Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mini-Spring? More Like Summer's Return!

It's been boiling hot. The evenings have been balmy and beautiful. I have had the help of three lovely people who have come to wwoof. We sit in the evenings, on the patio and look at the stars and play the guitar and tell tales. So cool.
Oh, and we've been doing some work, too!

Brambles and weeds have been hacked back and plucked out. We did an experimental 'sheet mulch' to learn how it is prepared. (With loads of weeds, compost and straw lasagna-ed onto the bed and then covered with some large bits of cardboard.) Later, on a 'leaf' day, we will plant some cabbage seedlings.

We have also done some plastering. It is so much quicker with three or four people, all eager to have a go at each step of the process. It is good experience for me, showing them how and letting them discover the joy of mud!

Last weekend we went to Malhoa and enjoyed a dose of ozone. Huge waves and a dangerous sea but lovely sun and sand and that horizon - the only straight line in Alentejo!

Intrepid Francesca, from Wales, sits on a rock. Oops, just noticed the horizon is slopping down to the right...

I must go wwoofing one day, it looks fun!

At Pego das Pias

Today we went to Pego das Pias to enjoy the sunshine and dive into the (quite cold) water. What a treat. We ate figs and almonds, and goats cheese and bread, looking into the dark water from the warm rocks.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Autumn Showers

The rain keeps on coming and the hills are greening up. The farmers are tilling their fields, turning them dark red-brown.

The chestnut trees are dropping huge quantities of nuts.

I made a cake using cooked chestnuts whizzed up with three eggs and some honey and butter. It's more like a sweet bread than a cake. Nice with butter spread on it.
I have put some cooked and peeled chestnuts in the freezer as it is not drying weather, but today, since it is so wet and gloomy I have lit the stove (for the first time since... March?), so it would be possible to dry them on the stove.

I have continued working on the studio, but slowly. Now that it is safe from the rain I can relax. I go down there and just sit in the room and feel good. The fire works very well and it is nice to hear the wood burning and see the flames. The clay steams as it dries out.

I still have to finish the plastering, inside and out, but thought to try doing a bit of floor, just to see how much work it could be... I dug out around the west side, where it is much lower than the rest of the floor, and put in gravel and stones, then covered it in weed barrier, then put the earth back and tamped it. Worked very well, raising the floor level closer to the final height, but oh boy, it's intense work! I think I will carry on with the plastering, and do a bit of floor at a time. Can't wait to put linseed/turps on to finish the floor surface. Also looking forward to lime washing the walls so that they are dust free. If you lean against them you end up with big marks on your back!

A View from the top, looking NW.  
I went for a short walk this morning and took these shots from the hill top.

View looking SW, with Monchique in the distance.