moving

Slowly nesting

A steaming cup of lemon herbal tea by my side, a child sound asleep in the next room, the stove on while the rain patters through the night, Sam sitting next to me working on the computer and many checked on my to-do list. We are at the guest house enjoying the wi-fi, a rare treat these days! I can finally just breathe deeply for a moment before getting my fingers to dance over the keyboard - and how I have been aching to share with you the beginning of works at the new piece of land!

On my last post, I've wrote about the wild forest on the back part of the land. Wild is the right word: it is completely overgrown and the ground is a mixture of dead shrubs and fallen trees, which makes circulation almost impossible. But we love it! Nature has just been running its course here - however, fire risk. No doubt there's much work to do there.

Above you can see we have already completely cleared a small glade on top of a rock, where we will be parking the caravan. In order to do that, we had to hand open a wide road through the woods so the veicule can pass, that runs 300 m long, maybe. And, in order to do that, we had to clear different spaces inside the forest along the road, so we could stack up all the firewood we were collecting.

Work is faster and more pleasurable with friends! So happy for K and J, who hitchhiked all the way from the big city to visit us and the earthship and to give us a valuable hand (or four) finishing the road! Within two days, the road was done! Yay!

Then, when one arrives to this piece of land, leading to the new road we opened is a winding dirt track through the forest, which is in average condition (but the only veicules we've seen passing there are tractors and donkey carts - yes, donkey carts). We need to improve this access too, by leveling the ground in some spots and cutting mimosa branches that fall over most of the path.

After K and J left, Sam has almost finished clearing the branches on this one! There's only a small fraction left. And after this is ready, we want to call a machine to pass over this track and everything we've opened, in order to press and level the ground.

And because things do not always run according to plans, we will only have the caravan by the end of April. The friends whose house we're housesitting return tomorrow, so this leaves us with an unplanned month were we have no place to stay, since we had thought we would be in the caravan, in the woods, by the next week or so.

Yesterday we received a phone call - a friend's friend is looking for a housesitter for a whole month, an earth ship only an hour from our new "home". We can easily drive there to keep on working and have a warm house to return to by the end of the day. What a blessing!

And so we cleaned the house from top to bottom, baked cookies, spread tiny paper hearts over the fresh bed and wrote a note - because we had to leave and couldn't manage to be there to greet our friends back home.

Today we enjoy hot showers, clean laundry, blended foods and internet connection. Tomorrow we hop off back to the mountain to meet and already stay in the house that will shelter us over the next month.

It's been a funny feeling, these nomadic months.

TO-DO LIST

 Clear a glade for the caravan
Clear a path leading to the glade
Improve the road leading to the path leading to glade (work in process)
Having the machine passing over it all
Bring the caravan in
Plant sunflowers around it

Have a good week, friends! (Gosh, I just love blogging about processes!)

Lost and found

"And this was the house", pointed J, finger stretched on to a roofless ruin half hidden by the woods.

Me and Sam looked at each other and let a silent but expressive wow come out of our lips. This was it, we felt it. We had found our piece of land, or maybe it had found us.

Looking for a place to grow roots in has been a bumpy road. The energy of the beginning started draining away after a few weeks full of land visits and a couple deceptions. We started considering going away just to come back again in a year or two with fuller pockets. At a certain point the tension was so sharp (remember that Full Snow Moon? Yeah) that we just took some days off and changed environment. We used this period to re-settle our priorities: building a house for our family, providing J a safe, healthy environment in contact with other children and be in a place that allows us to both work and grow a garden on the same place were on top of the list. And so we returned.

By a hint of chance, I went visit I and B, a family living around. They suggested me talking to T, up in the village, whose husband, M, might know something. M led me to J, whose wife might know something. Are you following me? This is how things go in small friendly environments. In the end, it was J himself who remembered something owned by someone living far away.

So it was this J, a farmer and hunter who, the next day, showed us a wild, powerful yet gentle-feeling piece of land. It has been abandoned for a generation, but its previous owners used to spend summer in there. Nestled in an east-facing slope, this terrain has a water mine in need of some cleaning, wild-grown terraces, different Quercus, a ruin and a large mimosa forest on the back. And a boulder, a giant boulder with a breathtaking view right next to the house.

We were the first people being shown this hidden gem and the owner hadn't made a price, so we went forward and made our offer. Our small offer, but everything we could afford, counting with family support. Two days later, we had an answer: "She said yes". Even more, she said we can already move in.

As we arrived home, I rushed towards my journal looking for a certain list we had made last autumn. This list was somewhat of a ramble, a thing we called the Dreamland List, and that contains about 30 assets we agreed that we would like our future land to have. Things like having a big boulder, having a dynamic topographybeing at walking distance from friends, etc. The top item was having a feeling. I don't know exactly how surprised I was upon finding out that all of the items were checked. I think that, ever since the first glance, we felt there was something deeply magical about this place.

So what are the next steps? Hand opening a road to the land, clearing a patch on the forest to install the caravan our friend has lent us (maybe you remember it) and move in to this provisory home while we start clearing the land and drawing plans. Then, by the end of June, if the owner doesn't pull off, we should sign the papers. Only after that we will feel confident enough to start working in the house, rebuilding the ruin with natural materials.

We are so excited! It's a new chapter, a fresh adventure about to start to the three of us.

Thank you to everyone who has sent wishes, good vibes and contributions. It is really working out.

Oh, the title of this post: I don't think this land was ever lost. It was us.

Housesitting

I'm writing while facing this big glassed wall. In front of me, the fields spread with no barriers. Olive trees, oaks and pines are the only inhabitants within sight. Oh, and there's this huge pine tree right in front of the window hiding part of the view - I wonder if our friend will ever cut it.

We're housesitting K's handbuilt house for two months. What is even better, he lives in the area where we're looking for a piece of land of our own. This means we have two month in front of us to really live the place and become a part of the social network over here, no longer as outsider friends who come often, but really as locals. And, in the meanwhile, continuing our land search.

Every day we've been meeting with old people and being shown pieces of land, but nothing yet that really pleases us. Either by the roadside, or too flat, or too... Awkward. It's a never-ending process, but we have a very high spirit.

There is something almost magical about this area, that has been attracting many foreigners over the last few years. But with it came the fact the prices are now rising like crazy and the market is completely unbalanced. Well, we're keeping our fingers well crossed! 

Yesterday we went visit the alternative school here - because that's just how good it gets. I know many of you are curious about this school and dropped me regarding questions on instagram. The school is very recent but it is definitely on the right track. It works in the old primary school building, which was lent by the municipality. Soon it will be extending its age range until 18 years old and working in the discontinued secondary school building. It runs in english and portuguese and has many different subjects. The students study what they want to study, at their own pace, and are not narrowed to be in a classroom with children of their own age only.
We arrived at the end of the day and had a lovely chat with other parents and the woman who is organizing the school. We felt so... Good. We had this wonderful feeling of belonging somewhere, not just misfits with strange ideas, but perfectly normal people among like-minded.

But, in overall, this is the feeling we have over here in this area. We feel home. Our friends live here, the children we want Jade to be friends and school companions with live here, the community we want to be part of is this one.

We just feel so happy and with such clear minds. Maybe it's the fact Mercury is no longer in retrograde (I know, I know, that's a witch's excuse number one!). Maybe it's the power of manifestation. We're embracing this wonderful wave of good things and trying really hard to find - and afford! - our little corner!

Thank you so much for following our adventure. I wish you all a wonderful rest of the week! 

To new adventures

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Autumn brought many thoughts and revelations. To be more accurate, it teamed up with ideas that had been roaming our minds already to turn us upside down and give our life a good shake.

Living where we do, how we do, many feelings have been accumulating over time - some loneliness, lack of social interactions, tiredness from being quite attached parents in model a nuclear family (that could be a topic all by itself, now couldn't it?). To go to the root of it, essentially we need the feeling of having a "community" around - families and friends, activities and cooperation, trades and markets. Somehow, this bubble popped out now and led us to a decision - moving out.

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Good news? We know where to.

We've known this place for about two years, and since the first visit it resonated so much within. It has became kind of a convergence location for wonderful people. Over time, a lot of people have established in this area, built their natural homes and gardened with permaculture. It's not a "community", but almost feels like.

Practically everyone is a bike ride away. There are quite some families and an alternative school is just starting. There's a workday every week, in which friends help out others in building and gardening, in a rotative way. Bakers bake bread and sell it. There's yoga and meditation in a yurt every week. There are markets and lots of trading. And there's a bunch of abandoned land.

So that picture over there? That's us in the morning after sleeping in a van, in a land quest. Looking for a beautiful piece of land and running after farmers in tractors asking for the owners. Tiring, hard work, but hopefully rewarding!

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On the other hand, we know we can't afford a decent piece of land at the moment. So our goal for this upcoming year is to work our asses off and put every cent aside to have a little bit of this to call our own and finally start working on building a new homestead and life- once again.

But with all these thoughts in mind, staying at home doesn't feel anymore like a very good option... So while we work/save/roam we hope to find a place in need of housesitting, or volunteer in farm, or stay at friends' in the area, so we can be social animals again and J can be around other children. Just until summer, when the plan is to head abroad for farming work!

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I will be focusing on creating new balms and soaps and will look for a work as a waitress or something more art-y, while Sam expects to find something related to building or carpentry. Cross your fingers for us, will you? We certainly are!

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So here's to new, exciting adventures! I'm just so grateful to go through the flow of life with these two by my side!