Fording the Brook

over the past month we have been slowly but surely clearing the terraces and although time consuming and often heavy going, we are pleased with our results to date.  Now that much of the overgrowth has been levelled, we can start to see the shape of our farm.  The terraces meander across the Quinta, in no particular order or shape. they look very relaxed, almost as though they have decided for themselves which route to take.   We have been able to get the ride-on tractor around each of the terraces moving between each of them in turn although some have had a steep incline to contend with.  However, there has always been a bit of an issue with the little brook and crossing to other other side to clear the furthest two terrace.  It wasn’t helped by the fact the banks were so overgrown, we couldn’t really make out the edges.

Today, we decided to try and get this sorted out and so Mark set about strimming, cutting, shovelling and clearing the little waterway.  Eventually, afetr several hours, we could finally see the extent of it’s passage across the plot and start to make plans of how to bridge it. The water seems to come from both the water mine and the overflow from the well, and we found that it was running at quite a pace even though a lot of the grass cuttings had fallen in to it.  We talked about perhaps making a tributary towards the orange grove as a form of irrigation.  There are numbers lengths of pipes around the plot which we presume were used or earmarked for just that.  When we came in the August of 2019, we remember that it was almost dry, so fully aware that this would not be an all round source of water.


For now, we placed the planks across the water again and managed to get the tractor over to the other side to clear the grass.  It has already had one cut since we’ve been here so I was able to lower the cutting blades and get it shorter still.  

The taller of the terrace banks were looking very untidy with lots of unwieldy vines reaching up into the olive trees so I set about trying to cut these back and tidy everything up.  I was quite unforgiving in my approach and not knowing if the vines were wild or trained I decided to give them all a good haircut.  The dead wood was piled up to make a bonfire along with the cuttings and branches that Mark had collected and we telephoned the office to book in a fire for Saturday.  There are a number of piles of rubbish and wood around the plot and we we were advised it would be ok to light all of them.  We just need to do it all on Saturday and if we don’t manage, will need to call her book and book another date.

Antonio and Raphael came by again and we had the opportunity to talk about the extension to the lounge, the glass, the quote and raising the roof on the barn.  They always seem amazed that Mark is out working in shorts and a t-shirt, we tell them we are from the north of England!

There were a lot of idea passed around and what may or may not be possible.  They asked if we could decide how we wanted things to look and then let them have a sketch.  I had noticed a facebook post a few days ago from one of my friends who is an architect, and decided to message him for a bit of advice about what may be possible and if it would be structurally sound.  I sent across the plans we had received in the notary when we signed the deed and some photographs of how things are now.  It wasn’t easy to explain what we had in mind but we gave it our best shot,  Mick was really helpful, came up with questions that we are aware of but don’t have the answer to – where the staircase will be, if we are having a log burner with a flue, where the drains are …. we arranged to take more photos and measurements tomorrow and send them across to him.

As the sun started to dip around 5pm, it felt really cold all of a sudden. Keen to see how our builders had got on we packed away the tractor and gardening equipment and locked everything away before taking an our evening stroll around the quinta. It is looking pretty smart, even though I do say so myself. There are a few untamed areas still dotted around – the cluster of sistas, the pine trees, the areas close to the water mine and well, Ther are also a huge list of other things such as trimming the vines and tress but we pick our battles and that is one for another day.

We bathed before dinner – pork chops and vegetable followed by semolina pudding with jam – we haven’t had since school dinner days. Mark had a facetime call with Helen and had a good chat with her and the kids. The kids are still able to go to school but this means Helen picking them up early and working late to make up her hours. We realised once again that we are very very fortunate to be living our dream.

Published by vinhadasalmas

a couple of fifty somethings who want to start a new life in rural Portugal

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