Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring and Pig butchery


 After weeks and weeks (and months!) of rain the sun has finally appeared! 
The Trees are full of blossom, the air is full of the scent of mimosa and the birdsong is wonderful.
                                               
This weekend we put the remaining two wild boar pigs in the freezer.
Again, it was quick, methodical and no stress for us or the pigs.
 A quick lunch, in between work, of orange and mustard marinaded Pork kebabs.
 Butchering:
we do this the English way- it's quite different to the way the Portuguese make their cuts (who usually remove all the pig fat/skin and make a lot of small pieces). We end up with a varied selection of roasting joints- rolled loins, and chump ends, legs, hand and hocks, belly, chops, bacon, and of course, lots of sausages!
 Bagging and Labeling for the freezer

 Paul's busy making sausages today- Port and Apple, Balsamic Red onion, Herby and a spicy Italian style.
People often ask us how we can rear an animal and then eat it. The answer is simple- knowing that our pigs have had a wonderful, outdoor, happy life means we know where our meat has come from, what it ate, how it was slaughtered (quick and stress-free), and it tastes even better for it.
We don't get any pleasure from the slaughtering but we get a lot of pleasure from trying to use every single bit in a respectful (and delicious) way.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Christmas '13 and a rainy day project


We've been busy as usual, working hard to get the guest suite up for our Christmas houseful!

 We're almost there now - close to actually having a dust-free house rather than an ongoing building site!

Christmas with all the family was wonderful. A couple of weekends before everyone arrived we dispatched one of our pigs (they are about 80% javali or wild boar- not especially big, but that suits us in a way as they are easy to deal with.
                                                                         sausages!
On Christmas day we did a four bird roast (duck, chicken, goose, turkey)



 We've been talking about making a piece of art for the house entrance and on one particularly wet and miserable day thought it would be nice to do something as a family.
We picked up some acrylic paints from one of the local chinese stores and brought in a piece of plasterboard.
We each took it in turns to draw around each others silhouettes with a pencil onto the board.
 then we all took some brushes and colours and filled in the shapes
 none of us were quite sure what the end result would be like, but we were hoping you would be able to make out our shapes at the end
 we couldn't imagine how amazing the final picture would look
  it now has pride of place on the wall 
 and we have a lovely lasting memory of our family Christmas
 If you look closely you can make out most of us in some form or another!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Progress at Velagota

We've been working hard on the house, trying to get it finished for Christmas. Lots of things happening, and we're not quite there yet but we've done really well.
Our mission should we like to accept it is to get a fully fitted guest suite up and running! (consisting of two bedrooms and shower-room). We've had some help with the plastering and friends have helped us paint and tile and we're nearly there!!


 
We've also plastered and painted the atrium
 
 
Built a Pump House and installed the borehole water system
 
and started on our main living area floor
 

 
(oh and plastered the staircase!)
 
so now its final touches and preparing for Christmas!


 
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Remember the sloping garden we made from this earlier blog
this is it with planting in progress.
 
 
It was a hard job- after the retaining walls and steps had been constructed, we needed to bring in plenty of fresh compost.
Irrigation pipes were installed and weedguard material laid- all the time we are resembling mountain goats- hopping up and down this very steep slope!

 
Then the fun bit- planting!! I chose mainly drought tolerant plants- knifhofia, agapanthus, and mixed them up with some architectural grasses and Phormiums, Crocosmia,  and a few cactus-style plants- Echeverias, Sedum etc.
The prime spot, where the soil is deepest, was the perfect spot for a lovely Japanese Acer which was a present from Joan and balances out the bamboo at the bottom of the slope nicely!
 
 
Finally a layer of gravel
 
 
 
 
 
 
and now.... a year on- amazing how it looks like it's always been there- the plants are filling out brilliantly
 

 
 
and we now have a lovely view from inside the house
 
 
 
one more garden area done and we can start thinking about the next one!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A day in the life of a Weasel! (Weasel's big day out)

Weasel bags the pew with a view
 
Having a paddle
 Off for a walk
 A bit of rock climbing
 Exploring a ruin
 |Relaxing on the terrace
Exhausted after a busy day