Costa Rica

I’ve been in  Costa Rica a little over a week now. There are a few purposes underlying the transmission of myself into a world such as this. The first is to determine whether Art production of the kind I am up to is possible here, i.e.: The availability of materials, ease of acquisition of materials, facilities, humidity affecting drying times, etc.  The second is to discover whether many of the materials I use could be swapped out for organic pigments, natural resins, dyes, etc. from local trees plants, deposits, etc.  The third is whether there is a market for my work here, to expand into an international arena and to see if the type of pattern based bas relief art I’m making has relevance to the mindsets of consumers either living here or on vacation. We’ll see.

I’ve found most of my materials already, in San Jose. There is a large Home Depot style hardware store called EPA (Pic below)

where the only thing lacking was a prevalence of oil based paint, solvents, linseed oil, Japan Dryer, etc. So a specialty paint store will be the next thing to look into.

Another reason to be here is to get out of the frigid nightmare of Salt Lake City which my body loathes. Once I arrived I immediately sensed a shift in my general mood. The sun and warmth and humidity opens the pores and flow occurs, toxins in the skin flush away, and your body can be a system again with  continuous throughput of fluids. So health issues were a big motivation to get out of dodge. The tropical food  is fresh, delicious, and shifted toward the fruits and vegetables, all of which are cleansing, anti-oxidant and pesticide and fertilizer free. Full of nutrition. So I am eating a 95% vegetarian diet at the moment and enjoying watching the fat melt away as I make a run every other day to Mastatal town 2.7 miles away.

In the morning I am digging with a campesino named Solin, swales in a hillside, hard work,. to make soil restoration occur, slow water down and transform the leached clay soils into nutrient rich zones for new plant possibilities. At the moment the soils are depleted and need a lot of repair. This is a common reality in tropical soils stripped of their hardwoods, cleared by slash and burn methods, for corn and papaya and for so few successive years of productivity.  What we are doing is a fundamental tool in permaculture to replenish the soil. I’ll help with planting and general design as time permits.

As for other projects I am engaged in, there are a few. This property is situated on a steep slope with deeply cut ravines leading down into a riparian zone of black metamorphic rock, a river channel deeply buried beneath 150 foot tall hardwood trees covered by epiphytes and vines, lush and cool even during the day. This is the spot at the bottom of the property (which is 25 acres) where in the afternoon it is pure heaven to cool off under a waterfall and swim in a pool of crystal clear water.

I’m also extending the porch to solve an erosion problem at the drip-line from heavy rains spilling off the roof. This water will be directed into a channel in the center of the new stretch, running the length of the porch, with a swiss cheese pipe buried in gravel, framed by river rocks I already got on a trip to a local river.

Next will be the gray water system integration with the porch extension runoff. All water from the Kitchen, shower, washing machine, utility sink and porch runoff will be directed into a wetland for processing by taro and watercress among other wetland plants.   Overflow during rainy season will flow off into a hillside graywater pit already dug. After the wetland, a trench filled with gravel , then smaller gravel, then sand will filter the water. Adjacent to the filtration station, a  ferro-cement tank 10 feet in diameter filled with tilapia hatchlings will connect to an intermediate tank. This connects the first Tilapia tank with a second Tilapia tank, also of ferro-cement, 10′ in diameter.  The second tank will be for the big Tilapia, ready to harvest. When it’s time to harvest, you chum the intermediate tank, open a gate in the second tank, net push the Tilapia into the intermediate tank, close the gate, then drain the intermediate tank. Tilapia caught without effort. Of course, this idea is throry only, but my idea for this system has been given the green light so, a little more research and I’ll be building it.

Also on the list is to build a fountain next to the house. This I will also build out of Ferro-cement. Ideas for it’s look and feel are being drawn up. Here are some of them:


So, I’ve got my hands full with really exciting projects. I’ll keep posting pics as they develop.

Here’s the log for the days I’ve been here.

March 6 – Flight

March 7 Arrival at 6 am Bus trip to Puriscal. Taxi from Puriscal to Mastatal meeting with Robbie and Kimmy

March 8 Tuesday – Swales – Walk to Mastatal and back

March 9th Wednesday -Swales / Iguana tour

March 10 Thursday – Chill day

March 11 Friday – Swales -Joel visits – Bar Mastatal

March 12 Saturday – Photo session – planning/idea development for Choza with Robbie

March 13 Sunday – Trip to the beach – Jaco / Playa Hermosa

March 14 Monday – Painting Gate roof / planning session for tilapia ponds –

March 15 Tuesday – trip to Puriscal – Hardware store – art supplies. Trip to Ark

March 16th Wednesday – Excavation of patio extensions – art setup

March 17th Thursday – Excavation continued – Art begins

March 18th Friday– Stone laid in patio extensions

March 19thSaturday – stone laid, Joel brings fixed fridge and my panels/doors.

March 20th – off

March 21 – Monday – Moved soil, Joel comeswith Doors. Drive to Zapotan, Got a soda, some Popsicles which I left there in the freezer. Need to go get them. Then Joel and I drive to Mastatal. Beers, conversation. Talk about Art production and procuring a warehouse. Looked for Miguel at Rancho Mastatal, then hiked back for exercise. Sweat like crazy. Annie shows up on the bus. Annie, Kimmy, Katie chat it up over dinner and build a fire. More talking. I retreat from conversation which I am not involved in and play solitaire on the computer for 3 hours and listen to music on headphones in my room.

March 22 – Tuesday – woke up at 7 am. Talked with Annie a bit regarding the patio extension and some other improvements. Cut Doors down. Plan a pattern. Draw it up on a panel. Begin production.

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