Monday, November 26, 2012


A rather blurry picture of the new tin roof, shining like an alien has landed!

I haven't been doing very much on the land this month, except getting the ruin habitable.  It is no longer a ruin.  We can now call it a shack!  But really, Nuno has done a great job of putting on the roof and rebuilding the walls and redering it all.  We managed to do it  before the rain got too heavy, and now it is cosy inside with a woodburner and blankets for internal doors.

Today I decided to plant beans and peas, since it is the season and also the right phase in the moon's cycle to do that.  I still have this difficulty with the no dig method... mostly because I'm not prepared, I guess.  Digging has been so much a part of gardening for me.  So, I dug a couple of beds... but only very shallowly, after having taken out the weeds, and made lines to put the peas in.  For the beans, I just weeded the bed and then with a dibber, I put the seed in individual holes.  We shall see what happens.  I need more horse manure.

The dome, now that it is rendered with cal hidraulica, sand and earth, is dry inside, but there is aproblem with ventilation.  It's strange, because there is a window and an air hole in the top, so why is it still stuffy?  Hmmm, will need to do a bit more research.

I stuck some cuttings of  roemary in a row as it will make a good hedge, and I intend to do more along the paths.  It's a sturdy plant that requires very little attention.

I have been helping Laura to get her collection ready for the Christmas markets which are coming up soon.  Sewing used to be my profession and I can still make the machine hum, but these days I prefer to work outdoors or at least be more physical. But it is nice to be able tokeep my hand in, as they say.

R will be back tomorrow, finally, after three months of fruit picking and processing.  He will see some progress, and we can continue with our permaculture project. Yes, more swale digging and tree planting and water colecting tanks. Yippee!

Friday, November 9, 2012

There and Back Again

I went away. I went off in a coach to Lisbon, and then an aeroplane to Bristol.  It's not my favourite form of transport, the aeroplane.... I am an Earth person, but I survived. I had a brilliant time in Great Britain. I drove up with my sister, Baba, to the Isle of Mull and for the whole six days the sun shone and the sea was a brilliant blue and the autumn tints were gorgeous.  I saw my mum and hung out with my sis so that was lovely.

In England I hung out with my boys for a few days. I also went to Gloucestershire to see R and helped him make perry, which is a kind of pear cider.

So I came home feeling refreshed.  It was a different Alentejo to come home to.  When I left it hadn't rained for months but while I was away it poured! Hooray! So now it is all green and wet and MUDDY. The only spoiler was that a herd of goats had wandered through my vegetable garden and eaten every single edible leaf :(

So, it's back to work on the house. Nuno has managed to put a chimney into the tin roof and Tiago is doing wonders with some plumbing tools over the kitchen sink. I have swept the floors and stared out the window, thanking my lucky stars to be here, now.

 this is a tree on the Isle of Mull, bent with the prevailing wind.

It is time to start thinking about fruit trees...