Saturday, 25 September 2010

The building and plans...

The building needs a lot of work.
The top building is stone block and nice and cool in summer ,very cool in winter.This is to become our storage spot for and food preserved.To the left we will extend the roof out to build a workshop .To the right is a water tank which we will remove and use the space as a wood store for winter fires.The granite building will be restored and become a kitchen/sitting room and to the right of it we will extend to include a bedroom and bathroom.The roof needs removing and repairing ,the floor needs fixing ,windows are needed and doors,insulation,stoves,solar panels,waterwheel potentially for some winter power.....the list goes on and on.This is definitely a long term project but its got my heart so it will be a labour of love.

girls with their friend who is from Scotland and living about 40 minutes away in the mountains at where she and her family are developing their place at a rapid rate!

September in the valley

We have just returned from a couple of weeks camping on the Quinta.It was hot so we did only half of the work we had planned to do which is a shame but at the same time the enforced periods of rest were much needed so its all good!
We are lucky to have the river Mondego so close by for quick cooling dips .So quite.All you can hear are the birds and occasional car.

I was last here in June and was expecting the land to be really over grown but it wasn't.This seems to be due to the high temperature and lack of water.The long grasses were scorched by the sun ,the brambles had grown a few more feet(the clearing of 2 hectares of brambles is a job we long to complete!)and the hillside effected by fire 7/8 years ago is beginning to look lovely.This is were the most growth appears to have been over the last few months with a selection of trees developing height.
We have loads of vines on the land and amazingly they continue to produce fruit despite being untended for the last few years.The black grapes were small and a little tasteless but the white grapes were a decent size and really juicy and sweet.The vines have gone mad over the last few months and they are everywhere you look.I cannot wait to be able to start looking after them well and learning more about them.
I am not sure how many fig trees we have ,maybe 5/6 but the ones I could get to are also producing a lot of fruit.I like fig trees as they always seem to grow in a way that gives a good shady spot underneath.I am not so keen on the fruit itself.
Yummy.I love olives .I love everything about them!Sadly this is what we are short of on the quinta.We have only about 6 olive trees at the moment and I could only get to 2 of them as the others are buried on a part of the land that we have not accessed yet due to the aforementioned brambles.The 2 I could reach need pruning but they are producing good size healthy looking fruit as it is.I hope to be back in late autumn to plant some trees on the top few terraces.We eventually hope that the terraces leading down to the building that will eventually be our home will become an orchard containing all the fruit we need for fresh eating and preserving.So lots and lots of clearing ,planting and mulching needed.
Most of our steps joining up terraces are a bit lethal in terms of slipping and so youngest daughter (and main opposer to moving to Portugal)got out the tools ,did a bit of digging and stone moving and created these steps at the bottom of the building so we could get about without falling and breaking something.She did a good job!
Our basic accommodation at the moment.We gutted the bigger caravan so that it now has a proper bed inside and not much else.The smaller caravan will be a kitchen if we are there in colder months.The green netting provided much needed shade.Solar lights and candles provided illumination at night.
All in all it was lovely to be back on the land and getting to know it better.It was the first time that the whole family was there together(except for the pets but they will have a long holiday next summer!).We saw only a handful of friends and found we just wanted to work on the land rather than be sociable.I think I met more neighbours at the local Intermarche and Lidl  than anywhere else.Everyone is busy building ,digging ,planting and strimming.....

Friday, 13 August 2010

Fire in Portugal

Although we are still in England(groan) I have been keeping an eye on things in Portugal.The heat has been building for a number of weeks and fires have broken out in the south and centre of the Country.So far a small number of people have died including 2  fire fighters plus up to 13 people arrested in connection with the fires....

When looking for a place to buy I was very aware of the danger of forest fires and wanted a place with water and good access.Although we are down in the valley ,down a track our access up to the village is ok.The building itself is positioned in the middle of terraces and when the land is cleared there is a good space between the buildings and the mimosa that edges the terraces.Frightening though....

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Rain clouds in the evening. Lisboa, PortugalImage via Wikipedia
rain and clouds are chasing us out of the UK for the last time!
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so it all starts again??

Its August 2010 now already.Got no work in the UK for September BUT have got a job in Coimbra in Portugal plus my on line work.Got a place to rent close to the quinta with enough space to spread out.Dogs are happy about it as is Dude the cat.Paul and I are also happy.Guess who is not?

been looking at some cool pictures of some cool houses..

Thursday, 22 July 2010

birthday treats..

I turned 40 a while back and received many lovely gifts and cards .Lots of books on my interests such as the sculpted house and an inconvenient truth.
Lovely Ruby enjoyed the party too!

Whats happening?

I have not been at our place for a while now..think it was in June?But friends we had who were staying were living in a way that was not really companionable with the plans for the Quinta so they have now left and their good work planting out veg was a bit of a waste. It was a valuable experience in terms of understanding the nature of sharing land with others,personalities involved etc.So my work is now over in the UK and I am back to on line work and some work in Coimbra....we have grown limited dismal veg in the UK while hearing of abundance in Portugal..
We should be back in a few weeks which is about time to!

Friday, 21 May 2010

more pics

These were taken about a month ago.All the spring flowers had come out.We had a meadow full of colour although the picture really is not showing it.It was still cold at night (camping ) and although I got sun burnt the rain decided to continue falling too!

what to do...

the veiw from the top

the track to the house

the house...optimistically named
all up for sale sadly...

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

What to name the quinta?

We don't have a name for the quinta yet....
well we do but one of our neighbours also has the same name so we want to come up with a different one.Should it reflect us or the land and what we want to achieve there?Should it just be a silly name?An anagram?Goodness knows!I have never thought about what I would name a property should I be in the position to do so...but its important to get it right as it will be difficult to rename in the future if we change our minds....
So if any one has any suggestions then feel free to suggest....

accommodation in the medium term....

so we will be renting for 3 months at casa simones in the village but then what?We have got a tiny 2 berth caravan

 and an 8 person tent .A tent is not ideal in terms of shelter from the hot summer sun..just too hot.If we had any spare cash ,which we don't, then it would be a Yurt.
One of our neighbours makes Yurts and they are lovely.You can see what they offer here also have holiday accommodation in a beautiful spot by the river.Yurts just have a lovely feel about them and of course I have always loved circular spaces .
Another circular house idea I like is similar to what you can see here... like the idea of having a building workshop on the quinta in the future and getting me a little(ish) round house where I can work from or somewhere to  accommodate wwoofers when we get the basic infrastructure in place (solar shower,compost toilets ,cooking area,maybe a power source?) .But the question is where do we live between April and October while we prepare the building for winter?It has to be another caravan or 2 I think.So I have put out ads to try and find us a very cheap one.Loads to be had in the UK via ebay but would prefer not to have to tow one from Yorkshire so I am keeping everything crossed that someone near by has one they want to dispose of!Will keep you posted...

Sunday, 24 January 2010


so we are heading back to Portugal in about 2 weeks and will be renting a place for 3 months or so until the weather warms up and while we get the basic stuf done.We have stayed in this house before so at least we know what to expect...this is the back of rental house

and this is the front..

Thursday, 21 January 2010


quick trip to Portugal

We have just returned from a very busy 3 days in Portugal.Had to fly to Faro as there were no Porto flights from the north of England (start again in March).Monday was all bank and property business.We did a 'Casa  pronto' at the local Conservatoria we did the deeds ,paid all taxes did registration ,listened to every tiny bit of the contract of sale being read out ,first in Portuguese and then again in English .Signed our signatures and initialled numerous documents,numerous took 3 hours in total sitting in one room with 11 people (including all interested parties and family members as the selling of a property has inheritance issues at times).I was the legal owner of a farm house (new deed change ) and 6 different articles(1 more more than before??) of land and completely knackered.My head was spinning as I had tried to keep up with the Portuguese that was been spoken but got lost many times.We had one moment of panic when the notary demanded a energy efficiently  certificate or pay a 2500e fine!!Eventually after calls to Lisboa,Coimbra and Leira it was decided that this cert was not after all needed.
We then had dinner with friends at   we met old and new friends and enjoyed a tasty bean stew (thanks to Andy) in the lovely new kitchen.
Tuesday was taken up in the morning with looking for a place to rent for a few months while we get the basic infrastructure established on our Quinta.It was moderately in many cases in Portugal things are not always as you would expect so it was not as clear cut as we thought.hey ho!Tuesday afternoon we went to where our friend Wendy had arranged a gathering to celebrate Aonghas . There was good food to eat ,music to listen to and people to talk with.It was a peaceful and gentle day with very little rain.After this it was off to another friends house to watch the football and eat more food with a little wine.
Wednesday was back in to talk with our solicitor,who I would recommend, collect papers and pay the bill.Goodbyes were said to many and of we drove to Faro -6 hours south!!A night at the Ibis hotel in Faro was really pleasant and so was the meal we had in Faro old town.After a decent sleep we jumped on a plane and were at home by 3pm.I am so tired I cannot think any longer so plans and ideas will have to wait until the next few entries.