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,

Thursday 30 April 2009


Well, it seems ages since Ive had time to update this blog, but if you asked me all what Ive been doing to use up my time.... well.... ummmm not sure really, the weather has turned a bit hit n miss, Ive been in the garden as much as possible, as this time of year it needs constant attention or the weeds just take over completely, the universal question is ... how come weeds grow quicker than my plants? Ive cooked a lot as we've had friends over to eat a few times, and as we try to make sure all our food is fresh and not processed (we dont eat chemicals or additives) the cooking and prep can be time consuming, but we wouldnt have it any other way. Some friends once commented that we tend to live how life was 40 odd years ago.... hmmm maybe... Im not sure on that but we do try to live as simply and well as possible but just without the mod cons a lot of UK people are used to having. Food grown and cooked the old way is more healthy and tasty...
Rik is dashing here and there, a few days working helping other people with gardening and odd jobs, we've had some lovely guests in the cottage, and Rik is also trying in his spare time to push on with building the sun deck for the pool.
Ive been madly sprinkling seeds (flowers) about to try to pretty up the guest area for the summer and as we are promised temps in the mid 80s within a few days I expect great things soon!!
Rik's been out on the bike a few times recently but sadly I bruised my coxix ? and havent managed to get on the back yet ... the hot weather will soon remedy that though. I just cannot seem to shift the pain..
Im busy planting herb seeds and picking wild herbs as I want to really improve my knowledge of herbal remedies this year, so far Ive got, Sage, Parsley, Coriander, Basil, Dill, Borage, Hysssop, Thyme(but hasnt come up yet) Lavender, Mullien, Camomile and Nettles. Anyone coming over and bringing anything different would be very welcome!! Im happy to swap seeds ...
And finally too finish, Jaqui and Jay!!!! Ive joined your blog but it woont let me add a comment... please email me your email adress.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Bloody Rabbits!!!

Got up this morning and bloody rabbits had been in the veggies and half the cabbage plants are gone and a few brussels too... I know its rabbits cos they dig holes too... little buggers!
We now have to try to fence the areas we think they are getting in before tonight as now they know they can, one more night and the lot will be gone... the idea that they eat lettuce is a myth, they didnt touch them and we have three rows scattered around the patch, fencing seems the only way as I couldnt use poison or traps ect ...
Such a shame as those cabbages were really coming on well too....
The weather has changed again, we are having a few days of wet... I'm not moaning we needed it badly, it had been almost 8 weeks since it rained and the land needed it . It also increases the chance of forest fires when its so dry so early in the year, so this wet stuff is actually very welcome. Just so long as it doesnt last too long...
Some friends who stayed with us recently sent us some Herbal tablets for Cola as he's been getting a bit stiff and achey lately (he's eight now) The Devils Claw pills are having a fantastic effect on him, 4 days and an improvement already... he has so much more go in him now, so he's more mobile and actually chased Bonnie round the garden this morning, we are so pleased!
Im actually going to look at the stuff for us!!!

Thursday 9 April 2009


What wonderful jobs fall to me... yesterday I spent the afternoon manuring the veggies... by hand...
Hmmm as we have so little money at the mo, we wanted to use the organic fertiliser as sparsely as possible, it really really REALLY stinks... its guano mixed with other organic matter... excellent stuff but phew... so as we could only afford one bag, and you have to be careful as its so strong if you get it on any plants it burns them, the easiest way was for me to sprinkle it by hand... Rik kept well away... he did find me an old pair of surgical gloves from the firstaid box though... Bless ..
We've had a busy week again, strimming, planting shrubs (ones I've dug up from roadsides so cost us nothing) a few heathers Ive also transplanted from around the hedges,t there are so many plants growing wild over here that you pay for in garden centres in the UK, I only take one from here another from there, so as not to deplete the natural look.. as well as weeding and generally tidying up and making the place look prettier...

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Frugal Living,

Just a insight to our lives... in answer to a few questions from followers..

Im not sure wether how we live comes under simplistic living, downsizing or frugal living... it all covers us really.
We came here to escape the daily grind of a consumer lifestyle, the hamster on a wheel type of life that means the more you seem to earn the more you need...
Ive never been a 'keeper' of material things and now in some ways i'm worse and some ways even more minimal. I drive Rik crazy with my obsession with keeping things that will be useful... like plastic bags, bubble wrap... odds and ends of string etc... Ive even kept two old leaky hotwater bottles... the rubber maybe handy one day... I just feel that kind of stuff is good... what I throw away or wont buy is electrical things... they cost too much to run... ornaments... too much dust... and any kind of clutter really.... Our clothes are a general rag bag of worn out things.. I never throw clothes away untill they turn to dust... everything can always be mended .. Its just getting Rik to agree to wear them... We keep a couple of sets of goodish clothes to wear when we go out to town and thats it... The rest is mended and darned to hell....if its warm and comfy who cares...
We live such a simple life, good homegrown organic food, mainly veg and pulses, we drink our well water and our own organic wine, we have our own olive oil, add a little pasta, rice and now and again a small amount of meat... wonderful. All our cooking and heating is free, we use logs from the forest.
We have no TV, radio or internet at home, I love the peace... we dont need 'The News' its all bad anyway.... There is an internet space in town which i'm using now.... its very accesable and free....We read, do crosswords, play scrabble, go out on the bike if we have fuel, and just actually talk to each other ...As I enjoy cooking we tend to invite people over to eat with us and thats our way of socialising, as even if we have no money we tend to have loads of food..
Our days are spent either building /working on the house in someway, or on our land, there is always something that needs doing, Rik does help out other people with the odd day of casual work to bring in a few euros now and then, plus we have the cottage rentals at times.
But money is always practically none exsistant, but its not a problem, we have most of what we need right here at home, food , warmth, and a comfy bed.


Wednesday 1 April 2009

Brief Update

Well the weather has changed slightly.... its cooled a little during the day, down to mid 60s but still mild and sunny, the trouble is we have had three nights now with sharp bloody frosts.... The first one caught us really on the hop, and our peppers and toms got a bit of a blasting, we've lost a few peppers but I think we've managed to save the toms... a few french beans are looking a tad on the sad side too but not as bad as first expected.
Rik very quickly rigged up some little tents for the peppers and toms as they are on the upper level and get the worst of it, the beans must take their chances as the area they cover is just too big for us to try to cover them over.
he's now working hard digging footings for the sun deck for the cottage, bless him its hard work as its solid rock down there...