The veranda – 11/01/15

These photos were taken on the 11th of January 2015, at 6pm. They are meant to illustrate how the veranda looks like before I put some focused energy on it.

One year ago it was totally empty.
Yesterday we ate some carrots from the upper trays.

Let’s get further!



Worm compost – starting point

One thing you need to do to grow your own food is to get sure that what you plant gets its fare amount of water, energy (sun) and nutriments.

As for the nutriments, I decided to go as natural as possible. What about generating my own compost and fertilizer?

Pretty much any type of organic matter will eventually decompose if it has sufficient time and the right conditions. In my case, I don’t have that time, nor the appropriate space to let time and micro-organism do their work. So I opt for a worm composting.

As Joan D. Filsinger said it in an article:

I needed an easy, affordable, and low-maintenance way to keep composting. I discovered that a couple of pounds of wriggling worms can turn my kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost in about 60 days.

I searched around and found a group in Belo Horizonte (Spiralixo) that propose a starter kit: the boxes + the worms. It seems like their prices are competitive when you add the materials and the difficulty to find the appropriate worms (for 4 people in the house you need 2 kg of worms!!). They also offer a training on how to compost and use their devise.

The device is rather  simple. You need 3 identical boxes: the lowest is used to collect the liquefied manure (chorume in portuguese) and will become your fertilizer ; the upper one is where you throw your waste ; the middle one is used for storage. Every box has holes for the worms to travel.


When you start the worms are dug into some mud in the middle box. You put your waste in the upper box. Little by little the worms are going to migrate upward to keep feeding themselves. Their excrement actually is the compost. At some point, every worm will have migrated in the upper box. You can proceed by using the compost from the middle box. Once the upper box is full, and you started to empty the middle box, just reverse them!

Now let’s get that kit starter 🙂

To learn the details about worm composting:

En Français:

In English:

In Portuguese:


Growing food: starting point

Before actually doing anything new, I’d like to report where I stand.

I live in Belo Horizonte (BH), Brazil, in an apartment of 4 people. We have a tropical savana climat, says wikipedia. Yearly temperatures average between 9 and 35 °C.

We have a nice veranda of about 20 m². Because of how the building is structured in relation to the sun course during the year, different part of the veranda get different amount of sun: some of it got sun all day long, all year long ; some of it get it a bit, mainly in winter.

When I arrived here one year ago, the veranda was not used. During the course of the year, we planted different species and made some structural improvements. However we didn’t make any research and documented nothing: we made mistakes and had our successes, but I didn’t learn anything. Time for a change!

To see how the place looks like, see this gallery.

The idea

Why 12 sur 12, aka 12 by 12  ?

First of all because it sounded good to me. Second because I have the intuition that the intensity of learning is key, thus one area per month with a dedicated effort. Third because I have heard about @levelsio who developed 12 start-ups in 12 months. I haven’t read his blog yet but my friend Adrien told me about it. I was impressed by the density of achievements.

Focusing on one area at a time is also a way to diverge less. How many times did I start learning about a field and ended up knowing nothing?

So, what will be the 12 fields I’ll be exploring ?

I don’t want to give myself a fixed list already from the beginning. It will evolve depending on where I live, what opportunities I found and my motivation at the moment.

However, here is what I have in my bucket list at the moment (some links to illustrate)

I do not pretend to master those areas. I don’t plan to explore one area and drop everything else. Just to illustrate: I do a bit of yoga everyday and I will keep going this way. However, I intend to gain momentum and improve my practice by focusing one month of 2015 on it through readings, videos, classes, so that by the end of the month, I do have learn something that sticks with me for a while.

I am currently living in Brazil. With the upcoming Carnival, I will have a lot of opportunities to play the repinique. I also have the chance to live in an apartment with a veranda, so growing my own food is also a top priority.

For the first 2 months, I will focus on playing the repinique and growing my own food.

And because this whole project is about learning, I intend to improve how I learn: can I improve my routines? how do I tackle a new area? how I break things into pieces? etc As a matter of fact, writing this blog is part of the learning process. I intend to organize publicly my researches, and sum-up my own finding & digestion in the specific area, when needed.See you soon along the learning curve!

Keep growing

This blog is not about my resolutions for the upcoming year. It is about my explorations in 12 different fields, in 12 months.

I don’t make « resolutions for the new year ».

I’ve never felt the 1st of January was the beginning of the year. September fits better the profile. For most of my life this was when class begun, and with it a new agenda to start new stuff. Later on, and while living in the northern hemisphere, Spring became a good candidate. Then I realized I shouldn’t wait for a certain period of the year to take a step back. Any time of the year was a good time to reflect and change.I don’t make « resolutions for the new year ».As Leo Babauta puts it in his Zen habits blog, « I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions that you’re just going to toss aside when things get busy, I am a fan of creating new habits. »

« I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions that you’re just going to toss aside when things get busy, I am a fan of creating new habits. » – Leo Babauta,

And so in the next 12 months I intend to create the habit to expand my knowledge & skills in 12 areas. Some new, some I already know about.

And keep growing.

Learning 12 skills in 12 months