A dining area for the wee houseNovember 12th, 2014. Post by Quinta do Vale
Following on from the completion of the kitchen at the wee house, the next step was to create a dining area. The terrace in front of the house on the lower level was the logical place for this – lovely views through the olive trees down to the village and across the valley, and grapes vines already planted and just asking for a trellis to grow over to create a shaded seating area. Plus it had already been identified as a fine place to sit …
Wood for the trellis was on-site. We used some lengths of chestnut and the remaining olive trunk to make a slightly eccentric structure to connect to the existing trellis over Michael’s steps. Once the wooden structure was complete, the beams connecting the trellis to the house were drilled and threaded with galvanised wire to support the grape vines.
Work then began on a schist patio, using the remaining slabs in the stoneyard. These were bedded directly into sieved and raked soil rather than using mortar of any description. The project was enthusiastically embraced by good friend Caroline and volunteer Maddy.
While Caroline and Maddy laid slabs, I built a step for the toilet (incorporating a runner for the sliding door) and turned an old iron bedstead liberated from the dump into a 2-seater bench.
The next step was to create something useable out of a venerable old office table, once the property of the local council and which came with the quinta, but whose legs had rotted out at the base. The legs were all cut to the same length, and feet of fresh chestnut were attached and roughly shaped to size with a draw knife.
And finally, the completed dining area, which hosted many delightful dinners this summer. The grape vines grew enough to shade a good 50% of the area and with appropriate pruning this winter, should cover most of it next year.
It’s been a joy finally being able to invite local friends and volunteers to eat here again. (For anyone who remembers the lashed table by the yurt, we had to dismantle it to dig up the ground to sort a drainage problem. The nylon cord used for the lashings had also disintegrated and I hadn’t got around to sourcing better quality cord and putting it back together again.)