For those people who think moving to Portugal is just one big jolly, I’ve news for you. It’s not. It’s blooming hard work!
I guess I could’ve taken the easy option and just headed off to the beach as opposed to buying a small quinta, but that would be no fun. Maybe a little less work, but not as much fun.
Most importantly, though the weather this week has been great. Most days it’s been warmer than 20° and nudging in the mid-twenties on occasion. So much so that I’m either beginning to catch a tan on my arms, or it’s just dirt. I’ll let you decide.
While we’ve had glorious sun, we’ve also been fortunate that the rain we’ve had has either been overnight. Just perfect. It’s become something of a joke with my neighbours at the quinta because I’ve been predicting “chuva durante a noite e sol durante o dia” [rain at night, sun in the day]. This week, I’ve got it correct almost every day, apart from Sábado [Saturday], and a light shower on Sexta-feira [Friday].
Actually, the weather will do what it wants, but while I had no interest in weather-watching when I moved to Portugal, having a quinta makes you think a little more and work with the weather.
A labouring day
Wednesday, which was perhaps the warmest day of the week, gave me a chance to lend a hand at Quinta-Essencial. I’ve been grateful to Jason and Auriol for their support, guidance, advice and time as I’ve made my move to Portugal.
Following a regenerative farming approach on their land, they have some exciting things ahead. But not without an immense amount of work so being to help was a pleasure.
Now, when I say “lend a hand” what I really mean is a full day of labouring. Shovel and buckets in hand shifting sand, ballast, cement, concrete and anything else that needed moving or filling.
I can’t lie, by the end of the day, I was knackered, aching everywhere, and could barely pick up the shovel let alone fill a bucket. As I said, it was a pleasure to help out, with the added benefit of finding muscles I never knew I had, and realising those that I do have aren’t particularly strong!
Suffice it to say, labouring is definitely not going to be a new career.
Do take a few minutes to check out what Jason and Auriol are doing at Quinta-Essencial.
A Bud and a Guinness
Going back a few years ago, the only Bud I cared about was an American lager that came in a bottle, and the only dark stuff was a smooth pint of Guinness, a topical reference being so close to St Patrick’s Day.
But now I get so excited about different buds and dark stuff – soil and compost. I know, who’d of thought it. This week on the vegetable and fruit front I’ve transplanted more seedlings that I’ve grown from seed as opposed to shop-bought plugs. And some friends kindly gave me some strawberry plants which are already looking as though they are enjoying their new home.
I’ve also made a herb garden and sown more seeds including peas and sunflowers. I sense that I’m throwing lots of seeds in and I have no idea or appreciation of how much I’m growing. But hey, it’s fun.
Excitingly, this week has seen my spuds began to breakthrough. I do find it really incredible that they do just seem to appear overnight. The first morning, there was one solitary leaf of a potato plant. Then the following morning, this leaf was joined by some friends. And this morning, even more are coming to the party all over the potato patch.
I’ve buds breaking through like…. buds, on my grape vines and some of the trees have sprouted leaves. The flower buds have started to make an appearance on the olive trees. Incredible timing as it’s a New Moon on Monday (was that Duran Duran?) and therefore the final olive pruning will be taking place on terças, quartas e quintas [Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday].
It’s almost as though nature knows what’s going on. If only I knew! But I’m learning and it really has made me look at plants and trees in a completely different way. Often in amazement.
Since I’ve been in Portugal, my mantra has been to take every day as it comes. See where it takes me and not worry or get frustrated with either the pace or direction as to how things go.
However, now I have become the custodian of some land, plants and trees, I am beginning to sketch out and list (I do love a list) some of the future things I need to be doing and the preparation required to achieve this.
Therefore, I’ve already begun thinking about the grape harvest (September) and olive harvest (November), the learnings from this year, the equipment I need and how I can be more effective and efficient during the harvests.
Also, I endeavour to spend some time to enhance this website by creating some spotlights on other people’s projects, such as Quinta-Essencial, CooWooDoo, Good Morning Portugal, Quinta Beira do Lago amongst others who are doing creative and interesting work in Portugal.
Let’s see where it takes me.
Finally, apologies for becoming a bit of a weather reporter this week. It won’t continue I promise, unlike the sun, warm temperatures, and clear blue sky here in central Portugal.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Thank you, your continued support is much appreciated, and I am grateful for your interest in my adventure in Portugal!
Melhores cumprimentos. Até logo.