Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fungi and fun days

It looks like a Spanoish Flamenco dress, but it's a fungi that grows on eucalyptus stumps, especially after rain in the Autumn.  I was driving to Odemira and had to stop and take a picture of one.  They are beautiful.

Her is a pic of the kitchen I have installed. Doesn't look like much, but I put it in myself so I'm rather proud.  I made sure that the sink slopes a little because I am so sick of draining boards that don't drain.  I have whitewashed the walls since then so it looks more domestic...

I had a girls' day out during the week.  We went to Sines,  I always forget how pretty the old town is.  The winding road lined with palm trees that goes down to the bay and harbour, which is also lined with palm trees. There is a good cafe by the castle which does good patisserie and of course, there's the adega with so friendly people and darn good barbequeued chicken and pork. We managed to get wool for weaving, and I bought a stove for the 'ruin'.  On our way back to the car I spotted these hands and thought they were worth recording.

Laura came up to the land one day, to take photos of her latest things... Bunting!  They are beautifully made and fun to see hanging from the olive trees.  It was rather overcast but look at those lovely clouds.  Then on Saturday we, Laura, Isabella and myself, went to the beach at Milfontes and ended up doing a photo shoot there, too, as the light was much better.  The beach was almost deserted and the tide was high. We hadn't planned to swim, but eventually we ended up stripping off and diving in!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Equinox and time of change

The equinox and time of change.  Now the night starts before eight in the evening.  But the days are still intensely hot after a fresh start.

Today I went to Furnas with Simone for an early dip.  The beach was nearly empty of people and full of high tide.  Lovely big swell which we plunged into and swam over and then swam along the edge of the beach, rising and falling over the big waves.  It was so lovely.  I'm glad Simone was there as I probably wouldn't have had the nerve to do it alone.  After that we sat in the warming sun to dry and decided to go to the market at Brunheiras to see if Simone could find some good deals in clothes for her trip.  The smell of barbequeued chicken was very tempting but we resisted and found some good bargains, before I dropped her off and went back to Sao Luis for lunch.

I have been insulating the roof of the new house with the sheep's wool I bought from a neighbour in the spring.  I've stapled it up with calico and it looks ok but smells.... Apparently the smell diminishes over time.  Nuno knocked a hole in the wall for a window, which eased the stink a little.  It's not so bad, but quite funky.  I need more wool.  I will have to ask around or wait til next spring.  When I got the first lot I thought I should buy more, but didn't.

I've also whitwashed the walls and wow! so brilliant and white and clean the place looks.  It needs another coat or two, but it's a start.  Now it's really beginning to look almost habitable.

The water from the sink and the shower will drain into a bed of water-loving plants. More digging required. But now I'm taking a couple of days off as my brain is over working and I've got so many ideas that I can't sleep, and meditation is difficult. Weekends are important.

Laura and Isabella come home tomorrow. :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

seasonal adjustment

It's been a bit of a strange time of adjustment, with R going to England for the Autumn and Laura and Isabella off to Bristol for two weeks, and Nuno working on making the ruin habitable and me whirling around having days off, days out and yoga and a women's group meeting.

First day out, I went and had lunch with Simone.  Deliscious sardines at Choupanas.

Second day out Monica and I went to Santa Clara to have lunch with Carol.  Home baked brown bread and salad from the garden and vinho verde.  Later we went down to the barragem and swam to an old oak tree that must have been growing before the barragem was built.  Huge, dead, sculpture in the water.

 This is one of Carol's views.  Cool.  It was actually so hot that we were indoors until four, when it started to cool.

These are some knitting needles I whittled from olive tree prunings.  They make lovely needles.  Smooth, light and strong.

This is what I've been doing during the days of work (as opposed to network).  Using builder;s cling fim and feed sack to insulate the roof. Then today I covered it in split cane. Begining to look better, even if I look worse, covered in dust and sweat.  It is so hot and the sun is lower down so it always seems to find a way into your eyes.

I went to an old abandoned farm that I used to pass often, and picked some sweet white grapes, and got some cuttings of vine, pomegranite and Swiss cheese plant (Monstera?). The wild red grapes are hanging out of the hedgerows.  They are so good.  They are called morangeiras due to there strawberry flavour.  They are good to eat and good to drink later :)

The women's group is a new thing.  I went there, dirty and tired, but curious and was happy I went. They usually bring food and share a meal after having a session. I didn't stay for that as I was dying to get home and shower.

Now it's friday night and something is biting my legs.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Picnic Sunday

We went to Pega das Pias on Sunday and spent the day lolling in the shade and swimming in the beautiful fresh water. It was a very hot day so it was the best place to be. Isabella and Nuno went upstream with a shrimping net and a bucket and came back with a crayfish.  We put it back so it could be with it's friends, after we had all had a look.

Here is a picture of the chair R has made for me. It's really comfortable and can be used on slopes.  Orders taken!

And here is a chair I found thrown away.  It was disgusting, covered in worm casts and other stuff, an old leather cover, but I saw it had potential, so I stripped it down and have given it a temporary cover. I will make a smart denim cover for it in the next few days.  It's good to do indoor stuff when it's too hot to be busy outside.

The cherry tomatoes continue in abundance.  I have dried some and also dried some plum tomates. Very satisfying to preserve stuff only using the sun, especially since we have so much of it at the moment.

Finally, here is a photo of a cork oak that has been peeled this year.  You can see it goes a lovely pink colour to start with.  They are beautiful trees, full of grace and movement.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different...

This evening I joined four other women of a certain age and sang as a backing group for Heike Floy who is a great blues and soul singer.  We had a blast!  It was a brilliant experiance, to be doowa doowa-ing in the sunset on the terrace at the Hotel Social with friends family and guests all enjoying caiperinhos and even getting up and dancing to the groove!  We jokingly called ourselves the Jealous Bitches, but I'm not sure I want to keep that name.  But I definately want to do it again!

Life on the land is slow. I have run out of mud and inspiration for the moment. The heat has not abated, though the mornings are fresher and the evenings are lovely.  Weeds are beginning to pop up their heads and I can feel a good gardening session brewing.  I feel I'm getting the hang of the sheet mulching and raised beds.  I get sacks of straw and horse manure and make a bed at a time, then plant it with something and wait and see.  The great thing is it really cuts down the watering from daily to every three or four days.  That is a big saving, of time and water.

Here's a view from the top of the hill in the late afternoon, with the dome catching the last of the rays.

The big full moon, which is called a 'blue' moon as it has been full twice in the same month, is still nearly full and I went for a walk along the beach after the show was over.  The tide was out and you could hear the water rushing down the estuary, glinting silver. Now I'm at home alone wondering what tomorrow will bring.  More heat, no doubt.  I found an old armchair by the rubbish and have renovated it, so I may make a new loose cover for it.  It is too hot to work outside during the day.

So that is how it is for the moment.