Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stormy Weather, Scary Weather

Last Friday the wind began to blow and during the day it got stronger and then all night it blew furiously. It continued all Saturday too.  The tin roof flapped and banged and the gutters blew off. It rained as well, horizontally. It came in the bedroom window, flying through the sides of the glass and showered the carpet. It was a very wet and scary weekend. I didn't sleep at all. I lay in the warmth of the bed and listened to the noise, thinking it sounded like someone was up there, and half expecting the roof to fly off at any moment. (Well, it did fly off last summer, so I wasn't just being neurotic.)  The door to the workshop was blown in, and the door frame broken. It was a very stormy 24 hours. (140 kph aparently, in some parts of Portugal, with waves 17 meters high)

When it had calmed down a bit I went down to the garden to pick up all the bits of cardboard and black netting, and the sun shelter I built in the summer, which had blown off completely. The place looked like a war zone, but the plants looked healthy. As for the 'spider' dome, I don't even want to go and look.  I will wait until the weather settles before I start to work on it again. It's too diheartening to have all one's hard work washed away by these mighty storms.

So yesterday we went to do some essential shopping and when we came back we found half the herd of goats up by the windmill. We put them back in the neighbour's field and continued home. I went down to the garden and found hoof marks in the soil.  I looked around... ARGH, the goats had been there and eaten the tops of everything! I had left the gate open of our new fenced-in-against-the-goats-and-chickens fence... I could've cried. Instead I screamed.  All those onions pulled out, all the brocolli gone, and the spinach and the peas and the favas. And it was my own fault!

Meanwhile this nasty, disturbing weather continues.  We have got used to the gentle stuff we've been having for the last few years.  This strong wind and hail and heavy rain is what sometimes happens in winter in Portugal.  At least we are warm and dry in our house. So tonight, we sit near the stove and the wind howls around the house and the roof flaps, but it's not as bad as Friday/Saturday so I'm thankful for that. I think that the very strong winds are a part of climate change. That is quite scary.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rain and Creativity between the Showers

I've been doing a bit of work on the 'mud bender' or 'spider bender' down below the vege garden. I went down there the other day and started to mix up some mud and sawdust and then pile it on in clumps... It builds up and becomes a wall... So exciting to actually build my own place completely by myself. OK, I have a long way to go, but it's fun. I hope this west coast weather isn't washing away all my endeavours!

This morning we went to a yoga class with Charlie, who is an Englishman who has decided to move over here and teach yoga from his house.  He has been teaching for twenty years or so and is very good and we both really enjoyed the class. Yoga is good for the body and the mind, and we are so physically active it's good to do something that keeps us strong and conscious of our movements.

And the rain batters down on the tin roof.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More Digging and Being at Home

 A beginning picture. R doing the work of a digger. When you start something big like this it feels almost overwhelming... but slowly, steadily, the space is being created.

Nearly there.  All the subsoil has gone on a pile for more earthworks at a later date.

This morning as I was contemplating the view' I thought I want to Paint!' So I did some sketches of these pots and the big view of the hills... Last night as I was surfing the'net I found an artist called Barbara Rae and was blown away by her work. Also Elizabeth Blackadder, another lovely painter.  Funny they are both from Scotland.  I want to paint but by the time I finally got the paint out it was getting dark.... I made a cake with chocolate icing instead. The corridor of creativity as Monica says.

My favourite olive tree being pruned.

And here's a little thing I made. Felt with wool embroidery.

Here is the no-dig raised bed with onions planted. It rained heavily today so that will help them settle in.

A glimpse of our rural bliss/mess

All in all, a good, creative time for us up on the hill. The sheep have lambs and I'm hoping to get more fleeces this year to finish insulating the roof of the big room (above)

Friday, January 4, 2013


We have started to clear a bit of land to put in a water tank... Phew, hard work lugging barrow loads of earth to the garden and subsoil to the path...

So this eveing we spent a quite time sitting by the wood burner.  I did a bit of spinning. Cooked tomorrows meal on the burner. ('Chispe' with beans and root vegetables. Very tasty if left to cook slowly.)

The other day I planted the two macadamia trees I grew from nuts from a garden near my old farm...

Rob has been pruning the olive trees and peeling the bark off the long bits to make furniture with later.  He has made me a plate rack/draining rack using thin twigs.  Works a treat.

And so life goes on and every day feels like a blessing :)