Andrea on September 30th, 2014

Another busy week! Making up for the rain of last week we’ve been cracking on with the first part of our grape harvest and wine making. Harvesting and produce preservation continues, with tomatoes and quinces still being top of my processing list.

Volunteer Marjolein has been filming this week, which has given Jeroen a marvellous excuse for sporting a ridiculous hat. Doesn’t every good permaculturist have one?! You’ll have to wait for the film to see it!

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Left to right, top to bottom:

1) Minnow, enjoying the sun whilst waiting for a mouse to jump out at him.

2) Krisztián doing a spot of landscaping. Filling in holes and flattening the path to make easier tractor access.

3) It’s a rubbish photo, but I couldn’t resist the colours of this chap who joined me in the outside kitchen for a whole day.

4) I’m trying to find the English name for this plant, known as ‘espargo‘ when we buy it at the local market. You eat the growing tips cooked like spinach, it has red berries, climbs vigorously and has a thick white root like a small parsnip.

5) Marjolein at work.

6) I spent a panicked half hour looking for this kitten, before finding it under the big cats! Three kittens need new homes? Can you offer one?

7) Love the colour of the pumpkins Charlie is harvesting here. Wishing we’d planted more squashes of all types this year as they’re a useful storing veg for both people and animals.

8) I’ve been making lots of quince jelly, which I should probably name quince honey instead as we like it runny. The goats have been loving the ‘waste’ product.

9) Rain showers have made dehydrating outside challenging, so I’m pleased to have a fabulous electric dehydrator to fall back on. currently drying pepper slices, halved yellow cherry tomatoes and raspberries.

10) Grape harvest.

11) And squishing the grapes the traditional way. This is the first batch of grapes which should produce about 180 litres of wine. Much more to come!

12) First fermentation. Look at those bubbles!

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The Organic Guru on September 25th, 2014
We had Jewish new year festivals with family this week and today was lunch overlooking Sydney harbour at Potts Point, charming affair. Ordinarily I should feel stuffed to the rafters, but in fact I feel so light and empty because…. … Continue reading
Andrea on September 23rd, 2014

We’ve had our first taste of autumn weather this week, somewhat early, with lots of rain and tremendous thunderstorms.  We can’t really complain though, look at these photos of Lisbon today.

Wet soil easily compacts so we’ve not been doing a great deal in the veg garden as a result. A seemingly simple task of knocking together an additional dog shelter has kept us occupied with moving some of the elements around, including moving the bathtub wormeries closer to the growing areas. Whilst keeping them close to the house meant that we didn’t forget about them, we weren’t making use of the product as well as we could have been.

Finally, lots of preserving still going on. Tomato purée has been top of the list this week as the wet weather has caused many tomatoes to split and start rotting. I’m virtually out of jars, incredible though that would seem to anyone who has ever seen my jar stash, so other preserving is being dictated by whether I can get it in a bottle or coffee jar! Pear and apple purées are going in bottles, and various quince based jellies are in the plastic lidded coffee jars.

 

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Left to right, up to down:

1) The onset of wetter weather reminded us that the dogs needed an extra shelter

2) Restacking slates intended for the workshop roof

3) David flattening the area intended for the new dog shed

4) Bathtub wormeries in their new position above the veg garden. Positioned here we should remember to both feed them and use their products. This is their third position, demonstrating how tweaking is a valuable part of the design process!

5) Krisztián and Marjolein processing pears and quinces, both of which seem endless!

6) New (temporary!) members of the Casalinho team assisting with the washing up :)

7) The wet weather has not done any favours to the tomatoes, and has brought forward all our processing plans.

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Quinta Cabeça do Mato on September 22nd, 2014
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Andrea on September 17th, 2014

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With a proliferation of elderberries and plenty of windfall pears at the moment, this elderberry and pear chutney recipe has been a tasty way to ensure that none go to waste.

As with most of my recipes, my quantities are vague and my ingredients interchangeable. Taste it when it’s boiled down and tweak the sugar / vinegar / spices to suit you. You’ll need to allow a small portion to cool down in order to get a realistic taste. In this one you could substitute apples for pears, or tweak the quantities of each so long as the total volume of fruit stays around the same. Last time I made this I used dried raspberries instead of the more usual sultanas or raisins.

 

Left: Chief elderberry tester, George. 

 

 

You’ll need:

  • 1 kilo each of prepared elderberries, pears and onions
  • 275g dried fruit
  • 650 ml vinegar (try using home made fruit scrap vinegar made using pears)
  • 750g sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons each of ginger, mixed spice, ground black pepper and salt to taste

Prepare your elderberries by separating from the stalks. The easiest way to do so is with a fork, although go gently or you’ll just tear them. Prepare your pears by peeling, coring and chopping into small pieces, and your onions too.

Chuck the whole lot in a pan and boil it up until it’s the right consistency. Taste, tweak, bottle :)

 

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The Organic Guru on September 15th, 2014
Breaking it down Over the course of the last six months I’ve been busy on the land by myself. Avraham has been in Australia most of the time working on another project and it’s been all consuming for him. Being … Continue reading
magnus wolfe murray on September 10th, 2014
Immediately struck by light and sound, colour and smell, arriving in Bali, almost a month now..  Kira and I plus about four thousand other foreigners who happen to be in this particular slot of new arrivals.  Mostly tourists you'd think.  Who knows? Are we tourists? What are we doing here anyway? Well we are yet to figure that one out. For now we're here for school: the green school, a unique arrangement of outstanding bamboo buildings in the middle of a forest, where an exciting new approach to education is underway.  Right now we're not feeling very green haven flown half-way around the world and surrounded by concrete and car fumes at the airport.

Bali is, so far, a cacophony of different experiences. The ocean, open between here and Antarctica pulsates with waves every day, without fail, there's always something to ride.  The beaches are totally diverse - some black, others brown, some white, some covered in shacks selling grilled corn and fresh coconuts, others empty and desolate, farmland stretching right up close to the shore.

August is windy. So it's kite season.. look up to see a few dozen bizarrely-shaped specs shimmering there, often static on some kind of fixed lines into the middle distance, like stepping stones into the sky.

We ride by motorbike, until Monica arrives.  Two on a bike OK.  The school is maybe 25 mins inland across paddy fields which shine in morning light, and on the right day the volcanoe mountain looms in the background, cocunut palm pasted into the frame. Idyllic, or classic tropical scene. Until the junction...
A hundred, a thousands speeding cars, trucks and bikes. all at once, in a continual flow like  river of metal and fumes.  Eeek. and we have to cross into that? We wait.. see a break, follow some other nutter who's making the leap, and we're in, like jumping into a river, nipping around the slower moving mighty wagons, or cars. How slow are cars in this chaos?  Soon enough we're back to the side roads, and the air is fresh again.

Ubud is the cultural heart, where for decades a melting pot of creative types have been gathering. I stopped one day for a haircut.  Turns out to be a centre for therapy and massage, run by an elderly gent who was taught some ancient arts of meditation and massage passed down for generations.  Now it feels like the whole town is dedicated to this, with yoga and therapy retreats behind every garden wall.  Where surf lodges fill on the coast, travellers here come to stretch and breathe. And eat... the vegan cafes seem to outnumber the conventional. organic everything, dairy free banoffee pie - imagine? I've had food here i've never experienced before - and i'm not talking Balinese spice, but vegan creativity with the very same veg and nuts and fruit you find everywhere.

Everywhere bamboo, little baskets make of leaves with flowers and offerings, a little stick of incense wafting. in front of every shop, on street corners. And children learning how to weave and cut and make it all.  This I like.














Back to the sea - always the sea, warm and accessible, rock and sand.  This is where everyone goes to play. At weekends filled with locals from the towns and cities equally thrilled with the setting sun, selfies from every rock. Weddings and ceremonies.  Temples so near the beach, donging and haunting rhythms heard far out in the waves.


When: 13/10/2014 @ 20:00 — 18/10/2014 @ 17:30
Where: Avidanja, Montemor o Velho
Cost: 425€
Contacto: info@awakenedlifeproject.org

What is the true potential of women in the 21st Century? What role do women have in creating a new culture and a new world?

 

This retreat is all about the role that ‘the feminine’ will play in the next evolutionary phase of humanity. It will be a celebration of what is possible for women who are willing to change, transcend old structures and to come together as true spiritual sisters so that something new can be born.  We will go on a journey together looking into the culturally created limitations of women and more importantly our capacity to transcend these limitations.

There will be guided meditation sessions to connect to the deeper part of oneself where there are no problems to overcome. There is no meditation experience needed.Our time together will be both cosmic and very practical. Each woman will have the opportunity to look into what holds her back and in doing so can experience the universal nature of all the obstacle she thinks she has. Finding out that your ‘issues’ are really everyone else’s issues is a very liberating moment and it will break protective barriers in you.

The aim of the retreat is to give women a new perspective to interpret one’s life. This perspective is based on evolutionary spirituality and it will help you to experience yourself as part of an evolutionary process that is creative and dynamic. The historical past of women consciously and unconsciously affect how we are as women today. We will look into this history so we can all understand why women think what we think and why we do what we do.

This will be an individual and a collective journey. Experience the thrill of coming together with others in the spirit of transformation. If you would like to read an article on ‘What is an Evolutionary Enlightened Woman?’, please click here.  If you are interested in getting connected to a deeper part of yourself, transcending limitations and coming together with other women in ways you could never have imagined, this retreat is for you. All that is needed is an open heart, a willingness to drop old ideas, and an interest in transformation.

awakenedlife on September 9th, 2014

When: 12/09/2014 @ 20:00 — 14/09/2014 @ 17:30
Where: Awakened Life Project at Quinta da Mizarela-  Benfeita, Arganil.
Cost: 120€
Contacto: info@awakenedlifeproject.org

What is the true potential of women in the 21st Century? What role do women have in creating a new culture and a new world?

This retreat is all about the role that ‘the feminine’ will play in the next evolutionary phase of humanity. It will be a celebration of what is possible for women who are willing to change, transcend old structures and to come together as true spiritual sisters so that something new can be born.  We will go on a journey together looking into the culturally created limitations of women and more importantly our capacity to transcend these limitations.

There will be guided meditation sessions to connect to the deeper part of oneself where there are no problems to overcome. There is no meditation experience needed.

Our time together will be both cosmic and very practical. Each woman will have the opportunity to look into what holds her back and in doing so can experience the universal nature of all the obstacle she thinks she has. Finding out that your ‘issues’ are really everyone else’s issues is a very liberating moment and it will break protective barriers in you.

The aim of the retreat is to give women a new perspective to interpret one’s life. This perspective is based on evolutionary spirituality and it will help you to experience yourself as part of an evolutionary process that is creative and dynamic. The historical past of women consciously and unconsciously affect how we are as women today. We will look into this history so we can all understand why women think what we think and why we do what we do.

This will be an individual and a collective journey. Experience the thrill of coming together with others in the spirit of transformation. If you would like to read an article on ‘What is an Evolutionary Enlightened Woman?’, please click here.  If you are interested in getting connected to a deeper part of yourself, transcending limitations and coming together with other women in ways you could never have imagined, this retreat is for you. All that is needed is an open heart, a willingness to drop old ideas, and an interest in transformation.

 

 

Andrea on September 8th, 2014

It’s been another week of harvesting and processing. I’ve been making the most of the summer sun to dry as much as I can, with particular emphasis on things that can add variety to the animals’ winter feed.

Storm kettle Fat hen, drying for winter goat feed Late planted corn Strawberries Rich Harvesting elderberries in the sun Sheep's sorrel Walking onions 20140904_111502 20140904_112638 Little Maggot Colmeal

Left to right, top to bottom.

1. We discovered that the dead stalks of the parsnips we kept for seed are brilliant for getting the storm kettle going.

2. Fat hen (Chenopodium album) drying in the sun. We dry the individual leaves for addition to winter dishes, but these whole plants are intended as winter feed for the goats.

3. Last patch of corn coming up, again for winter use as goat food.

4. Strawberries are coming back, just a handful at a time. The day when I harvested nearly 15kg in one morning a couple of months ago seems like a distant memory!

5. Re-thatching Blue’s kennel using broom.

6. Harvesting elderberries. They’ll be juiced,used to make chutneys and jams, and dried as an addition to winter animal feed.

7. I’ve been making ‘pickle’ from the sheep’s sorrel. Method here.

8. Walking onions.

9. Rowan berries drying in the sun. Most of these will be an addition to the animal’s winter feed, but some will be ground as an addition to bread flour.

10. Cutting broom. We’ll be shredding this and using it in a hot compost to generate heat for the shower water.

11. The puppies have found new homes :)

12. Swimming at Colmeal.

 

The roof work goes on, with a photo gallery especially for Roland ….

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