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The simple life in Portugal

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    Burra Maluca

    What a wonderful forum – somewhere I can talk about donkeys, homeschooling, permaculture, compost toilets, wildlife – all my favourite things in one place!!

    I’m living in a very rural area of Portugal with my husband, teenage son and bedridden uncle, accompanied by various critters including the Teia the donkey, a few chickens, three guinea pigs, a chinchilla and some bees, not to mention the wildlife which includes wild boar, hares, rabbits, incredible bugs, snakes, lizards and the occasional genet. We have spent the last three years failing to get our two acre garden going very well and are now trying to unlearn all our UK gardening skills and learn permaculture and waterwise gardening techniques. We also have an olive grove that is full of wildlife and ten acres of abandoned weed-infested grazing in desperate need of restoration. I homeschool my son, care for my uncle, spend far too much time reading, take the donkey for walks and play in the garden as much as possible, while attempting to learn Portuguese at the same time.

    I hope I can get to know lots of you and learn how you all manage to keep your gardens healthy as mine needs all the help it can get! I might dig the camera out and show you how we’re doing with it. Do I need special permission to post photos?


    Hello Burra,

    photos are great πŸ˜€

    Welcome to ALS :wave:


    hi burra. i’ve been to portugal and i loved it.




    welcome Burra :wave:


    I was just in Portugal last month it was fantastic! Welcome:wave:


    G’day Burra Maluca, welcome :wave:

    Would love to see some pics of your home in Portugal.

    You can post pics into a thread direct from Photobucket or similar, or you can ask Admin to create an album for you.

    There are some ‘how to’ tutorials here somewhere.


    glad to meet ya looking forward to seeing your piccies


    Welcome to ALS, Burra Maluca. Pictures of Portugal would make a lovely change for us. A change is as good as a holiday.



    Welcome to the als forum burra maluca:wave:…………the best way to learn how to garden locally is ask the nieghbours………………so looks like learn portuguese step 1;)

    mary doll


    i went to Portugal many years ago….you have fantastic wine. anyway welcome and enjoy this forum.

    We will enjoy hearing about your life


    waving hello from Perth, Western Australia

    Burra Maluca

    OK – I’ll attempt to stick a picture of the donkey on the bottom of this one. If it doesn’t work I might have to resort to reading the tutorials πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the welcome, I feel at home already.

    I agree that the best way of learning to garden *ought* to be to ask the neighbours, but the neighbours here have very different backgrounds and philosophies. They are all elderly and have devoted their lives to growing food to feed their families (who all live in cities now they’ve grown up and have families of their own ) and as their requirements have dropped they now only garden the best, richest plots near their homes, which have hundreds of years worth of rich black soil, presumably from the time there were loads of donkeys and no toilets or rubbish collections.

    Our little farm was abandoned for fifty years and all the locals ‘robbed’ it for hay and whatever they could get off it, so the the soil has slowly lost it’s fertility. Also, any land that isn’t in use is ploughed just before summer because of the fire risk, so even if no hay was taken, the poor soil was turned to dust and the life knocked out of it. Most uncultivated land has been planted with pine or eucalyptus (I think there’s more here than in Australia!!) and there are precious few patches of wilderness or grassland left, which means not many rabbits and hares and by now probably no breeding lynx left in the country…:(

    We thought the donkey poop would help and for the first year we had her we were spreading it straight onto the ground wherever it looked like it needed it most, but it doesn’t rot in this climate and just sits there until the rains come and wash it away, so for the last couple of months we’ve gone crazy composting everything we can find, including sawdust, and have been learning all about permaculure and ways to improve the soil and conserve water.

    Ok – here goes for a photo…

    That’s the family fetching some hay!

    This is Teia tethered in the olive grove. It’s one of the few places left in the forest that hasn’t been planted with pine or eucalyptus. I have no plans whatsoever to alter this place – it’s perfect as it is!!

    And here’s some of the wildlife – she’s a fire salamander. They come out in the heavy rains in autumn to lay eggs in puddles and then tend to get stuck and exhausted so we find them lying in the village drying out, rescue them and release them again near our pond. She’s beautiful, isn’t she?

    Great to meet you all! Hope you enjoyed the piccies…:wave:

    Tassie Tiger

    Gooday burra:wave:

    great photos:tup: Really like the stone walls. Is that your house in the photo?

    Welcome to ALS. Enjoy your journey.

    I wish you enough



    Burra Maluca

    Oooh, I wish…

    Mine’s a bit more basic – haven’t got a good photo loaded anywhere, but you get the idea…


    Welcome Burra, thanks for the pictures. Get talking to the locals anyhow. I want to hear the Portugese perspective on gardening and especially preserving and storing of produce!!! Recipes etc. But I can see you might need time to settle in.

    Looks like fun and a challenge. Keep us posted on your progress.

    Vicki from South Australia:wave::wave::wave:

    Burra Maluca

    Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me!

    Ok, I’m going to charge up the camera batteries, take a load of pictures of the farm, the surroundings, the neighbours’ gardens, everthing I can find, and start a thread. I think there’s a place we can ‘blog’ about gardens? When I’m ready I’ll start one up called Teia’s Garden or somesuch. I’ll learn what I can from the neighbours but they tend not to have recipes as such as they all learned from their mothers, who mostly couldn’t read or write and everyone has their own way of doing things. I’ll let you know what I find out!

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