The story so far
On the 23rd of August 2012 we took ownership of the land and turned up that day with a couple of tents, a camping stove, a few wooden crates and a couple of chairs foraged from the local rubbish dump. The land had an old traditional well that had dried up and the next day Sam climbed down inside and we began to dig down deeper, bucketful by bucketful, because land without water is land without life. Unfortunately after half a metre the shovel hit a nice big slab of granite and we had to spend the next few month wheel barrowing in water from other wells in the area, learning a new found respect and admiration for the millions of people (usually women) in the world that everyday walk miles to collect water. A couple of months later we put in a deep well (100metres) and now enjoy beautiful, fresh and cool water everyday.
In October and November, with the help of friends and family, we dug the foundations by hand (never again!) and started building the walls before the weather turned cold and we were forced to pack up for the winter months.
Returning in early spring of 2013, we dug out the vegetable patch, pruned the olive, fig and apples trees and got our first chickens. Throughout that summer, our friends Barbara and Quique of Domoterra ran intensive Superadobe training courses at Finca La Tierra and it was during these months that the majority of the structure of the main house was built and where Sam began to learn the techniques and subtleties needed in using natural materials, and the beauty and ease in using sacred geometry as a guide to both strength and aesthetics in building. In September of that year we were incredibly lucky to have Illiona Khalili of New Earth Uk (wife of the founder of the Superadobe eath dome technique, Nader Khalili) and Tomasso Bazzechi of Domoterra Italia come to teach a weekend course on Natural Clay Ovens, the result of which is the most beautiful and functional oven in the world at Finca La Tierra (we’re not biased). With over 70 students and volunteers passing through that summer Finca La Tierra began to resemble a school, a meeting place for like minded people, a place for ideas and hard work, a place of hope for a more sustainable future.
Again after spending the next winter in hotter climes we returned rejuvenated and spent the early spring expanding the vegetable patch, planting more fruit trees and planning for the year to come. With more courses run by Domoterra and much help from volunteers and interns the structure of the house was completed and we turned our attention the natural plasters and experimenting with over types of earth construction. We experimented with adobe brick making and built our stunning chicken coop with them, as well as building the first superadobe swimming pool/water tank stabilised with lime. With the expertise and guidance of Paloma and Alfonso of Arquitectura y Color we began to play with different natural plasters, making our own from the red clay of Zaragoza. Again the life given and the joy brought by the 80 students and volunteers is what really made Finca La Tierra such a beautiful and interesting place to be and we can not wait to welcome many more to join us and help to with our future projects.