It might not be much, but yesterday’s salad was completely grown at the quinta.
All grown with my fair hands. Lettuce (three types), radish and carrots. Technically the olives just needed harvesting, brining and pressing into oil as they were ready for harvest when I bought the quinta.
While I added some sardines as I can’t grow them, I’m bursting with pride with my success so far.
As the other plants catch up and nature does its magic, the salad is going to have so much more colour, flavour and variety. I hope.
The last three weeks have been busy. And thoroughly enjoyable. For most people looking in, it’ll probably appear rather boring and repetitive. For some normal, but for me it’s been a fun few weeks as I continue to blend into living in Portugal.
Work on the quinta has been constant. There is a lot to do but many tasks are undertaken as the day progresses. Sometimes they might take a few minutes, or often, what starts as a quick job tends to take a few hours.
While the beautiful sun visits every day and the evenings get longer, time is precious but it feels as though there is more of it.
However, the plants (and weeds) are definitely not waiting for time. Their growth has been amazing to watch. Every day the peas, tomatoes and lettuce are growing so fast and courgette plants add new leaves.
The various seeds I’ve planted are making good progress. Some are taking their time to break through but I am sure that giving them the time they will come good.
Back when I was working full-time, sitting in front of a screen, or in the car commuting, I was afraid to admit, and indeed disappointed, that I just let nature pass me by. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced the daily, or even weekly, progression of nature.
Looking back, I bounced from one “event” to the next. From Christmas to Easter, to the summer holiday and Halloween. Special days just passed by. Sadly, they still do and I need to work much more on that.
Relating this to nature, my blinkers meant that I saw trees with leaves on, or not. Never experiencing the incredible growth of nature. It was just part of the background. I’d made it beige, magnolia, calico or whatever boring colour springs to mind.
It’s impossible to get that time back and reverse those missed opportunities although looking forward, I am doing everything I can to ensure I experience every day. And, I still have my teachers’ words ringing in my ears “must try harder”.
I am enjoying watching nature flourish so much. Just listening to the birds, crickets, frogs and other wildlife is amazing.
Work on the Quinta
As the temperatures rise, so does the fire risk in Portugal. There has been much land clearing and I’m pleased with the amount I’ve cleared. A small bit to complete, with ongoing maintenance to keep the risk low.
There is a real commitment to helping your neighbours and local immigrants with various tasks. Much of this is repaid with their help or simply being fed!
I’ve been grateful for some extra help from Jason from Quinta Essencial to assist with chipping all the branches that have accumulated over the last few months. I’m also indebted to his ongoing mentoring and guidance. In return, I’ve helped with some painting and a few other jobs over recent weeks.
There have been various other jobs that I’ve done for other friends including strimming and weeding. And next week I’m pleased to be helping another couple with some work they need to do.
Some of this work has resulted in being fed including an Italian supper, the second barbeque of the year and quite a few lunches. I think I need to brush up on my culinary skills. Brush up? Get past beans on toast!
Over the last week, I’ve also planted three more beds some to enable the transplant of seedlings and others to sow seeds direct into the soil. Some of the seeds have been given to me so I’m hoping these come to fruition so I can repay the generosity with harvested food.
There is also an awful lot of weeding being undertaken and generally keeping on top of things. This included the whole Easter weekend being sat weeding between the grapevines and giving them plenty of TLC. And, I think I’ve done a pretty damn good job.
I’ve also pinched out the unwanted growth on the vines and soon I’m going to need to support them trailing the wires. So much to learn, but it’s fun doing it!
Amongst other things, I’ve tidied up the land immediately outside the quinta. While some of this belongs to me, I have made a concerted effort to make the quinta look presentable to anyone driving past. Including the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) who can undertake spot checks to ensure you’ve cleared your land to reduce fire risk.
That time of year….
Despite spending most of the time outdoors and at the quinta, we have had a couple of wet days. A benefit for the land and plants, but it does mean I can get on and complete a few of the “domestic” jobs.
No, I don’t mean cleaning, although I could do with finding the dustpan, brush and duster. But there is always tomorrow! However, I have (almost) finished my last main HMRC self-assessment and sorted out a few things that remain in the UK.
Next on the list is submitting my annual return to the Finanças here in Portugal. While I have all the information at hand, navigating the Finanças portal is going to be fun. Hopefully, I’ll manage it, but I can see it will be one of those jobs where doing the cleaning is more appealing!
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.