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Welcome to our blog. We invite you to read our posts and feel free to leave a few comments! Your feed back is much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to learn about Natural Building and a little bit more of what we are up to at our sanctuary. If you have any questions or would like to connect directly, please send us an email at info@ecomaste.com

Wholeness, Much Love, and Pura Vida.


What is Cob?

Cob is a mixture of clay, sand, hay, water, and sometimes lime. It is a low-cost material that is fire-proof and resistant to seismic activity. It’s a malleable medium to work with and you can create beautiful sculptures, structures, homes and cob ovens.

This is labor encouraging material. The earth literally brings people together to share work and receive the benefits of making beautiful regenerative and biodegradable creations that are multi-purposed and reduce our carbon footprint!


History of Cob Ovens

People have been gathering around Cob Ovens or “Earth Ovens” for thousands of years. This technology was widespread but it has the most historical presence in the middle-east. The Hebrew word “tannour” is used commonly in Arabic and Hebrew languages meaning a place where bread is being baked by fire. (1 See Resources)



Tannour

These ovens have two different shapes, one like a shortened cone, with an opening either at the top or bottom to stoke the fire. Others were made cylindrical with an opening at the top. They also have a small air-hole at the base of the oven called the “eye of the oven”. It’s function is to make sure that there is sufficient air flow and to clear the accumulation of wood-ash. Detached ceramic lids were made for these ovens that had distinct rims. These were used to hold and heat additional pots and pans as needed and are still used today throughout the Middle-East. (2 See Resources)


More Variations

There are many different variations of cob ovens found throughout the world but to speak in more general terms I’ve decided to keep it simple and just share about Tannours. If you’d like to read more about the different types of cob ovens feel free to read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_oven





Benefits of Cob Ovens


Earth

-Reduce our carbon footprint most of the materials can be sourced locally if not in your own backyard.

-Repurpose old glass bottles.

-Biodegradable the materials are from the earth and will return back to the earth.


Community

-Bring people together to share in a fun project that will serve as a place for gatherings and connection.

-Builds bonds as you invest your energy in time to build and create the fire to cook delicious meals together.

-Play with making a variety of dishes from baking, boiling and grilling.

-Bring us in deeper contact with the elements which is healing and rejuvenating for all those involved.



Timing & Implementation


-Slow is fast- This is something that takes between 12-24 hrs with a group of 4-6 people to build. Then you need to wait around 2-4 weeks to make sure it's completely dried before the first firing.

- Cracks happen- this can be due to many factors and can mostly be avoided by having the proper mixture. Cracks can be repaired easily and it's an important skill to learn especially if you want to continue to work with Cob. (3 See Resources)




Other uses of Cob Ovens:


-Heated bench – The excess heat can warm your body as you wait for yummy creations to cook while gazing at the stars.

-Hot Tub or water heater– If you coil some copper pipe within the walls of the oven as the fire cooks the food the pipe gets very hot and can exit into a hot tub or outdoor sink and voila, you have steady heat as long as the fire is going and the walls are still warm!

Landscape Feature – You can really let your imagination run free. Cob is a fantastic medium to work with and you can create anything you can imagine. These can add magic to your gardens and backyards taking you to a place of wonder and inspiration.

(4 See Resources)


Some Takeaways

  • Cob is a regenerative material that is low-cost and multi-purposed.

  • Cob Ovens have been used for thousands of years as a technology to transform food and deepen community bonds.

  • Cob Ovens support not only connecting with your community but also with the earth and all of the elements.


Are you ready to build your own?


Good, so are we!! We would love for you to join us:

March 10-12th at Ecomaste for our Cob Oven Workshop






Resources:


Author:

Amanda Luna Co-founder & Land Steward of EcoMaste,

Yoga & Herbal Alchemist, Women’s Sovereignty Mentor

and Founder of Amanda Luna Living. Amanda Luna is a self proclaimed “plant person” with a deep love and curiosity for nature. She has painted her life with a broad palette of interests, experiences, talents and knowledge that is ever-evolving. As a land steward and co-founder of Ecomaste, she gets to put her energy into holistically developing the land, permaculture and landscape design, supporting the regeneration, beauty and vibrancy of the environment.













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Co-authors Amanda Luna & Jean Pullen


Exploring the Layers of Herbalism

Summary:

Curious about herbalism, but don't know how to get started? In this article, we will walk you through our recommended Discover how to:

- ask permission of the earth

- introduce yourself to the plants growing near you

- understand which plants you are called to work with

- notice what is right under your nose

- go deeper with the plants that call to you and more!




HERBALISM CONTAINS SO MANY RICH LAYERS THAT IT IS HARD TO KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN. IF YOU WISH TO DEEPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING, WE RECOMMEND STUDYING THE PLANTS THEMSELVES, READING PLANT GUIDES, CULTIVATING PLANT FRIENDS AND MENTORS, AND INVESTING IN COURSES, IMMERSIONS, AND CLASSES.

As with any relationship, we believe it's important to start with introductions, meeting the plants and the land with which you will be practicing herbalism. Greeting the earth first, try saying hello, introducing yourself, stating your intention, asking permission, offering your gratitude and maybe giving a little offering. The offering can be as simple as giving love to the land, or you might offer something like a flower, stone, or other found treasure. It’s not about the material gift so much as the intention behind it. Next, you can apply the same practice of making introductions and asking permission to the plant you are called to work with.

WHAT EXACTLY DO I MEAN BY “CALLED TO WORK WITH?” This is the part where you let go of expectations, judgements or preconceived notions about herbalism and what its “supposed” to look like. Take a big breath in and out and ask the earth which plant you are meant to connect with. Wherever you find yourself, take note of the herbs that are closest to the place you are inhabiting. These are likely to be your first plant allies. I remember the first time I read The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. I was thrilled to learn how plants have such a beautiful intelligence and can listen and respond to the environment around them. Nowadays, I love walking through our gardens, observing and singing to the plants. I can feel how their beauty connects me to love, gratitude, and the present moment. It’s moving to look at a forest and see how all the different plants and species grow and coexist together.

“Herbalism is the study and practice of botany, ethnobotany, pharmacology, phytochemistry, biology, chemistry, ecology, anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, permaculture, farming, gardening, medicine making, cooking, first aid, community health, counseling, psychology, conservation, restoration, activism, alchemy, history, mythology, allegory, storytelling, and for some . . . witchcraft.” Sarah Marie Wu “When I first started my herbalism journey, I was living in the United States, in Massachusetts. I took my herbalism teacher's advice and looked to what was going on near me, in the grass. I thought at first there was nothing but grass. Then I looked deeper, and I found plantain, ground ivy, violet. I was amazed at what was right under my nose.”



ONCE YOU DISCOVER WHAT IS NATURALLY GROWING AROUND YOU, DIVE INTO THESE PLANTS.

Meet each of them with the curiosity of a child. Instead of asking, “what do you do?” Ask, “who are you?” You can apply what’s called the doctrine of signatures to each plant you meet. The doctrine of signatures basically entails observing the characteristics of the plant and taking note of how they may be related to systems within your body.



We are processing Gota Kola


For example, Gotu Kola’s leaves resemble kidneys, and their stems and root networks almost look like nerve endings and veins. Interestingly enough, Gotu Kola has been found to be very beneficial for treating urinary tract infections, skin disorders, and circulatory disorders. It has been used for centuries in India and China to treat nervous disorders, rejuvenate brain cells, remedy general colds and flu, address lung problems, and overcome stress and fatigue. (- 1 Ed Bernhart.)

RESOURCES: 1 (Costa Rican Medicinal Plants and Trees: Ed Bernhart) (The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants: by Andrew Chevallier) Starting with the information you gather from the doctrine of signatures using your own intuition, write down how you feel this herb can be used. You can also intuit the energetics of the plant, for example, if it is grounding or stimulating.

NEXT, CHECK YOUR SOURCES. More often than not, you may be surprised at how spot-on your hunches were when you investigate your plant’s proven scientific uses. Remember that it is important to use several sources to research the herbs you're working with. Some books that are very helpful are:

  • Rosemary Gladstar’s Beginner’s Guide to Herbalism

  • Susan Wise Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)

  • The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants: by Andrew Chevallier

I would also recommend researching the way indigenous peoples used this herb. The folklore and magical stories are not only interesting, but they reveal more about who this herb is, not just what they do.



According to Medicinal Botany, the top twenty best-selling prescription drugs come directly from plants. There are thirty-five thousand to seventy thousand medicinal plants that we know of, many more that we don’t yet know about, and others that we will never know about because they are extinct. Many medicines have not made it into modern medicine but are sacred and valuable to so many cultures around the world.

“For the last four years, I have often read Ed Bernhardt’s Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica before bed to get sleepy and learn about the medicinal properties of plants. We collected fifty-one of the ninety-two medicinal plants listed in the book. I love reading about how to ally with plants for healing. I like to think of food as medicine, and farmers as doctors.” —Jean Pullen, Regenerate Your Reality

FINALLY, MAKE IT A DAILY PRACTICE.

Plants are our allies, and they have been a key part of my personal healing path. Our very survival on this planet depends on them.




I use herbalism each day, tuning in to my body and its needs, and I preventatively take my plant medicines through soups, sauces, teas, ferments, and tinctures. I still believe a balance of modern medicine and herbal medicine is necessary. I just avoid pharmaceutical drugs or synthetic substances unless they are completely necessary, as in the case of a life-threatening emergency.


Most healing must come from within, going to the root of the problem instead of temporarily patching up symptoms until the next warning or dis-ease presents itself. But herbalism isn’t only about healing illness; it is also about supporting our day-to-day wellness. During my menstruation, for example, I make myself basil and mint tea. I drink turmeric and ginger every day to keep my body’s immunity high. I could go on and on here, but I highly recommend taking courses or reading about a few plants to assemble your own personal apothecary of go-to remedies. Instead of taking pharmaceuticals as soon as you feel unwell, consider looking into herbal remedies and allowing your body to heal with rest and regenerative plant medicines.


Herbalism is a huge and multi-layered practice, but we hope this article gives you some guidance on where to begin. Start by paying attention, getting to know the plants around you, and weaving them into your daily wellness practices. The more you learn, the more you will want to learn. When you feel ready, we highly recommend signing up for courses or workshops to go deeper and learn from the wisdom of herbalists near and far!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING! IF YOU DON’T KNOW OUR PROJECTS, REGENERATE YOUR REALITY & ECOMASTE


We are here to inspire, educate, live regeneration in action, and share stories & experiences with you. We are grateful to continue to collaborate and grow with so many heart-centered and nature-focused beings, and we want to invite you to a very special event:





Co-Author: Amanda Luna Co-founder & Land Steward of EcoMaste, Yoga & Herbal Alchemist, Women’s Sovereignty Mentor and Founder of Amanda Luna Living. Amanda Luna is a self proclaimed “plant person” with a deep love and curiosity for nature. She has painted her life with a broad palette of interests, experiences, talents and knowledge that is ever-evolving. As a land steward and co-founder of Ecomaste, she gets to put her energy into holistically developing the land, permaculture and landscape design, supporting the regeneration, beauty and vibrancy of the environment. Co-Author : Jean Pullen is a multi-talented artist, yogi, gardener, cook, musician, writer, and entrepreneur. Jean is best selling author of Regenerate Your Reality book, partner and director at Jungle Project, and a Soil Advocate at Kiss the Ground. Jean believes we can be part of the solution and that we all can play our part by living regeneration and coming back to our essence of love.




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Seeds represent the foundations or building blocks of life. Just as many of us have lost our

connection to ourselves and nature, seeds have been lost too. 93 percent of native and criolla

seeds were lost between 1903 and 1993. It is believed that we have lost over 75 percent of

Earth’s forests due to deforestation and human activity.



“A seed is a forest inside out.”

—Matshona Dhliwayo


Through the preservation of seeds—planting them on our lands and storing them in seed

banks—we can exchange seeds, plant seeds, and bring back some of the biodiversity and vitality we have lost. Seeds are the foundation of all existence. As guardians of the land, we are seeds of change, regeneration, and love. Seeds are our connection to life itself; we cannot have life without seeds.


What types of seeds do we have today?


Local or Native Seeds. These seeds originate in the land or region where they are

currently cultivated. Ten thousand years ago, humans started to domesticate plants and

adapt to specific local conditions; their seeds adapted with them. 2

Criolla or Adapted Seeds. These seeds originally come from other regions of the world

but have adapted to the climate and soil where they are now grown. With the invasion of

colonization, and specifically the Spanish here in Latin America, many seeds have been

carried into the Americas—and all across the world.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Seeds. These seeds are bred not in a garden

but rather in a laboratory, using modern biotechnology techniques like gene splicing.

Scientists modify a seed’s DNA to ensure that the resulting plant produces desired

characteristics. Many GMO seeds are sterile, meaning they cannot produce seeds for the

next harvest.


1 Greenpeace, “Forest Destruction,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific (Greenpeace), accessed November 2, 2021,

https://www.greenpeace.org.au/what-we-do/protecting-forests/forest-destruction/.

2 National Geographic Society, “Domestication,” (National Geographic Society, October 9, 2012),



What are the benefits of Native Criollas Seeds?

Economic benefit: farmers don’t need to purchase seeds each year

Environmental: Conserve the biodiversity, respect of interdependence between animals and

plants

Cultural: Conserve the identity of culture & tribes

Social: Ensuring survival through healthy food for generations


What are the consequences of GMO Seeds?

Economic benefit – farmers need to purchase seeds each year

Environmental – Loss of biodiversity, Increased pests, desertification of soil

Cultural – Loss of security and food sustainability of agriculture/farmers/locals

Social – Public health is in crisis and increased sickness of humans





Why regenerative agriculture?

● Builds and feeds the soil

● Compost or heavy mulch covers crops

● Holistic management

● Many yields and companion planting

● Supports healthy ecosystems

● Zero or minimal tilling

● Sequesters carbon

● Chemical-free

● Cooperates with nature

Why not monoculture agriculture?

● Depletes soil and is extractive to the environment


● Heavy use of toxic fertilizers

● Reductionist

● Plants in mono crops

● Creates dead zones, poisonous waterways, and desertification

● Relies on chemicals for high yields

● Attempts to beat and conquer nature


We are the seeds

The solution is for cultivation of seeds in each household, schools, and public gardens. Also, to purchase from local organic farmers.





Protecting our seeds..

● PLANT SEEDS. Safest way to preserve seeds and empower communities.

● Create a seed bank, in a safe dry place.

● Exchange or share seeds with your neighbors.

Join us May 28th from 9am - 1pm for a seed exchange at EcoMaste in Fuerte Verde.


“When it comes to the love within us and surrounding us, it is so important for us to nourish it like a garden, starting at the core of love in our own hearts and rippling outwards to the garden surrounding us."


We are seeds, ready to sprout and then blossom; it is time for us to remember the love that is our true nature. We all have this seed deep within our hearts. The best way to cultivate our garden of love is to start planting seeds—within ourselves and in the earth—each cycle.


At the core of all beings is a seed of love. Love grows and flourishes within each of us,

especially if we can start our day with intention, appreciation of nature, and conscious

consumption. Love can be compared to the “flowering of a plant when the necessary stage of

maturity has been reached.” 3 We each hold the ability to love—this seed, this potential—within us. It is up to us to nourish this seed of love with compassion, hope, grace, and positive

affirmations.” Regenerate Your Reality Book, Your Guide to Regenerative Living.


3 Michael Soulé, “Love and Its Meaning in the World, a Lecture by Rudolf Steiner, Dec 1912,” Lead Together (Lead




If what you read here resonates with you, consider buying your copy of best selling book:


A portion of proceeds will support the planting of three trees for each book purchased.

Thank you so much for reading! If you don’t know the project, Regenerate Your Reality

uses permaculture, agroforestry, and education to bring sovereignty and happiness to

our communities. ⁣It is our mission to restore the relationship between humans and the

earth and build a regenerative present. Share the mission and learn more at


Article Author : Jean Pullen is a multi-talented artist, gardener, cook, musician, writer, and

entrepreneur. Jean is best selling author of Regenerate Your Reality book, partner & director at Jungle Project, and a Soil Advocate at Kiss the Ground. Jean believes we can be part of the solution to the climate crisis, and that we all can play our part by living regeneration and coming back to our essence of love.



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