Permaculturing in Portugal

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

Simeon’s steps

The terraces on this quinta are well connected by sloping ramps and dozens of schist stone staircases, but the route we use most frequently between yurt and car has, until now, involved a scramble up a slope using damson trees as handrails. It’s not that we’re deliberately perverse; it’s the quickest and most direct route and half of the slope is already staired with a good set of steps. Quite why the steps run out half way I have no idea, but completing them has been on the job list for a good while.

The eldest son of friends from the local home education network back in Scotland has been staying and working with us for the last few weeks. After some epic strimming and clearing which finally saw the entire upper vineyard emerge afresh from under its overgrowth, Simeon was drawn to The Slope of the Missing Steps.

This is what resulted. Rather than imitate the existing style of stonework, he has taken a more organic approach to the problem of how to wind the steps through the damson trees and their roots. We now have a set of steps that is not only fit for purpose, but is full of character and a pleasure to use since each step is placed exactly where your foot wants it to be. Thank you Simeon!

Schist step construction

Schist step construction

Schist step construction

Simeon and his steps

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  1. michelle September 11, 2011

    lovely job.Well done to your guest.

  2. sarah September 12, 2011

    good job, can he come to my quinta?

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