Permaculturing in Portugal

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

Getting civilised

If there’s one thing I’m quickly learning about life here, it’s that you just have to go with the flow. Looking around the quinta at everything that needs doing I scarcely even know where to start — some brambles here, some bracken there … but aching muscles too accustomed to shoving no more than a mouse around all day are forcing me to slow down, just be with the land, settle in, inch a few root hairs into the soil. The soil smells delicious. The taste of the water is wonderful and has an energy and vitality to it that only water that hasn’t been killed by chemicals has.

After 3 days of trying to cram an ever increasing number of bits and pieces into the tent, I woke up this morning and moved up to the house, cleaned the dust, maize stalks, olive pits and eucalyptus leaves off the old table and set up a kitchen. With coffee on the brew, fresh orange juice to hand, and this for my morning view, I’m seriously wondering what else I need.

Morning view

Here’s the kitchen. The angle on the table is the table, not me.

Morning view

And here’s my bedroom.

Morning view

I’m meeting many more people in the area. There are a large number of estrangeiros here, more than a few who’ve been here more than 10 years, quietly living and working in the hills and valleys around the village. Perhaps it’s just these rosy-tinted spectacles I have on right now, but when communication is relaxed and unhurried, gentle and generous, it feels so much more genuine. There is a deep peace here, a timeless rhythm that’s simultaneously soothing, reaffirming and reinvigorating. Whether it’s there objectively or not matters not — life is hard for everyone in its own way — what matters is that it’s possible to touch what’s essential and feel that deep contentment that fills the void no amount of possessions or rushing about can fill.

Quite what I’d do without the laptop though is another thing …

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  1. Quinta do Vale April 21, 2009

    Will be over later in the week. But isn’t it time you paid me a visit?!!

  2. sophie April 21, 2009

    oh it looks fantastic! lovely to hear how much you are enjoying it. look forward to seeing you soon :)

  3. sophie April 23, 2009

    yes, a visit to you is well overdue! but we have my mother and sister here at the mo, plus trying to sort out paperwork for selling the other quinta – so even busier than usual… when do you go back?

  4. Quinta do Vale April 24, 2009

    Tuesday evening. Planning on coming over your way tomorrow. You up for a brief visit?

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