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.
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.
Living in the tropics I found myself surrounded by cocoa trees, which was something you’d dream about as a kid. “Chocolate trees” But like so many things we’re used to consuming we don’t have the knowledge of how to process a raw material into something we can use, within the society we live convenience has removed us from the source. A simple act of making something gives us a connection to our environment.
My name is Ryan and I'm part of the apprentice team at Rancho Mastatal for 2019. I've been navigating my lactose-intolerance since I was a child and gluten-intolerance since I identified it approximately five years ago. In this and the following installments of Dairy Diaries. I'll be exploring dairy kefir, in my personal effort to find ways to make dairy products I enjoy healthier, more digestible and more delicious.