The last couple of weeks has consisted of lazing around, enjoying the sunshine and trying to find jobs to do. I’m getting used to this relaxed, simple life in Portugal. At times I really do have to pinch myself.
OK, that pinch has woken me up. It’s not all a dream. But some of it is.
In fact, I have not been basked in the sunshine over the last couple of weeks. For most of it, quite the opposite. It’s rained a lot which is great for plants, weeds and all. One thing I have noticed about Portuguese rain is it does feel like a feast or famine. If it rains, oh boy, does it rain.
Fruit, salads and vegetables
But this rain has been welcomed. Firstly, it has brought lush green growth across the quinta. Not all in the correct places, but lots of green growth all the same.
(Almost) every plug plant I have transplanted is thriving. There are one or two who haven’t made it, but overall, they are enjoying the growth spurt. However, I think I’ve lost my cenouras [carrots] (I presume better than losing my cebola [onions]) due to a couple of nights where it dipped below zero.
I’m also pleased that (almost) all my seedlings have also enjoyed the recent downpours followed by glorious sunshine. Alface, brócolos, cebola, rabanete, aboborinha, pepino, tomate, jalapeno, pimentão, e espinafres [lettuce, broccoli, onions, radish, courgettes, cucumber, tomatoes, jalapeno, bell peppers, and spinach] are all showing signs of growth.
The potatoes haven’t made an entrance yet. Patience. On the potato theme, even though they are not part of the potato family, I’m trying to grow some sweet potato slips as well. Lots more patience and time are needed for them.
Many trees are also beginning to flower. The blossom on the peach trees literally appeared overnight, and several other trees are joining the race to catch up. Tiny figs are appearing, and some vine buds are making super progress.
As this is the first year I’ve been in Portugal during the spring, it is incredible to see nature at its best as the quinta literally comes to life. Honestly, I don’t really recall taking so much interest in nature for many years. It definitely beats sitting behind a screen all day.
I’m feeling good about the progress I’m making. Still so much to do, and even more to learn, but as my neighbours constantly remind me pouco a pouco.
Rainy day jobs
Secondly, the rain gave me some time to clear up some of the outbuildings at the quinta. It’s surprising the impact a brush and black sack can have. I’ve only thrown away broken things so there is scope for more work. For example, there is a broken glasswasher I probably don’t need to keep “just in case”.
I have also spent some time repairing and changing some of the taps, standpipes and hoses around the quinta. I feel very lucky that water is in abundance and piped throughout the land, but this means there is an ongoing maintenance programme on changing taps and fittings. Small jobs, but good to have completed them all the same.
There are several jobs in the house that I’ve focused on. Although there is still more to do, there is no rush.
Boringly, I’ve done “real life” jobs like buying two new tyres, booking an appointment with the optician and probably having a few too many coffees in the local cafés. And, despite living in the village for nearly six months, I’ve found another small café which I never knew existed. Ok, that’s not entirely true, I thought it was a lavagem/lavandaria [laundrette] but was surprised to find out it is a café. Who would’ve known?
Aguardentre de medronhos
The final job I’ve undertaken while avoiding the rain is to make some aguardentre de medronhos [firewater]. Back in October, I started to harvest the medronho trees and since then the medronho has been fermenting in a barrel.
Five months on, I spent a day straining the mash, putting the liquid in a still, heating it up, cooling it down and I’ve actually produced a litre and a half of aguardente. I believe it’s 35-40% proof so not as strong as the Portuguese make it. Probably a good thing.
I don’t think it tastes taste too bad either. Because I made it I’m biased and it probably tastes absolutely revolting! Or maybe I’ve just tasted so much I can’t tell any more…. hic. Either way, it’s been fun.
Interestingly though despite being more constrained to the house, I’ve fallen behind on my weekly blog. Apologies, but I guess the busier I am, the more there is to tell, and indeed I seem to find more time to write.
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.