One month has flown by since we drove up our dusty road, a bit excited, a bit fearful, not knowing how to find our land and little house after one year of desertion. Time for an update on our work in progress in Portugal, isn’t it. Many people have been asking us if we are fine with the heat and fire hazards spreading through the country.
Where we stay it has actually only been huffing and puffing for three or four days and overall typically Portuguese weather, meaning cloudy to very sunny during the day and pretty chilly in the evening. It has been burning in the South mainly, in Monchique area. Really sad to see, over 27000 acres of forest and land burned…
Luckily our region got spared so far. We got hit already very hard in October 2017. Only near our property; Arganil city, Mouronho, Secarias, everything is still lush and green.
Everywhere the horrible stories from survivors are being told, showing very clearly that the trauma is still vivid in everyone’s mind.
We feel very fortunate not having to witness any of this horror, but feel somewhat uneasy about the pending reality of a future fire. We already talked with the survivors about measurements to be taken when a fire approaches our land. The choice of building an Earthship and a few smaller buildings in the type of stones found everywhere on our land seems to be the best and wise choice. We will still use recycled wood for small and easy constructions as ecotoilet and outdoor furniture. These things don’t take years to build and can easily be replaced if necessary.
What did we accomplish so far?
Before we left some of our friends and relatives were so kind to donate to our project. A good friend of ours came over to help out, which was a great push in the back. With the kids hanging around all day, it isn’t easy for me to take time for work.
Let me give you an overview of what we did with the donations the past month.
- Set up the yoga floor 🙂 first things first! We already had that floor made out of packing material for windows.
- We bought and installed our solar installation: 4 panels and 4 deep cycle 140W batteries. This was a memorable moment as this takes our level of comfort a few steps higher! A fridge, light at night! We even have a real light swith now in the kitchen! All these things we take for granted in daily life.
- A 9 ton crane came to fix the access road and to make 2 straight platforms to put the yurts on. This is quite devastating for the plants, so that was a one time event, I’m sure.
- Set up a yurt with the two of us: 2 days of work! Unfortunately we had to discover our second yurt served as winter supply for a few mice or rats. These creatures ate all the leather joints of the walls… We are preparing this and will only set it up next year.
- Our dear friend expanded our electricity network towards the yurt and caravan.
- We made a concrete floor in the kitchen as it was a challenge not to break your legs each time you wanted to get something from the shelf.
- Last year the water deposit collapsed at the top, because of the heavy weight of our clay soil. We actually got fooled by the undertaker from Tabua. I had asked him for a solid concrete tank, but instead he used a plastic one that isn’t strong enough to support this heavy soil. When we confronted him with this error, he simply pulled his shoulders and said he couldn’t do anything about it. Unbelievable! Locals tell us that in such cases they take a lawyer to settle this, but as we don’t live their yet, I’m a bit scared to set up a vete with this guy. You never know what they’d do when we’re not around. We fixed our water deposit by building a wall and covering it again. Lots of shuffling…
- Our dirty water will be gathered in a pond with waterplants for filtering and purification. Step by step we are chopping a ditch for the waterpipes. Half way there now!
- Making our way through the wilderness with a brush cutter, clearing the paths.
- Ward constructed a heavenly cold shower with the sun on your face, surrounded by trees. It took him about one hour, using some extra sticks from the yurt and canvas from a party tent.
- A hammock island between some cork oakes and medronhos for laid back afternoons.
- We replaced the partytent and caravan, so now we have a mountain view from our caravan.
The past week we got a visit from some friends, so a good time to change the rhythm and take time for real holidays.
Stay tuned to see how we continue our project!