Scenes from early autumn

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To identify the woodpeckers pecking the trees near our trailer - they're nor shy of shameful.
To think, and rethink, and build with winter in mind, helped by friends who wear banana stickers on their foreheads.
To forage and cook, and share and trade for fresh sourdough bread. Always with a some knitting nearby.
To dream about the next batch of chickens.
To dream about the house-to-be.
To overcome insecurities and make new things for selling. And to have the support of your beautiful friends.
To try new kitchen adventures and laugh at the little one sniffing the air. To dive into warm apple and cinnamon, because the weather forecast says rain next week.

A new garden, from the very very beggining

Autumn is swiftly approaching, and my excitement grows with it - I am so looking forward to the autumn and winter crops! As we didn't manage to plant anything in spring and summer (besides a ridiculously small tomato plant which is still somehow hanging around...), this is a sweet moment of a new start.

But phew, starting a garden from scratch is quite some work. Getting the hands dirty on it is my task, with Sam working away every day. Little by little I manage to do small sessions of work, if the little one feels cooperative.

Here are some images of the garden, since when we arrived to now - so little seems to have been done, however looking at them uplifts my spirits, I can't lie.

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The first day of clearing we made! We had moved in just a while ago and were still figuring where is where what is what.

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Wow! Is that like, the same spot but with a half meter deep trench full of branches from the clearing you did and compost, surrounded by a super cool mimosa weaving? Totally. It will be a long garden bed very soon!

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Then I sewed a banner for the garden, because... Well, it's cute.

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And garden bed no. 2 is coming up! A square one, of more modest dimensions.

Now that both beds are framed, the task is to bring earth in, as well as some horse manure from the neighbors' horses. I'm filling the beds with the earth Sam dug out of the water mine during the cleaning process. Try to picture 60 years of abandon translated into fallen earth and decomposed organic matter... Sheeesh, that's a lot of volume!

So I surely have the filling for the garden beds, but would like to have more time to work on it. Motherhood has these things, which I'm ok with! There is time, and all the seedlings are patiently waiting on the trails, growing a little taller every day. Every day I tell them they can trust me and that they will be in their new homes soon.  I've got this handled, right??!! 

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Up and away on the mountains

High summer and high heat.

We packed the van for a few days with mountains and lakes in mind and went. And how grateful for that idea we are! We enjoyed morning coffee by the waterside, drove across deserted mountaintops, were offered fresh goat milk by a shepherd, wore woolen sweaters at night - we were missing that! -, swam in lakes and enjoyed some walks with a child on the back. I took some yarn and needles along and knitted a small project during the trip, which will hold these memories amidst the stitches.

The only thing I forgot? The camera's battery. Enjoy some good old film!

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A land tour, within the limits of wildness

Feels like ages since I've last posted here. And a huge lot has happened, the most important of all being that we have finally signed the papers for the land we had already been living in. This official step took place earlier this week and was a quite emotional experience, both for us and for the previous owner, an elder woman who was raised on the very same land we walk over today. She knows stories. She knows so many stories and has deep knowledge inside her, which we are very excited about sharing.

For now, please join me in a walk - I will lead you amongst these trees and show you this land we now call home.

The trailer, our nest. Adapting to the small space took its time, but already coming from a 16m2 home has made the transition easier. We still have some of our things at our old hut, which we'll bring here as we figure out facilities. Do you remember how it was before?

Follow me as we walk down across the little forest. we're getting to the house!

There it is, in all its stone splendor and ruin. When the owner lived here, they were five siblings plus the parents! And before that, in the time of her grandparents, they were a family of nine! In this small house, with no anexes. It truly represented the sense of community that is being lost, as families today build and buy houses with dozens of bedrooms, living rooms and giant kitchens, alongside with private bathrooms for each. I do respect that, but have far greater respect for this model of co-living - doubtless due to economical reasons, I reckon.

That little corner, which we had been wondering if was a former window, turns out to be the place where fresh water was stored.

Let's leave the house. On the left, a big boulder imposes its magnetic presence.

Climbing it up is easy, for there is a narrow path.

And from up there the view is stunning, facing east and the sunrise. We can spot a few of our community friend's houses, hidden beneath the tall trees. The lady who grew up here used to sing and dance from this boulder, communicating with her friends further below - isn't that magical?

Down and further we go, carefully amongst the wild bushes. There's lavender, gum rockrose, gorse, amongst others. The boulder marks a change in landscape and flora. Now we have many oaks of different kinds and olive trees.

We soon arrive at the water mine, the only source of water of the land. It used to flow high and clean in the past, but is in need of a very good cleaning, in order to have it at a good level once again. This is where we get our water from with buckets to do the dishes, laundry and watering the plants.

Some meters away is a clearing we're slowly opening, where we are starting our provisory vegetable garden. There we find a few pumpkins and half a dozen tomato plants. The soil is much poorer than we had expected, which means almost no produce this growing season. Hopefully we'll make some garden beds soon, to rot away over the next months, to at least have some cabbage and mustards during winter.

The land continues further down. There are pear trees in need of a hand, more oaks and olive trees. There are dry bushes and living bushes. Yes, there is still a lot to clear, but also much energy and excitement to do so.

I do hope you'll follow along as we turn this piece of land into a living space for a family once again!

When in doubt, go out

Yesterday was one of these days - no matter how many activities you try to prepare for your child, nothing seems to go right. Times two!, since it's two children now with the sweet daughter of the couple staying at the B&B.

After a morning of playing with wooden toys and attempting some reading, all in between crisis and grumpiness,  we decided to get outside in the Nature - of course! With the children on the back and the dog by our side, we walked to leave this tiny village and followed one of the many meandering tracks around. In our minds floated the idea of spotting some deer, which Sam has been lucky enough to do quite some times already.

We did not spot a deer. What we did spot was this special place with a lagoon and a low creek. The children loved it so much - they could run around, splash in the water, play with the dog, throw sticks... Everything they are happy doing, and all on their own while we sat down and ate apples. We even found some crayfishes! Dutifully accompanied by shrieks, manic laughter and excited screams, pointed fingers and ahs and ohs!

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What a simple yet important lesson: outside is where they (we all!) learn the best. Sometimes, as parents, we feel like staying inside, enjoying the homely comfort and drinking hot tea while knitting - believe me, I know! But stepping outside, slowing down to a child's pace and honest interest by everything they see can lead to beautiful adventures. And we can just sit back and watch them learn the world by directly experiencing It, touching and smelling and listening and observing and everything else we often dismiss.

As my friend Susana put it so well today, when in doubt, go out.