Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Headless chickens.

The merry month of February wizzed through with blue skies, spring blossom coming out, lush greenery abounding, no rain in sight.  Now in March, indeed, spring is here, but, without a wet spell in March or April we'll be in big doo-doo come August. More on that anon...

Plenty going on at Várzea, especially in baby-production...  attentive readers will know that we already have had 2 new mini-humans born to the place in the last 3 months.  And in the summer, our Aga will be adding one more!  Ian (in picture below) to be the next new dad.   Meanwhile our neighbours Daphna, with Arturo, will be adding one more to their 3 in April.   The papers tell us that Portugal is having diminishing births, aging populus and the rest, well our valley is in a continuous baby boom, with no end in sight. Any couples having difficulty in making a family, come to Várzea da Gonçala baby-farm for your holidays!


There has been plenty other stuff too!   I'm busy with new greenhouse construction, Aga is gearing up for he spring planting season.  The potatoes are just in - so fast that I didn't get a photo, it was a blurr...  Now, with Ian and Edu's help, setting up the garden irrigation.....




Some cool landscaping going down too, with finally a new path and steps coming down from the communal kitchen/chillout area to the new greenhouse and pond, terraces and all.  Here are Edu and myself at work (well, taking a "pausa") in the developing area...



And we are super-happy to have here, in there buses, Rob and Zanda, who are good practical people as well as great to have around.  They have already re-made the crumbling railings up to the barbecue area...









....next they put up a new support for the grapevine to cover the barbecue/terrace area in front of the guest-house....




The big next (well, for me) is the annual cut of the 3 or so hectares of hillside I keep maintained.  Worth a quick recap..  What's with the hillsides?   It's like this....

A hectare or so of Várzea da Gonçala's land is on the plain of the valley floor - this is the meaning of the portuguese word "várzea".  The remaining 7ha or so is on the slopes, and, of these, about 3ha are actively managed with the long-term plan of re-establishing a healthy native forest - which existed before 2 destructive fires in the last 30 years.

Speaking of hillsides, which I nearly was, Pavel has been making cool steps on one of the paths going up the hillsides...


The annual cut is for fire-prevention.  The main reason for big destructive fires in recent years is that there are very few grazing animals to keep down the scrub growth in the winter and spring, which then is then super-incendiary in the dry warm summers - "must decay biologically".  But it does not decay and return to the soil where no animals are there to squish it in and poo it out.

It's a difficult pancake for sure.  But get this, if you don't get anything else, and it is very simple...
The water that falls on the land must be held in the soil.  How much water the land holds depends on the amount of organic matter that is in the soil. This is allied to the amount of ground cover - if there is nothing to shelter the soil from the sun, it gets warm and life abandons the soil and organic matter is lost.  Trees do this, ground-cover plants also, mulch too, but trees are best.  In the words of The Pixies's song "Monkey gone to heaven".. "if the ground's not cold everything is gonna burn".

But good news...   Time will work for you!  People see time as outside of themselves. It is the very stuff of our existence. Then others talk about the power of now, without getting the point, that now extends through past and future in total connection.  The geese understand this,,,



Accept that time is our friend and not the enemy, and our horizons are opened. We are in the flow, and can modify the flow by every action.  Not talking, or facebooking, but by acting. 

We are intervening in the future all the time, and to be wise is to do so holistically, to anticipate the effects well, not for the immediate results, but for the long-term.  To do this we must understand the landscape of time. 

My action this week is finishing re-setting the tree-irrigation network.  Then the digger is soon coming to prepare the site of my 74 cu metre water-storage tank, and the tank is here! In bits, to be assembled.    Enough for now - more action-adventure coming soon!!!

And not a line about you know what!  HA!!!  See yous soon....





3 comments:

  1. Great to have shared some of these stages at the end of Feb.
    Felt like a really productive week.
    Nice write up. Thanks again - sam

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  2. Love your writing Chris - so glad to see these updates!

    ReplyDelete