Thursday, February 25, 2010

Applerazzi in the new apple orchard

Too wet to work. So fun and games with water. In the video below the applerazzi chase River past the waterfalls to the new apple orchard. Its another rainy rainy day. Building work stopped. Tree planting in breaks between showers. Lounge converted into a temporary seed shed. Love it.

Got to give a big shout out to an old friend who facebooked us last night. Becky Crow, now Gooden. Check out the stunning jewelery pieces she designs and makes in Brighton. Outstandingly beautiful.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

On the edge of wilderness

Hey all

Very strange week just went by. Had 3 days off for Carnival. No school. Josh turned 13 and we all went to Coimbra for a day out and some Italian Pizza.  Unfortunately, we came back home to find most of our electrical appliances burnt out from a power surge, including our bore hole water pump. As a result, we've had no running water for 5 days.

The strange thing is that this last episode in our adventure out here in Amieira, has kind of served as a wake up call. We live in the midst of beautiful wild mountain forests, far from civilization, on the edge of a what often seems like a vast wilderness. We made a decision to search for a life more independent of the systems of control that we were engulfed by, unknowingly for most of it, in London. When we arrived, we knew we simply weren't yet ready for complete self sufficiency. But we wanted to journey on a road towards it. Last year we had a bore hole dug 100 metres below ground and bought a thermodynamic water heating system. However the borehole requires electricity for the pump, and when that goes, no water.

Water is life. Electricity isn't. Wake up. Something needed to change.

So this morning, Josh and I plumbed in the water mine tubes bringing fresh drinking water all the way down to a barrel in the kitchen, fed by gravity not electricity, and then from the barrel to an outdoor tin bath (next to the pergola covered deck), heated simply by a wood fire underneath it. We just had our first outdoor bath and it was an absolutely spectacular experience. The water was so hot we couldn't get in it for half an hour. With towels lining the tin to protect us a bit from the heat produced by the burning embers still aglow under the bath, we bathed beneath the moon and stars gazing out down the folding valleys for a good hour. It began to rain but even that was welcome relief from the sauna level heat.  The water was just as hot at the end as when we got in. A forever hot outdoor bath. Exquisite. 

And such joy to know that today we've put in one more thing, and a splendid one at that, to reduce our dependence on the system and take us one more step down the road towards self-sufficiency. If and when the global energy plug gets pulled, we'll still be able to enjoy the daily luxury of a hot bath. And in these uncertain times, that feels reassuringly satisfying to know. 

I'll leave you with a little vid of Eloise and Simba the puppy. As the Bajans say, too sweet.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

Such a beautiful film this. Von says the book is even better. I've felt like this often. That we're able to travel, even if just in our imaginations, back and forth, past and future and present, choosing the scenes of our lives we'd like to play out. I felt it the very first time I met Vonetta at 19 and saw her, really saw her, as a 30 year old woman, as my wife, with our 2 kids asleep next door. It was like I momentarily glimpsed the future, (real or imagined, it makes no difference to the story) and asked her to marry me. She must have seen the same in some way because she said "yes".

And here in the land of Moses, far, far away from the metropolises of the world, there's not a day that passes where I don't journey in some way again into the future to imagine a deciduous garden forest that I'm walking in around here where all the paths are the colour of red and gold from the fallen leaves in Autumn. Or every now and again will have a little chat with my 70 year old self to hear the wisdom that my 37 year old self just hasn't grasped yet (which, by the way, regularly and ironically includes reprimands for not submersing myself in the present). What is that if not time travel? Vivid imagination? Delusional tendencies?

Or maybe it's just that time is not so linear as we have been led to believe here in the West. Maybe time is more like a pool you look down in and things rise and fall to the surface to be seen. Whatever. Watch the film, read the book. Just yummy.

Couple of videos to show. First is of Eloise's 11th (oh my days!) birthday and the next of some pine tree clearing around the houses. Electrician starts today (yipee!). Off up the hill now to brief. Sweet. Toodaloo peeps.


And finally, after feeling a little bad about chopping so many trees, just got emailed this little nugget about annual tree murders. Worth a look. Staggering numbers felled each year.