Lead

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescente and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that I break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

Mary Oliver (in New Poems, 2004 - 2005)

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(not so) little updates

Happy New (Gregorian) Year, everyone!
Full of joy, creativity, some mess, much magic and well, health!

I also hope 2019 will be the year I take my resolution of blogging more often seriously.
Well, I promise I’ll try. Truth is I cherish this small small space way more than I do Instagram and wouldn’t it be nice if we all gathered once more around blogs and became once again active in actually typeing addresses to read new posts? Instead of focusing so much on the “insta”, giving attention to the things that take time to accomplish and appear online, respecting each one’s individual time and, likewise, focusing on things that take actual minutes to read through, and on the poetic ways images, in the plural, can pair up with words.

Beautiful words these are, but I’m still far from it.

Anyway, while pondering in all of this, here are some of the things that have been going on recently, meaning, since I last posted (because 2 months and a half, in internet time, is probably the equivalent to 3 years).

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Reading The Lord of the Rings in the early hours of the day. Which I should have done, mmm, 15 years ago?
It’s funny because, as I grew up, the Harry Potter books were coming out. So I totally grew up with Harry (well, it was Hermione for me, my all time heroin). And maybe because The Lord of the Rings movies were released as Harry Potter’s were, I kind of associated the two. And I believed, goodness knows why, that there were two kinds of people in the world: Harry Potter fans and LoTR fans. Which don’t mix, so you’re either one or the other. Period. Cleary, I was on Harry’s side - believe me, back in my university times, I was part of a political/LGBTIQ activism group cleverly called Dumbledore’s Army.

Anyway, I just debunked the myth I made myself. And I’m glad I finally did it.

On another note, the house, my friends, the house!

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Many buckets of lime, sand and water later, the house is standing strong. The window is in (even though not in these pictures yet), and the next steps are the wooden floor (which we’re ordering tomorrow!) and building the door. And I don’t want to jinx myself, but I have this tingly feeling this may be the month we move in. This may be it.

Also woking with stone again, for more retention walls. Folks, I guess that caravan isn’t going anywhere now! But there’s a plan for it :)

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That’s it for today. The night is growing late, the air is growing cold, the fire on the stove has gone out for a while and the bed is calling me. Tomorrow shall be another frosty morning that turns in to a sunny afternoon.

Stay warm & bright!

Love,
Cat x

Autumn thoughts

Autumn has came with all its mighty wind and chill.

I write sitting outside, under the caravan porch, and hear the oak and eucalyptus’ leaves rustling in the wind. I wrapped myself in wool before coming out, and my coffee got cold too quickly, but I feel too lazy to heat it up.

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The rain has brought the mosses back to life, and they seem to shine again, a renewed shade of golden green that warms my heart, despite the coldness that gets to my bones.

There is still the ocasional sunny warm day, but it’s rare now. When it comes, the garden is one of our favorite places to be, planting small seedlings and weeding around tiny plants, without getting the hands cold from cold dirt.

I am still giving thanks for the rain… It means we can plant and harvest leafy greens as much as we want… As a matter of fact, plant whatever we want, really, because we no longer need to worry about the lack of water on the land. Rain is so abundant.

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I’ve been harvesting whatever is left, but mostly planning the fall & winter garden and preparing endless trays of seedlings to relocate to the garden in a couple of weeks. It’s funny because every garden season I find myself thinking “next season will be better”. It’s a bit like aiming to the horizon, only to see it getting further away every time, but it still gives me pleasure.

And I assure you, every growing season is better than the previous one. Oh, it is.

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We’re appreciating our mornings wholeheartedly. They have a different taste now, because our girl has started kindergarten a few weeks ago. It’s a rather bittersweet feeling, but mostly sweet I think. We are all happy. Me and Sam have time for working together, talk together, chew our food when we eat! She is full of joy and tiredness when we pick her up, so all is good. All is really good.

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The cold weather is here, but so many things bring warmth. Our lovely neighbours, the house building going steadily, all that knitting… And a very, very, exciting project I’m working on but still making a secret out of it- sshhhhh

As me and Sam walked home last night with a child on the back and a torch on the front, after having dinner at a friend, we were commenting about how we often don’t value enough all we got now. It’s too easy to complain about things - how the house isn’t ready yet, how our bank account isn’t bursting with money, how the rainwater harvest system isn’t up yet… Wow. If we gave less attention to all these isn’ts and more to the is and gots, our minds would feel lighter.

So this is what I’m doing this Autumn. Holding my loved ones close, my chickens & garden & knitting within an arm’s reach, and accepting the fact that maybe our house won’t be finished in a week or two. Maybe not even in a month. And that’s ok. I’ll just make myself a nice cup of tea from my garden’s herbs, chat with my neighbours (who are going / have gone through the same) and trust the process.

Happy Autumn, north hemisphere folks!
And happy Spring for the south ones!

July

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 The sun shines high in its zenith. It’s another hot summer day, the kind of day in which, when you’re finished pegging the washed laundry on one end of the line, it is already dry on the first end.

 July. These summer months show little mercy upon us, hiding in the shade and longing for the sweet rumor of a cold stream in which to dip our feet. The stream is just down the hill, and I’m pretty sure that’s where we’ll head to pretty soon.

But this summer has also been a very busy time. Watering the garden isn’t a forgiving task, but it’s a rewarding one for sure. The tomatoes, aubergines and peppers get riper by the day, and in the meanwhile we’ve been harvesting zucchinis, turnips and carrots, beetroots and different salads, and an abundance of green beans. The flowers greet us every day: yarrow, nasturtiums, calendulas, borage, snapdragons, paperflowers, cosmos and the first sunflowers make for a colourful good morning when me and J walk down to the garden every morning before breakfast.

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We’ve also welcomed two little chickens into our family, a typical portuguese breed called Pedrês, conveniently named Ofélia and Maria-Luísa.

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BUT THE BUSIEST OF ALL??

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 Has been the arrival of this truck, the wood deliver for our roof! There is one main beam in eucalyptus, 30 rafters in chestnut, and insulation. Sam has been pretty busy every day for the last couple of weeks, skinning and sanding each rafter. It’s a hard, seemingly-endless work, I tell you! We’ve had friends coming and helping, which has been wonderful – and gives us that being-at-home feeling. Friends, community, helping out whenever one can.

 It will be good to have this work done, so we can start putting the roof together. The walls are raised, the floor is finished (heep heep!), and before passing on to anything else, the roof needs to be on place.

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 Dear friends, have a magical summer, the fullness of the year.  I shall return soon.

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{Wearing the raddest, most feel-good t-shirt from my friend Roaming Soul Apothecary}