Starting to take shape!

The Ecositana team were on site bright and early, Setting our alarm clock has become a thing of normality now and we find ourselves once again looking forward to the weekend when we don’t have to get up in the dark.

There seems to be something strange happening in our outside bathroom during the evening as every morning when we open the door there is a very very strong cabbage smell. Not sure what it is, probabably drains but we’ve decided to leave it for now and not do any exploratory work to investigate as it shouldn’t be too long before we are shifting our base camp to the long house and starting to renovate the annexe and its bathroom. We know that there is a septic tank a short way away and that the grey water comes out of a pipe near one of the larger vines as we’ve come across grains of cooked rice and bits of sweetcorn close to it. Needless to say, that particular vine is the biggest, strongest and meanest of them all!

Wanda has really settled now and seems to like being a farm dog. Her favourite time of the day seems to be first thing in the morning when she can sniff out all the new and exciting smells that are around but even she doesn’t stray anywhere near the cabbage smell !

Today I was working indoors all day so I lit the fire, made a cuppa and got settled down to do my days work.  It seems quite chilly indoors, especially when just sitting at the computer.  It seems odd to think that in a few month time I will be throwing open doors and windows and switching the fan on.  Bring on the summer.

Mark on the other hand was dressed in his shorts and t-shirt and was soon hard at work clearing the land near the open well.  He exposed and beautiful granite wall which had been overgrown for a long time by the look of things.  Once the grass was cut back, we could also see more clearly the waterways from the well and the mine.  We had originally thought that these two together had contributed to the flow of the little brook.  Once it had all been levelled it seemed that the mine didn’t do much other than make the ground around it a bit soggy – Wanda paddled around and came out looking as though she was wearing mucky socks.  The water is always lovely blue-green cobalt and it would be interested to find out if that is due to different minerals.


Meanwhile, back at the long house, the Ecositana boys were working hard. We had a team of six on site today including Antonio and Raphael. I was impressed to see that they were all wearing their face coverings and also just how incredibly hard they were working. It was quite windy today and being up a scaffold on top of a roof is certainly not something I would want to do in such conditions. Before long, the large beam was in place across the top of the roof. We didn’t realise how poor a state the existing one had been in until we saw our new gluelam beam in place. it was twice the size of the old one and perfectly straight.

Mark and Wanda spent the whole day down on the bottom plot and did a sterling job. The brook was visible from end to end and we could clearly make out its pathway. Experimenting with making little dams, we could see that it would be fairly easy to keep a flow of water and possible look into diverting it to water some of the fruit trees. Something on our list to revisit in the summer months when it is a bit drier. We could see that something similar has been attempted before and there is a furrow going off to the left as though the idea had been for irrigation.

The majority of the terraces are now clear and weed free although there are a number of bonfire dotted around. To minimise the number of blackened areas when fires had been, we were hoping to keep the number of firs down to two or three. There is so much rubbish to burn we probably have nearer five or six ready for Saturday.

Today was Mark’s mum’s birthday.  It is always lovely to see them both and have a chat and today especially as it was a special day.  They both looked really well and we chatted about Coronavirus, the vaccine and the weather back in the UK.  It is really good that we made the leap and moved when we did – I think it would be impossible if we were trying to move now.

We also had a chat with Hollie, the boys are growing so quickly and it was lovely watching William doing his reading.  He’s one bright little lad.

Published by vinhadasalmas

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

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