to incidents involving large numbers of insects (infestations) with an appropriate amount of squeam. However, on more than one occasion, I was nudged outside of my comfort zone within the first few days of my time at the Ranch. Over the past few weeks, my relationship to these small jungle friends has changed once again.
At Rancho Mastatal we have been building sustainable homes from natural materials in the tropics for over 15 years. In this time we have tried many different styles, building materials, and designs. We would like to share with you our opinion for the best natural and sustainable home design for the tropics.
As apprentices at Rancho Mastatal, we take on a Plant Skill, where we each are responsible for a plant variety in our agroforestry system. When we began as apprentices many of us wanted to avoid the Salak palm, as it has splinter inducing spikes throughout the stem and leaves. Following my intention to dive into challenges this year, I decided to take being caretaker of the prickliest palm on the Ranch.