Archive for July, 2009

The posts that got away … No 6. More quinta botany

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Some of the wildflowers on the quinta in late June/early July. Portuguese common names from Flora Digital de Portugal.

Jasione montana, Sheep's bit scabious

Jasione montana, Sheep’s bit scabious; Botão-azul; Baton-azul

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The posts that got away … No 5. Ripening fruit

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Ripening grapes

Grapes

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The posts that got away … No 4. Living water

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Waterfall on middle terrace

One of the greatest delights of living on the quinta so far has been our water. Not only does it taste delicious, and refreshes in subtle ways that tap water just doesn’t (forget the Heineken!), but after a couple of weeks of using it to wash with, the difference it makes to skin and hair are also very noticeable.

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The posts that got away … No 3. More quinta wildlife

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Butterflies everywhere, particularly the Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) which is very numerous here. The butterflies dance in pairs around your feet as you walk the terraces. I also came across several Meadow Browns (Maniola jurtina), a Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), a Peacock (Inachis io) and a Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).

Iberian Marbled White butterfly, Melanargia lachesis

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The posts that got away … No 2. Footwear and things not to do when working with big dods of wood

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
Don’t wear these

Crocs

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The posts that got away … No 1. Peaches

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

With all the intensity of work on the yurt platform in suspension now that we’re back in Scotland, there’s time to catch up on a handful of posts that there was neither time nor battery power to make while we were there.

First off, our first peaches! Harvested from a small tree on the bottom terrace.

Peaches

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So near and yet so far

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I figured if I got an early enough start, timed it right to get the drill battery charged up at the café down in Benfeita (Luís having already generously offered use of the café’s electricity supply for charging all our stuff), and worked at it efficiently and quickly, I might just get the platform finished the day we had to leave for Scotland again. We weren’t getting the flight until 21:15 out of Porto, and Porto’s only 2 hours away, so …

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Help!

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

We’d been on at Andy & Sophie to come and see our quinta since the day we shook hands on the deal last November. Somehow they were either always too busy, or we were. But this time it looked like it finally might happen. I’d texted to say there was a possibility I might have the platform ready for the yurt the day they were coming, but I wasn’t putting 2 and 2 together when I got a text from Andy to say 9 of them were arriving with lunch. Expecting only a social occasion, I was even thinking to myself “Damn, well I’ll not get much work done on the platform today then …”

I’d already realised I hadn’t made a big enough wastage allowance in my calculations, so had ordered up a dozen more lengths of flooring in the morning to collect from the woodyard in Coja at 4pm. This was going to eat into my construction time too.

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Floored

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Yesterday I’d forgotten I’d had a rare brainstorm with the amazing good sense to pack a variety-pack of disposable batteries for emergencies. I remembered them this morning, in time to record the beginnings of the yurt platform floor laying. And one of the noggins …

The beginnings of the floor

A noggin

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Another good day's work

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Another great day for working with the weather being so conducive I’m having a hard time believing it. After decades in Scotland where the weather has an inate perversity and invariably ends up doing the exact opposite to what you’re hoping and praying it will, this is a rare treat.

There should be a photo, but the camera’s run out of batteries and the spares are flat (??? I’m sure I charged them before we left), but the yurt platform is now noggined! Thanks for the advice Rick. They make all the difference. Just a couple more to fit in the morning. Undersides of all the floorboards are all oiled and so am I. Caught the floorboards just in time. They’d been stacked one on top of each other to keep them flat, but in common with the speed that everything else grows in this climate, so does mould. The sawdust still coating the green timber boards was providing a fertile breeding ground for mildew as the boards sweated in the heat, so some of our flooring will have a slightly spalted look to it.

So we’re almost ready to go with laying the floor.