About Me

We moved out to Portugal to live a frugal but better , simpler and peaceful life, our house is a very basic, semi ruin, up in the hills outside Figueiro Dos Vinhos, where we work our land, enjoy life with each other and our dogs, and hope to make the smallest carbon footprint we can,

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Stay at Living the dream. Winter Special Offer.

Obviously due to the present economic climate all over the world, cottage lettings for us are a little slow... so to encourage interest we are running a special offer.
From Dec 1st -Feb 28th. The price will drop to a mere 15 euros per night. Min booking two nights. This includes, electricity, gas and a reasonable supply of logs for the log burner. We have never expected to make a lot of money from our rentals, and would rather have a little, often ... than a lot , rarely...
This area is beautiful at any time of the year, and the forest surrounding the cottage especially so.
Well... lets see eh...

All enquiries email me at patricia @livingthedreamportugal.com

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Its a dogs life....

A few people have asked for news of Beesa our puppy, well shes now 5 months old and beautiful... and very LARGE.

Herbal Lip /skin balm

Ive been busy making some lip/skin balm, its very useful for the winter, guards against wind chill for lips and as its also good for scratches sores, minor burns and scrapes ect. Here is my method.

Chop together a good handful of comfrey leaves, Lemon balm, and Plantain leaves, a weed which grows almost everywhere,  (plantain pictured below for identification)
Put in a enamel or stainless pot, and just cover with spring water and simmer for 30mins. Strain and squeeze liquid from leaves, measure liquid and add exactly the same amount of good oil, almond or olive will do.  Put back on heat and simmer till it stops bubbling, no bubbles is a sign that the water has evaporated. Add small peices of beeswax, about a 50p peice at a time, testing each time using the cold plate test as for jam setting . When it sets straight away, pour into jars, put on lid and label.   It will slowly set from the bottom up. Keeps for around a year in a cool place.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Back Now. Update.

Than you to all who posted comments and sent such lovely emails about my dad. I really appreciated all your kind thoughts . All went as well as could be expected and now Im trying to get back to as normal as possible.

Wow things have really moved on since our Canadian helper came, Greg has been exceptional, sadly we only have him another week before hes off down south ...
He and Rik have built a beautiful retaining wall in the garden, and now we'll be able to back the wood van down into the garden and so much nearer the wood barn, which will halve the work of unloading wood every time ...it also looks lovely, built from all old stone we had laying around from fallan barns ect.. it fits in with our place and soon will look as if it always was there.
We picked the olives and even though we shared with our friends will still hopefully have enough to last me more or less the year... if I dont go mad with it... its excellent... thick, green and so fruity... Ive been dipping my bread in the barrel.... till rik caught me... Im supposed to be trying to lose some weight now....

The beans and peas we planted down in the orchard are just popping up, so hopefully we'll have  very early spring broad beans and peas, all part of my plan for more fresh -less freezer this year...I picked two cabbages this morning, plus a nice big bunch of carrots, not huge carrots but enough for a meal for three of us...and we still have plenty of cabbage and more coming on, the leeks look good, and the old ladies onions and just coming up, and I must say, I believe her when she says they will be big, the tiny shoots coming up even now are much thicker than the seed packet ones...
My peas on the main patch are three inches high now, a little sporadic but the mice didnt have too many...
I also picked the last two Pomegranates , and they were delicious, our first year of having the tree fruit, and we had 16... Im so pleased, it was the first tree we planted the autumn we arrived here.

Rik and greg are going to spend a few days refilling our log barn before he has to leave us. We hopefully have a welsh couple arriving early Dec for a while, they have a hard act to follow....

Monday, 15 November 2010

Off again.

I shall be away from blogging again for a short time, sadly Im off to Uk again tomorrow , my father has passed away and is being buried on Friday. It wasnt unexpected but still very hard for us all.

Back soon

Friday, 12 November 2010

Olive Picking.

Well just a quick update today, I've not been able to get into town as we are olive picking, our new helpers Paddy & Bronwen arrived as planned last Mon night, and we all set to work quite quickly as we are not only picking ours but another friend who has a holiday home and wont be here to pick theirs ... so we've been at it for days and will continue over the weekend. Its not exactly hard work, just long days, that are tiring and very repetative. So we are all stiff, and have lots of aches and pains...Should end up having picked about 80 trees... sounds a lot but some are very small, but having said that some are huge!!

Not much else to report really, by the time we come hme at night and have cooked a meal etc, we are all too knackered to do very much ... Luckily for me Bronwen cooked a delicious meal last night to give me  break from the cooking. It was good to have a little rest, but I still have to cook the next days lunch after dinner each night as we take it with us to save fuel on coming back n forth each time.
Greg and rik did start to build a lovely dry stone retaining wall up by the log barn but its on hold till the olives are done.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Frugal Living. My Tuna Burger recipe

Again quantities are vague as I tend to put in what I have, but its more or less like this.
Makes around 20-25 .

Cook a med sized  pan of potatoes.
Drain  into large bowl and mash well, add seasoning.
Into this add, a few handfulls of oats, two small tins of tuna (drained) a  finely chopped med onion, a sprinkling of herbs of your choice, and a beaten egg. Mix well.
When sufficiently cooled to handle, make patty shaped and dip in either seasoned breadcrumbs or flour and seeds mix, and make shaped. Open freeze on a large tray, then pack into bags when hard.
Fry from frozen.
Costs by my reckoning less than 2euros for the whole batch...

Working Hard

Well its been a week of quite hard work for us, our new helper Greg(Canadian)  arrived safely and really is all his profile said he was, very tall, strong and loves hard work... a real lovely bloke too. We all have clicked very quickly, he and Rick really share the same sense of humour and joke all the time...
Already he has strimmed all the orchard terraces, cleaned all the ivy off the orange trees and spent a morning digging a drainage trench right across the whole orchard... we thought it would take him around three days of work... he really goes for it!
Ive been busy clearing the weeds from the stone walls and trimming back the old vines down there too, plus cooking to try to keep the two men stocked up with food..
The weather this last week has been gorgeous, quite cold at night but lovely and sunny and warm during the day, around 22ยบ most days... Greg has even been in the POOL twice... its freezing... he says its refreshing!! To him this weather is wonderful... he finds it hot... so is really enjoying it..
We've a few more days work down the orchard to make it really finished, Rick went to work with Herman the cultivator and has turned over the whole area, to discourge the bracken and weeds, and the soil is excellent. So Ive bought a half kilo of Favas(broad) beans and I'll plant them down there and forget about them till spring... Ive tried them so many times in the main garden, pampered them, watered them weeded them.... and never get much at all... so I'll try the other way... willful neglect... Ive nothing to lose..

Ive also bought more winter peas , Ive already planted 4 rows, and they are up and showing .. so I'll plant more today. But the ones I bought today are classed as winter peas, but I'll plant them in the spring too, as they are the short variety and I find it very hard to get them during spring, everyone here plants the ones that grow huge... and I find they take up too much space and overshadow over stuff too much...

Well the lovely Ruth has done it again... and found me a Pasta maker on freecycle in her area and will bring it soon, she's so good to me, Im using the yogurt maker she brought last time and we had 'funny' yogurt this morning, I mixed figs with honey as flavouring Rick called it funny... yeah yeah I know...
So all my Pasta sauce I made and jarred up wont be wasted this winter... Im so pleased, and really looking forward to getting to grips with making pasta...

The dogs are well, Beesa is a absolute looney... she's so naughty... chews toilet rolls and scatters them across the garden, Ive found paw prints on my tablecloth ... she bin surfs if we dont move it out of reach.... she's a horror , but we love her to bits... she's just over 17 weeks now and as big as Bonnie... her feet are huge... so theres a lot of growing to do yet...