Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way


Finally today, after umpteen delays and some prevarication (well maybe that’s a bit harsh – I really needed a bit of down-time after everything that’s happened recently), I arrived back in Benfeita with a van-load of stuff and the intention of being here for at least the next 2 months before having to go anywhere else again. (Oonagh is staying with her father in Asturias and will be here in the New Year.)

Taz the trusty Transit (so named for both the cartoon character who it occasionally sounds like, and for its flexible load-carrying/live-in layout which makes it a Temporary Autonomous Zone according to an anarchist acquaintance) made it all the way from Scotland without missing a beat. Well OK, I did have to reverse up the road to the village in Asturias where Oonagh is staying as it couldn’t quite make it in first gear, but today it skipped up the steep sections of our track with its full load like just the very mountain goat.

First thing to encounter was frost everywhere. Then some well-churned ground in front of the casinha where it looks like we’ve had a visit from the javali (wild boar). Next thing was a very damp yurt. The rugs on the floor (which I knew I should have rolled up and put away, but that’s hindsight for you) were very damp and the woolen ones mildewed. There’s a large wet patch on the ceiling where it looks like rain water has been driven under the crown cover to the edge of the crown wheel and soaked into the felt and liner. And worryingly, there is a large hole in the terrace wall directly above the yurt where it’s collapsed and fallen away, some of the rocks falling onto the yurt. Fortunately nothing seems to have broken, but the wall is now unstable.

Immediate priority is to get my old Danish woodburning stove renovated and installed as soon as possible, source some firewood and run the stove continually to get the place dried out. Until the yurt is dry enough to inhabit, I’ll be staying over at Andy & Sophie’s. No point in courting anything from a cold through to pneumonia just before Christmas …

The rugs have been brought back to Andy & Sophie’s to dry out and, according to internet sources, should be good for a bit of soap and a lot of sunshine. Luckily Andy & Sophie’s land is south facing.

A HUGE thank you to Andy, Sophie, Matt and Helen who came over to help unload the van. Couldn’t have done it without you guys! And to Andy & Sophie especially, who’s “rustic-style pampering”, wonderfully warm yurt and fantastic food I’ve been enjoying since arriving in Portugal on Friday. (Though this present alliteration attack seriously sucks.)

A bit of a daunting day, one way and another. But hey! The persimmons are ripe and very sweet.

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