March 17, 2012 at 12:11 am #371588caddieParticipant
My friends and I went on a tour of Spain and Portugal last November.
When I saw the eucalypts I thought about this thread and wondered if we were any where near the farm!
Personally if I was going to move to that area I would chose Portugal over Spain.
Seemed softer, more my king of country.March 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm #371589BobbeeMember
What a shame we haven’t heard from BM for so long. I wonder what she is up to now.
:hug: :hug: :hug:April 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm #371590Burra MalucaMember
Aw guys – you were thinking of me! :hug:
I’m crawling back, somewhat battered and shaken, after what were without doubt the hardest couple of years of my life. Anyone who hasn’t cared 24 hours for a bedridden, demanding relative while they are rapidly losing their marbles couldn’t possibly understand how exhausting it is. I won’t bore you with details, but I’m glad to say that I managed to keep going right to the end, through hell and high water, and have lived to tell the tale. I had to go back to the UK for ten weeks to sort out his affairs, and I’m finally back home, able to sleep at night, no longer with my back aching continuously, able to spend hours every day on the farm, and almost able to think straight again! 😛
I haven’t been completely idle though – I’ve been reading up on permaculture and ecology and related things, whenever I could think straight enough and the old man was asleep and not calling me, and I’ve also been involved with an American permaculture forum, trying to get my head around yet another way of viewing the world. They say that travel broadens the mind, and it’s really expanded my vision moving from the UK to Portugal, and then getting to know all you guys, and then mixing with yet another mind-set has broadened things yet again and I’m now a firm believer in the benefits of sharing knowledge and experience on an international scale. So I’ll probably bore you all with endless links to stuff that I’ve found interesting and think might help you all. But not just yet. I’ll be back sometime in the next day or two and post up photos of what the boys have been up to on the farm, and report on the successes and failures (lots of those!) of our experiments, and what I’m hoping to get up to next.
Here’s just one photo to start you off – the sight that greeted me the day I returned from the UK.
My apricot tree, and TWO dear friends!April 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm #371591dianneParticipant
glad to hear you back and happier, bore away :tup: looking forward to your updates.April 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm #371592caddieParticipant
Welcome back.April 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm #371593BobbeeMember
Hi Burra Maluca, it’s so nice to hear from you again. :wave:
Congratulations on a job well done with the elderly relative, not an easy task at all, but so rewarding after all is done because you know you did a damned difficult job well and with love. Good on you!!!! :hug: :hug: :hug:
I will look forward to your updates and the links, any extra info is always welcome. There is always something else to learn. 🙂
:hug:April 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm #371594fruitfulMember
Hi Burra Maluca,
Just found this thread and it is AMAZING. I think I saw an intro from similar to this on another forum but I could never find it after the first time I read it. Also I couldn’t find your intro from the link on your first page :shrug: . Anyway, that is neither here nor there because this thread has had me enthralled from the first word!!! I’m blown away by the huge change you guys have made and the great success (loads of hard work I understand) you have had over the years. Can’t wait to hear and see more of what you have been doing.
I hope that you recover from being “carer” to your uncle for so long. :hug:April 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm #371595sue eMember
hello Burra. I too have just discovered this thread and have really enjoyed looking at all your photos and reading your posts. thanks 🙂April 16, 2012 at 6:22 am #371596Burra MalucaMember
It’s hard to know where to start after so long and so many changes. We’ve had problems with predators which have twice managed to get in and kill all the pigeons. We’re going to build a more secure place for them and try again. The rabbits were all wiped out with disease caught from wild rabbits. Twice. Which was exactly what happened years ago in Wales, so I think we’re going to give up on rabbits.
For the chickens we deveolped this…
…aka the ‘sodding great electric fortress’. It seemed a bit of overkill, but it does seem to work and so far we haven’t lost any poultry from within its bounds. Within the fortress are various runs and pens for different breeds and ages of chicken, and we also have Muscovy ducks and a pair of geese, who turned out to be both female so we’ll have plenty of eggs even if none of them ever hatch.
These three Musovies are all sisters, called April, May and June.
We also have some lavender ones.
They do seem a bit fond of nibbling my trees. I’m going to try making some bone sauce, which is an old European recipe made by pyrolising old bones. Apparently the scent will keep animals off any tree it is painted onto for many years so I’ve been saving bones for the last few months so I can experiment with it to see if it works.
We’re experimenting with breeding chickens. These are a local Portuguese breed, Pedrez, which come in naked-neck or full-feathered varieties.
I’m messing about crossing them with other barred breeds like Marans and Cream Legbar to introduce green and brown eggs, and I’d also like to keep a black Portuguese cockerel so I can produce a sex-linked cross, but I’m still in the early stages yet!
We also bought another little patch of land just outside the village.
It’s about an acre, with twenty cork oaks, a load of pines, and a grassy patch with a few olive trees. We thought the pines would be useful, the oaks should bring in a bit of income every now and then, and the grassy bit would make a good place for any relatives who might want to build a log cabin. We want to mess about thinning the pine out and turning it into a forest garden. It’s on a north-facing slope, which is the cold side for me, as we’ve discovered that in the heat of summer a cooler, shadier patch of land might have much to offer. We might use part of it as a cool, shady tree nursery area.
Some of you might have already noticed the other major additon to the family. I’ve been so tied up with looking after the old man that poor Teia, my donkey, has been rather neglected and lonely. But then we were offered an older gelding called Jerico. His original owner was, again, an old lady who had died and he’d spent the last ten or fifteen years living with her grandson. When he heard that we already had one donkey, he offered him to us. At first I decided against the idea as I was so tied up with my caring duties I thought it wouldn’t be fair to expected the boys to look after yet another animal for me, but as it turned out my other half, who is a little nervous of the rather hormonal and unpredictable Teia, secretly wanted a nice quiet older donkey he could handle by himself. He lived ten miles away and getting him home involved a very long, slow walk, done in shifts so that someone was always with the old man but no-one got too tired. It turns out Jerico is the most amazingly docile, gentle creature on earth, who adores people and whose main ambition in life is to have a human stand and rub the side of his face. This is him bonding with my other half the day after he arrived.
The garden is slowly taking shape. One our major discoveries is perennial bush cabbage, in particular the Portuguese Galega cabbage.
I’m still experimenting as I’ve heard conflicing information about it, but it seems to grow for between three and five years and you harvest a few leaves at a time from each plant.
And just to finish off, here’s a photo of the boys hard at work on the farm. 😉April 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm #371597mauziMember
Hi Teia, I have enjoyed reading your thread. You are doing a fabulous job.April 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm #371598dianneParticipant
I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE your lavender duck. guess whats going on my ever expanding list of must haves :tup:
ps. place looks great :tup:
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