I’m learning about permaculture. It’s all part of the self-sustainability lifestyle we’re trying to build — and hopefully perpetuate — duh! So my focus for a while now has been on designing a mandala garden. It will have a small water source in the center as a focus of energy and source of water for the garden. We will probably have a half-acre building site, and that’s another reason for a mandala garden since we’ll need to make the most efficient use of our land. We’ll have chickens, which will stay inside a chook dome built exactly the size of a mandala segment. They’ll stay in a segment for two weeks digging, scratching, aerating, eating pests, and fertilizing the segment before we plant it. Then we move it on to the next recently harvested segment. That way we can have food growing year-round. I’ve got lots to learn about permaculture but I plan to learn lots from the Ecuadorians, once my Spanish improves, so I don’t waste time planting things that won’t grow here. There’s a lot to learn about what to plant to nourish the good critters in the soil, what species grow well next to each other, what grows quickly so it can be harvested before space hogs (not hogs from space!) get growing. If we don’t end up with a purist’s version of a mandala garden design, we’ll still have a compact garden with a water element. Since we’re in the Andes, there’s not a lot of flat land, so we may need to do some terracing. Still, our garden will have a beautiful authentic energy and will be situated near our meditation space.