There’s a lot of leftover waste on our farm. Rubble. Broken cement slabs, rotten bamboo, broken cinderblocks, plastic bags, broken toys, ripped clothing, and so many more things both scattered and lying in piles. WE’re planning a day to scour the entire property and collect trash. But I’ve been itching to go through the rubble, organize it, and use it all — because who wants to roam in nature and navigate through piles of rubble? Not us. 

There’s no real trash system here in Guatemala– at least not where we are. Even if you take the boat or do the hike into the town of Santiago— (which, mind you, is the biggest town on the lake) there is one trash can that is accessible for the people. That we’ve seen anyway. And there definitely is no waste disposable on our farm. We aim to be completely waste-free, for this reason– and for the sheer fact that even with a “proper waste disposable system” — where does the waste truly go? Out of sight out of mind doesn’t apply to trash, most will never truly disappear.

While 100% waste-free is the goal, we are not there yet. Some. soft plastic does make its way to our farm through us and floats or blows our way from others. We will have to make eco-bricks to navigate some of the plastic waste on our farm. And many ask us, “but you don’t buy plastic bottles, so what will you fill the soft plastic waste in?” Well, unfortunately, we do find many plastic soda bottles floating around the neighboring land— but fortunately (I guess??), we can use these for our “eco-bricks”.  

It would be great if all people could live the reality of existing with no trash system— even for a little while. It would bring more awareness to how much waste is actually being thrown away “to disappear”, and it would force people to use less and be more creative with the things they consider “waste”– you know, like a sock with a hole in it. Is it trash? Or can it be mended? 

As a child, I spent hours on end in the backyard, turning trash into treasure. Making hideouts, forts, and *magic spaces* to spend time in, both alone and with friends. I really wanted to do this with Marlowe. Like me, she’s into the beautiful, the whimsical, to spending time creating in nature. I wanted her to have a magic space to read a book, paint some art, or do whatever she wanted with her ever-changing imagination. 

We used old broken cinderblocks, broken cement slabs, pebbles (recently purchased for another project), and even a pretty little ceramic colander we found laying in a pile of leaves on our property. Alex measured a circle and dug holes in the land to create a wall with broken cinderblocks. We covered the dirt within the circle with broken cement slabs and filled the rest with pebbles. We decorated with garlands made of flowers and dreamcatchers made with art supplies we brought to the land. 

Once the project was complete we gathered flowers and candles to celebrate her new little private space. The space is so lovely. She picked the perfect spot towards the back of our coffee fields. Surrounded by beautiful GIANT avocado trees, and filled with dappling light from the smaller, coffee trees. And because it’s set back away from the lake, there’s not so much wind or dust. Just warm, perfect oxygen-rich air. 

A perfect space, turning trash into treasure for my favorite human. 

I’m not sure what we’ll build with the rest of the rubble. We’re hoping to use some of it for our current kitchen build. But I’m also hoping to create other magic spaces to wander into on our farm 🙂

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