I am Tina, I have been living here at NeverLand since 1999. I named the place NeverLand because I always loved Peter Pan and the idea of never growing up. Always living in a treehouse, never hesitating to stop anything to play Indians and pirates, licking my plate when the food was Goooddd. Sharing my life with other lost boys, and girls, who want to play and live happily and simply. I came here to live in an egalitarian intentional community, and, in spite of my best efforts, have kind of managed to do it. I live with, Angel, aka Killo, an Ecuadorian and maestro of building and gardening (and my boyfriend), 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 mares, a colt named Zeus, a seemingly always pregnant goat and a burro. We share income, responsibilities and privileges. And one hell of a beautiful farm. We laugh a lot, drink and smoke a bit (we grow our own tobacco, it has many pesticide uses), play in our gardens and trees and never hesitate to stop and fiesta. We believe in eating good food, as much as possible from our own farm or neighbors. And in good stewardship of the home entrusted to us.
With the increase of mechanized farming and the loss in our communal memory, or maybe just the loss of oral tradition, of how to do things simply, how to tread lightly on our mother- in general the loss of knowledge in the history of agriculture and the way things used to be commonly done- came the need to relearn and practice the old ways. Rudolf Steiner called it Biodynamics. We are currently trying to become certified biodynamic. Practicing farming in harmony with the moon and the stars and the sun, practicing biodynamics means we produce all that is required for the fertility of the land, and production, within the land itself. Learning by immersion how things are done by the moon, with the tides of plants and trees and in harmony with the forces of nature. As a people once upon a time we all possessed the common knowledge of when it was good to plant, to weed, to prune trees, to cut your hair even. With the loss of stories and the migration to urban centers most people have lost the old way and no longer are even aware of moon cycles. Teaching, and constantly learning, about biodynamics complements 100% our philosophy of self sustainability.
In immersing yourself in this farm, living the life, walking the talk, the hope is that each person who comes to join us and work with us will learn. Learn Spanish as it is spoken here (mixed with Quechua), learn farming and harvesting the biodynamic way. We practice organic farming and use the land here in the fashion of yesteryear. We use an oxen team to plow, weed by hand and shovel. Plant and harvest in accord with the natural cycles of this place. And we do it relaxed, using the teachings of Rudolf Stiener, biodynamics, instinctive knowledge and the stories of locals who still and always have farmed this way. Hopefully helping visitors to relearn and recognize lost intuitions and abilities. To learn things they never thought they could do! We have a full time local instructor come to teach all of you volunteers 5 days a week towards this end.
Andres and Silvia. Andres has been loving life with us for a long time, he knows the farm, born and raised in our valley. Andres has been my friend and helpmate, he has literally carried the load on the farm for a long time. He needs and wants more education, we have been showing Andres how to do some things, but he is a born farmer and knows more than me! Killo and Andres use biodynamics extensively. And we are constantly running to our idea of an answer man, Walter, for more info and to learn biodynamics. But they don’t call it that here, here its just common sense to know what the moon phases are and plant, cut, prune and water accordingly. Everyone knows that! Andres, and all of us, are excited about biodynamics and learning more to increase the fertility and productivity of our land. Andres just finished a course in how to control the wildfires and how to teach others this skill. Wildfires here, along with slash and burn agriculture, are the result of poor education and cultural training. Every year- wait, when you get here we will discuss this further! But Andres can teach you!
With the addition of Andres and Silvia to our farm crew we gained a lot. Silvia comes if we have 8 or more volunteers. She works for tips, .75 a day per volunteer is a nice tip for Silvia! Silvia handles breakfast dishes, lunch and lunch clean up. Sometimes she starts dinner as well. She will almost always need someone to help her in the kitchen, and she is a damned good cook. Silvia and Andres are also encouraged to bring the kids at any time (they have 4). One person in the kitchen frees us all up to play more in the gardens and orchards. What was happening is that breakfast was lasting until 11, then began lunch. By the end of lunch everyone was so tired from all those dishes and cooking that it was nap time. Then dinner. Leaving everyone up for the night, making all tired in the am. And so on! SO, we now ask everyone to finish up breakfasts by 9:00 am. Sorry you late risers, but its impossible to prepare lunch for sometimes 20 people with several of you still waiting about to get your eggs done! We usually have snacks available tho.
Andres will always have a list of farm projects, from digging irrigation to garden beds to collecting compost (aka horse and burro manure) and planty more. Angel and I are also almost always available to show ya how its done. But having Andres means if Angel and I want to sleep in, everyone else on the farm does not have to wait for us to be doing something! So finish breakfast around 9, then check in with Andres or Angel or Tina for projects for the day, week or month.
Some people come with special wants, want to learn double digging, want to paint or sculpt, want to build furniture, want to fix compost, start a chicken tractor, want to learn to cook or bake… And most come wanting to be helpful in gardens, orchards or with animals. We are trying to accommodate almost every ones wants and all the needs. So far so good! But patience on all sides is always in order.
OK! Anyone with parents who are hesitant to have their kids come so far- write to me! Several parents have been here lately and can probably write to your parents if you like! Not to mention my kid Molly, from Virginia, currently at George Mason U, 21, was just here. And as a parent I can say her stay was safe and fun fun fun!
Please give parents or mates my cell phone number, 593 93500990. They can leave me a message and either kid or mate or I will call back. Be sure to let your folks know that we live pretty far from the phone and computers. So sometimes we are out of touch for a week or two. You can give anyone MY email, . This is checked on by volunteers and myself just about every time someone goes out for groceries, so it’s the way to get the fastest answer. I only answer the phone when I leave the farm, and sometimes I don’t care to leave for a while. We sometimes get calls and messages from the Consul of whatever country looking for so and so wwoofer. This is OK, but its prob better to avoid panic.
This is checked on by volunteers and myself just about everytime someone goes out for groceries, so it’s the way to get the fastest answer. I only answer the phone when I leave the farm, and sometimes I don’t care to leave for a while. We sometimes get calls and messages from the Consul of whatever country looking for so and so wwoofer. This is OK, but its prob better to avoid panic.
Our mailing address is:
Tina Marshall, Neverland
Yer name here
Letters and packages often take three to four weeks to arrive, although some come pretty quick. You never know, this is why it’s called snail mail. And a few times things have simply failed to show up. I cannot be responsible to forward mail. Sometimes someone from your country or state is here and can send stuff on, but sometimes it takes a while.