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The amount of butterflies here is just amazing. Everywhere you look there are yellow, white, orange, purple, black and white, spotted, and more butterflies. I'm not exaggerating. They're everywhere! Fluttering around all the flowers, enjoying the sunshine, finding food, and pollinating all they touch. I've never seen so many butterflies in my whole life. In Turlock, seeing a butterfly, I'd always stop and say "Look! A butterfly!" Because I didn't see them very often. Although the ladybug population at our farm in Turlock increased greatly over the years, the butterfly population didn't. Maybe it was the factories, and sewage plants, and miles and miles of industrial agriculture that kept them away or killed them all off. But here in our rural area of Panama, they are abundant.

I was sitting in the car this afternoon, waiting for Jude to get out of school, and I saw at least 20-30 butterflies flying around the flowering hedgerows nearby. When we take walks or drive around, I see them all around us. The boys and I have tried multiple times to catch them on our fingers, like you can easily do with dragonflies, but with no luck as of yet.

The wildness of this place is what I love about it so much. There are definitely de-forested pasture lands, and chemicals sprayed here and there, but so much of it is still so wild and un-cultivated. The bugs and wildlife still run the show here, for the most part. I love watching and listening to the birds in the morning. The kingfishers and the hawks and other birds of prey, singing and looking for breakfast. Then the sound of crickets chirping at night, is almost deafening sometimes. It's so loud and so overpowering. We can hear it through our windows, as if they were wide open, when they're not. I'm getting used to it now, but in the beginning, I was just in constant awe with the loudness of it all; and the quietness of everything else. No freeway traffic, no airplanes overhead, no lifted trucks speeding down the road, not many neighbors, and definitely none blaring loud music or setting off fireworks all year long. We can actually experience quiet here. I know there are quiet places like this in the States, and I've visited some before, but this seems to be on another level. AND I get to live here now.

I'm doing a lot of studying about permaculture, ecological design, and ecological gardening lately, in preparation for our "big farm plan". One of the first and most important tasks to begin your permaculture design is observation. I was already doing a lot of observation before, but now so, even more. Noticing what plants and trees grow together. Noticing what time of day I hear what birds. Noticing when the mosquitoes are at their worst and when they're not such a bother. Noticing what flowers I see in abundance, and what plants are new to me. Noticing also what local people do in their gardens, around their homes, with their animals. And then, once we're able to be on our new land regularly, I'll be observing water patterns, sunlight, wind patterns, and more. I'm learning so much, by sitting back and watching. I'll admit, it is hard to sit and observe sometimes, when I'd rather be working on a project. But like I mentioned in my last post, I'm learning to be still.


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