Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Porco! And the loggers.

This is just a quick post today. Last weekend our lovely neighbours, Joao and Eugenia (who have fed us with lavish generosity at least one meal every day for the last 4weeks plus coffees and cakes and and and...), killed their 2 pigs early on a Sunday morning. It was difficult for us city folks with our vegetarian tendencies to deal with the proximity of the death of the animals we'd actually known, even if only for a little bit. But equally it was a remarkable occurrence to witness, because of the energy and life that the death of the pigs released to the family and wider community in the process. The meat will feed their family for a long time so it was a big deal. It was also both an impressive and exhausting biannual ritual for our neighbours. For the next 3 days, from morning til night, 6 or 7 people were in their house cutting and chopping and stuffing to make an enormous quantity of various kinds of chorrizo sausages, some with onions, some with bread, some just with the meat.

They are an outstanding family who we feel honoured to be getting to know. Joao has worked on this land his whole life and Eugenia knows all the medicinal qualities of the local plants here. They are teaching us so much every day, including, with immense patience how to actually speak Portuguese. They are a godsend in so many ways. Anyway, this is the video of Eugenia's incredible mother, Albertina, just minutes after gutting both pigs, shown in this clip with her 17 year old grandson Filipe. This little piece made all of us giggle, as I tried in vain to encourage Albertina to say a few words after the slaughter of the pigs. As you will see, she stoically resisted, saying nothing until the last moment when, with all her might, still waving a pretty sharp knife, she exclaimed just a single word. "Porco!" Or Pig, in Portuguese. Spectacular timing. Watch that knife. I was moving backwards the whole time, trust me.

And here's a brief skit from the kids too. Sorry for the swearing involved in this clip. Blame the home education for the exuberant levels of confidence beginning to be exhibited.

One final clip we had to take, as we drove on the winding road to Oleiros last week, we noticed these 2 huge machines chewing their way through the Eucalyptus forests. It was sad to see the trees destroyed so easily like this, but also somewhat amazing to see what machines in the hands of skilled operators can do. As you can tell we are learning heaps about rural life.

Next posts, I promise to update you with pictures of Sara and To's wedding and our 25th April Revolution weekend celebrations with Raquel and Francisco on his 91 cow, 250 hectare farm in Alintejo. Also met 2 new remarkable and delightful English neighbours yesterday just over the mountain top towards the Rio Zezere valley, Iain and Merle, who are planning to set up a tipi retreat there over the next few years. Will tell you more about all these adventures next time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spotty Salamanders, Deadly Lizards and Spitting Snakes. By Ellie.

Hi Guys!! I know its been a while since I last wrote, in fact, its been so long that we’ve been through 1 whole country of Spain so you’ve finally prompted me to writing a blog. So I thought just to make it easer I’ll make you a list of what we’ve been doing, and then write up about it. So here I go:

Seeing London, and my big brothers b-day!!
Hearing a meeeeeeoooooowwwwww under the deck of the plane
The trouble with caterpillars
Building a compost bin
Meeting High Hedgy the Hedgehog and Sir Sammy the salamander
Finding the snakes’ skin and Meeting the deadly lizard

Now I have a loooooot to write so I better get going!!

Seeing London town

When we got back all of our stuff was really dusty after 9 months of being in a loft and I’m allergic to house dust, so I had to sleep in my brothers bedroom and you must know how bad that’s got to be………for your brother.

Almost every day since we left grandma and poppops´s house to go and stay in a million pound yes, one million pounds rented by papas old boss, anyway we went into the centre of London and we saw: flat in central

The aquarium,T we played hide and seek in the trees in Hyde Park and went to the Princess Dianna childrens Park and saw the sights that you absolutely have to see.

#Happy birth day to you happy birth day to you happy birth day to Joshi happy birth day to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you guessed what day it is JOSHI´S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!

We had a great time speeding down the river Thames on a super fast speed boat!!

Then enjoyed sandwiches and cake made by my mama! Then we played tag in the top room of ahoy the Thames Sailing and power boating voluntary school.

The meeeeeeeeoooooooooowwwwwww under the plane deck.

Now you’re probably thinking what the hell is she talking about well if you would stop interrupting me I could tell you!!

It was a hectic morning the morning we were going to go back to Portugal, because we had had a party not a very big party but a party all the same. And we hadn’t seen angel for all of that evening so mama and papa though well we will leave her out to poop and then find her in the morning but dum dum dum duuuuuum

We could not find her and -because I had my shoes on- I went out to look for her.

But when I came in I still hadn’t found her! So mama got all hysterical because when she had left for England (bless her) she was a teenager and she had to leave her cat behind. So mama went outside and shouted at the top of her voice ANGEL!!!!!!!!!!! And o Meus Deus she came up and started meowing at mama’s feet. So we got her into her cat bag put her in the car on our laps and in time she crawled out of her cat bag and onto the window!! Oh my days she was mesmerised by the car and every thing rushing past her, her head going back and forth back and forth!!!!!!

When we had to say good bye to Moses and Angel as they were taken to be put in the heated hold.

(I need to go now but will finish this off after the weekend. And add more photos. Bye for now!!)

Our Big Back Garden

Hi everyone it’s been a while but it just means that when there is a blog you know there is going to be quality (I hope) and quantity.
We spent 4 months in London doing the things you do in many different places. We started off in Dulwich playing golf with my grandfather, baking cakes (nine months without apple crumble I could have died for a good oven!) with my grandmother, going to Dulwich village every other day for books and glasses and bread and… you get the picture. After our luxurious stay in Dulwich we moved uptown to a million pound flat (result) belonging to dad’s old boss just overlooking Hyde Park. We did the most obvious thing if you were to stay in central London, we visited London. I spent my birthday with my friends and cousins speed boating down the river Thames. We watched movies went to bed early (the next day!) went to the aquarium and just enjoyed the ten days we had of being in London town. After a few weeks in Dulwich we went back to being a Londoner, and Londoner means soufeast London blad ya get me. Spen’ a few days wiv me friends and loved angel to bits. Felt a’ bit strange bein’ home again as if we wasn’ supposed to be there as if i’ was time to move on bu’ we had to say goodbye. Living life as it was before is always kind of strange. It feels as if (you can’t feel anything physically of course) the past has come up and bit you on the bum and pulled you back a few years, it really brings back memories.
After a flight where mummy and I were positive that we heard a meow and maybe a whimper from the heated hold we stepped out stretched and were revitalised. I instantly felt that we were supposed to be here (that’s coming from mister ‘I want to live in Italy’). We went back and collected our stuff picked up a jetlagged dog and a catnip drunk cat and set off. After a long drive (involving two coffee breaks and an incident with the police (we went round the roundabout twice)) we finally got home for a midnight snack (or dinner) with Michelle, "Tom and Jerry" in our fweeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing house in Olieros, this felt like home and things to come (dumdumdum dum, dumdumdum dum). Olieros is great but we probably spent 500,000€ on petrol alone so we moved up to Amieira after "Tom and Jerry" had gone back to London.

My work so far has been shifting stones to make a step; helping build a dry toilet; helping build a brick s**t house; helping take down a brick s**t house; helping build a mimosa (highly flammable wood) and string s**t house (enough with the compost bin OK); cutting insane amounts of string (three blooming 5m balls); shifting more stones (for what purpose? I don’t know. WHATS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!!); shifting bricks (ha ha ha very funny); sorting out a grey water system; helping sort out a fresh water system (water is needed I guess); doing lots of lessons (that’s for any teachers reading) learning Portuguese; not shouting at Ellie (ha); putting up with Ellie’s shouting (ha ha); going to bed early (11 o’clock); waking up early (9:30); and being all in all a good little boy (when that happens we’ll all die and nine year old girls would invade our planet AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!). Every day (virtually) we’ve been going up to our neighbours Eugenia and João at the call, “MARIA, Anda Ca Beve Café!!!"
During the time we have been back I have saved a hedgehog from being run over (typical, you would think they would have learnt by now) and looked after a salamander for a day.
Hedgy the hedgehog was wondering along when suddenly a big mean car comes up the road. But luckily for Hedgy Super Josh comes to the rescue. Super Josh and his friends looked after Hedgie for the day and make him a house with food and water. Later that night Hedgy comes back to say thank you before wondering off towards the main road (yep they never learn).
Sammy the salamander was wondering along around his water mine when suddenly it began to rain. The rain flushed him out of the water mine and into a concrete irrigation tank. After a shout from his little sister Super Josh came to the rescue. He fished him out and made him a house by a bigger irrigation tank. Sammy stayed the day before going missing the next day (probably back to his water mine.
(I can see this becoming a cartoon. Super Josh dumdum dum Super Josh dumdududumdum)
We have been going to Calado (translated as shut up (one of the words that Eugenia has learnt along with “I love you”; “butt”; and “butter” (strange combination I know))) to catch up with everyone and play playstation 2 (I left my games there). Me and Ellie have started going to school on Tuesdays and Fridays with the class that I might be in (please, Faz favor, por favor, anything) and are learning Portuguese.

Can’t wait till I get some more stuff to write about but until then, Adeus.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Welcome to Moses

Welcome to our new blog all about the journey of our new life project in Amieira, a gorgeous and remote village in the middle of the hills and forests of Central Portugal. It is here that we - "Tom and Jerry", Michelle, Vonetta, Andrew, Joshua, Eloise and our accompanying pets (so far Moses the dog, Angel, Harry and Blue the cats) – have chosen to invest our lives in creating a place of outstanding natural beauty. We are inviting people from all over the world to come to this magnificent place in the hope they too can find peace and healing for their lives.

To find out how we found this place and came together, you can visit our previous blog at http://poopineurope.blogspot.com/ . We are still not sure what we will finally call this project. Several names are flying around including Zion among others but at the moment its simply called Moses, because that's what the first houses we saw and bought have been called for a hundred years. And its also the name of the winters dog. Which, providently, is actually the reason we are all here.

Over the next year we expect to be working unbelievably hard to prepare the land for self sufficiency, renovate our old stone xisto houses, build new accommodation and restaurants out of cob, and install the latest water and power systems ready for guests to stay with us from April 2009. Some people will come to practice yoga. Some might take part in photography and art workshops. Some could fish and explore the relatively undiscovered treasures of this part of the world by foot, by bike, by 4x4 or on horse back. Some will visit just to stop and deeply rest.

Below are a couple of videos to whet your appetite on our progress. Sorry 2 are wonky so you have to turn your head to see them; Andrew is a bit new to all this video publishing thing. We hope to get internet installed next week in "Tom and Jerry's" place so will be better able to publish our progress here every fortnight. Watch this space. We will be open for booking shortly, but in the meantime do get in touch by emailing itscalledmoses@gmail.com or to "Tom and Jerry" or Michelle's emails (we will add these on the contacts shortly).

Vonetta and Michelle putting the final touches on the new state of the art self build composting bins constructed out of mimosa trees:

Vonetta in Monsanto park at the top of Lisbon showing "Jerry" the stunning umbrella pines that she wants to introduce to land at Moses: