Blogging the stories of our family life on a yoga retreat in the magical village and valleys of Amieira, Central Portugal. Everyday we are tending this beautiful land and its stone dwellings in our journey towards self sufficiency. Moses is the Portuguese name of this place, meaning many mill stones. And, providently, is also the name of our beloved golden retriever, without whom, we'd never have found it. We love you Moses.
It’s been a great week. The sun burst out last week and with it, came Spring’s final vivacious splash of meadow flowers and fruits before it inevitably and gracefully bows out to make way for the impending arrival of Summer. It sure is already hot in the middle of the day, but the mornings and evenings are still, thankfully, refreshingly cool. Even nippy.
Josh with Eli kindly assisting, made the first pass at "Tom and Jerry"'s cherry trees this week. Oh my days are they delicious! Half a bucket went in a couple of days. Here’s proof….
Von planted in some extra veggies into 4 more of her new beautifully crafted permaculture compost beds. I think we now have hot peppers, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, butternut squash, red and white cabbage, cauliflowers, more broccoli, more lettuces and strawberries all in situ happily growing. I’ve also seen evidence of seed trays planted up with yet more goodies and a sack of tatters ready to go in once we’ve worked out the best place for them to grow in the heat of the next few months. The guys round here plant their potatoes in Jan or Feb and are now harvesting. So we might be a tad late. We’ll see.
Von has also impressively transformed Harry’s house this week in 2 days flat. It now resembles a kind of Moroccan boudoir. Seriously, it does. Have a sneak in the video below. It’s a wee bit surreal cos suddenly we now have a proper home to enjoy with all our stuff from our old life in London surrounding us. Yet when you look out the window it’s not really very New Cross is it? The cherry on the cake (alright enough of cherries already) is our beloved bed. For 4 nights now we’ve slept deeply, and boy what a difference it’s made to rejuvenate properly at night.
Last Sunday, we went for an outing to the pretty little nearby xisto (pronounced sheestoo, means slate stone) village of Alvaro organised by ‘Champagne’ Ines who works in Oleiros council. Much of the village has been restored with European funding and they’ve done a top job. We picked up a few cool ideas on how to restore our own xisto houses too. After the walk and the lunch, we went kayaking down this curvy and picturesque stretch of the River Zezere. The kids did great paddling a few kilometres downstream and did heroically well paddling back upstream into a fairly stiff headwind. Nice one kids. You rock.
Finally, an update on Moses. The place not the dog. For those who don’t know, we are staying (some would say squatting) now in Bacelo which is the house (sorry, Estate) of "Tom and Jerry" Moses is another place separate to Moses, almost bordering it but not quite, consisting of 4 falling down old stone houses in 2 hectares of forested terraced land, 10 minutes walk down the valley, a little more remote, with no roofs or water supply or electricity connected yet. Which is why The Winters and Michelle are currently staying (squatting) at Bacelo until we’ve finished (to do that we obviously need to start at some point) renovating everything there.
Anyway back to the plot (assuming there is one), I think we are now waiting for a couple of things to happen. As the rains have stopped, Pedro the road maker can finish his other projects and begin ours, carving out the new terraces we need for the green houses, water tanks, sports area and, of course, the yoga sala at the very top of it all. Sounds like the road work could begin July, sometime, maybe later. Not holding our breath though. We also found cool carpentry and building firms that seem to understand what we want to achieve restoring our houses using mainly the materials we can find on the land and are prepared to work alongside us to do it. But we’ve yet to see a budget. If the budget is good, if we see it, we hope to appoint them and they might be able to start in August. Possibly. Depending on other things apparently. We’ll fill you in on when we know anything more (which implies we know something now, which we don’t really).
However, and it is a big ‘however’, the land down at Moses is looking utterly outstanding. All by itself. With no help at all whatsoever from us. These last 7 photos are just a few of the many we've taken this week, although they simply don’t convey the experience of being in a place that is so inherently magnificent. Truly breathtaking. We love Moses. We really do. One day we will live there. And grow more things there. And entertain there. And make new friends there. And grow old there. And eat more cherries in the sun. And olives, and other tasty home grown stuff too. But as you probably can tell, it’s just we’re not entirely sure when that day will be. It doesn’t matter though, cos the journey to get to Moses is already proving to be a whole heap of fun.