Permaculturing in Portugal

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


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

Progress today was painfully slow. I’d bought myself a hand drill off eBay similar to one my father had for many years — a wonderful tool which would have been more than adequate for pre-drilling the nail holes for the yurt platform floor, especially in the absence of electricity.

However, this piece of …. is nothing like the quality of my father’s drill. It doesn’t turn consistently and smoothly and leaving it in the sun led to the discovery that the drive wheel is made of a different metal to the cogs it engages with, so expands at a different rate in the heat. Result? Drive wheel won’t turn at all. This is the thing. I wouldn’t advise being tempted to buy one of this make.

Draper hand drill

I kept going with it, but by the end of the day and several blisters later was about ready to hurl the thing as far as I could throw it, except I didn’t want to add injury to insult and maim either my new neighbours or anyone in Benfeita way down below.

Enter said new neighbours; Richard and Kristin (who’ve just bought the quinta below ours). Richard offered to lend me his power drill which he promptly produced from their van. What a difference this made! It was even enough to tempt Aonghas and Oonagh to lend a hand the following morning while it was still cool enough that the river beach didn’t present an irresistible rival attraction.

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