Win a copy of Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth this week in the Medicinal Herbs forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • paul wheaton
garden masters:
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Mike Barkley

Vintage crochet, magic beans, water mines and other treasures from Portugal

 
Mother Tree
Posts: 11274
Location: Portugal
1917
dog duck forest garden tiny house books wofati bike bee solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nicole Alderman wrote:I want to know what is in that glass jar and those earthen jugs you showed in the other thread! So many mysteries!



I haven't investigated the glass jar thing yet, but my son has and he says it seems to be full of alcohol.  Probably aguardente distilled from wine made from the grapes which grow on the property.

They're just about ripe now, but I don't think wine-making is going to happen this year.  They're very good with cheese for an on-the-go sort of lunch while we're there though.  Here's one of the vines growing outside the old stone shed, which might have been the original house before this new-fangled brick one was built and is destined to be my son's.



And a close-up of the ripe grapes.  They were quite delicious...



Those big earthern jugs are olive storage jars.  




That big one has a piece of cork on top to keep the contents clean.  I took the lid off and stuck my phone camera in the top in the hope I could get a picture to see what was in it.  It seems to be pretty well empty apart from some dark liquid at the bottom which smells strongly of vinegar.



I repeated the procedure for the other one, which appears to contain an old hat...



I am really envious of all the history in your home! Now you just need a secret passage or nook!



No secret passages as far as we can tell, but there are three water mines, which we're busy learning all about and will in due course no doubt have a thread of their own.

Here's the main one.  The passage is around 6ft tall and it's possible to walk in there.  Not sure how far back this one goes, but the little one on the top terrace (did I mention the terraces?) is only half as tall, but supposedly goes 100 metres into the hillside.


 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 11274
Location: Portugal
1917
dog duck forest garden tiny house books wofati bike bee solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

F Agricola wrote:Although it's definitely a bonus for you, It's sad to see old crocheted things left behind by family. That sort of stuff should be part of family heirlooms, handed down to kids.



There was just one son, who is quite devoted to the place.  His parents built the house and he was born and raised there, but left to move to the city to work.  He has one daughter but she has no interest in the place.  I think it was breaking the seller's heart to part with the place and, knowing how painful it is to clear out the personal belongings of a loved one (I'm doing it now with all my husband's stuff in my current farm, and it tears me apart) I told him to just take what he wanted and I'd clear the rest.  Judging by what was left behind, I'd say he just couldn't face touching anything apart from obviously personal documents that were in plain sight.  There was even a twenty euro note left tucked under something on the dresser which he'd missed.  My intention is to clean the place up, get rid of all the unwanted stuff, then when it's been renovated and I've rescued as many bits and pieces as I can I'll invite him to visit and offer a lot of the crochet stuff back to him along with a few other choice bits and pieces, and that photo and bank note.

A hint I learnt from my Mum: when ironing fine crochet work or lace, place a slightly damp, white cloth over it and iron on that. It prevents catching it with the point of the iron, scorching, and the steam created helps flatten it out.

When washing wool blankets and crocheted throws, we always use a small amount of eucalyptus oil - it softens the wool, gives it a very slight perfume, and apparently kills dust mites.



Thanks for that - I'll bear it in mind.  The finer points of housekeeping are total mystery to me...

Those 'flowers' came up really good - looks like old fashioned double Carnations.



I believe they are carnations, which are a very symbolic flower to the Portuguese.  The local Castelo Branco embroidery features stylised carnations, and of course the near bloodless revolution that took place here in the 1970s was known as the Carnation Revolution.




If your new partner is named 'Jack', you may be in for a surprise with those beans!



Nope, he's Austin.

The Portuguese equivalent of Jack, however, would be João.

Here's a photo of Austin, wearing his favourite t-shirt, me, my new neighbour João who owns the terraces above the new house but below my top terrace, and the seller, who is also João.  



So I'm expecting great things of those beans!


 
gardener
Posts: 910
Location: South of Capricorn
277
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread is the best thing about my week. I love that you are documenting your discoveries!!! And so awesome that these things and the memory of the old lady of the house live on.

Burra Maluca wrote:I still had some oxiclean around in the back of a cupboard that had been sitting there since I emigrated 15 years ago.


LOL, been there and done that in so many ways! The things we think will be important/hang on to.....
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 11274
Location: Portugal
1917
dog duck forest garden tiny house books wofati bike bee solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tereza Okava wrote:This thread is the best thing about my week. I love that you are documenting your discoveries!!!  



Oh well if you're enjoying it that much, I'd better rummage through the photos and show you a few more bits and bobs...

This is a close up of one of the old plates that were on the dresser.  




It has a crack right the way across it, but I'm going to clean it up and use it as a fruit bowl until it falls apart, and then attempt to glue it back a bit more permanently.  It might not last forever, but I intend to enjoy it for as long as I can.  

This one is going to be a fruit bowl for the living room I think.  It's a bit cracked too (aren't we all...) but not as badly as the other one.



This one, on the other hand, is a bit too far gone and I should probably allow it to rest in peace.



I found a little cloth bag of black beans, but I think these are too far gone, too.



And now to the kitchen!

This is one of the for-sale shots from the estate agent, because I didn't take any 'before' shots of my own.  Bad Burra...



There are loads of old, worn out treasures in here. And a ton of plastic leaves and flowers up on the wall. I got rid of the flowers, but I'm keeping the leaves to decorate my new bedroom. And there was a leafy fruity thing up there, too.  Which when I took it down turned out to be ceramic, not plastic.  Not only that, it's a very traditional design related to the 'cabbage leaf' pottery that I already collect. It was coated in grease and gunge, so I took it home to clean up so I could photograph it to show you.  I put it in a bowl of water with some washing soda to soak, and this happened...



All the orange and red paint, which had been added after the piece was fired, fell off, so the beautiful orange and the tomato and watermelon and most of the apple and now bereft of colour.  Austin seems to think he's up to painting them again though, if we can find some suitable paint.

This is the little gas stove that was in the kitchen.  Most old kitchens have one of these in.  You can just make out some of the pretty orange and reds of the still-painted fruit plate thingie which is on top of the stove, mostly hidden by a tea towel.



The gas stoves are a fairly modern addition to the traditional fireplace where traditional cooking techniques are used.



The only water supply to the house is a gravity fed pipe from the water mine to the floor-level sink beside the fireplace. I do love the colour scheme, though I'll probably change it as it isn't exactly 'me'.



There were a couple of new-fangled plastic cheese molds lurking in the cupboards.



And also, tucked away in various places, some Vim, some teeny tiny shotgun cartridges, and a nice big jar of honey!  And yes, it's still edible...



And lastly, for now at least, the key to the old shed.  Which somehow feels very, very precious and beautiful.  I think that might hang up there forever...

 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 910
Location: South of Capricorn
277
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My aunt has one of these enormous glass fruit bowls that is at least a hundred years old, I love it for what it is but she told me it was like that, painted on the outside, and when she washed it without knowing she was distraught!

Do you have a use for the old/broken crockery in the garden? I have a path where I put the broken things, since I hate to just throw things out and it's nicer for me than buying gravel that has no character.

I also want to know about the kitchen sink-- was water put in a basin and then hefted somewhere to wash? Or is this more of a barn/shed setup than a kitchen setup?
(thank you for posting more pix!!! what a nice break from ripping out jasmine vines in the garden.....)
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 3841
Location: SW Missouri
1422
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Burra: COOL!! Keep showing us! That really broken plate would, in my world, be set into the ground, about like it is in that pic, just standing there being pretty in the flowers.
And I have never heard of a water mine, what are they?
If I could have anything I wanted out of there so far, it would be that stove. :D
 
gardener
Posts: 898
252
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What an amazing, fabulous bit of history you've bought, Burra!! I'm awed, with each photo...
 
Posts: 30
Location: Arruda dos Vinhos, Portugal
4
hugelkultur forest garden trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello All, Hello Burra Maluca

About the Carnation Revolution, you can hear some revolution songs in here:

https://permies.com/t/107728/art/Music-Portuguese

All Good for All
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 11274
Location: Portugal
1917
dog duck forest garden tiny house books wofati bike bee solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I hauled out the best 'treasure chest' to put in the shed with all the treasures in so that the rest of the stuff upstairs can be hauled out and disposed of ready for renovations.



These two aren't treasures, but they are both relics from my childhood.  Every under-the-sink cupboard I ever knew as a child had one of these two in....



Most of the old blankets were either only usable for dog blankets, or too manky and disgusting even to want to clean up for the dog.  

These two however were in a chest and seem well worth preserving.



At the very bottom of the treasure chest were a pile of bed sheets.  I'm not sure if they're linen or cotton - anyone know how I can tell them apart?

I pulled two of them out for closer analysis.  

If I'm not much mistaken, this is hand made crochet/lace and hand embroidery.



Here's a close up of one of the embroideries.



And the same but from the back.



The second sheet was just as stunning.



And now I'm in a bit of a quandary.

Do I keep them and use them?  Offer them to a museum?  Or clean them up and offer them back to the seller?

They seem far too precious to risk doing the wrong thing with, and there are more in that chest I haven't investigated yet...
 
Posts: 11
2
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Burra,
You are very lucky to have those sheets. The way to tell the difference between cotton and linen is to slide you hand inside the folds of the fabric. The linen will feel cool, the cotton will not. Those do look hand crocheted, that is a very popular form of lace in Portugal. We saw it on all the altar cloths in cathedrals throughout Portugal. In that pristine condition, I would guess the previous owner didn't use them much. There's a tradition in Italy of girls embroidering 'First Night Sheets' for their wedding night. Don't know if the same tradition existed in Portugal but maybe....... They were so treasured by the bride that they were usually put away in safe keeping. There's a good chance they might be hand loomed too. Check the selvage edges and if they're not as perfect as a machine made sheet then you've got yourself a real treasure. Its my guess that you'll appreciate them more than the son who left them in the trunk.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 11274
Location: Portugal
1917
dog duck forest garden tiny house books wofati bike bee solar rocket stoves greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

You are very lucky to have those sheets. The way to tell the difference between cotton and linen is to slide you hand inside the folds of the fabric. The linen will feel cool, the cotton will not.  



I tried that, and they felt cool.  So I suspect they are in fact linen!  The fabric also appears to have a few 'slubs', which I think is a characteristic of linen?



There's a tradition in Italy of girls embroidering 'First Night Sheets' for their wedding night. Don't know if the same tradition existed in Portugal but maybe....... They were so treasured by the bride that they were usually put away in safe keeping.  



In my region of Castelo Branco that is most certainly the case, BUT the style of embroidery is very, very different.  I talk about it a bit in this thread - Visiting Saudade - life in a Portuguese village house  The tradition, as far as I can tell, was for young girls to grow their own flax, then prepare linen and weave it first into smaller samplers, then into full sized bedspreads.  They would also raise silkworms on mulberry trees (possibly planted for them when they were born) and produce their own silks to embroider them.  

This is a fairly typical local sampler which I bought in an antique shop.  It's not the super high quality you find for sale in the souvenir shops, made by professionals, just a typical local example of 'the real thing', which is always based on a tree-of-life design.  



And this is an example of a finished Castelo Branco bedspread.



But the sheets I found in the treasure chest were nothing like these.  Maybe they weren't First Night sheets, or maybe the tradition didn't extend quite this far North.  Or maybe the lady of the house came from a little further away?  

There's a good chance they might be hand loomed too. Check the selvage edges and if they're not as perfect as a machine made sheet then you've got yourself a real treasure. Its my guess that you'll appreciate them more than the son who left them in the trunk.



I'm no judge of such things.  The selvedge is visible in the top photo of this post.  Thoughts?

 
Carla Burke
gardener
Posts: 898
252
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That doesn't look like a machined selvedge, to me....
 
Hold that thought. Tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!