Nov 8, 2010

Computer is broken...And olive harvest needs helpers

it s been few weeks now that i cant use my computer. only to connect my internet modem in order to use my phone for internet, as im doing now... :-)
My keyboard got few drops of rain and doesnt work anymore.but the rest is fine, fiiiiuu...but i can only use the mouse ...
Im using my phone now for access internet and check emails, so i just wanted to drop a line to let you know.
All my mail contacts are in my computer, so i ve been only replying to those who have been sending me emails recently.
I found a good deal for a MacBook pro and im gonna sell the one i have now, an. iBook g4 14", after replacng the keyboard(Just got a good deal yesterday)
So, i have lots of news... Good and not so good, but you ll have to wait till december when i get my "new" laptop.
If anyone would like to send a donation To help on the costs or buy my iBook g4, let me know.

And the OLIVE HARVEST is about to begin...so, no time for internet anyway:-)
If anyone would like to come And help from now till the end of the month, you are more than welcome...
I was going to start today, but the weather is pretty nasty... Soft rain, but really crazy wind:-/
ok , that s it
PEACE TO ALL

Oct 3, 2010

Fruits of the garden, and the Compost Toilet


Finally I finished the Compost Toilet... well, there are still some details here and there, but I can always use a rainy day for that... I have other priorities now...I'm just starting another shed for fire-wood and possible working place as the rainy days are approaching...it's just behind the kitchen stone wall...
But anyway, I will not write much on this post, as pictures will speak for themselves, with few comments...
I also wanted to post some pictures of few of my little veggetable gardens... I didn't garden much this year, but I still have enough for me not to need to go shopping :-)


nice cherry tomatoes, peppers and egg plants...they like each other very much...and basil is in the mix as well :-)

nice water melons as well !!!

and the winter cabbages and lettuce, planted on "sheet-mulch" made by the participants of the permaculture course... behind you can see the nectarine tree that improved significantly after I made a mulch around and planted some beans for Nitrogen fixing...the tomatoe plants came everywhere...actually, I didn't plant any of the tomatoes, they simply came along with the compost I used :-)

Anyway... I just love seeing plants grow...
Now the Compost Toilet...

It started like this... I made a structure with Mimosa poles, against the existing wall from the terrace...

I easily made the floor, and then I started to build up the walls, and the door frame... that was more challenging... I already noticed things I would made different, but hey, this was my first construction alone... from scratch...

then the windows...another challenge...

my idea was to support the roof frame on the walls, so I had to keep going...

the door!!!

the 2 chambers below, all sealed with mosquito net to prevent flys to come in...the idea is to have 2 toilet seats...using one for 6 month or a year...then close that and move to the other one for another 6 months or a year, while the first chamber is composting... I need to check how long does it take to compost properly...

the doors for each chamber, with mosquito net as well... I didn't bother to make proper doors as it would be harder to close it well for the flys, and also because I will only have to open each one once a year or so...keep it simple :-)

the chimney for the smell and gases to escape :-) I painted it black at the end...here I was just trying out to fix it...

the pee collector detail...so the pee will go through this pipe straight into a strawbale which is also inside the chamber... this will make a good compost as well, and it will not create so much smell as if it was mixed with the poo... I might collect it in liquid to mix with water , but not for now... I need to learn better about that :-)

finally, the toilet seat... also all sealed so the flys have no way in...
I just made one for now, but I will have time to do the second one later... another thing to do on a rainy day :-)...

the outside door handle... little detail :-)
That's it ... a "compost machine" :-)...

It was exciting, and not such a big deal after all :-)

Sep 26, 2010

3rd PERMACULTURE COURSE

It's been a while since I last posted , but I've been quite busy in all sorts of things these last months...after the strawbale workshop I was in USA for a peace and reconciliation camp...check out for more here or here if that interests you... when I came back I found lots of work to be done, mainly cutting wild grass and brambles which were totally taking over...plus, a broken solar water heater :-( that I still have to find time to fix before winter...
Another Permaculture course was about to come, so that was my priority...part of the grass/weed cutting was also to provide the camping place and to clear the walking paths for the 15 participants who would arrive for the course, plus Lesley of course, the teacher...

I started to build the new compost toilet that I thought it was needed for the extra number of people on site :-)...

I didn't finish it, but I made it ready to be used... anyway, I will leave the compost toilet for another post...

The course was great as usual... It's always nice, encouraging and inspiring to have like-minded people around... and in some way, reminding myself of the reason why I'm here...
It was lovely for me to host all those who came, and have the privilege to cook for all of us during the 8 days of the course... the first couple of days Lyna was still here and Marcia also came for the weekend to give a hand... but I realized it would not be a big deal (I was a bit worried that it might have been)...
Despite the heat, I guess everyone was coping well with the conditions we can offer at the moment...
There was a couple from Germany, Hannes and Johanna, who came with 2 kids, around 2 and 4 years old, Lina and Finn, who also add to a good and definitely entertaining environment around us :-)

Here's Finn playing with some wood boards together with uncle Georg...
Georg, uncle Justus (both Hannes' brothers), and the parents, would take turns to skip the lectures and be with them :-) ...it worked perfectly ... they would also entertain themselves quite easily, either with the dogs or with dirt, or a simple bucket with water :-)

the classroom...

the usual "sheet mulch", practical time...

now split in groups, they started to prepare for the final presentations of their designs...some more focused...

others, rather relaxed :-)
...In the end, they all did great... I always get amazed with the results of a day work with a group of people who hardly know each other...and who don't know much about this place besides the few questions they make me before starting to work...

here's the first group: Ricardo, Jo and Filipa...

Ricardo filling in more details...

Vera, Pepa, Susanna and Francisco... The second group... very concerned with the handicapped accessibility...

As usual, everyone would hear the feed-back from the rest...nothing negative... only what we liked, and what we would do differently...

Forth presentation...Johanna, Hannes, Georg...and I guess Nelson was in this group but had to leave on saturday cuz he had a ferry to catch up to Madeira Island, where he lives with his wife Maria Jose... But Hey, there's little Lina to replace :-)...

Here's Hannes, presenting some details... very good, low cost and practical ideas... Hannes also took some part on the lectures to speak about the peak oil... I'm sorry I've missed it, but Lesley said it was really good and detailed facts ... One of this things that many people should be hearing about, or at least be conscious about...and hopefully, be acting about it :-)... here is a good video if you wanna have more clues about it... a very powerful example of Cuba on how to change our petrol dependent life styles ...

And another presentation... Pedro, Moy (Susanna's husband), Justus...

...and Maria Jose (Nelson's wife)...

And so, they all got their certificates and most of them left that same afternoon...
The German family only left on tuesday to get their bus in Fundao, and Jo was going to stay 10 more days...
I was exhausted I have to say, specially because I got a floo in the middle of the week and took me a while to recover...actually most of us got the floo... it all started with little Lina, and then it spread... oh well... it was worst for Lesley who had to teach, but the rest of us did fine under the circumstances...

One more course, one more good experience ...
soon I'll write about the compost toilet that is about to be finished.

PEACEFUL DAYS TO ALL





Jun 12, 2010

STRAWBALE BUILDING DONE...


I thought I would have time to post every couple of days, but in the end I just didn't have the energy for it...so, this will be a bit long... but most of it pictures and videos, don't worry :-)
here's the last day picture with all who got involved... except for Xico and Nuno who left us before...and Carin, a french girl who also joined us during the week... oh, and I have no idea where Lyna was...probably puting Nolan to sleep :-)...

So, from the left to the right, there's Katharina (a traveling potter from Germany), Lua and her daughter Kiara who came to help in the kitchen (portuguese), Zven, a carpenter from Germany, Eddie in the back (also a carpenter from Germany), Chrissy, also german (a studying nurse, who was actually quite handy when I cut myself with a machetti), Jo , another carpenter from Germany (they were very handy as well), Marcia, who came from Lisbon to serve us once again, Lesley, who led the workshop, and me...
It was a really lovely time with everyone and I was pleased to meet Katharina, Chrissy, Carin, Xico and Nuno... the other ones are already family :-)...

It was amazing what we could all accomplish in one week... I still have the roof cover and the plaster to finish, but the building is up and safe already !!!

So, let me just put some videos and pictures for you to have a rough idea of how things developed ...

Here's the beginning of the 3rd day... the first layout of the bales...not much words...I was still shy to speak :-)
video

few steps forward... with more explanations of what we were doing :-)...
video

Eddie and Jo explaining how to break a strawbale in two... first part :-)
video

second part ... and more on the building...
video

Jo checking if the wall was going straight...


every one had their task at times... Eddie, Nuno and Lesley puting the steel bar at the corner, while Zven was checking the window frame...


Xico and Lesley putting a temporary board to hold the window frame...


sweet Kiara !!! always around ...


starting with the roof...


first "A" frame for the roof...the carpenters were on the case !!!


corner detail...


It was not always easy... :-) nice picture of Xico and Nuno...


make sure it would be straight... it's not easy to work with logs... even for professionals... I loved learning nice and simple techniques...


on place...


nice picture of Xico with his camera...


pealing the mimosas we would use to fix the broom on top of the tin roof...


Jo fixing the window...


the hardest work was about to start... Jo and Katharina helped us with their skills with clay to find good soil with enough clay for the plastering... I showed them a place where I want to have a pond in the future and they liked the soil there...very handy !!! now, the digging and carry part had to be done


taking as much stones as possible...


and now yes...the fun part of it !!!


everyone wanted to give it a go ...


Zven making the door... he likes to use the chain-saw for everything... even the more detailed things... amazing !!!


Lua was not only helping in the kitchen... I loved that she was with us... such a beautiful person...


in the last night we treated ourselves with a lovely dinner at a local restaurant... even though we came super late, they still managed to feed us :-)... it was nice to relax and enjoy each other's company...



last details before leaving... the door handle...beautiful and cute !!!


smiling Marcia... Thanks for all your help, for your presence, your friendship...for who you are... you are amazing !!!


and finally...a big clap to ALL who made this happen!!! Thanks...
video