In November 2017 Viane was facing some new challenges. After preparing a part of the working bench in our open kitchen near the vegetable garden she focused a grew wall. This wall is part of the kitchen structure and on top of a foundation layed out by Margret, Mariella and others in 2015.
If we realize how many people in the last years where working at this place: its amazing. Some of them had the chance to meet in place, some of them are not aware about the former or following worker. But all their work and contruction is part of the story of CASAdelDRAGON and FamiliaFeliz – and therefor also part of this story.
Viane started to draw a sketch on the wall. Over three days she was looking and thinking and trying to find the right proportion and expression. Finally she get very sure about her design.
The first dragon was showing up in the color garden. But it took more than 12 month to continue the work.
Antje and Corinna started to work from outside to inside. The selection of colors was decided by both of them. As a quotation to the dragon on the wall of the artist residence CASAdelDRAGON they selected also last leftover pieces of its lightful blue color.
The white glue (special product to stick ceramics on walls) is waterbased, usable for some hours and give enough time for relaxed progress.
As a passionate tribute to a big love Juan added the heart in the center in late 2018.
In spring 2019 Antje and Corinna finished the work in a two week session.
The dragon as a positive symbol of power and passion and health will be part of the history of the color garden. This dragon will focus the crystal bullet in the wall, aware about the future of this space.
In early summer the dragon was finished. He is waiting now for the next sessions around him to continue the work on this open kitchen.
We should never underestimate the power of passion, to create an idea, to start, to continue and to finish a joyful project. Even if it takes sometimes years to succeed we should never give up our dreams. What remains until the end: the power of love.
Since 2014 we develop the colorgarden – jardi d’colors / laboratori d’artistas – and bringing water to the plot was ever a challenge and still it is. In the beginning we had only one barril of 200 liters and a little peugeot car and some buckets. Water in the garden was ever a valuable treasure.
By expending the infrastructure with more than 30 raised beds in the vegetable garden and a educative aquaponics project we added step by step ibc tanks to be able to store more water.
Also we started to use a trailer to be able to transport 1000 liter at once. To give the ibc tanks a stable support we used second hand wood pallets.
To support the heavy installation and to prevent the pallet wood from termites we used cement stones as a foundation. This keep the wood dry after rain. We also divided the infrastructure in different segments to reduce water loss by accidents and leaks in the water pipes.
Also we segmented the infrastructure for different usage: art camp, tree watering, open kitchen, vegetable garden.
The ibc tanks are refurbished and primary used in the food industry, mostly for lemon juice transport.
Some visitors are criticizing that the usage of ibc tanks and the transport of water by car and trailer in such little quantities of 1000 liter is not sustainable and not helpful at all. They suggest to harvest rain water or water from our asequia would be much more efficiant. They are right in general but to create a bigger central deposite we need an investment of more than 5000 Euros. We need actually between 50.000 and 100.000 liter of water per year for watering, service (kitchen, shower and sinks) and construction. To compare this: a four-person household requires on average about 164 cubic meters (164.000 liter) of drinking water per year. We welcome between 50 and 200 visitors per year in our community and we have sometimes lunch and dinner for groups up to 60 person in the garden and we are watering the plants as little as possible.
The main decision is still, to start with what we have and what we can support. Instead of waiting for subventions or funds we start and we keep our installation – as much as possible – independent from public water supply and we start with planting fruit trees – which will take years to get a certain amount of fruits. These growing trees willl spread some shadow in the vegetable garden and this will reduce watering, als well as the deep roots of trees will lift huminity in the upper region of the soil.
Re-using local materials, re-use water from sinks, showers and open kitchen and restrained watering of plants will lead us to the best possible solution, which is for sure not the best solution.
As a side effect our restricted water handling is a good sensibilisation for our guests. The 50 kids of a german high school used less than 1000 liter in one week for shower and sink. The installation of 3 dry toilets was supporting this.
In September 2019, we decided to add a kitchen sink to the open kitchen project in the art camp. After building different fireplaces and a rocketstove, we wanted to add an option to clean dishes nearby, instead of having to move them back and forth between the Casa del Dragon and the garden.
A key element of the project was to re-use waste water from the dishwashing process to water plants in the lower art camp garden area, especially the fruit trees.
The wise creator knows that he is only a facilitator, using what is donated to him by others.
Together with Rebekka, we played around with potential shapes of the sink area around an old almond tree. We talked a lot about the workflows and processes of serving food, collecting dirty dishes, cleaning and storing them for another lunch or dinner session.
Besides ergonomic and logistic issues, we focused on the social aspects of cleaning dishes. We wanted it to be possible for the dishwashing station to be used by several people at once, allowing for small teams to work together. We also wanted the people washing dishes to be able to communicate with others nearby.
Once we agreed on a suitable design for the kitchen sink area, we started to build the foundation of the sink, the main part of the construction. When we decided on the location of the foundation, we considered that the nearby dry stone wall would need to be repaired in the future, respected the roots of the almond tree and allowed for enough working space for the dish washing team.
For the foundation, we used small natural stones. A refurbished ibc-conformed pallet was placed on top of cement stones. This construction supports the weight of the water tank and the elevation protects the pallet wood from termites.
Wherever possible, we used old construction materials. Iron pieces were used to increase the stability of the wall, holding nearly 600 kg of weight (0.6 cubic meter of waste water) in form.
Even the sink is a refurbished piece that was donated by a friend (thanks to Angie!). To clean and fertilize the waste water, plants will be placed in the open area of the abc tank.
After finishing the raw structure of the sink, we added a worktable. In reference to the design of the open kitchen, we repeated a circular cutout between to pillars.
On one side, we added a space to collect dirty dishes. On the other side, we placed a service hatch for clean dishes. In the foundation, we placed a hole for better ventilation. It will be covered by a fine net to protect the inside from little animals.
The construction will also protect the stored items from the sun. The service hatch is designed to cover around 60 dishes and protect them from rain and dust.
Wherever we established a construction in a certain height we find glases and bottles lateron. A lot of visitors are likely to put used stuff wherever they stay. To work a bit against this habit we created a organic shape around the sink table. Later it will be also an invitation for next mosaic workshops to find another place to play with colors.
Nearly 300 bottles where used to create the circular wall, giving the worktable a solid foundation. In the center, we constructed a natural fridge, using a
We raised the outer arch of the circular shape and placed a piece of wood on the inner arch to create a frame for a 6 cm thick concrete platform. Small recycled iron pieces were added to the concrete, to increase the stability of the structure.
Next, we added plaster around the bottles and experimented with a new mix (6 soil : 1 cement : 1 lime). The challenge was to use the right scree to prepare the best mixture.
This kitchen sink is a piece of social art, supported and done by many people. One of the biggest contributors was for sure Rebekka. But also people like Angie from Benicarlo and David from Cervera donated materials to this structure. Many people collected bottles. Guests of the Casa del Dragon, like Amanda and Nina, prepared dinners for the hungry bricklayers. Others carried construction materials to the location. We have to honor all these people helping us to make this possible. Special thanks to Nina, Fronçois, Sacha, Youri and Ivan.
In Summer 2019 we continued with some artwork in the open kitchen area of the color garden. The workspace for food, pizza dough and bread near the big oven in the dry stone wall became a work of art.
Our friend and guest in the CASAdelDRAGON Lisa joined this ceramic mosaic project. Like many other helper and supporter she contributed with a personal work and gave her “fingerprint” to the whole project of the color garden in Cervera del Maestre.
Like other little projects this is real teamwork. By changing the position of working the group can balance the mix of colors, therefor the final result is looking like made by one single person.
Happy workers are enjoying their result. The new working space will be used in the open kitchen to prepare the food like pizza dough, bread or salads.
By enjoying the photos we like to remind you, that this social project of the color garden in spain is only possible because there are people behind the szene, working and donating to this.
It was a pleasure to be able to invite a friend like Lisa for a short retreatment in the CASAdelDRAGON. But we should keep in mind, its only possible because other silent beautiful minds are supporting a lot: Thanks to Eddy (Happy birthday!)and Angela !
Information day – Familiafeliz | 2019-10-26 | 12578 Cervera del Maestre | Castellon | Spain
Obviously this greek mythology based title might irritate some guests of our upcoming information day but by looking closer to the ancient creation myths we find evidence for a neverending challenge of human mankind to substitute chaos and darkness with cosmos and light. Familiafeliz explore and develop a social space for personal happiness.
You should know in which type of game you are in – we are part of an infinite game.
If you are interested in exploring an alternative way of living together in peace and harmony, embedded in social activities and a healthy environment and in friendly neighbourhood to classical societies, you are welcome.
We don’t share, we donate – and it’s important to understand the difference.
In most of the given economical systems you find always these clever people accumulating most of the ressources after a short time of grows and stability. If you organise people based on deals there are always some of them, being able to make the better deals. In Darwins competition modell this was an advantage in a growing market economy (last 5000 years) and it leads to an agony in competive market economies (next 5000 years).
If you sell and buy you organise your life in a classical economy. You divide societies in winner and looser. If you share you are focused more on social points than on money. Nevertheless you want to deal with you altruistic habit.. And a lot of times these commmunity designs leads to political, religious or environmental activism (and dogmatism).
We do not want to guide you in organising your daily life, we do not define what you should eat, should vote for or should believe, nor where you should want to live on this planet.
We host between 50 and 100 guests per year and a lot of times the visitors are wondering where this community showes up, and what are the binding features and advantages of being member of such an open minded weak community.
Redesign your idea of community! – Communities are created sometimes by locations (farmhouse), by terretories (country) or by skills (language), other are created by actions (platoon) or by believes (religion).
Familiafeliz is a communitiy based on a simple idea: well-beeing by donation without expectation.
Most societies are guiding their members by fear. Some of these members get tired and they like to leave these places of indoctrination. We might attract some of them but we are not a safe harbour being able to protect them from their fear: not, because we don’t want, because we can’t.
Leaving your comfort zone is a very personal journey and Familiafeliz try to establish a possible destination for those, who are looking for an alternative way of being by recommending their own responsability for their actions.
A lot of single mothers are asking us: how many kids are in place? A lot of environmental activists are asking us: do you reject to take airplanes and do you work on permaculture? A lot of spiritual people are asking us about gathering, ceremonies and meditation practice on a daily basis.
We try to be honest at all time and we give our answers based on the actual situation. But the real answer behind all this is: all this is up to you! Familiafeliz is not a ruleset and a new member has to fit in, it is a stage for personel development embedded in a trib of people gathered by the idea of respect and attention for the other and her / his well-being.
If you are curious to explore an alternative way of living for yourself, if you have time and ressources to meet us, we are happy to welcome you and to enjoy our information day with you. We can learn from you.
CASAdelDRAGON – the spanish location of familiafeliz – is a artist residence since more than 30 years. We hostet artists from all over the world. The visual artist Arlo Laibowitz visited us several times in 2018 and 2019. He partizipated in exhibitions, art performances and in the daily life in the familiafeliz community.
Artists are coming and going all the time. Arlo gave us a strong impact and high motivation to continue the project of hosting artists and give them space to develop their art projects. In a microeconomy driven world it might be not easy for a non profit orientated project without any public or private funding to organise accommodation, catering, hosting and social art activities but artists are also creative in finding solutions for that.
Arlo is working worldwide (Las Vegas, Shanghai, Barcelona, Valencia) and part of the burning community and engaged in figuring out new art performances based on temporal installations all the time.
Uncertanty is the space for evolution and the emergent feature of Love. Happy birthday, Arlo!
Arlo is a storyteller and he tells his stories by using the wide range of media which is available for contemporary artists of this century.
In his new project he will create a tree of love for the upcoming burning event NOWHERE 2019. He used crowdfunding to succeed (deadline beginning of june 2019). CASAdelDRAGON offer the space for premanufacturing the segments. Arlo will gather a group of supporters to prepare and move the parts to the festival in summer 2019.
Virtual worlds and media are playgrounds to discover and simulate reality in a laboratorial environment, but we should bring into account that we do this to face a glimp of reality and to get closer to the brain of others.
Arlo is passionated in cooking as well as in using all media to deliver the story, to reach the other, to get in touch with the audience and to get in touch with himself.
Nowhere is a good sample for his journey. It is a project to gather people, to enjoy the moment and to share happiness. The temporary momentum of the Tree of Love will remind us, to enjoy this moment.
The compost stack location we are calling Camp David as an homenage to our friend David from UK who was initiating the structure years ago. In May 2019 we started to repair and expand the space.
We can not control what happen, we have to control what it means.
Gerhard Schröder, former Prime Minister (1998-2005) of Germany
First we unmounted the rotten pallet wood and cutted wild herbs around the corner of the dry stone wall.
Later we prepared the foundation. We cutted the roots of the wild herbs as deep as possible and we separeted soil, little stones and roots.
We moved some natural stones from the Art Camp to Camp David. These stones where part of the dry wall where we have now the pizza oven. Have a closer look to the weel – the tire was a bit damaged after this tour…
As part of our strategy to minimise costs and entropy we used some bricks from local construction companies. The bricks came out of a old house in the village of Cervera del Maestre. The advantage for the construction company is easy to understand: less costs for garbage disposal.
In the frontline we places some of the heavy natural stones. Inbetween we placed some little stones and we added bricks from the backside to level the stone height for a next line of natural stones in the front side. The advantage of the little stones behind the bigger stones is given by the fact, that we expect a lot of water coming out of the bigger dry stone wall behind. In october 2018 we had 300 liter per square meter in less than 5 hours. The little stones behind and the pieces of bricks are holding back the soil.
On the way we used some carton to give lower wild herbs a strong disadvantage to grow.
According to the second law of thermodynamics you might have a closer look to this project. As we identify life in general as a system to lower entropy inside itself by rising the entropy outside in its environment even alternative communities should think about their environments before they judge to fast.
Rejecting the waste of the classical society – in this case the old construction material – would not transform and redisign a unwanted behaviour. The bricks are older than 400 years. They where burned in a time of less polution and smog. In the world of cosmetics these bricks are valued like gold for this.
If we want to establish another way on looking at the so called waste we have to expand the time frame in which we are acting. If you are just looking on the moment in which somebody dump construction waste into a bio dynamic garden area you will not get the whole picture. The bricks are manufactured in the 15th century. They are a very good storage of water. In storing the water they grow and get pulverized.
If you are looking the time frame of 1000 years you will start with a mineral material used 500 years to support life in a ancient house in Spain and you will continue with a water storage for the next couple of centuries. Finally you will end with a mineral material.
Less entropy equals more social behavior.
Camp David get famous in a historical view in being part of the peace process in middle east (1978). Whatever we do, we will meet a political implication. In this little project we try to make peace with the waste by using them in a best possible way, equal if it is the organic part inside of the compost stacks or the old bricks from a ruin in the mountains of Spain.
Permacultura Penyaflor is a hotspot of Permaculture activities and informal education near Tortosa in Catalunya. The space is founded by Cecile Thevenot and she invited a group of youth from Barcelona in 2019 to have a closer look to alternative living in the countryside.
Count by yourself: you can enjoy the illusion of a result once or you can enjoy every moment of the process.
The workshop (2 days, each time 4 hours) ended with success. The youth where able to test the stability of their work.
… but it was not the end of the story…
To protect the young plants form too much sunlight we added a roof with canyas. This amazing invasive plant is growing everywhere around rivers and creeks in Spain and was since ancient time a useful material for construction. It is flexibel and easy to move and to handle.
We connected the canyas with nods in two lines and linked them sometimes to the wood construction below.
To protect the plants from direction south west we used palm leafs between canyas. 8 leafs where enough for 3 square meter of wall (an it took us 5 minutes to fix it).
To have space for heavy pots with water and plants we used old wood from pallets.
After 6 hours we where ready to move all plants into the new buildung.
Life is a process, and – for us – infinite. The session of the youth was a milestone to reach the goal of having a shelter for the young plants. Cecile, a wwoofer from France and Juan continued the work.
Our world is focused on results, but in a process driven world a final result is an illusion. This shelter will be never finished and it will need attention and care over the next years. But on the way to return to compost and food for new generations of humans this shelter will be useful for the purpose of having shadow for the young plants of Permacultura Penyaflor.
The opposite of right for pessimists is wrong, for optimists it is left.
Compost is wellknown in literature. Homer wrote about it, Aristotle developed a theory of compost / humus. And if you have a closer look at the food chain, compost and all its creatures are the hidden leader in the circle of life.
David established a bigger location for our compost handling early in 2016 and maintained the space later in his short and long visits since 2018. This camp of bacterias and mushrooms is an important factor in our garden design.
Again and again David was unhappy with the situation and status of the stacks and the mixture of indrediences in the three different chambers.
According to Murphy all what might be able to go wrong will go wrong and even what might not be able to go wrong will go wrong equal.
Actually the fourth or fifths generation of supporters and contributers are maintaining the compost. And a lot of times we find new bio waste in the wrong section or useless quantities of gras or hay on top.
The compost as a symbol of health and life is also a good sample for the challenge to bind together people coming and going in a very dynamic environment to act for a specific usefull purpose.
We are not able to establish a ruleset, and not, because we can not create a list of rules under which the compost should be used. We have no chance to push through these rules and to keep them alive.
The only thing we can do is to invite people to use it in a propper way. And the minimum of right is here the right stack.
For sure we will not have the best compost, but we have the best possible compost.
The location is a bit abandoned in May 2019 and we hope we will add soon the section for terra preta (by using the materiall from the dry toilets).
The compost reminds always to the circle of life. So we are waiting for a new circle in developing this camp of davids compost stacks, as well as we are waiting for a return of its creator.
In April 2019 Permacultura Penyaflor hosted a group of youth from Barcelona. The group visit was organized by a local NGO from Sant Andreu and the reason for the trip to the south was, to give the youth some experience of alternative living in the countryside.
Cecile Thevenot offered some workshops and a guided tour passing important locations and installations on the plot.
Permacultura Penyaflor, Cecile and all the other helpers are donating their knowledge to a lot of guests per year, neither Cecille charged any money for hosting these 20 people for one week.
Cecile is very engaged in the region and abroad about Permaculture and alternative sustainable living in the countryside. She is aware about missleading effects of mass-consumption and together with herr old friend Pep and members of her family and wwoofers and friends and neighbours she try to establish Permacultura Penyaflor as a hotspot of alternative farming, alternative tourism and alternative education.
All this is happen without subvention, without any care or help of the surrounding society and even most of the parents of the youth from Barcelona had never heard anything about this amazing project in the south of Catalunya.
In ancient societies – and till now in some asian countries – it was a common behaiviour for guests to use the toilet of the host after being invited for lunch or dinner. These grounded people where knowing that organic waste has value (like the food) and is itself part of the natural alimentation of a vegetable garden.
When Cecile cook her hands deep in the waste she was searching for some insects and worms to explain the natural circles around compost. The youth where uncertain about this contact with “mother earth” but they where looking and listening carefully and concentrated. Nobody had to call for order. Nobody had to explain why this might be a pure and important lesson for life. Youth still have a fine sense to realize the importance of a source of knowledge.
In one other workshop we offered the group to build a shelter, mostly by using local organic material from the plot. The shelter will support shadow for young plants in summer and should be also a stable host against strong winds and to much rain.
By talking about tripods, triangles, nods, dimensions and construction principals we talked about mathematics, physics and chemics. It came along on the way to solve problems (stability of the construction, purpuse, risks) and it was not mentioned as a classical education session. Most important we talked 5 minutes about a technical solution to reach a stable position for a pillar and we worked hours on that.
Can you believe it, no smartphones at all… we as the trainers and teachers of this informal education events are paid with total attention by the youth. Looking in their faces we imagine the concentration in something important, a feeling of ballance between inside and outside.
Nothing is greater than the experience of realizing a project in a team and feeling the sense of engagement. Beside other positive sideeffects for the individual mental state we have to underline the fundamental advantage of informal learning: it is learning for a purpose, defined by the learner, not by the teacher.
Modern societies seperated the space for learning from the space for doing it. This was mostly initiated from weak members of a society who wanted to escape from the space of doing it, motivated by the advantage not to be in the global competition. The price we all pay for this are less and less well educated youth for complex modern contemorary societies.
Again and again each generation think it might know what is the best for the next generation by treating them with their old fashioned values. Again an again the outcome of people realize by taking their first individual steps in the society that they are not prepared for what they had to be prepared for. And again and again they route their children to the same temples of classical education and they argue, that their is no other way.
To empover the youth in getting the experience they are requesting for, is our first job. To empower them again, when they have their own children, to cultuvate more and more informal education around there kids… is the next.
People from Permacultura Penyflor are showing us the other way. We should take care about Cecile Thevnot and these people. They are facilitator, mentor, trainer, friend and they donate their knowledge and time. They give their best to the new generation, their attention and their love.