Tuesday, 15 November 2011

still in the UK ...

Here we are now in Novemebr and I have been reading about different folk I know in Portugal who are harvesting their olives.It seems to have been a patchy year for them.Some have had a bumper crop with branches snapping due to the weight of the olives.Others have expeirenced a wash out.Few olives or infected with olive fly.In the same village people can have such different harvests.It could be the local micro climate or it could be the care given to the trees at pruning time for example.I just wish I was there.We really wanted to plant at least 20 Olive trees this year ,ideally ag 3 and older but sadly it was not meant to be as we are stuck in the UK.But things are changing ......
Youngest daughter age 13 has now made the decision to be home schooled.An excellent choice for her in my opinion.Lots more freedom to develop her own interests rather than continuing to follow the crowd.
Husband has handed in his notice as he just hates his job now ,with a passion.As he works in the 'caring' profession this is not a good way to feel.In fairness he enjoys communicating with those he looks after but hates the bull that goes along with this money making rather than caring industry.
Older daughter is unhappy and bored at school.A massive change for a studnet who loved school until last term.Its all changed for her now as she has hit teen years big style.Why?Why?WHY? are the questions she is asking constantly at school.Justify..!!this in turn is making the staff see her as a problem to be dealt with rathar than someone to respect .In turn she is switching off.We are not so sure about home schooling for her as she is in a GCSE year and if we take her out of school I am not sure how she will do..motivated ?
And me?Well I am now fully established working for myself ,setting my own timetable to meet the needs of myself and the family.Portugal is becoming closer ,more of a reality.And we are now fully in the situation that it would be cheaper for us to live in Portugal.
Both girls resisit the idea of full time living in Portugal but are more open now to being there for long stretches of time in order to get the building habitable.This is progress on a grand scale!
Alas owing to the time of year we still can't go!Can't afford to rent over there and the property is in no way habitable for winter.Current plan is that husband heads off in Jan to get started on the building ,weather permiting.We will follow around March/April time and stay for 4-6 months and then see what happen next.We aim to have the building dry and habitable for next sept/oct time.
It will be a small kitchen/lounge area (with mezzinaine sleeping area)and a bedroom bedroom .Outside shower room and compost toliet.We intend to use a lot of clay for interior walls and floors.
I am getting excited and think the delays in acheiving our dreams have meant we have had more time to think about the building and what we need from it and so have managed to simplify the whole plan!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

plans ,plans ,plans...

Thinking of how to create a sort of habitable space that would be ok for winter is what has been our biggest conversation lately.It makes sense to use the older (granite) building as the main shared space.A kitchen sitting room .Currently its not in too bad a shape.Walls need to be filled as there are a certain amount of holes but a mud or clay based filling would most likely do for this year.Roof is questionable.Tiles are reasonably old but sort of look ok unlike some of the supporting timbers.It would need stripping off and putting back on.With some sort of water proof breathable  membrane and insulation as a minimum.The floor is a sort o dirt floor and the building is on two levels inside.We would lower a middle section of the floor to allow for Pauls 6'ft2 height as this is where the roof comes down low giving only 5'ft2 height currently.Loathe as I am to use it ,concrete seems the quickest and cheapest (priority number 1) option for the floor.It would be nice to use slate from Benfeita area inlaid into the concrete also .We would need 2 new doors or 1 new door and a large window.And a decent stove.With these minimum requirements inside we could have a cosy sitting room cum kitchen with a night night sleep space for 2 people.Outside we would have to dig drainage around the building to keep out any flow of water from the rain.
We could use the top building as a workspace for me or Paul if we insulate ,put in a stove ,add a couple of windows and a door and some rugs.Or it could be used as a space for washing and storing stuff.
We can maybe borrow a 4m yurt from a friend and build a platform next to the house and erect it so that we would have another sleeping space.
We also have the job of updating and improving the loo.This means building something else located somewhere else on the quinta.Plus a shower space.
All of this would need to be completed by end of October really in order to get settled down for winter.With the aid of only 1 80w solar panel that on a good day in winter may throw out 5 hours power.
So then we start thinking again about a new caravan.Well ,new to us.But at least a 5 berth with decent electrics so again its a sleeping space with power for 2 people...??
So its what to do for the best?
Try to rent a cheap small place(not as easy as it sounds) with power just for winter and take things a bit slower with the building rather than really putting pressure on.Or buy a caravan?Or go for it?Money is very tight and  all options will cost something...will keep you posted.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I am back in Portugal on the 19th June and I will be Quinta sitting for a friend for about 3 weeks before moving onto our land for the foreseeable future....long term plans are not yet organised ......
A decent loo and shower will be required.
We have the most basic of composting toilets in place and also the ability to have hot showers using a shower camping bag...basically a strong black bag,filled with water and hose attached.warmed by the sun...
The loo is the more important facility to improve first as the shower bag just gets on with the job once filled ,heated and hung from a strong tree branch.
Currently our toilet is a hole in the ground.I want the loo to be a place of beauty!And googling can give me so many ideas as can the loos created by friends here in Portugal...

How do they work?
Do they smell?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


So we had solid buyers set up and had wetted our appetite with a couple of new farms more in the mountain only to get a text from buyers daughter about cold feet.....so what to do?Its going back on the market and we just have to try again.Its interesting in that a small part of me was happy that buyer is stalling as I just love this place and still have new ideas of how it could be developed.I know that this is where I would like to be but....

Monday, 28 February 2011

We have a buyer..

So we have been on the market for 1 month (almost) and now have a buyer who offered a fair price.Not quite sure what the buying and selling at the same time process is in Portugal though so not sure what happens next....

Saturday, 22 January 2011


Well we are selling up!We have decided that the quinta is no longer for us as we bought it thinking the whole family would be living there and we had lots of exciting plans for development.Now however the children are settled in school in the UK with exams looming and it looks like we will be here for the next 5 years.So we have decided that we need something smaller that will be more manageable from the distance of Yorkshire.We have found the next new place so now we need a buyer......anyone interested in this lovely place??Contact me on sheridanmichele@hotmail.com

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 http://www.permaculturinginportugal.net/ where she and her family are developing their place at a rapid rate!