New Year News: Happy 2016 one and all! As we are part way through January, we will share a little about the 'goings on' of the last month and highlight some of the events we plan for this new year: main news dates of our Practical Natural Building Courses, Open Days, Silent Retreats.....
Click below to see more pictures and news.......
Christmas and New Year
As is the Portuguese tradition, the main family meal to celebrate Christmas/Natal is on the 24th in the evening. Barbara and I (emma) went to Ba's family in Castelo Branco. We feasted on the simple, yet yummy and delicious cod and veg dinner. It is quite different to what I am used to but the Portuguese love it, and now me too......
The meal is accompanied by lots of deserts of course.........
Afterwards we popped along to Alpedrinha in order to enjoy the spectacular of the HUGE fire and the nativity scene - minus a baby Jesus!!
It is difficult to understand the scale of this bonfire from the picture - it was massive - not unlike the ones Northern Irish folk will be accustomed to seeing on the 11th July! We were joined by our neighbour, Scott, around the fire and also another neighbour, Noya...drinking the local homebrew and listening to group of lads singing humours tunes - it was a great Christmas Eve!
Christmas Day was GREAT fun - a pot luck dinner at Martin and Tiddy's place with many of our beloved neighbours.....food was delicious and ranged from the traditional roast by Tyra and Christmas pudding from Liz, to mango ice cream and chocolate cake!!
We played cards, had a sing song with the guitars and laughed lots. We are really blessed to have wonderful people living all around us.
Probably the most memorable game one that Martine brought along that involved us all taking turns in guessing how long it would be before we got whipped cream on your face!!!
It was magnificent to watch the full moon rise. A rare event to see the full moon at Christmas, the last time was 1977!
The garden, despite it being Winter is still active - the broad beans and peas are shooting up. The garlic, onions, leeks and various cabbages and broccoli are also doing well.
The main focus for the moment though is transforming the donkey and chicken poo into beautiful compost for Springtime.
The citrus trees are giving abundantly - all the vit. C we could hope for!
Building on the Common Space has been paused for the last weeks. Other than erecting the guttering and ordering the wood for the doors, Ba has been focusing on other things - such as renovating Marcia and Eric's caravan and planning the materials for the Natural Building courses.
On a rainy day last week our neighbours arrived with their 4x4 to help tow what we refer to as 'Juran's Van', (as it used to belong to our friend Juran) from next to where Marcia and Eric live up to next to Xico's house.
It was quite nerve racking to see Tiddy behind the wheel, not sure if the brakes would work....but then this couple are quite used to towing vehicles out of tough spots on flooded Kenyian tracks!
Barbara is going to transform the van and give it a new lease of life as storage for her tools.
MISSING CAT! Our main news regarding the animals is a sad tale - our cute cat Gaspar is missing. We noticed him gone around Christmas time and we have not seen him since. He was not exactly a typical farm cat - probably not much of a fighter, slow and cute! He gave us so many laughs with his funky moves and little dances when he was being observed.
Xico is enjoying all the grass that is growing at the moment. We have had him loose and wandering around the land for the last 3 weeks. He is like a huge lawn mover - keeping the grass around the place at a low level. He even eats the brambles!!! He had a touch of worms, but with the aid of medicine those have passed through his system and he is back to his usual self.
The chicks are growing like crazy - it is pretty difficult to get a good image of them all - here you can see all 5 of them with bums up - the surrogate mum, Valentina (black chicken) keeps a close eye on them.
Tali and Goofy are well!
We have had a downfall of rain over the last weeks - much needed rain! For days it would do nothing but rain!!!
The result was that we had some repairs to make on our lane. Tom helped with this and also worked on the drains.
The rain that has fallen has helped to replenish the pond water significantly. Even since this picture was taken the water level has increased up to cover another step. Thank goodness for the rain in due season!
We had friends pass by - Miriam and Tom from Northern Ireland. Miriam was on her way to walk another section of the Camino de Santiago, and Tom made an annual event of fixing our road!!!
They brought with them supplies of fair trade goodies that are difficult to get locally. many thanks for your generosity and presence!!!
Natural Building Course
We are happy to announce the following Practical Natural Building courses run by Barbara. There are the dates and if you would like to know more information on content and prices check out this link.
19th - 27th March
23rd April - 1st May
4th June - 12th June
For those of you who would like to come to the Mount of Oaks and experience a communal silent retreat you have two chances this year:
Please get in touch for more details if you are interested in learning more.
The first of our Open Days is 20th Feb. We will be having a focus on seed swapping and having a discussion about seeds in general after lunch.
The dates of the others are
practical discussion topics to be confirmed!
For those who would like to come and volunteer or come on holiday we will be open again after Winter from 7th March. We have a word document that we can email potential volunteers, so drop us a message if you would like us to forward that. As for holidays - we are open for people who want to come and camp.....
That's all for now.....
Many thanks to all of you who support us here from a distance. We are really grateful for the community of people who are associated with this piece of land.
Soon we will welcome Marcia and Eric back after their trip to Germany. And soon we will have a website!!!
Until next month, much love from emma, barbara and all the animals, plants and trees at the Mount of Oaks.