torsdag 21 januari 2016

Two and a half dog

In June last year we lost our very much beloved dog Herman.
Herman on the beach-Foz do Arelho

We knew it was coming since he was almost 13 and was a quite big dog. But it was hard anyway-so hard. Afterwards we were devestated and took some time off. We didn´t have many bookings for June so when we had the feeling that he wouldn´t make it much longer we didn´t accept any more bookings and closed the place down for a couple of weeks,

Then we only had two dogs. Also very much loved of course but we said that we didn´t want another dog, at least not for a while.

In November I saw a dog that I had seen before. A dog with a broken leg. This dog was so scared and shy and wouldn´t even come close to get some food. It looked miserable and dragged his broken leg behind him in a twisted angle. I went out to try to catch it again. If it wasn´t possible to fix his leg maybe I could go to the vet and put him to sleep and put him out of his misery.

Unfortunately I couldn´t catch hime this time either. But when I tried to call him softly another small dog appeared. He had a friend. A small dog, clearly some podengo mix. This little fellow was super friendly and not afraid at all. I decided to catch this one. Maybe he had a home somewhere and maybe it would be easier to catch the other one too. But he ran away and I was left with the small friendly dog in my arms.

He is hard to catch-full of energy
We took him to the vet who stated that he was around one years old, healthy, had no chip and a wound around his neck. Probably from a chain that had grown into his flesh. I asked if we should try to find his owner but the vet didn´t think so. He said that if you leave a puppy with a chain around its neck and let the chain grow into the puppy the n you don´t deserve the dog. I just love our vet.
Who can chain a puppy?

So friendly

Not still for long

We took him home. The thing was tha he disappeared. Where was he?

To be continued.......

söndag 17 januari 2016

Isn´t yoga supposed to give you harmony?

I found this wonderful young lady who offered yoga lessons to people living around Caldas da Rainha/Peniche. Excellent and wonderful yoga teacher She wanted to start  a yoga course and wondered if people here were interested to participate. She also was willing to come and give private lessons if needed. I signed up for one lesson since I am very tense and also have got problems sleeping.
Last Sunday she came and she was marvellous. Patient, soft and encouraging. I signed up for another private lesson this morning. It was even beter this time so I will absolutely continue the course which starts next Thursday.

After the yoga I felt great and had alot of positive energy. Since it was very cold outside I decided to bake cakes. There are two reasons why I wanted to bake cakes 1) We will be starting with some activities here on the vineyard next summer. We will offer our guests guided walks and afterwards there will be coffee/tea/homemade lemonade and home baked cake.  So I thoght it would be nice to try different recipes out and see what cakes will work, 2) We have a lot of eggs at the moment.

So I started to bake. I started with an orange flavoured sponge cake. We have a lot of oranges so it was a good idea. This cake came out not really cooked so it turned out a little soggy.
Cake number two was a spiced cake, with cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. This cake I forgot to put the melted butter in before putting it into the oven. (turned out ok anyway)
Cake number three was a sponge you put in a flat tray to bake. I took a too large one so this cake was thin and not very impressive at all. The last cake was a lemon sponge.This cake was flat baked or dead baked as we say in Sweden.
So I succeeded with absolute zero of the cakes.I don´t know what went wrong. i can normally bake a sponge with no problems at all. Today all four became failures.

Isn´t yoga good for you after all?

fredag 15 januari 2016

Death of a palm tree

You might have read about the little bug that kills palm trees aroung the Mediterrenean. This bug is one of the nastiest little creatures, the red palm weavel. We have five of those palm trees that this little bugger likes, the Canarian date palm. See in front of our farm house how two of them majesticly stand on either side of the entrance in the front picture of this blog.

About a year ago we started to notice dead or dying palm trees in Säo Martinho bay. We also got warnings from people living in the Algarve area. It was time to take action.Us trying to take action about a year ago. We sprayed all our Canarian palm trees and they all seemed fine.

In October, our neighbour Paulo passed, he is working in a garden/landscaping company, and shouted that one of our palm trees is dying. It is almost impossible to get rid of this bug once it has settled. What this little bug does is to use its trunk and dig into the top and goes inside the palm to lay its eggs. The larveas eats the flesh of the palm and it dies. To get rid of it you have to strip the palm fron its leaves, almost like shave on the outside and slice it from the top until you can´t see anymore affected or bugs. It is hard work because you don´t just have to to all this but also burn everything and dig it 2 meters under ground. Have you ever tried to put fire on a palm tree before? It akes forever because of its high water content. The garden companies charges 550 Euros to take down and destroy a palm tree.
so nasty

So we took all the leaves down on our dying palm tree. Kind of shaved it and also sliced it. This is the only way you can save it. Afterwards you have to spray it and also inject some stuff into it as well. To finish it off we put ahes on the top so it wouldn´t bleed so much. 
Then we just had to wait to see if it had survived. A month later we could see new leaves growing out. So it survived after all.

Then the next blow struck. During the renovation of our bathroom we found that the roots of this very palm tree have gone in to our house so we have to take the palm down anyway. Oh how it sucks.
A bit religious feeling

It is more job than you can imagine

Here you can see where the monsters have been eating

This is what our magnificent palm looked like after

One more is trying to get in

The leaves are coming back

Red palm weevil

onsdag 13 januari 2016

Getting there-little by little.

In a distance I see the tractor. It is one of those tractors that the Portuguese farmers use around here, the Portuguese farmers that grow fruit that is. Around here it is mainly apples and pears. There is another kind of tractor around these areas, a much slimmer variety which is used between the rows of grapes.

The tractor is getting closer. It is hard to see it now because of the sun in my face and in my eyes. I am walking my dogs on this gravel road along the Rio Tornada, Tornada river, which isn´t a river but more of a stream, at least here.

Around me there are fields with apples and pears and some super food as they call it in Sweden, the ever present Portuguese kale. The thing is the Portuguese don´t even know it is fashionable to eat it. A trendy thing people pay a lot for in Sweden or USA or England. Here they don´t care. They eat it because they like it, it´s cheap and they can grow it year round.
Not trendy

The sound of the tractor is getting stronger and it is almost impossible to hear all the birds. The flowers are visible still. Poppy and a pretty little yellow type of clover which are growing in abundance.Soon enough they will be smothered in all fumes and smoke from diesel from that tractor.

yellow clover

View from a farm.
Now the tractor is clear to see and it isn´t new or clean. There is a little man driving it. Now when he is getting closer I recognise him. He has some fields near us and he has always looked very grumpy. Every time we have passed I have always tried to smile my widest grin and shouted Bom Dia! He has never once looked at me nor said anything.

This time I can see that he had spotted me, this strange foreign lady, clearly crazy. Why would a sane woman walk big dogs in the middle of the day and not growing...kale for instance if she wasn´t complete nuts?

I smile my biggest smile and shout Bom Dia, again. He slows the tractor down, lifts his cap, and well doesn´t exactly smile but...

Then as he passes I can clearly hear a vague Bom dia!

It only took almost two years.

fredag 8 maj 2015

better shape up.

Busy week with a lot of guests have made us neglecting our blog horrendously. We will try to become better and write more frequently but we can´t promise since we´re going into the busy season for us.

We have had, as mentioned, many guests, and they have mainly arrived through airbnb. From the beginning we didn´t have many hopes that we would get many guests through them but they keep coming and we are thankful for that.
Spraying the palm tree to protect it from the red palm weavel

Adilson cutting the insulation for the roof

My job among others

This time of year we have also begun to spray our vines to protect them from mold. We do it once a fortnight and it takes Lars and our helper Adilson a whole day to do it. One is driving the tractor and one is managing the hose and spray.

Today Lars and Adilson are working in the vineyard with straightening the wires, repairing and replacing ols poles.
Lars in action

Adilson is helping us out 1-2 days a week and he is extremely allround. He is an excellent mechanic but is very good at plastering as well. We will probably need his help for a long time since we´re doing all kinds of improvements on the quinta.

Natalia is our cleaning lady and she is here 2 days/week during the season. She cleans our guest accomodations and does some ironing.

When the two of them are here lunch is included so that is one of the things I am doing. I plan, shop and cook. I wash about 20 machines of laundry/week (when we´re fully booked) and I answer mail and requests. I also take care of the dogs and chickens, bake a lot and clean our home once in a while when there is too much sand from the dogs inside. Some gardening, limoncello and jam making are also on my work list.
someone has to take care of Senhor Lars

At this very moment only one of our apartments are occupied and that is probably why I have some time to write today. But on Sunday a friend is arriving with her sister and they are staying a week.

All our fruit trees are coming along nicely. There are baby fruit wherever you look.






The garden is also thriving and we have got roses everywhere.
roses thar smell wonderful

many passion flowers

Now I have to prepare lunch for the workers.

Have a wonderful day because we do.


söndag 3 maj 2015

Issue to be a farmer..


Today is it the old one that writing the blog

As you know we  have chickens and a rooster called Sr Lars. He is named after me and I don´t understand why but that´s a different story.

To have chicken has been a dream for us and the chickens are lovely animals.They have become more and more like pets for us but it´s not as simple to have chickens as you might think. After almost a year having chichen there have been a lot of different things happening that you normaly don´t have to handle.

First we bought six chickens, no problem at all we thought. After a couple of weeks we learned that there are two types of chickens, the one that lay eggs and the other one that are bred for eating.
Frango-eating chicken

This two types are completely different and the type for eating can´t have eggs without having problems, they suffer a lot. The first cycle of eggs is fine but eventually when the eggs get bigger one of them gets stuck in their bum and they die a painful death.

Of course we had a couple of chickens that are supposed to be fried chicken. Our friend Peter that normaly helps us said to us that we had to kill two of our chickens because they were going to have problems with the egg production.

Peter wanted to show me to kill the chickens because as a chicken owner and a farmer you need to know these things, But I don´t want to kill my animals!!!. Peter is a good friend and he understood that I didn´t want to kill them so he said to us that he could take care of it and he did. He asked us if we would like to have the chickens to eat or if we would like to have two new ones, We chose to have two new ones, and all of a sudden we had Sr Lars and Snow white, they are both very pretty and have a white feathers.

After a couple of good weeks there was a loose dog in our garden and he bit one of the chickens so we were a little bit worried but we solved the situation and she survived.

Now everything is going smoothly and we asked Peter if we could have three more chickens. He delivered three very pretty chickens after a while but it turned out to be three roosters so we had a big problem because they tried to mate with our hens.
The girls are mine

Sr Lars was not pleased with the situation so Peter came again and took the three small roosters away and gave us two new ones. After a week he gave us the young Sr Lars jr in a bag if you know what I´m talking about and It will be our dinner tonight.
Here he is-Junior

So to summerize this story. It is not so simple to have chickens as you might think

Have a nice evening
The real Sr Lars

onsdag 29 april 2015

A full House and a knife

Busy busy busy
The last couple of weeks have been really hectic but also filled with fun events.
I have kept my promise to go riding at least once a week on Quinta do Pinheiro Manso. Yesterday I even brought one of our guests that´s staying on the farm at the moment. She really enjoyed herself and we rode in the eucalyptus woods around the quinta. We had wonderful weather a nice galops on their beautiful horses.She wanted to come with me next week as well.

Three of our apartments are filled with happy and hopefully content guests which makes life so much easier for us since happy guests give us so much new energy. Even though it has been a lot of work lately and we are a bit tired. When the guests arrive and are in a vacation mood we nourish from them and we are filled with the same holiday spirit.

Last Saturday Lars was going to put up a new radiator in one of our apartments and Lars cut himself a bit. It wasn´t too deep but there was a lot of blood. Of course he didn´t want to go to the ER and put the cut thumb in alcohol. During the night he was awake most of it and decided to go to the hospital in the morning. But there was no infecton or anything he just got a big bandage and was told to be still for a day or two. He is better now but still has to keep the bandage on for a while.

We worked hard to finish the last apartment´s veranda and we are happy with the outcome. We think it looks nice and cozy and we hope our guests will enjoy sitting here and read or drink a glass of wine.

Tomorrow we will go to Óbidos and to their annual chocolate festival. It is the first time for us because we didn´t have time to go last year and we are really looking forward to it. It has been on from Thursday-Sunday the last two weeksand this weekend it is the last one so we better hurry or we will miss it this year as well.Óbidos Chocolate Festival

Tomorrow two guests from Austria and Germany are leaving us. They have been here, together with their dog Joey, on the farm for a month now and it will be empty without them. On Sunday two guests that were here last season as well, are returning which feels good for us. They were so satisfied with their stay here so they wanted to come back.

Well will keep you posted how the Chocolate festival was.

Take care