Monday, March 23, 2015

Mountaintop and Other Scenes

The ceremonial site of Mulcina 
is the highest point on Taquile.
It corresponds to the Apu Karu of Lachon, Capachica Penninsula and the Patcha Tata heights of the Island of Amantani. Sam made it an almost daily practice to hike to the top, a physical and spiritual exercise.
Trail to Mulcina
approaching the walled ceremonial site
ceremonial fenced area at Mulcina
The 360 degree view from the top included the snow-capped mountains in the distance on the north and east sides of the lake, when the cloud cover lifted.

Cordierra Real in Bolivia
 The trail to Mulcina passes mossy rocks; in these are growing the delightful muña, a mint family shrub which we enjoy as an herbal tea.

 Ruins with flat large roof stone partly fallen into a shaded, mossy room.

 Another fine excursion is to the beach. The water here is somewhat shallow and protected, so swimming is cold but possible. The sand is delicious for play. Taquile has more than one beach, but this is the biggest with the best sand:
Beach view from above
One day Sam and Tara with Clever and Ivan spent an afternoon playing in the sand.
Ivan taught us to pour water into dry sand to make a temporary bowl sculpture.
 Clever and Sam engineer channels of water and sand.
Beach engineers

Friday, March 13, 2015

Turning the Earth

Agricultural rhythms on Taquile Island

The citizens of Taquile Island practice a 6 year crop rotation cycle: The first year are potatoes, the second, oca, a sweet delicious tuber in the oxalis family, and the third fava beans and sometimes corn and quinoa. The next three years are fallow, with sheep grazing which fertilizes the soil. When a field is ready to return from fallow to crops, the people dig up the grass near the end of the rainy season to recover over the winter.
Oca in the sun
Before cooking, oca is left in the sun for a day, which makes it sweeter!
Oca in flower
When people ask, "What do you DO for two months on Taquile?" we tell them we do what they do. In this case, prepare a field for the next planting season, voltear tierra, or turn the earth/the soil. Withe the strong tradition of reciprocity, or--in Quechua--ayni, within the Taquile culture, several men joined us to dig with the traditional foot hoe. The women worked to remove rocks from the field. This particular field was deep, rich sand-humus soil, very few rocks. I want to mix it up with my Colorado clay soil.
many hands make light work
Little Lisbet and Brayan have a good time in the dirt clods.
Children have fun while men dig