Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Working with la Tierra

Last weekend, Joey and I spent both days planting a few rose bushes in our backyard. The job took a lot of time and effort, and today I’ve got sore muscles, very dirty clothes, and a sunburn in really painful places… BUT, I am sooo happy we did it…

It had been a while since I had last handled “agro” tools, and this weekend I vigorously used a pick to remove a patch of grass for our flower bed, which reminded me of one of my sweetest memories from college: Fundagro 1991.

Fundagro, short for “Fundamentos de Agro Empresa” was probably my favorite class ever. We had a theory component, but the real beauty of the course was that every Friday afternoon we spent working on agricultural projects in El Noviciado, a property owned by the university. The class was split in several projects, with a teaching assistant for each. I was in the Frutales project with another 12 people including my best friend Beatriz, and our TA, Lucas, a super cool paisa with very clear entrepreneurial inclinations… We would plant trees, take care of existing ones, cut grass with machetes, eat, and have fun.

Planting a treeMe and my best friend in el Noviciado

I loved every minute I spent working there. And I also loved the silly feeling of ending the day so dirty, to then go home, clean up and morph from farm girl to hot date to go out with my boyfriend later at night. I thought about that this weekend as I was taking a shower after all the sweat and dirt I collected from the work on our flower bed. We cleaned up, ordered a pizza, and watched The Weather Man. Maybe not a super-hot date, but definitely a very enjoyable and comfy one, and all I wanted at the time.

Today I’m so excited as I see our little roses in the yard… I used to have 30something rose bushes we inherited from the previous owners of our house in Dallas, and as much work as that was, taking care of them was actually nice. I loved going out and checking on them, appreciating the changes on each one. And the blooms around April… So worth all the hard work.

To my new rosies: I’m so glad you’re here. You finally got me out of the house, and I can’t wait to see you girls grow and bloom. If that maldito stray cat that keeps getting into our backyard comes near you, feel free to teach him a lesson. In fact you may already have… I think I heard a tearful MEOW!!! this afternoon as I saw him running out of here.


  1. On , Beatriz Lopera wrote:

    Me encantó..hace rato no me acordaba de eso..qué buenos tiempos..éramos livianas y libres..

  2. On , Joey wrote:

    Me encanta los fotos. Such a happy little hottie! I like seeing the grass too. It’s so lush and green there.