Saturday, 17 June 2017


1st June
Claire volunteered to weed the herb bed (Jasmine helped too!).

Then we stuffed the sausages; we're getting quite adept at the sausage linking .......

2nd June
Happy Birthday Jean. Xxx
The kiln firing was rather disappointing, it was overfired (spiky), but I still managed to make up a bunting garland for our decking (with all the 'seconds').
Brett carried on haymaking, I made him birthday cake (chocolate fridge cake).
5.00 we accepted Chris & Di's invitation to "drinks down the bar" (with Bap and Greg & Sarah) - of course we didn't get home 'til gone 8.00!!!

3rd June
Happy Birthday Brett XXXXX
So Brett's birthday treat was 'allowing' him to spend the day haymaking - he honestly wanted to!
His present is 'in the post', truly!
Claire brought balloons and candles; we decorated the decking and had afternoon 'birthday tea.

4th June
On Friday we made Sunday lunchtime plans with C&D. We made potato, chard and cheese pasties and took some birthday 'cake'.
We've decided to separate the mothers and kids overnight (so we get milk in the mornings).

5th June
2.5L of milk ......
I've trained our 'workaway' to milk!

Into Fundao to buy lots of plugs (onion, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce) - lots of work for this evening!
Brett finished the big field and started cutting the goose field.
So about 200 onions planted and my bum hurts!

6th June
3L of milk ......
The cat gets hot too!
Claire and I made Chevre (flavored with onion plug tops and garlic - Boursin).
Gardening and haymaking, we're going to take the day off tomorrow and go to Meimao barragem.

7th June
2.5L of milk
36C in the shade ........
We decided to have a proper day off and eat lunch in the café at the barragem (they do prawns and octopus), so after doing all our chores (and Brett watching the rugby) we packed the truck with loungers, towels, kindles, water etc and off we set ........ only to find that the café was only selling drinks and ice creams (no food menu)! But we were fine; we stayed there until lunch time, then drove back to Meimoa and had the 7€ menu de dia at the restaurant (consisted of (1) bread and olives, (2) soup, (3) turkey, chips and salad, (4) choice of puddings (5) wine or beer,(6) coffee). Then we went and laid by the river beach.
1L of milk this evening .......

8th June
36C (shade) ............
3L of milk but I had to fight for it ... I think the goats are on heat again! They were not interested in food and both had to be dragged onto the decking.
Our 'workaway' is earning her keep; Claire and I spent two hours this morning and two hours this afternoon micro-weeding the chickpeas, mainly purslane (two wheelbarrows full). We're starting to ache ......

9th June
And now I can't move, my back is giving me gyp!
Claire and spent the afternoon in the studio, making bunting. Brett was haymaking.

10th June
Not much better .......
We spent most of the morning at Diane & Thomas's; we're borrowing their electric sheep shears (ours are broken), so that we can shear our sheep this week (not looking forward to it!).
The bunting was good (slightly underfired if anything).
Brett used our new toy, the wheel rake, to turn the hay .....

11th June
Today we had a day off; I got up at 8.00 and we had finished all our chores by 12.00!!!!
We took a picnic to the baragem at Idanha - it was lovely.
But then we came back home to the dreaded sheep shearing!!!!
Well, as anticipated, it didn't go brilliantly; after about 45 mins we had a half shorn sheep and gave up.
Their wool is so thick the shears can't cope, we're going to buy some hand shears tomorrow and then try again (slow & steady, the electric shears are scary).

12th June
Bloody hot night, hardly slept.
Oh no it's got to 40C (in the shade) ........
CB was nice, as lots of the shops have air con. We got the hand shears and have made the decision to shear early morning, while it's still cool.
Lots of the photos are courtesy Claire this post (the 'arty' ones).
One of our boys
Ducklings .....

13th June
6.00 start!
One sheep sheared with hand shears (1 hour 30 mins); then we had breakfast and milked the goats, second sheep sheared with a combination of hand and electric shears (about an hour).
Hand sheared on right (obviously)
Electric clippered to left (best yet!)
We thought about having another go this evening, but it was too hot (38).
Claire made 'Cheddar' cheese with 10L milk to take home.
Stuffed (Chevre) courgette flowers in beer batter

14th June
6.00 start (again)
Two sheep shorn (electric shears mainly) and first sheep tidied up!
Getting the hang of this now ......
Andrew bartered some potatoes and garlic for eggs, which we exchanged this morning on a water collection (drinking water from the fonte) trip on our way back through the village we scrumped some lemons (they were lying in the road), so we came home with a load of FREE food & drink: a box of new potatoes, garlic, big bag of lemons and 30L of drinking water
Claire made orange juice (our oranges) and lemon juice (scrumped).
I helped Claire make (well I directed whilst she made) two aprons (one baby, one adult) to take back to Denmark.
This evening we went to O Jardim for dinner (the owner was very jolly for a change, the food was ok).
Tomorrow we shear BIG ram - not looking forward to that!

15th June
Nos (internet) is down.
We all overslept and didn't get going until nearly 7.00. The ram is HUGE and very STRONG, we had a game plan; we'd bring the sheep out of the field, via the tarpaulin, then Brett would wrestle him to the ground, I would lead the sheep off to the field whilst Brett and Claire would tie his feet and restrain him ........ it worked at treat!!!!! He struggled, but no more than any of the others and he sheared like a dream (probably because he's so solid) and he was the quickest yet. I got up real close and personal dagging his backend and trimming his scrotum (this is the ram that butted me head on in both my knees!).
Ram in foreground 
We're feeling very relieved! Only one sheep (last year's ram lamb) to go .......
As it was Claire's last day we spent the day at Meimao baragem with a picnic.
There were a couple of exhibitionist English females waxing their armpits - why???? The water was fabulously cold, I just bobbed around on a noodle!

16th June
Claire went first thing (bus from Fundao to Porto). We're going to really miss her, she's been a great help; helping me in the garden so Brett was free to make hay, getting stuck in with the sheep shearing, milking goats, picking oranges and making orange juice, scrumping lemons, getting up early to weed vegetables, let out and feed the poultry etc. It's been a good two weeks .........
Starting to get regular harvests from the vegetable garden
The temperature soared to 42C, in the shade; horribly hot - we need our pool!
Tomorrow our hay gets baled.

17th June
We have our own bales of hay - another of our many 'firsts' since we've been in Portugal.

A short list of 'firsts':
~Generate our own electricity
~Breed pigs (poorly!)
~Produce our own olive oil
~Make wine solely from grapes
~Milk goats
~Make cheese
~Spin wool
~Bale our own hay

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