Jul 19, 2015

Dreaming...Planning... and living

As usual we have a lot to share... visits... community meetings...new members...new building works... harvesting food from the garden, and more ...
it is indeed a New Season ...

(click below to read more...)

On our last post we shared what was ahead of us : "An interesting time of dreaming and planning"... but before that we had the lovely visit of Claire with her daughter Myla... she was Emma´s house mate in Manchester and it was a great time for them to catch up and for us to know Myla... the little cute character, here having a go with our delicious cherries :-) ...

Community meetings :

It was a long 2 week meeting, but it was worth it... basically we treated ourselves with amazing "Brunches" with lovely food and we went for it... looking back , sharing, processing, finding possible solutions, looking forward, dreaming ... 

we also looked at our challenges , which are not always easy, and also at our many gifts, talents, potential and abundant resources... "our imagination is our only limitation"... I can say we all came out of it inspired and also excited to work and put in practice what we spoke about... We also realized that after almost 9 years developing this place,  that we do have many many things to give thanks for ... 

Thank YOU ! All those who have been part of this process in one way or another, those who have believed and supported...

New Members of our farm :

- Worms !!!!
we ordered this red worms online (weird way I know) and were all excited about it... after only a month we already multiplied significantly, the bucket is almost filled with nice compost... we also have a nice quantity of liquid feed for plants (basically their pee)... super cool !!! We realized the best and easiest way is to simply feed them Xico´s poo, and make sure they are moist... I (Barbara), only made a simple bucket system that took me almost no time and very low cost... We´re simply trying and observing at this stage... 

We believe that if one wants a good garden and good food then needs good soil... and nothing better than compost piles and worms to do that !!! 

- And new chicks !!! 

a delight to watch !!! Well done "Pedra" !!! (Joana and Yassine´s son, Isaque, named her)

Building Work :

- The N´jango

This was the last building we worked on before me (barbara) and emma left on our sabbatical time off last year... it´s an experimental reciprocal roof, using "canas", cob and a thin layer of cement...there were only a few cracks to cover, but it seems to work well :-) ... the walls needed some more layers of earth plaster, we wanted to make a proper flat floor, a drain around to keep water away, a little shelf inside and lime wash the roof for extra protection and a nicer color.

 First thing we had to do was carrying many loads of gravel and sand up to the top terrace... Eric did use Xico for the first attempts, but then we realized it would be too much for him (Xico)... It was Soraia´s turn to be used (our pick up van for those who don´t know Soraia ) :-)

Eric never plastered before and he loved it... he´s also good at it, especially with the trowel...he might follow his father´s footsteps :-)

Marcia was also helping a lot... besides her many delicious lunches, she was also mixing the cob, plastering and sieving clay for the last coat

I made a shelf with some olive cuttings and a piece of board, then plastered with cob...it looks cute !

And then it was time for the big challenge and excitement... our first flat floor :-) ... the cement mixer that our neighbor Martin lent us was set, our music box ready with some tunes, and we were on it !!!

We started in the morning, it was going well, but I knew it would be too much work to finish in one day

Emma was "on it" loading the mixer...Eric and Marcia carrying things up with Soraia and me laying... a non-stop operation !!! Martin showed up at the right time to explain to me how to do the last smooth layer with water and cement and a lot of troweling !!!
We wanted that smooth finishing coat and that had to be done when the cement was hard, but not dried... that was what took us most of the time and back-breaking work... 
Thankfully now we have Emma to give us some Thai massage :-)

and we got our first baby watermelon from the garden to refresh us ! :-) 

We worked well through the night, but we had to stop and leave it for next day :-/

The cement has to be constantly watered until it "cures" or does its thing...
    Goofy was satisfied with our work at the end...   fiiiuu! 
We were all happy too and even had a little dance party watching the full moon rising :-) ... that´s definitely a good stretch for the end of a hard day´s job :-)

Just a little note aside... Eric has been for months now taking a Portuguese class in Fundão and he just finished it and passed all the exams :-) 
WELL DONE !!! There is definitely more Portuguese speaking between us now :-)

Marcia and Eric went to house-sit a friend´s place in Algarve. They also needed a holiday after looking after the land and the animals for the last 6 months... WELL DONE as well :-) and THANK YOU !!!

me and Emma kept on going with the building work and the garden weeding and mulching...


Next thing on the building was the drain all around the N´jango...and once again there was Goofy making sure I would do things right :-)...

That´s it, now it´s just a finishing coat on the cob walls and the roof lime washed with an ocher pigment

- The paddling pool 

First thing I had to do was to lay a mesh of wire on the pool´s area to strengthen the cement coat

After making a shade to try to prevent the cement drying too fast, I was ready for a day´s work

This was the last layer with cement/water/pigment mix to seal the pool ... I only finished when the sun set, then I had to wait a bit to start filling it with water to "cure"

Next morning, all seemed fine...Emma having the first dip :-) 

On Saturday we had the nice visit from our friend Manel and his family who helped us to lift the "tripod" with 4 legs (must be another name) so we can have some shade over the pool ...

- Steps onto the pond 

for years we wanted a safer way to go down to our pond and finally we made it 

again some more work with the mixer just to fill the bottom of the tyres

apart from the rope edge, that´s it... step by step we are doing a lot already !!! WELL DONE US !!!

- Fruits from the Garden

 Tomatoes are going for it already, and soon we will have to sun dry most of them ...

The first red onions... we´ve also eaten quite a lot of delicious cucumbers, beans, salads, melons, peppers, and more are coming...

The garden of Acacias and Roses got some attention as well, with more compost and mulch

- And We´ve also had time for other things like ...

visiting our friend and neighbor Aquiles, who presented us with some nice liquors 

and delicious and refreshing gin :-)

There´s Emma sailing at the "Barragem da Marateca", on the way to Castelo Branco

with our good friends and neighbors Martin and Tiddy who have the boats...

On the 4th of July me and Emma went to our cousin´s wedding in Castelo Branco. 
Ana and Jorge celebrated their life together and christened their beautiful son Gonçalo... It was a lovely day spent with family.

Anyway, all is well ... and peaceful ... we love our life and our work... 
sometimes hard, but definitely rewarding :-)

Happy days to all !!!


Anonymous said...

Wouw, great job all of you! It really looks nice what you have created.
We loved reading your blog and seeing the foto's of what you are upto. But more importantly we loved reading about how you love your lives and how thankful you all are for what you have.
Bless you all.
Love Mathijs and Ine

Baba said...

thanks for your kind words...you have no idea how many times we speak about you two Ine and Mathijs... I hope you are enjoying life as well...a big and warm hug from us, the land and the animals...Many blessings your way :-)

Unknown said...

we are awaiting a return visit - or if not - we will come and find you wherever you are! So glad we are still in eachother's hearts. Peace, emxxx

Unknown said...

Thank you for the post Babá
You did so much! Well done!
Looking forward to go back home :)

Unknown said...

It was great to meet Baba and Emma while they visited Umphakatsi
Peace Ecovillage in South Africa. Thanks for reinforcing the shelter for meeting and dining out.

It is very stable.
In solidarity.
Sarah Motha
Founder of Umphakatsi Peace Ecovillage

Baba said...

Oh Sarah, you have no idea how much your place meant to both of us... all the rest, refreshment and inspiration... it was definitely my highlight of the whole trip (and I don´t just say this kind of things)... that shelter was definitely a pleasure and a challenge :-) considering I only had a machete,a plier, some wire, a hammer, nails and a saw that needed 2 people :-) I loved it !!! I´m glad is stable and it´s in good use :-) many blessings to you, your family and Umphakatsi... and until we meet again, much peace, love and joy ... send our love to Virginia as well and your lovely colleges at your work with Human Rights