Archive for January, 2009

Winter do Vale

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

One of the images from our recent visit which captures the quinta pretty much in its entirety.

The quinta in winter

Going backwards

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Some time ago I gave up trying to be sceptical about astrology. Every time I did, I ended up facing the strength of the correlations instead, and was prompted by this into a more thorough study and testing of it, and an eventual acceptance that despite everything that 20th century ‘logic’ might suggest, the damn thing works, and then some.

So somehow this was only to be expected. With the escritura scheduled during one of the 3-week periods when the planet Mercury appears to be moving backward in relation to the Earth (Mercury retrograde), there were reasonable odds on falling prey to the glitches, delays and complications with contracts and communications that many observe happen with above-average frequency during these times.

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Pruning the vines

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

To prune or not to prune …?

Having missed the autumn/early winter vine pruning window, which generally seems to be considered the best time for the job, I’ve been scouring Google, watching locals on their land, asking every fellow grower and permaculturist I’ve come across, and come to the resounding conclusion that, like just about everything else in Portugal, there are as many different opinions as there are possibilities and it’s ultimately down to you to make up your own mind and follow your own instincts for your own land.

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Recycling

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Yesterday, while taking a trip up to Piódão, we happened across a couple of instances of fly-tipping. Not uncommon in Portugal. We’re quite into fly untipping, but the small diesel Opel Corsa we’d hired for this visit just wasn’t up for the idea of shoehorning 2 pallets into the back. At least, not without leaving one of the children behind, or incurring surcharges for reshaping the vehicle. A shame as these would have made a good 50% of a compost bin. But we did manage to collect some broken kitchen and bathroom tiles from a heap unceremoniously dumped in a bramble patch off the edge of a precipitous drop somewhere near Monte Frio.

Cleaning up the countryside as well as recycling! Double Brownie points! Though I think I’ve just lost one for being gratuitously smug about it.

Meanwhile, Aonghas and Oonagh have been experimenting with mosaics for our yet-to-be-built solar shower.

Mosaic with broken tiles

Piódão

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Aonghas looking down the road towards Piódão, uma das mais bonitas Aldeias Históricas Portuguesas (one of the more beautiful Historical Villages of Portugal) which is roughly 10km as the açor flies from our quinta, though more like 30km if you have to rely on wheels and at least some tarmac to drive them on.

Aonghas looking down on Piódão

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1 2 3 testing, testing …

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

This post is the first from Quinta do Vale itself, courtesy of TMN banda larga pré-paga (PAYG 3G mobile broadband) which I’ve brought up here to test. It’s lightning fast. Yeay hey!! Almost as good as our wired service in Scotland. Things are looking better and better.

The terraces were cleaned yesterday. We have terraces we didn’t even know were there! The place looks twice the size and wonderful, even if covered in frost and in shade.

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Water

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Happy New Year! A time for looking forward …

Water supply is a critical issue. Forget oil. This is a far more urgent and major consideration for the future. It was number one on my list of criteria for any property I looked at, not just for the individual property, but for the area as a whole. Good water, plentiful water, live water.

For more details, see the Water Supply page under Projects, but this video trailer gives some of the reasons why it’s so important.