Monthly Archives: October 2013

What Are The Goals?

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I remember that in the last post I promised to talk about our plans or goals for this property.

Strategy

We would like to put 10 years of hard work into establishing a system which is as self-sufficient as possible. Which means that what we can’t produce ourselves we want to barter for within a community of like-minded friends and neighbors.

We want our fruit and veg, olive oil, eggs and poultry from chickens and ducks, cheese and milk from sheep, fish from our fish ponds. We want to build our house. We want honey from our bees. Wax and olive oil as basis for organic creams, soaps, shampoos and conditioners. We want medicinal herb garden to make tinctures and remedies and we want some sort of mushroom production.

Our friends grow their own wheat for making bread and I’m not sure if they grow rice as well but they might. So there is a possibility for bartering.

Tactics

Our quinta is a natural water line, so before the planting season starts in January we would like to dig out 3 fish ponds,

top terrace for the 1st pond. No olive trees will be affected, there is more space than the pic shows

middle terrace for the 2nd pond

3rd pond in the meadow

convert the existing unfinished water tank into a fish tank for breeding fish (tilapia mostly),

it just needs bottom and re-enforced walls

build a green house and start to germinate seeds into seedlings to give them a better surviving chance in our first year of planting,

create raised beds for our fruit and veg.

These goals are a MUST in the first year.

The ongoing projects are retiling the existing shed roof,

the existing tiles are really brittle

and building a big communal kitchen and bathroom.

Existing walls for future kitchen and bathroom

In April we’ll also be able to get bees, and as soon as we can spare our attention, we would like to build a chicken coop and buy a few chickens.

By spring we would need to get a bore hole and get a bigger inverter and extra batteries for solar system, so we can run non-sensitive equipment like fridge/freezer and washing machine through them.

We also need to build a root cellar.

The house is in the works, but we won’t start anything until the planting finishes next year.

So as you can see, our hands are full right now. There are also extra challenges every day, but we are loving it all.

In the next post I’ll start talking about what’s been done to the land so far.

Tchau!

Arrival Part 2 and What Kind of Land Have We Got?

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There is a lovely restaurant on top of Monsanto mountain, Taverna Lusitana, which is where we went to celebrate buying our land in May. If you ever in the area, go there. The views are out of this world, although to get to the top you have to climb a pretty steep hill.

So the evening was spent in a company of unexpected friends whom we met for the first time just that morning, Martin and Ann, plus Alex’s cousin, Steve, who drove the caravan for us all the way from England and who was a relentless slave driver to get the caravan onto the land.

Steve, if you read this, you were as good as gold. Come again any time!

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Thursday night, 26th of Sept Steve went home unfortunately, and me and Al were left to fend for ourselves.

So, what kind of land did we buy?

It’s a 1.4 hectares agricultural plot of land with rich sandy clay soil, a small barn, a well and a seasonal stream on one of the sides of the property.

We have 67 olive trees, over 50 young cork trees, and around 40 fruit trees. There is a defined orchard, a meadow and a few terraces.

Everything is largely overgrown with brambles, there are a couple of small quarries with granite which is plentiful in the area of Idanha-a-Nova, a couple of unfinished brick walls which the previous owner wanted to make into a house, an unfinished water tank and a lot of rubbish and broken glass around the barn which needs to be cleaned off.

But the soil is rich, the landscape is promising especially if you want to follow permaculture principles and harvest plenty of water, and the view on Monsanto mountain is to die for.

The view from the top

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The view from the bottom corner

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I’ll talk about what we want to do in the next post, peeps.

Over and out.

Hello, peeps!

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This is just a temporary look for the promised blog, everyone!

I’ve decided to try WordPress but I’m not impressed so far. With a free blog I’m not even allowed to download my own template so I’d have to keep digging for something more suitable. Maybe even go with Blogger which is very familiar to me although not very trustworthy 🙂

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Quick recap for anyone who doesn’t know the back story  or stumbled onto this blog by mistake.

March 2013 – me and Alex decided on looking for the land to try and go off-grid.

May 2013 – within 3 weeks the land is found in Portugal and bought straight away.

September 23rd  2013 – we moved!

Now, I will be writing separate posts on

– how to choose your land

– the process of buying the land in Portugal

– moving to Portugal

because this is something both me and my husband had to figure out by ourselves and I wish somewhere out there we could have just read it all, but this will not happen today.

September 23rd we arrived to Monsanto after 9 hour drive and had to park in Relva square because

a) it was way too late  to get onto the country roads.

b) we had no keys for the barn and had only a vague memory where our quinta (farm) is actually situated.

Sept 24th the situation with the road became clearer. It was absolutely inaccessible for the caravan, so the rest of the day was dedicated to unloading the caravan, putting everything into our 4 wheel drive and driving it all to the shed.

We had couple of options available:

– hiring a digger to make the road accessible

– or asking our nearest neighbor if we can use his field and cut the fence to our property for a better access.

No need to mention that the second option was preferable and by the end of the day we negotiated with the neighbor the when and how.

Wed 25th after a very trying morning, digging bits of the road, shoveling the stones from the bit of the fence and slightly scraping the caravan with our terrified cat inside we finally made it to our land and settled down!

To be continued…