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.


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