everyday

Happy new year!

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  Have a happy merry wonderful 2017.

We are returning home from a couple weeks in Brussels, a capital full not only of people but also of fear and distrust. What a contrast, coming out of our calm mountains, to walk in the streets alongside with military and their cars. To have the train stopped because of a false bomb alert. To know that, for a few instants, we shared the same gare with the crazy man that had terrified Berlin.

City life can be a beautiful thing. People are close by, organize themselves, create networks and endless activities, culture is at hand-reach. But more and more, we feel it just isn't the place for us.

I hope the year will bring to all of us peace and criticism, in a world seeming shattered, where we often feel uncertain and scared.

As I always do, I've written a list of wishes and decisions for the new year. It includes things like reading more books, studying more plants and casting on more knitting projects, but also really valuing family time and finding the piece of land of our dreams. Focusing on love - the things I love doing and making, the people I love, the places I love.

Love brings happiness, and I wish that your year is full of those. I think our world really needs it. ♥

To new adventures

_dsc0657 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 Jade 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!

Big news!

Maybe you've already clicked the BnB link up there and this doesn't sound like huge news, but for us it is! Because, from tomorrow on, the house is officially open and ready to host. This means we've walked down all the bureaucratic path to have a license - now that wasn't the easiest thing ever! We can, from now on, advertise here and there, leave cards & cia. and well, have an income!

So if you feel like visiting the blog - or revisiting -, go on and give it a click. We are offering 50% discount for all stays booked during the month of October!

[And Daniela has already tried it and guarantees there are no snakes under the beds]

 

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Gentle days passing by

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We've been having our best summer since being here, by far! Lovely groups of volunteers are passing and bringing an amazing renewed energy to this place. Just what we needed, after feeling homesick (remember that post?) and quite isolated from cool folks.

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I've been discovering a new routine - God knows how hard routines are when babies are around. I wake up very early with Jade and leave her and Sam in bed, as I walk to the compost toilet to empty her potty (yeah, that whole elimination communication thang). I bring a small basket along and, on the way back to the house, make a whole garden tour and the morning harvest. These moments, while the sun hasn't yet shone upon the garden, the air is chill and the soil is wet under my bare feet, have revealed such peace and clarity.

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The fire is started, coffee is milled and mint leaves for tea are picked. People start gathering under the pergola and preparing breakfast together.

One of the best things of having people passing  by is how easily you can actually see the result of what you're working on. And how you actually do the things you had only planned to do someday, or that would have taken you a week to complete, and in one morning is actually ready. And how all this different persons leave something behind after their stay. A new chicken coop, and new garden bed, seeds to prosper, their handwriting on the blackboard.

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OK, that's actually my handwriting planning the autumn crops.

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On full moon we were nine. After dinner we wrapped ourselves and blankets and hiked to the very top of the mountain. An hour and a half walking merely by the bright moon leads us to a magical place, from which we can see only mountains and mountains bathed in moonlight, all the way around oneself. Darkness and silver, and tiny disperse sparkles of light - villages. The wind is harsh against our faces, and we gaze at the moon and feel grateful, oh so grateful, for being here, now. We got home to cookies, after.

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Did I tell you the sunflowers are blooming? Beautiful, bountiful summer!

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As I write this, there's sweet guitar playing coming from downstairs. Jade, Sam and the cat nap together. We feel happy and contented, with a warm feeling of home within. Our car is breaking again and we aren't even completely stressed out by that yet.

 

I hope you're having a good summer too! Would love to know what you've been up to.

 

Feature at Seed to Salad Bowl

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Good evening, everyone! Today, Maegen from Seed to Salad Bowl posted a lovely interview on us on her blog, for her fresh new series "community", created with the purpose of highlighting and sharing projects and people living an earth-friendly lifestyle.

If you want to know what we miss about our previous kind of life, why we've been using our rocket stove like crazy and if we long for hot showers, head over to her beautiful blog and have a peek!

Have a good weekend, lovely people ♥

The one good use to the word Monsanto

Is this beautiful village not so far away from us, standing on top of a mount of boulders. DF62C0CB-225B-4C62-9FAC-573B3DB09182

The area is absolutely magical, fairy tale-like even and, besides, there is a well-established community of homesteaders and permaculturists in the region, which we are a bit jealous of, but always inspires us to work towards the social aspect of our own project. It was lovely to visit with Renée, this kind-hearted photographer who spent a few days at our place.

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We ended up staying the night at our friends'. It included lots of natural building, sleeping in a teepee, meeting a whole bunch of cool people, visiting a 64 year old man who lives completely off grid in his farm, music around a bonfire and lots of explaining about how we have been doing elimination communication!

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Reflecting about "home"

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Do you ever get this strange, belly-tickling feeling, that you're not sure where "home" is? That you may not be in the right place, but don't know which place that may be, and at the same time can't really afford moving wherever that would be? And therefore you lose your motivation to invest time and energy on working where you already are, upon the possibility of moving out sometime -soon, you hope? Yeah, that's pretty much how we were feeling, in a very constant way, until not so long ago.

Maybe you can't tell from our pictures - maybe not at all, since some people got the idea we live very far away from others -, but we live in a village inhabited by 20 old people! And guess what, the village is crossed by a national road (it doesn't have lots of movement, but it's still an asphalted road with crazy drivers sometimes). Our closest friends live a 30 minute car drive away. And there are no like-minded folks, children or cool associations within a sane distance to drive regularly. What I mean to tell you is that, altogether, these factors make us doubt if this is the perfect place for us, for raising our family and make long-term plans.

I dream awake very often, this dream often includes a piece of land at dusk, away from any city or village, accessed by a dirtroad. It includes a round wooden house, two goats, happy chickens that don't need fences because of the neighbours' gardens, and lots of kids running around naked. In my dream there are friends living just as far away as a quick bike ride can be, friends with whom we produce vegetables, or honey, or medicinal magic potions, or something else we sell at markets. So yes, that is my dream. It is quite different from the situation we live in currently.

Winter is a tricky season, and one can't fully grasp it when living in a city, following timetables that don't change according to the seasons or daylight. Wintertime makes you almost hibernate, feel sad sometimes and question things. And this winter we spent so long in the bed & breakfast, one hour away from us, working and putting so much energy into making it run. Now something you can tell from the pictures is that it is very different from our little house. Picture winter, feeling disappointed about your house, and going there once a week or even less sometimes, to spend the time indoors because there's a storm outside. You just don't feel like staying in there, but at the same time it's your home.

Enough of winter - then Spring came, and the frost melted, and it's time to make a garden again. And we decided together that, with the work there's still to do in the Bnb, it's ok to be separate sometimes - so, as Sam keeps on working, I stay with Jade at the homestead, which we have no doubts it's the best place for her to be now. And that, alongside with the sun coming out, made all the difference. Slowly, it started to make our house feel like "home" again. Made us both feel motivated once more to deep-dive into keeping the house, mowing the land, going to the market to get plants, seed everything we got in stock, making the outdoors beautiful again... And re-pick our outdoor kitchen/greehouse plan!

Moral of the story is, according to me, that one makes home wherever they are. That thinking about an abstract future when "we'll finally be satisfied" keeps us from focusing in the present when we can already work towards satisfaction and happiness. Home can be a land, an apartment, a tent, a large van. Home is your safe place, the place where you're happy, and I'm pretty sure that place is something that lays deep within each one.

We don't know where we'll be in the future, when that dream up there will become real nor if it will. But meanwhile we intend to take care of the present and make it a pleasant moment to live in.

Now that was some food for though. I'd love if you shared your reflections on "home" over here or on my instagram, which seems to have a lot more movement these days than this tiny, but more honest, corner.

Happy May to you all, I hope you had a beautiful Beltane celebration yesterday ♥

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Oh dear, it's spring again!

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  Oh wow. It's true. It's been mostly me (cat) taking care of the blog lately and I'm not doing such a good job! Some of you said that's ok and that you don't mind me posting just whenever and randomly, so I'm taking it literally.

As you know, we've been spending quite some time away from home, working in that other house to rent out. Which, if you follow my instagram account, may have seen already, but if not, go have a look here! You can start booking already! Eeeeeck!

So at Tapada da Ribeira the frost is slowly melting. Which means it's time to start sowing some thing directly! I will make a post about what we'll be sowing this year :-) Remember that our chickens were feasted by a fox? Oh. Well, the old coop is now serving as a greenhouse . It was just too hard to ignore the possibility...

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DSC_2147 (2) That's our garlic happily sprouting! In some months we can harvest them. We're very curious about these... Last year we planted them in the ground level, this time in a raised bed. You can start betting!

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Oh... Thank you, lemon tree :-)

 

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Here's a not so beautiful photo, but I like it. Can you believe how big this one is getting? Also, look at those felted little shoes.

 

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And as a finishing note, meet our neighbour. This is what I mean by living in a small village. Sometimes, going to the garden just means finding the neighbour's goats eating your weeds.

Welcoming J

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Little J is out and about! We had a beautiful homebirth and during the first hours of the 27th November we finally had her in our arms!! She's gorgeous and healthy, and has been growing so much!

It's been over a month now, but blogging has been so difficult (Internet access in general...)

Making a 2016 goal to change that :-D

Happy new year to all of you!

a walk to celebrate the end of summer

DSC_0227 The colours are slowly starting to change and there's this crispy feeling around.

Being under the sun is no longer unbearable and we sense autumn weather getting closer. Which makes us very happy! It's been such a hot, dry summer - with a single rainy day in June.

We went for a walk to meet some chestnut trees that were inaccessible until we cleared a narrow trail leading to them last summer. We've kind of declared them part of our kingdom, but apparently so did the wild boars, so we'll fight over these chestnuts for the next few weeks!

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All the beautiful terraces and steep stone stairs add something magic to this place. It's hard to imagine how it looked before, when everything was cared about and the now wild bushes were then vegetable gardens.

We need more people coming and taking care of these lands! :-)