Monestevole, Italy: October 18


Each day our work teams rotate around the farm duties in a four-day cycle.

Olive Harvest:

Today TEAM FIRE started the day with unloading animal feed and hay off a truck. They then continued with the task of harvesting olives using rakes and then piling the fruits of their conquest into large baskets. We’re expecting a large load, as yesterday TEAM EARTH harvested 350 kilograms of olives!! Woohoo!


Raking the trees


Today TEAM AIR is with Nicolo in the gardens. They are beginning to make the garden beds in the greenhouse, chopping wood for the pyrolyzer which we will use to make biochar: the best, most carbon-rich fertilizer.  So exciting.



Ria gets ready for biochar production


Nicolo, our permaculture guru


On the chopping block


Inside the biochar inferno


Animals and Maintenance:  

Today TEAM WATER had similar duties as yesterday. They fed the dogs, pigs, and chickens. While they were feeding the pigs Filippo told us that pigs are matriarchal and have a strict hierarchy. One of the goats is in heat and an anonymous  Earthbound student was sprayed by an excited male goat! Managia!!!


Ryan dropped the compost!!! oops

Kitchen Duty:

Each day we will be posting our lunch menu.  We are so honored to be learning from such a wise local chef, Daniela.

Today’s lunch menu includes: Polenta with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, battered and fried sage leaves, lettuce, carrots,  mangia tutto (giant green beans), roast beef. For dinner we had this amazing dessert:

Dulce de Castagna 

Ingredients:  4 kilos of chestnuts, 8 bay leaves, a handful of dried fennel, a pinch of salt, two sticks of butter, half a liter of milk, three handfuls of sugar.


Boil four kilos of chestnuts with 8 bay leaves and two handfuls of dried fennel and a pinch of salt for three hours


Peel the chestnuts (leave yourself some time). Peel them without the inner membrane. The best way to do this is to cut them in half first.


Press the nuts through an “Italian smasher” (we have no idea what this thing is but it is like a big garlic press).


Mix the chestnuts into a pan on the stove with the butter and half of the milk. After it is mixed together add in the bitter cocoa powder. Add the rest of the milk and three handfuls of sugar. Stir until it is about half of the amount that you started with.


Unfortunately, the dessert got eaten before we thought to take a finished photo. The taste was extremely unique.  Not at all sweet but very rich and delicious.  Daniela presented it as a chocolate log on a platter and it was sprinkled with more cocoa powder.


Each day we measure our consumption of Energy, Water, Food and Waste to see patterns in how our daily habits  impact the planet:

Heat: How many kilos of biomass are we consuming each day to heat the house for 30 people?

25.5 kilos and we used 120 kilos of wood

Food: What do we need to grow to cook lunch and dinner for 30 people?

12 carrots, 15 potatoes, 2kg mushrooms, 1kg porcini, 2kg beef, 2.5 kg beans, 100g sage, 2 kg polenta, 3 eggplants, 4 kg chestnuts, 1 stick butter, 1/2 liter milk, 3 cups flour, 1 cup cocoa, 1 cup sugar, 200g mozzarella

Water: We began measuring water consumption and production from the well. Numbers to come tomorrow. 4500 liters of water 

Recycled waste: 10.4 kilos

Landfill: numbers tomorrow

Compost: 5 kilos 

Animal Food: 14 kilos of pig food 

Energy: Energy consumption and production.  Numbers tomorrow




We had a wonderful yoga class with Marisela


The kitchen team decided on a list of general rules for Earthbound kitchen participation during our stay here…


Steve Mac found a creative corner where he will finish his newest coloring book to be published by Chronical Books next year.


Kyla had a field trip to a local dentist. Even the dentist chairs are cooler here in Italy!


One thought on “Monestevole, Italy: October 18

  1. Patricia McDonald says:

    Wow!!! this looks like so much fun, wish I was there. The food is amazing and looks scrumptious. What a fantastic taste sensation with all the new dishes. I hope you all learn to make some of them. Glad Steve has found his corner!!! So happy for you all and love reading about all the adventures – it all looks like a happy adventure.


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