Monday, January 18, 2016

Day Eleven: Corralling Fish and Chickens

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Today was a posting day so Shawny and Jesse went off on motorcycles to the banks of the Tapajós River (we are on the Arapiuns) to catch a cellphone signal and send off our blog text, pictures and videos.  For the first time this trip, everything they tried to transfer got transferred.  Yay.

We gathered up all of the parts of the new fish cage and maneuvered it all down the forest path then followed the main dirt road in the community all the way to the other end where the fish farm is.  We found a shady spot to work on assembling the cage and learned that it is remarkably easy to assemble these things.  Our hosts had projected that it would take three hours to do and it took about ten minutes of actual labor.  The entire job took longer than that because we had to wait for someone to find some additional netting to supplement what came with the new cage.  After it came, once again, things moved really smoothly and quickly.  We guided it into the water in a slightly separate place from all the others, anchored it with a pole that was already there and headed back to work on our next set of plans.

Our next set of plans involved the chicken coop, of course, so we let Cooper and Daniel continue to lead that project and make really clear drawings about what was going to happen.  They then explained the plan to everyone else and we now have a solid sense of the ideal that we are pursuing.  We also have a solid sense that ideals are rarely reached in any perfect state here, so we have modest ambitions about producing the actual roosting area and chicken run in the exact form that our designers drew. 

We went and met with Vincente in the garden and then proceeded back to the clearing from yesterday where we broadened the swatch of cleared land to accommodate the roosting area.  This project, of course, included more stump removal, which is starting to be second nature to us now.  We were reminded that palms are even harder to remove than full trees, even when they are tiny.  As usual, we persevered. 

As it began to get dark, we encountered a particularly stubborn triple trunk about two feet below the surface and we all ganged up on it.  We would take ten hits apiece with an axe (the only one we had) and see who could make the most progress in cutting through the roots.  We went around and around for an hour or more but still couldn’t rock out the main chunk.  We’ll have to revisit it tomorrow.

We went home to have dinner and then got our plans together for our upcoming boat trip.  We leave on Monday around lunchtime so we need all of our laundry to be done and our stuff to be ready to go.  It will take us a couple of days to get ready to go, even though we will only be out on the boat for three days.  We were supposed to stay out for three nights, but we reorganized so that we will only be away for two nights.  Coming back one night early will help us get in another full workday on the chicken coop.

While we are gone, the local horticulture committee will be gathering fenceposts for us in the forest.  They find small tree starts that are not valuable wood then cut them down and strip the bark to make the posts for the chicken wire.  We will also use some of the trees that are still standing to help support the fencing for the chicken run. 

We really hope to get some live chickens here before we leave Anã for home, but that goal might be too optimistic.  But what’s wrong with optimism?

Everyone gathered around the fish tank before placing it in the water. These fish tanks hold up to 400 fish. These tanks in the fish farm aid in the community’s heath by providing a stable source of nutrition. 

Cooper and Daniel working on developing a blueprint for the chicken coop that we will be working in the coming days. The community hopes to eventually hold about 500 chickens within the next year. 

Diorlando and Leah posing after they conquered removing some rather difficult stumps. Throughout the trip we have had the opportunity to use machetes, hoes, and axes to complete various tasks. 

Jesse and Josy taking a quick break at the worksite after helping to chop down trees at the worksite.

Phil staying hydrated while at the worksite this afternoon. Today, we had the opportunity to prepare the land that will be used for the chicken coop by clearing trees and removing debris.

Reginalva and Dona Odila, discussing future plans regarding the fish cage and the chicken coop.

 Diorlando climbs up high in search of fruit to eat before we get to work clearing land for the chicken coop.

 Diorlando and Vicente succeed in picking out a branch full of fruit.

 Steve and Coop wait for Dona Odila to return with more netting to finish constructing a fish cage.

 A look at the space that will eventually be a chicken coop.

 Diorlando shows us the “correct” way to swing an axe.

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