May 21, 2016

Rain gives way to Blue Skies....


    The rain finally stopped - we all wondered if someone had left a tap open just over Portugal for the last months?! Now we are enjoying the late Spring sunshine and warmth. Shorts, t-shits and hats replace woolen jumpers and welly boots we were wearing only 2 weeks ago. 

Despite the weather conditions much has been happening in terms of building and hosting volunteers, friends and family, CHANGE is AFOOT!
Click below to see more pictures and story.......

EVENT: Feira de Troca/Swap Fair

This was the second Troca a Tod@s where Mount of Oaks had been involved.  Marcia had taken a stall with products previously and has been attending organising meetings for the event. 
It was a really colourful afternoon in Covilha. 

The currency in operation was not the usual euro - it was the local currency of the 'teares'. When you arrived you could go to the 'bank' and exchange euros for teares. Then those with 'teares' could exchange them in the fair for the products or services on offer. 


There was so much going on - lots of stalls exchanging their 'teares' - all sort of things, veg, toys, food, clothes, plants and much more. There was yoga for kids, a drama highlighting that money is only another form of exchange, and a demonstration of how to make an oven-less vegan cake!

At our stall we made some valuable connections and found the whole experience really fun and worthwhile.

For a more in depth read about the event you can check out the website of coolabora - the team behind the project.

EVENT: Spring Open Day

Our Open Day on the theme of Local Economy was a SUPER SUCCESS! It was really well attended and the conversations in Portuguese and English were super interesting. For a full round-up you can check the blog post dedicated to the event by clicking here.



EVENT: Spring Meeting in Castelo Novo

  We attended a successful event designed to promote organic growing and permaculture in our local village. 

The event was organised by Ines and Hugo and we hope to collaborate more with them in the future. 

 It was wonderful to be in a room full of Portuguese people discussing natural buildings, saving local varieties of seeds, and meeting really interesting people. For us there were two main highlights. One was meeting a family who run a health food shop in Castelo Branco. The other getting to knowthe author of a book on alternative economics, Sr. Ivo Gomes Francisco called Repensar Economia

EVENTS: Marcia's birthday and baby shower


On Marcia's birthday, she and Eric did lots of lovely things together, but then as a community we went out for dinner to celebrate together. Some lovely folks who have moved to the area run an occasional 'pop-up' restaurant. The theme for meal we went to was a Thai night. The main chef, Jacqueline Mac Queen made Marcia feel really special when she entered with the birthday desert complete with candles and singing!!

The day of the baby shower was not ideal weather wise - but it was super in all other ways. Marcia had invited a group of mums to come and bless the bump! Wonderful women gathered and brought beads. blessings, food and stories to share. 

A friend Jeanette gave Marcia a foot washing and massage with a cleanser she made. Then ladies shared their advice and love!! 

On the day Marcia looked radiant - and still does!


The question of where was Eric when this was going was can be answered simply....he helped with the set up, boiling water for teas etc - then he and a friend Scott headed off for the day!

NESTING: Finishing the home for Eric, Marcia and the baby.....

The main building work for the last month has been the finishing of Marcia and Eric's home. The pictures that follow give a sense of how the work progressed. It is really amazing to see how it looks now - a proper home, but not before all the dirt and mud found it's way onto the walls!!!!

Enjoy the snaps! 


 The person you will start to see in the pictures is Lena - our German volunteer for a few weeks when we needed her most! Lena arrived just as we were starting again to work on the space - she happened to be an expert cob plasterer! She wanted to learn new natural building techniques, which she did too!!! 





 Barbara, Eric and Lena proved to be a great team. They worked really well together - being creative and problem solving.


 many natural building techniques were employed in the making of this bags, cord wood, straw bales....


....and then it came for the final touches and this was a team effort again - a few others joined the team, Manuel and Juran to be precise! 

Here are a few snaps of what the nest looked like a few days ago..... 


the sink area...

 compost toilet area...

The place really feels like a home now - of course there will be bits that they want to work on and make even more cute - but the main thing is that the nest is completed enough for the little man to arrive!

GARDEN: a place of abundance....

With all the rain that we had falling the garden did not need any watering - a real gift. Broad beans and snap peas that went in last Autumn have been giving and giving!  

 Everyday we are eating delicious salads from the garden of spinach, rocket, different lettuces, flowers and herbs such as parsley, thyme, coriander, mint, lemonbalm.... 

The poly tunnel which helped germination of seeds and a home for seedlings was really useful. The sun has arrived and it may not be needed again until Autumn.  The seedlings you see here are mostly in the ground now.

It is a great time of year to harvest wild herbs, grasses and flowers. Recently there was a mission to collect elderflower heads to dry for a herbal tea. We are collecting nettle, calendula, camomille and many other medicinal herbs in this season. 

One of the helpers we had for collecting the elderflower was my mum, Rosemary - she enjoyed it very much.


As mentioned above, we had a visit from Rosemary. It was rather unfortunate that for most of her visit it rained, but that didn't seem to bother her too much. For all of us we were happy to have a mum around - she helped in the garden and reminded us not to work too hard, giving praise for all we have achieved and generally spreading her love around. Her visit was too short and we hope to have her back before too long! 


 We were contacted by Manuel Cesario about an interview with us for a piece of research he is doing regarding eco-communities. Manuel is from Brazil but was based in Lisboa while conducting research for his PhD. We answered his questions regarding our energy consumption, how we make decisions, how we deal with finance, questions about our spirituality and our future plans. After talking we had a tour of the land. We look forward to reading his thesis and will post a link to his publications when possible. 

family friends!

It was a delight to have Anne, Jonny, Elias and Emma come for a little holiday. This family are very dear to our hearts - they have been journeying with the Mount of Oaks even when it was still just an idea! 

 Unfortunately the weather was not the best when they were here - but none the less there was much fun had! 

Emma and Elias are real animal lovers. The day this photo was taken Emma was riding Xico in the rain - it rained really hard but she was determind to stay on top and ride home!

 This was Elias' favourite tree for climbing. This olive was near the kitchen so we could watch him - from this tree he told some great stories! 

There was quite a lot of climbing - in trees on the land and over rocks in the Gardunha mountains. 

Since Elias and Emma last visited they have grown up such a lot! For us it was so exciting to see how their characters are developing. When it came time for Anne and Jonny to pack up the van to leave it was difficult to say goodbye - tears and all! We hope it will not be too long before we are all together again. 

more family friends!

A few weeks later we were welcoming more family friends - this time Juran and Uli, Fiona and Alvin - also from Germany and also friends from the early days! 

Fiona celebrated her 6th birthday with us - below is the crown she wore on her special day. Since the family are still with us we will post more about their visit in the following post!!! 


That's it for now....

Well nearly..... 

We are waiting the arrival for the birth of Marcia and Eric's baby in the coming week or so - please join with us in praying/sending your love and light for them and the healthy delivery of their son.

Thank you for taking the time to follow the story!

Many blessings of peace, love and joy from all of us here at the Mount of Oaks at the moment......


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