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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How to make your own toothpaste

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Some time ago a tiny talk arose on our instagram about how to make your own body care products. And as promised, here’s a super simple and quick toothpaste recipe, the one I’ve been using over the last couple years.The thing I love the most about doing my own products is, needless to say, how I can create something that really fits my needs. This way, you just remove or add any ingredient your body is asking for.

So here’s how to make your own basic all-natural toothpaste! (As I rarely measure, the ingredients are listed in order of quantity for a small jar):

☼ Superfine green clay
☼ Vegetable glycerin
☼ Propolis
☼ A couple drops of myrrh (either powdered or as essential oil)
☼ A couple drops of tea tree essential oil
☼ Another couple drops of peppermint essential oil

Stir it well, and you got it!

You may want to add more or less glycerin according to the consistence you’re looking for. I like mine a bit thick. Also, remember not to add any water to it – you don’t want your toothpaste to mould!

Do you want to know a funny story?

Once I was brushing my teeth in front of a friend (I had this crush on him), and he looked at me in this really strange way:
- For how long haven’t you brushed your teeth?!
- Um since this morning… – then I got it – Oh goodness me, it’s the toothpaste that’s dark, I swear!

So, just saying, maybe refrain from using it on a first date.

New garden beds

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Last week we started adding new beds to the vegetable garden - we really needed more growing space, and lazy gardeners like we are, raised beds are always the right answer. So this time, instead of our typical hugelkultur, we're trying Charles Dowding inspired beds (I say inspired because we Sam did dig a bit before layering up).

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A good mix and layering of soil and horse dung (that good old store-bought highly-diluted horse dung... mmm...), topped with newspaper and mulch.

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There are now onions and kohlrabi happily growing in this one, and we're super excited about seeing the results! Hugelkultur VS wood-framed raised beds, bets starting in three, two, one...!

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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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Turmeric paste

Good morning! As I was looking through some photos from last year, found these from when we made a quick dose of turmeric paste, and decided to share it with you.

Whenever one of us is sick, turmeric is the thing we always reach out for. Besides being an amazing anti-inflammatory, it has also been shown to work as anti-tumor, antibacterial, and antimicrobial.

Making a paste out of it is a good way to keep turmeric at reach and quick to use, either in cooking or in teas and smoothies.

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OK, so it's fairly easy. You'll only need:

☾ spring water ☾ powdered turmeric ☾ grounded black pepper (don't skip this one! You'll need it to help absorb the curcumin present in turmeric)

Mix all the ingredients and stir it on  medium-heat for about 5 minutes, until a bit thick. Then store it, and voilà!

If you have a fridge, you should store it inside and it will last a couple weeks. After making this one, as we don't have a fridge, it quickly turned. So I'm thinking next time I will do it with olive oil instead to preserve it for longer! Or, even better, coconut oil!

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Have you ever tried turmeric paste? What are your favorite ways of using it? ♡

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.

what's been going on lately and why we're such bad bloggers

Guys! Spring is coming and the lethargy of winter is slowly fading. Last year we spent the season hibernating at home, but this year was just the opposite.

I know what you're wondering... If we had such a heck of a winter, why can't I put it up over here? The answer is: because we suck at blogging, honestly. I love the idea of writing away over here beautiful posts full of inspiring images, I do. I nourish the idea of doing it. And then it fails to happen. Why?

The simplest answer is: because our internet is super limited. There's only the net service on my phone, which we do connect to the computer sometimes, and drains away like crazy. Then, there's us living a car drive away from the nearest wi-fi.

And then, there's this:

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Ba-da-baum! For those following my instagram account, you may have read somewhere something about a BnB. Since september we've been working on putting up a house ready to rent out. It's been a lot of work, and a windwhirl in our quiet lives on the mountains, but so rewarding.

This place is an hour away from our home - yeah, not so close. Which is why  we haven't spend a lot of time at our homestead (and which is why a foxy fox feasted on all out chickens... Don't even get me going on that!).

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The nature over there is stunning, and we've been enjoying discovering lots of beautiful paths and places to propose the renters. It's so different from what we're used to chez nous, which makes it super exciting.

I'll let you know all about it when the right time comes! Stay tuned!

***

And finally, at Tapada da Ribeira, there's babywearing and breastfeeding in the sun when it comes out.

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There's also brocolli-picking. Finally, this year, after about four failed attempts, we got to grow and harvest our own brocolli!!

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And there's, of course, the typical rainy days when when we just feel like tea-sipping and book-reading by the fire.

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May february be gentle to you!

Putting our beds to sleep

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It's all about mulching!Here's what we were working on when J decided  it was time for her to come out :-)

A friend had come over to help us picking olives - big flop, empty trees this year... So she lent us a hand in this very important garden work!

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We mulch mostly with ferns picked in the forest, sprayed over a layer of newspaper. This keeps the weeds from growing all over.

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Have to admit we love how fluffly ferns make the garden look...

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When frost comes, this new layer of organic matter protects the soil. It also helps the plants by keeping them all snuggled up. Over winter it decomposes and feeds the earth, making it a bit richer every time.

Mulching is really simple and you can use all sorts of things. We've been sticking up with ferns since the beggining and they seem to work really well. Some people in the village use pine needles from the forest, which is something usually advised against, since it's supposed to make the soil really acidic. Truth is their gardens seem to flourish without any problem. Mmm! Must be a question of balance and  feeding the earth the right nutrients in healthy doses, we suppose.

Does anyone want to share their knowledge on mulching?

 

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!

The garden in october

--1 Moist weather came to stay! Thankfully!

Besides everything being green around, one of the things that make us the happiest is that we can forget about the drip-system and plant things where we want without water worries :-)

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We harvested fallen hazelnuts from our tree.

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Our neighbour gave us lots of winter spinach from her garden to plant. We like this variety, frost-hardy and delicious. So this year we'll be saving seeds for next autumn.

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Wee spread them all over the raised beds, making company to the newly planted different types of cabbage.

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We harvested the last courgettes, which by this time were hard and ready to be stored. Some were really huge, long as an arm! Bell peppers and tomatoes are still thriving, but the rain is starting to rot them, so we guess it's a good-bye until next summer.

The raised beds are starting to look empty, but soon will be green again with the new plants 🌱

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In a sunny day, we worked on our compost heap, adding a new compartment and replacing the walls. One year and a couple months of humanure! We also improved one of our flower beds, which is full of beautiful calendula, with a wood frame.

The chickens are enjoying the change of weather too, since now there's food for them growing everywhere and lots of worms! And they've been gifting us with eggs everyday :-)

Have a lovely autumn everyone! 🍂

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! :-)

jeropiga!

We had some busy weeks lately, with many friends staying with us - it is lovely and brings us so much joy! And then, being back to the two of us is like finding eachother again and having a deep breath.This time we used these days to make our annual batch of jeropiga. Jeropiga is a traditional alcoholic drink made from freshly pressed grape juice and aguardente - much sweeter and also much stronger than wine. It's made in different ways according to the region. We make ours the way the old people in the village do.

It's very fascinating the fact everything in this is about grapes. The aguardente is made by distillating the rest of the grapes that were used for the wine (so the one we used was made a year ago). It's such an amazing fruit, and through generations people have learnt to take the most advantage out of it.

So, three parts of grape juice and one of aguardente equals heaven!

We tried to do it a bit better than last year. Harvesting was as fast as a couple hours, since we only picked the grapes from the Tapada da Ribeira. We knew from the beggining we didn't have that much aguardente, so better to keep it simple. Last year we made around 20 litres (ah, amateurs!), this year was around 60 (getting better).

This time we separated the white from the red grapes, in order to have two different jeropigas.

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And a few more buckets.

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Shtomp shtomp shtomp

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We then filtered it twice and let it rest for one day.

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Adding some spirit to the plain juice...

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And bottling!

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It's beautiful to see the different colours.

After filling all the small bottles we stored the rest in 5 l bottles.

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They look really nice. We were super proud! And then... Mistake: we didn't let it rest enough after adding the aguardente. The result is that layer of deposit you see, specially in the red ones. Then we considered emptying the bottles into a bucket and letting it rest for a couple days. Actually we went a bit farther than just considering it, but as soon as we emptied two of the thinner ones we realized we couldn't re-capsulate them after! Ahah :D That's ok.

Next year will be better.

Meanwhile we have some extremely delicious jeropiga to comfort us. (If only one could drink homemade alcohol during pregnancy...)

an apple day

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Two days ago we picked a bag full of apples, and there are still so many on the tree.

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maca13 And then we cooked them slowly, to make delicious preserves.

As I write these words, there's a pot of apple jelly cooking on the stove. We make it with all the skins and seeds of the apples - the women in the village teached us the recipe, so nothing goes to waste. After cooked and drained, they turn into chicken food. It's a cycle!

journal of a pergola

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And this is how we start our blog! Sharing the development of a small construction, that counted with the help of an amazing group of volunteers, friends and a hand (and tractor) from our neighbour.

From the very beggining to the very end, it took more than a month to get ready, due to all the different phases - selecting and collecting stones, building the wall (that was lots of work and time!), cutting some trees for the structure and assembling it all together, and finally isolating the beams that sustain it.

It's beautiful to see things take shape!

Thank you ♥