everyday

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}

Wood whittlers for a day

Communities are rich places. Especially when everybody is so different. 

We are thankful to be part of a community of folks who are so deeply passionate about their things. Some people are really good at house building, others are sourdough masters; some can understand how electricity works like no one else, while others know exactly just what it takes for a goat to be healthy. Not to mention, the amazing baker up the hill or the crocheter on the other side of the hill (yes, I mean you, Jaymie).

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On a sunny day, we gathered with Jaymie and Marlley around good food, cardamom coffee and Yoav, who for me is pretty much the epitome of wood carving, for an introduction to carving. We did (ehm, attempted to do) spoons, coat hangers and Jaymie even made some crochet hooks!

And now, I'll let these few pictures speak for themselves.

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By the way, these cups are tots carved by him too!

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Here's to more skill trading, bonfires and good friends!

Wishing you all a happy and creative March!

On parenting, bread and things in between

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Parenting is tough sometimes. I mean tough in the real sense of the word.

The internet is so full of beautiful images of parents {or, more often, mothers} with perfectly clean young kids in spotless houses and having perfect holidays. You don't see the mess, or the tantrums, or any reference to how in fact you spend half of your day squatting, either picking up a child or cleaning spilled liquids and any kind of objects. Or any discussion about having hard days too, and we all being just humans having perfectly human feelings.

Anyway, in those tough days, when my head seems more of a grey cloud announcing rain, I fall only too easily into the comparison trap set by these perfect images- what a terrible parent I am. Feeling tired, or with low patience, makes me feel like I'm doing it all wrong.
And so I start thinking, ignoring this whole strange new world called the social media. And I realise humans have been having children and reflecting about their emotions for something like 350 thousand years. That's 350 thousand years of humans having perfectly human feelings. You, me, we, are not alone. Nor in history, nor in time, nor in space. And for sure there is no such thing as a role-model parent.

In these days, my journal is more scribbled than usual. Last time, it said something like "I feel like I want to put a backpack on filled with chocolates and bad literature and just run away. Although I would probably be back a couple days soon feeling miserable because didn't even brought a tent and it rained". I closed my journal and, as my two loves slept {because even on my bad days they are my two loves}, I went out with my bike and visited neighbors. Neighbors with children. Real people. Even though Sam feels the things similar to mine, sometimes I need someone from the outside to talk with, if it makes sense. What I search, on those days, is not sympathy, a gentle tap on the shoulder and a smile "you'll have better days". Of course those are kind and I'm grateful for that, but when my friend looked at me and said "Yes, it is awful, it's like one of those days you just want to run away, you know?", I was like YES. THANK GOODNESS. I'm not alone feeling these feelings. It is awful, it will pass, but the fact it will pass doesn't make the feeling less worthy of importance.

A couple days later, the entry on my journal read something like "I fell in love with it all again. And I am grateful for the ups and downs, because both of them are opportunities to learn more about myself and grow." So cheesy, I know.

So, 350 thousand years of feelings. Of all kinds of feelings. Our ancestors, going through it all too. And now comes the bread.

I've very recently fallen in love with the practice of sourdough bread baking. The sourdough culture, such an ancestral way of baking. Tending for a culture, getting something in return. Feeding it with wholegrain flours, adding water collected from the rain. Feeling the sweet, beer-ish smell and thinking of my ancestors, doing the same things. Feeling feelings in their heads and creating with their hands. Making a fire, keeping the room warm. Kneading. Waiting. Watching it grow. Going to sleep leaving the dough next to the woodstove. Waking up. Checking the dough, it has doubled its size. Restarting the fire. Flop the dough over to a tray, or wait another day. Baking, powered by the trees from the forest. Hugging a child, sniffing the air together. Checking in. That scent, fresh sour bread. I wonder how many waited for the bread to completely cure before cutting open - it's just too good when warm drizzled with that olive oil from your neighbors.

There is more than a blood lineage weaving us to our ancestors. There are practices. There are feelings, living deep within our bones, our material memory, stirred up every now and then, when we do not pay attention. When we forget. We are not alone, nor in history, nor in time, nor in space.

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Promises of the year ahead

The last days of 2017 and the first days of 2018 brought many things which my overly positive self is taking as good omens of what's ahead.  Here are a few:

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The first harvest from our new garden, for salad and tea - of much gardening and harvesting.

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The first batch of brined olives (we have still got like 70 liters of olives to prepare, in case things go wrong) - of much preserving and fermenting, because I also started a new sourdough.

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Shipping new orders - well, of many more blouses flying off!

Finishing projects and doing my first test knit ever - of much knitting. Always.

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Clear skies, crisp air and bright moons, while wild animals scatter the bushes - of magic.

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These two, plans coming out of the heads and new window and door frames in wood - of a house to be, hopefully!

What are you looking forward for the year to come? Any signs whispering to your hear? And I know, I know, the beggining of a year is just a random day out of 365 days, but I am not one to squander the opportunity for this whole start fresh thing. What can I do. Wanna join me?