24 little hours ..

What a difference a day makes!  24 hours ago we were wrapped up in warm coats and hats with the snow blowing down through the mountains and freezing our noses and ears.  Today, is the complete opposite.  The sky is blue, the sun is out and it’s a perfect day for pegging out the washing and working on the land.

We had a late start, with a leisurely breakfast followed by our morning walk with Wanda.  As we were not expecting any visitors, we left the gates locked and made our way around the terraces. It doesn’t seem to make any difference how many times we walk the land, we always chat about our plans for the house, the land and having friends and family come to stay. We are looking forward to the day when we can share this with everybody.

We decided to take a couple of buckets to gather up the windfalls and pick oranges for juicing. There are so many on the trees, the branches are laden with fruit and and bending with the weight of it all.  It smells lovely down where most of the orange trees are and we always have our daily Vit C fix when we arrive at that terrace.


Contented to have a day where we were just pottering about instead of full on pruning of the olive trees and vines, we set our stall out to tidy the area in front of the annexe.  I split some little flowers that looked a bit like marigolds and spread them around in the bed under the olive tree.  The ground was very uneven with lots of weeds, rubbish and dead leaves so the next job was to get this tidied up.  The leaves were raked and bagged, the weeds pulled up and the pathway in front of the annexe given a good brush.

The orange tree outside the bathroom was quite overgrown and we could see that the roots were affecting the path.  We knew that this would be in the way when we come to do the extension, so decided that it might as well have a couple of its branches taken off now.  The blade on the chainsaw is blunt and we need to get into Castelo Branco to buy a new one, so for the time being used a hand saw. There were a lot of oranges on this tree too, so they were picked and added to our bucket ready for juicing later.


Next in need of a little haircut were the Olive trees in front of the annexe.  Loppers in hand we set about giving them a bit of a trim.  We did notice that some of the trees have quite a lot of olive knot on them, and decided that we need to do a bit of googling to find out how we should go about tackling this.   It’s always a bit tricky to find reliable advice as so often there are contradicting opinions.  I’m very fortunate to know a very knowledgeable young man from my home town of Withernsea, who is also a curator of Wisley RHS.  We decided that we would take some photographs and send them over to Matthew to ask his opinion and what his thoughts were about treating it.

The olive branches were loaded on to the ride-on tractor and taken to one of yesterdays bonfire sites ready for the next fire.  I guess that will be the case for a fair few months until they are prohibited due to widespread fire risk. We made a mental note that we would need to get in touch with the authorities again to book fires in for the next weekend.  

By late afternoon we were pleased with our days works and did some final finishing touches by getting some of our garden ornaments out of storage and putting them out.  Some of our old favourites which had been given to us by Mark’s dad were first out the box and included the 2 stone heads that had guarded our front door in the UK and a brightly coloured painted frog which had been bought for us during one of the lovely weekends we had spent together in Withernsea.  Mixed in with these were some of the handmade Christmas given made by my sister Twiggy.  We have so many lovely things that eventually will be dotted around the plot and enjoyed on our daily walks.


By now it was getting late and the natural 5.30 black out curfew was fast approaching. We packed away the tractor and the gardening equipment, locked up the longhouse and had our evening stroll around the Quinta. The mild afternoon was being replaced with a very chilly evening and we were glad to get back indoors.

I’d prepared a roast chicken dinner which we could smell cooking as we got back indoors. WE just had time to have a facetime call with family before sitting down to eat and reflect on our day. After dinner, we juiced the oranges we had collected earlier in the day and were surprised to see that we had 2 and a half litres from only one of the buckets. The juice was bright orange and tasted sweet. As we had run out of contained, we decided to leave the remaining bucket to juice in the next couple of days.

Published by vinhadasalmas

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

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