Tag Archives: chickens

April Update, Part 2


I forgot to tell that George (our cockerel) injured his leg by attacking Alex’s dad. Silly sod! For the last month he’s been hopping about on one leg and mostly sitting near the caravan while chickens wander around lost without their beloved leader.

He doesn’t walk them around, so they munched on all the grass near the caravan instead. The only nice thing about it? George is nice as pie to us. In the morning we call for him to hop next to the door of chicken coop so we can carry him up the steps and in the evening he is patiently waiting for us to take him back down. Poor thing!

All the trees we bought on Fundao market – pear Rocha, Conference pear and a Sharon fruit are doing really well.

This is pear rocha, further down in the field are conference pear and sharon fruit

Our blueberry bushes have the most beautiful flowers on them!


red currant

a flat bed of onions before mulching – 360 of them

Now these are our plants after the growth spurt and especially that blood red full moon. I’m sure that made everything grow even faster!

peas, mangetout and carrots

Peas in flower!

yummy coriander

the same bed as in previous post 2.5 weeks later!

Another bed which was barely visible 3 weeks before now is sporting kale, brussel sprouts, marigolds and beetroot among garlic and onions

beets are on the rise!

And look at these tomatoes and a first marigold opening!

I’ve planted borage (borago officinalis) at the bottom of my peppers as a companion plant and it’s looking very healthy.


thyme is growing between tomatoes

courgettes survived the frosts and are finally growing well

first strawberries

It’s crazy how different kale and cabbages look by the end of April!

lettuce has exploded!

so as potatoes!

We are eating our beautiful rainbow chard now!

We had a massive barbeque on the 16th of April, and our Portuguese neighbor Manuela gave us an avocado tree!

BTW, 25 people at the barbeque? Hard work! Phew… However we met so many new wonderful people from around here. I am absolutely chuffed that we are surrounded by great like-minded and good-natured folks.

One of the couples we met, Chris and Di, are building their strawbale house, so we have to visit them and see how it looks, because surely it won’t be that much different from a cob house?

Another couple, Pam & Mark just had their glamping site featured in a newspaper, so we can’t wait to see what they made on their land! Anyone fancy staying in a tipi? Here is their site Tipping Tipis!

At last, two more pics and my update for April is done.

Our rose bush started producing beautifully fragrant roses that I used in one of my perfumes last year (it came out wonderfully).

and while I was having a girls day off last Monday of April, baking a sinfully sweet Russian cake and drinking mojitos, Alex sneaked out and brought home a surprise for me…

Meet Rach & Sage!

We’ve got sheep!

They are 3 months old, both female and cost us 42.50 euros each, but Alex had to catch them himself 🙂 They are absolutely adorable and very intelligent.

This is it for April, tchau!

This Blasted Rain!


I know I’ve been remiss in updating this blog as much as I should, peeps, but this blasted rain  gives you zero inspiration, I swear! On the other hand I managed to read and review tons of books for my bookish blog *grinning*

I kind of feel uncomfortable even mentioning rain here considering our friends and family suffering from horrible weather in UK.  Still, you would want to know how it is in Portugal at this time of year if you want to move here, right?

I’ll just try to give quick updates on different topics.


it’s total marsh land here

yep, those bricks sunk right into the mud

It’s been pretty much raining non-stop for 2 months. The wind is very strong and changes direction all the time. The land is so full of water, water comes out of the ants hills, everything is so soaked.

The car got stuck a few times on our dirt tracks. Last time it took 4 hours to get it out of the mud. Now we are driving to the entrance of the neighboring land where the road is still good and leave the car parked there, while we’re walking through that land to our quinta. It’s 5 mins walk but it’s worth it for our peace of mind.

We’ve been stupid enough to plop our caravan on the first free spot when we arrived, and while it’s not at the lowest part of the land it still collects too much water which is why we are in the mud up to our eyeballs.

I’ve got another spot that I have my heart set on, which I think will be ideal for our house in the future, but the trick is to wait until everything is dry before moving the caravan, which brings us to the second problem – how to move caravan up the hill. We’ll see…

this site is just on top of the summer kitchen, sheltered from the wind, partly shaded and it doesn’t collect water which is the most important part. If you keep the olive tree on your right as a support beam you can incorporate it into the future house without cutting it down. There is enough space.

Kitchen is visible on your right, on your left are stairs, toilet and chicken coop.

The wind has been so strong, sometimes I lay awake at night worried about our tarpaulin frame and our greenhouse. Yes, we have a greenhouse, which brings me to our second update 🙂

Preparations for planting

We’ve built a greenhouse.

Apparently you can buy a second-hand poly tunnel in Portugal but it will cost you an arm and a leg, because it’s mostly imported. It seems that only businesses buy and sell huge greenhouses, there is really very little for an average consumer. So after few hours looking for one online, we just decided to build it ourselves.

It’s 2 sheets of plastic on top of a frame of eucalyptus branches, and some stones to keep the plastic down. So far it held through some really strong wind.

When it gets warmer, we replace the plastic with green netting, otherwise it will get damaged in the harsh sun.

4 raised beds with poles in between for beans and tomatoes

We’ve built 4 raised beds in place of the vineyard. The soil there is bad – sandy clay with lots of schist (stones). So we tried hugelkultur on the first bed (closest to you), but the bastard bed took so long to make, that the rest of them we made from just compost, mulch and good soil on top of the bad one.

the trenches underneath the posts are being filled up with old olive branches and compost

As to compost, there is an abandoned estate close to us with lots of empty cow sheds. There are years of decomposed manure inside, so the guys are just clearing them out and bringing it to our place.

round raised beds inside the orchard

We’ve decided on round raised beds inside the orchard for aesthetics sake. I’m fencing them off with stones from our quarries, but it’s a work in progress and not a priority right now. Right now they are being mulched, and we are adding compost and getting rid of the weeds.

chicken fence

I’ve fenced off the orchard with green netting, otherwise the chicken just go through the gaps in the fence.

I’m also creating paths (standing on one in this pic) with small stones from the quarries I can not use for fencing. So far it’s been great for deterring mud, and it’s another work in progress.


We are definitely behind on planting right now due to the sheer amount of rain which made working with soil impossible. There is stuff in the greenhouse of course.

kohlrabi, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cress

The tray is made of broken pallet.

peas, onions, herbs, courgettes

I don’t quite remember what we have in those trays right now, but it’s all labeled 🙂 We bought some plastic trays from Fundao’s market and in local agricultural shops. They are very convenient.

I’ve planted some daffodils, strawberries, sorrel and thyme in the orchard, but I’ll be doing much more in the next few days now that rain has stopped.

We’ve also tried planting potatoes in the field, but the chickens digged them out! *exert expletives* So some of them are planted in the orchard and some of them will go into one of the raised beds in vineyard which I’ve fenced off today.

hello there, Sir Scorpion!

We’ve seen our first scorpion while working with soil. It was tiny and it will make you ill if you are stung, but we were told that their poison won’t kill. Still this one had to die.

We’ve also planted two new types of pear and a sharon fruit tree outside the orchard. Two hazelnuts that we bought previously are doing well along the fence.


Are laying! It took them two months to start, and they seem to like laying eggs near composting toilet which is why we left hay nests for them there. We take 5 to 9 eggs from those nests everyday, and they are delicious 🙂

Cockerel George also started crowing (and he doesn’t shut up). He crows when it’s still dark and then when the sun rises, and he would not stop until you let him out of the coop. Talk about an effective alarm clock. He also became quite an aggressive bastard, and attacks you if you spook him. He pinched me couple of times today. I swear once we have chicks, he goes into the soup, although Alex defends him when I say that.


orange marmalade

I’ve made my first marmalade from our oranges, and it’s delicious! We almost finished the first batch, and I have oranges ready to go into the second. Just need the ground to dry out, so I can get the fire going.

pirojki (пирожки)

I’m missing having an oven dreadfully, so I’ve been trying Russian recipes for fried pastries instead. Everyone seems to like them as snacks 🙂


I’ve tried a recipe for donuts when we went to visit our new friends Sandra and Brett.

The donuts were fine, but to make proper airy ones I need to make them very liquid. Might have to ask my mother to send me this

New Friends

We met Sandra and Brett from Pedrogao, whom you might know from their blog. They have a wonderful quinta, and we had a lovely evening together, which I can’t wait to repeat at our place.

We also met Stefan and Zoe in the beginning of January who after talking to us over few emails, courageously drove from Netherlands with their baby daughter to look for land in Portugal.

I’m happy that they managed to find their piece of land and sign a promessa. We’ll see them again in summer when they come back to sign the final paperwork for their land.

I think so far these are all the news, and I hope I’ll be able to update the blog more regularly in the future 🙂

Hugs and ciao, everyone!

Portuguese Chickens Affair


I know, I know, it’s a terrible name! 🙂

Monday after we built our chicken coop we drove to Fundão, a beautiful town 40 mins away from us with a market which happens every Monday.

outside the market. It’s a pretty big space. Just follow the signs to the center of the town and you won’t miss it. Plenty of parking as well.

There is a usual variety of market goods – clothes, tools, shoes, household items and some souvenirs plus a two-story building with fresh fruit and veg, meat, bread and cheese products.

What we were really interested in is this little corner

only few vendors selling hens, cocks, ducks and rabbits but for all we know that might be because it’s winter

and this little alley


pretty good selection of trees, shrubs and seedlings! Cheap as well.

So far we made two trips to this market and bought 11 hens and 1 cockerel.

Alex suspects that it’s Lohman Brown breed, and it sure looks that way.

They supposed to start laying at 15-18 weeks, and we were told in Portuguese to wait for 3-4 weeks for the hens to start laying. I will give you an update when they will.

Very sweet hens, and a quiet gentle cockerel, so he doesn’t crow. Maybe he will when he gains some confidence, who knows? The pecking order has been established and it’s been fascinating to watch.

I named the cockerel George, and Alex is calling his second in command Giselda who is a very beautiful and fierce bird 🙂

Every time we get close to chicken yard George is the first one to run to us for some food, and he is hilarious. We also have a couple of adventurous hens who keep escaping and coming to see what we’re doing. So we either have to grab them or herd them back into the yard. For that reason I want to clip their wings tomorrow. If they escape with us being away, they might get lost or injured.

The prices.

Hens cost 6.5 euro each, a cockerel 12 euros.

Our cat Henry got curious in the first day, and then he stopped paying any attention to them, so if you have cats, your chickens will be fine.


We bought a big bag of feed and some corn. They also love fruit and veg scraps, remains of soups, rice or pasta and some fresh juicy grass of which we have plenty.

I am looking forward to our first eggs, and in the meantime I’ll try to take better pictures inside the coop and of our hens  and George in general.

Over and out and please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.