following my Heart
Here's some more stuff that we have all been doing on the quinta. Each day brings good progress and we all lay our heads down at night, satisfied and content.....and sometimes spinning a bit from long "kuier" hours in front of the fire, playing the Canadian version of Scrabble and tasting all 17 of Steve's different liquors. Oh my word!!! Drink lots of water, guys!!!
11.12.2010 - 11.12.2010
This time is right up there with my best Portugal experiences, without a doubt. Steve asked if we would like to help the neighbours, José and Eugenia, pick their olives. We started at about 9:30 on Saturday morning. What a treat to see the experienced men, rolling into action, setting up ladders, laying down nets to catch the falling fruit, buckets everywhere, a bustling hive of activity and mine to share!!
I was truly amazed to watch Joaõ and Eugenie, the elderly couple who are Steve's closest neighbours, as they did what they have been doing for probably 70 years. Nimble fingers clearing the branches of their luscious, deep-purple fruit. Agile old legs clambering up very tall ladders, oft times precariously balanced on one leg (both the ladder and the man!!). Eugenie would climb up logs and other obstacles, as sure-footed as the goats up on the mountains, balancing perfectly and going about her task with ease. Amazing!! Singing, sunshine, banter was (or is it were??!!) the order of the day.
We break for lunch, lovingly prepared by Donna Maria - José's mother. She is just a bundle of joy, and on first meeting her in the village the day before, I felt an instant and deep connection. Such a gracious lady and turning 89 this month! And of course the food-lover in me was over-joyed with our meal. Yet again, I got emotional and the tears welled-up - so I'm a pissy, what can I say!!! We sat around a lovely big wooden table, under the open courtyard, had a delicious spread in front of us, the home-made aguarpé flowed and conversation was animated. The perfect ingredients for a perfect memory!
After a respectable amount of time to allow the food and wine to settle we were back to the groves. The gentle sun beating down on my back was heaven. Seeing how the picking was done, probably much as it has been for hundreds of years, was a treat. The camaraderie and hard work were amazing and at the end of the day, I felt good.
Of course no decent olive picking day is complete without a visit to the adega, where we enjoy more wine, more yummy tit bits in the form of cured ham, chouriço (the well-known Portuguese spicy sausage), corn bread. This particular adega on José´s quinta, has a lovely setting. It´s across the river from the casa, cut into huge, solid bedrock by his grandfather and is adorned with stunning old tools of the trade - a wine scoop fashioned out of cork, barrel doors, huge old oak barrels, and more. Steve tried to convince us that it was unacceptable for women to be in the adega and that it was a strictly male environment??? Not so, sorry, mate!! Seems the Portuguese are genteel and not as chauvinistic as the Brits ;P. Women, welcome and adored, for sure!!!
03.12.2010 - 03.12.2010
Just down the way from Quinta da Vinha is a stunning village that, after it's last surviving resident passed on some 10 years ago, has been abandoned. We have taken 2 trips to show the volunteers this lovely place so all photos are together here.
I was speechless when I first arrived at the entrance to the village, and a deep sense of sadness overwhelmed me. The lives lived, lost and forgotten were tangible. Rooms still contain furniture, some items of clothing, as if the residents will pop their heads around the corner any moment. There was even some food in the fridge (didn't look too closely though!!) and dishes left to dry. Quite heart-wrenching for me ~ I guess I could never just leave my family stuff like that.
I see the potential to restore this place into its former glory. The view is breath-taking, as are most in these mountains. There is a very good olive grove, plenty of vines, beautiful terraces for veges and an abundance of great-tasting natural spring water. With loving care I am sure a transformation will be quite magical and satisfying. Anyone interested in buying a village with me??? Is this where I can have my healing sanctuary??
Wow!! Never realised I had taken so many photos of Felgueiras - she is worth it though!
29.11.2010 - 29.11.2010
It has taken me 54 years but I have finally experienced snow 1st hand!!! I was still cosily tucked up in bed, in my little goatshed room, when I heard Steve calling me - unusual as he allows his volunteers to awaken at their own leisure!! And then I heard, through the fog in my half asleep mind "Lee come quickly, it's snowing" Well I shot out of the bed like a jack-in-the-box!! And there it was!! It took about 3 seconds for me to be transformed into a little girl again. I ran around catching snowflakes on my tongue, marvelling at the beauty of God's creation, feeling with all of my senses, until I realised the wetness on my face were tears of sheer joy!! This was such an emotional moment for me and one that is imprinted on my mind so firmly.
It wasn't a heavy fall, but for me it was perfect. Check out my childlike exuberance! (Note after publishing this vid - I played it back for the 1st time - ek het snot en trane gehuil, never mind - have a good laugh on me!!!)