Jun 9, 2016

Welcome Changes on the Land!

Since the last post, our biggest, bestest news is that Marcia and Eric's son was born Saturday 28th May. They named him Samuel. He is healthy and growing fast! 

Recently we have welcomed all sorts of changes - in the weather - finally we are experiencing Summer heat. Other changes include transformations inside the common space, and in the garden too, plus the goings and comings of friends and family.


Click below to see more pictures and follow the story.....


We had Juran, Ulli, Fiona and Alvin with us until nearly the end of May.

 One of the highlights for Fiona was celebrating her 6th Birthday with a ride in the cart with Xico, her brother and mum. We collected oranges and returned elated! 


While the family were here there was such joy between us. We were grateful for their help and support in the daily community life - and the singing of Fiona and shy smiles of Alvin. We drank a lot of orange juice. Juran offered us frequently hand-squeezed yummy drinks!

Not long after the family had left to head back to Germany, Kathleen arrived from Germany! 


The plan of Marcia and Eric was to invite someone to come and be a support during the first month after Samuel was born. They anticipated that the community would need an extra pair of hands while they were occupied looking after the little man!!! 

Kathleen accepted the invitation. This was her first visit to the land, though she very connected to many who have been part of the vision for the Mount of Oaks since the start!

The arrival time of Kathleen was perfect - she arrived and Marcia was able to show her around and welcome her properly. On that day we were working on the floor of the common space. The following day little Samuel was born!!!


The long awaited arrival of baby Samuel happened on the morning of 28th May in Covilha hospital. The following day Marcia's mum, Camilla arrived from Lisboa.

Mother, Father and baby are all well. They are settling into a routine of the normal feeding, sleeping, bathing, pooping and burping! How simple and yet there are still tricks to learn from those who have mothered and fathered before it seems!! 

Even since these pictures were taken he has grown. The nurse in the village weighed and checked him out. ALL IS WELL! We are excited to grow with this little man and see what he will teach us......We are excited too about news of several other births recently - dear friends in Sweden and the UK. Congratulations and many blessings to all.

This rainbow picture was taken only a few hours after Samuel was born - we smiled and were very thankful! Barbara wondered that if Samuel had been born in a native American tribe if his name would have been 'Rain Maker' ?! It rained the day his was born and has not since!! 

Having Camilla around since Samuel's birth has been wonderful. She has been supporting Marcia, Eric and Samuel. She has also been making us laugh with her comments and great personality in the kitchen area. We look forward to having Eric's family arrive in a few weeks time too!  



The first coat of cob plaster on the inside of the common space began while Juran, Ulli and kids were still here. Alvin and Fiona had some fun helping. Fiona was actually quite skilled at it!  

Barbara and Manuel (our fantastic mid-term volunteer) ploughed through buckets and buckets of cob plaster. Some places were easier than others!! 

After a layer or cob covered the walls, the next task was to level the floor. Then stones act as an under layer. 

  Eric was brilliant at bringing materials to the common space - he tirelessly loaded and unloaded Soraia (our van) with stones and sand. In the last days of Marcia's pregnancy he kept himself busy with the plastering and the making of cement for the floor. 

Eric also found time to put the finishing touches to their home.

The making of the floor ....

The next set of pictures tell a little of the story of the laying of the floor - it took 2 days and a long night....

First layer of mix covered the floor and then the following day we made a layer of cement, sand and pigment to create a smoother effect. 


Manuel and Barbara made a super team - laying the floor looked easy when they were doing it! 

Polishing the floor.....

Manuel, Barbara and I stayed up until after 11pm to polish the floor before the cement cured properly. It was a labour of love - we worked by torch light while the tunes kept us awake! All the while we had no idea that Marcia's contractions had started!!  

end result.....

Woodwork next.....

Barbara had the brilliant idea of using wood from the previous common space structure in this version. Thanks to the machine of our neighbour Martin, and the help of Paul who came for a few days the result is BEAUTIFUL! 


....then more plastering....


Manuel and Barbara have been making a lovely finish to the inside of the building this week. It is patient work, but the effect is stunning.  Of course they have been having fun at the same time!! 




Now that the sun is back, watering the garden has become a priority. Paul enjoyed flooding the beds and getting wet himself!! Kathleen removed the last of the broad beans and peas and took the remains for the chickens. We had a really good crop of broad beans - delicious freshly boiled with mint! Yummy! 

Medicinal herbs...


On a day favourable in the biodynamic calendar for collecting flowers, Manuel and Kathleen harvested St. John's Wort flowers. We then packed them into a jar and added our special olive oil, and placed in the sun. After being in the sun for 4 weeks the oil retains the properties of the plant and makes for a super healing oil. We use it when we have pains in the muscles after work particularly.

We have been harvesting medicinal and culinary herbs this week - lemon thyme, oregano, nettle and zatar - pictured below.....

 Making cordial....

One evening last week Manuel, Kathleen and I headed off on an elderflower mission - what fun collecting the blossom heads by the river, followed by a beer or two in a local cafe. 

The following morning we prepared the ingredients for the cordial......elderflower, lemon, orange, rose petals and sugar.....

Then we stirred the mixtures for 3 days before straining the juice and discarding the fruit and flowers. 

We filled several jars with the elderflower and rose cordial, and bottled up some elderflower champagne to try in 2 weeks time! 



There are still plants we grew from seed without beds to mature in....so the focus for the garden this week has been to MAKE NEW BEDS!

Manuel and Kathleen make a great gardening team - weeding, adding compost and mulching....

And then there were the paths - both of them went wild pulling out the couch grass. Couch grass is probably the most annoying unwanted plant we have in the garden, and difficult to remove. 

....so you see, we have all been enjoying our work and the sunshine! 

 Thank you for taking the time to read this edition of the Mount of Oaks story. Thank you for your prayers of support, intentions and love. We know we are part of a much bigger family!!
Many blessings of peace, love and joy from all of us at the land in this moment. 

(Barbara, emma, Eric, Marcia, Samuel, Camilla, Manuel and Kathleen - plus all the animals, plants and trees!!) 


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