Latest news from the quinta

July 28th, 2014. Post by Wendy

This blog tends to feature often lengthy and mostly fairly detailed descriptions of the work here. Shorter updates, anecdotes, comments, photos, links and more get posted to Facebook. Keep up with us directly on Facebook or via the feed below.

Quinta do Vale

Quinta do Vale on Facebook

'Blue Coco' climbing beans ready for harvest. Growing them for the first time - they're delicious and doing very well here. ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Heather Williams Becerra, Bob Dobbolina and 23 others like this

Krisztina PatersonI grew them up on my corn couple of years ago and it worked wonderfully1   ·  2 days ago

Linda Beckmanyum.3 days ago

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Dealing with two gluts simultaneously - courgette and wild plum chutney. ... See MoreSee Less

4 days ago

Cyril Wilson, La Baltasara and 19 others like this

Quinta do ValeWell I figured it sounded plausible at least. Now will have to wait for it to mature for 3 months before I can find out.3 days ago

Jacquie ChandlerSounds yummy x1   ·  3 days ago

Cyril WilsonBusy times, my apples are all coming right at the same time, just bought half a dozen Mason, or Kilner jars as there is no more room in the freezer.3 days ago

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One of the not-so-pleasant aspects of this lifestyle ... on Saturday, a large dog (or pair of dogs) forced the gate on the chicken's pen and massacred 3 of the 4 birds. One was eaten on the spot with only the wings left behind. Another was taken. A third was left dead. The remaining one (who escaped by hiding under the coop which is too low for a large dog to get under) is badly injured and may not make it. There are only 3 dogs in this vicinity large enough and free enough to be capable of this and 2 of them belong to the same owners. Mine isn't the first flock to go this way either. ... See MoreSee Less

7 days ago

Hugo Pedroso likes this

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Daniel ComerI think free range wild dog could taste quite nice!2   ·  7 days ago

Steve Douglas Mckaywe sadly had to shoot two v large semi-wild dogs in our village this weekend as they had attacked birds etc 5 times and the owner did not give a S**t , so my self and my neighbours took it into our own hands and dealt with the problem.2   ·  7 days ago

Hugo PedrosoDogs are not the problem... Owners are. Because they see themselfs as owners indeed and not as companions of their best friends...1   ·  7 days ago

Suzana Mawdsleyyou could also get your own dog. they are territorial and other packs will steer clear of your place.1   ·  7 days ago

Cyril WilsonA friend suffered a similar attack, the main difference was that both the dog owner and my friend were present to witness the attack. I won't go into all of the detail, suffice to say that when the dog was driven off the attack, the owner, with apologies and promises of reparation, left apparently very upset. Next day, denied it was her dog??7 days ago

Emma McDonaldI couldn't do it myself but agree with the above. The owners should be punished also!! Do not get dogs if you can't, or have no intentions of training and looking after them. Idiots. They should buy you new chooks!2   ·  7 days ago

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19°C and pouring rain. Not exactly what you expect for mid July in Portugal. Very glad I renewed the plastic on the yurt roof yesterday. On the plus side, we won't need to water the garden today ... ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

Louise Miller, Sophie Kempin and 23 others like this

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Ricardo Wragg FreitasIt is just a short summer storm, next week the weather will be fine. See the bright side, it waters the plants and clears the dust.1   ·  1 week ago

Imogen MooreGreat photo of your fort up there on the hill! Makes me want to go and play Braveheart in it :D1   ·  1 week ago

Cyril WilsonLove the jungle atmosphere.1   ·  1 week ago

Gypsie Misfitnice photo!! great angle!1   ·  1 week ago

Karina SzilagyiI love that shot! :) We are not watering today either, yay!1 week ago

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Under 2 weeks to go now. Can you help us reach our target and share this with your friends? Lots of great rewards and chances to get more involved with what we're doing here. ... See MoreSee Less

Supporting sustainable development twice over - an educational facility in an off-grid community tha

2 weeks ago

Ana Nunes, Steffi Köhne and 12 others like this

Quinta do ValeThe link to the campaign doesn't work when the video displays as the full column width, so here it is if that's the case ... www.crowdfunder.co.uk/off-grid-educational-facility-in-rural-portugal/1   ·  2 weeks ago

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And so it begins ... ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

Marleen Vanstaen, Michelle Sheridan and 23 others like this

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Ana PedrosaYou might find this useful, makes 2 loaves: Ingredients 2 cups of grated zucchini (with peal) 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups sugar 3 eggs ½ cup oil (I use olive oil) 3 teaspoons vanilla Optional: Walnuts and / or raisins (about a cup) Preperation: Oil (or grease) 2 bread tins, and pre-heat oven to 160C. Mix dry ingredients (zucchini, flour, soda, baking powder, sugar and salt). Add liquids (oil, eggs, vanilla) (stir, do not beat) Fold in nuts and / or raisins. Pour mixture into two bread tins. Bake at 160ºC for about 1 hour (test with toothpick).2   ·  2 weeks ago

Quinta do ValeFortunately the chickens really like them too so I'm exchanging some for eggs.1 week ago

Sarah Whiteheadyup, i gave a bunch away yesterday1   ·  1 week ago

Ruth E. Poenoooooo!1 week ago

Kristin Demos LeivaLol. Us too!!! 😳1 week ago

David WilsonHave already Zucchini cheese bake, zucchini soup, going for it tonight on barbecue to go with chicken :-) will try loaf recipie - mine are yellow2 weeks ago

Andrew Mottersheadja.... you'll be sick of them in a week or so...2 weeks ago

Emma McDonaldUhooooh!2 weeks ago

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Summer! The garden is a crazy edible jungle and this sunflower is about 3m tall. ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

Sandee Munay, Nadine Zdanovich and 9 others like this

Luisa Will Resistbeautiful pic!!! 3 meters tall?!!! WOW sunflowers are my favorite, after all, van Gogh is the painter of my heart! :)2 weeks ago

Caroline RodgerStunning :)2 weeks ago

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And another ton of plums ... So far we have plum sauce, plum ice cream and plum jam. Ice cream is favourite so far. ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

Suzy Blue, Antonio Teixeira and 23 others like this

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Linda Beckmanawesome...prunes can be reconstituted for other moments...leave the past behind..2   ·  2 weeks ago

New Heritage Farms - Pasture Perfect Tamworth Pork and PigsRecipes?2 weeks ago

Emily MacWhat about putting them on drying racks in the sun to make prunes. That's what they do in rural Armenia and they're delicious.2 weeks ago

Ruth E. Poeomg -- i thought those were blue berries in a bowl!! Plum-a-licious!1   ·  2 weeks ago

Suzann MannI love prunes! Can dried prunes be brought back to the states? I will pop by and pick some up1   ·  2 weeks ago

Emily MacHaha. Fair enough. Case closed.1   ·  2 weeks ago

Luisa Will Resistat first glance, i thought they were blueberries too....that's one HUGE bowl of Plums, they look amazing!!!! Plum ice cream? have never tried it...sounds YUMMY!!!2 weeks ago

Ricardo PêAnd how about canning them?2 weeks ago

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A portable rocket stove

July 2nd, 2014. Post by Wendy

A year or so ago I salvaged a couple of tin cans from the local dump. From the moment I laid eyes on them they were shouting “portable rocket stove!”. They’ve sat around waiting for me to find the time and inclination to put them together ever since, but a friend moving onto a nearby quinta with no cooking facilities finally spurred me into action. In my head, I’d already worked out exactly how the stove was to be made, so it took very little time to assemble. In fact, it all happened so quickly, I didn’t even get any ‘before’ photos.

Making a portable rocket stove out of junk

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We are crowdfunding!

June 18th, 2014. Post by Wendy

This video explains …

And the campaign is hosted here.

The vermicomposting flush toilet completed

June 8th, 2014. Post by Wendy

Last year I wrote about our installation of a vermicompositing flush toilet – a worm composting system for a conventional flush toilet – in the outhouse for the wee house. It was all ready and set to go for a good while, minus the worms, but we couldn’t start using it until we had a water supply to the wee house since there would be nothing to flush with until we did.

With the completion of the quinta’s water storage and distribution system in February, I could at last commission the system.

Outhouse toilet featuring a composting flush toilet

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Waterworks completed

May 1st, 2014. Post by Wendy

Among many other projects on the go simultaneously last summer was the installation of some water storage capacity and supply lines to the various buildings on the quinta. The design and layout gives a good head of gravity-fed water to all parts of the quinta, and provides buffering for the vagaries of daily stream flow in late summer. The two tanks constructed from pre-cast concrete rings were fairly quick to construct. Finishing them proved more of a problem.

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A wood-burning masonry cookstove

April 26th, 2014. Post by Wendy

Ach! Where does the time go? I’m so hopelessly behind with blog posts and there are now so many pending I scarcely know where to start. I just checked the last post I made about the outdoor kitchen for the wee house and it was a year ago!

Alongside the cob bread/pizza oven I built last spring (and which is now producing fabulous food), I also constructed a wood-burning masonry cookstove. I found an open source Sketchup model online and adapted it for Portuguese fire brick dimensions.

Sketchup model for wood burning cook stove

This is the adapted model. Click on the image to download the Sketchup file and open in Sketchup (3D modelling software which is free to download). Firebricks are colour-coded for different lengths. You’ll need to be reasonably proficient with an angle grinder (at the least) to build this stove.

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Timber-framed grey water-processing greenhouse – part 2

February 14th, 2014. Post by Wendy

The last post on this build finished with the laying of the chestnut ring beam which forms the base of this sweet chestnut timber frame construction. The next part was to raise the main supporting structure.

Splitting out braces with a small axe

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Fermented citrus enzyme cleaner

January 30th, 2014. Post by Wendy

A few months ago I was talking to a friend at a local market about making my own washing up liquid and the difficulty in getting the balance just right between cleaning power and general user-friendliness. She mentioned a fermented citrus cleaner she makes and sent me the recipe. It sat in my email inbox for months until I caught a cold in early December and got tore into serious quantities of hot lemon and honey drinks. As the lemon rinds began to pile up in the compost bin, I suddenly remembered the cleaner recipe.

Fermented citrus cleaner in various stages of fermentation

Fermented citrus cleaner in various stages. From left to right, lemon citrus after 6 weeks’ fermentation, orange citrus after one week’s fermentation, and a new bottle being filled with orange peel

The fruit I’ve used is all grown here on the quinta, so is about as natural, organic and fresh as it gets. I made two bottles with the lemon peel from the cold remedies, then after Christmas the oranges started coming ripe so the 5th bottle is now on the go.

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A grey water processing greenhouse for the main building

December 7th, 2013. Post by Wendy

Another of this last summer’s principal projects has been restarting work on the main building. After the salutary lesson of the badly-built balcony and trellis, this time there would be no short cuts. We started taking apart the roof of the balcony back in spring to reuse the roof tiles on the wee house roof extension, and as work continued there on the toilet and battery house, we frequently raided the balcony for pieces of chestnut timber for floor and roof joists and for pine planking. So when it was finally time to demolish the balcony at the end of May, there wasn’t a whole lot left to take down.

Demolishing the remainder of the balcony

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Earthen floor for the bathroom

November 24th, 2013. Post by Wendy

The last major job outstanding on the cob bathroom is now complete. The floor. It’s been a slow process, finishing it off between major renovation works on the other two buildings, but slow progress is still progress.

Cob bathroom with its green roof

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October 12th, 2013. Post by Wendy

It took a year, but finally the copper pot-still or alambique I rescued from the scrap man last year and built a cob ‘stoven’ for is all fired up and producing aguardente.

Alambique or pot still

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