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A morning walk...  RSS feed

 
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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Lorenzo wanted me to take my camera with me next time I went out walking, and this is the result.

So you can blame him for it.

We had the first rain of the season yesterday, and when it dried it left a layer of lovely smooth dust. It looks like someone has driven along this track since the dust dried.



A goat sleeping under the cork oaks in the outskirts of the next village.



This one came over to say hello. She looks very silly as my camera was set on a wide angle and it makes her nose look enormous. Note the bell, and the front-to-back hobble to stop her standing on her hind legs and reaching up into the trees.



The white one is the male. He has *two* lateral hobbles, to stop him doing other things besides just climbing trees.



Entering the village. I love the pots along the walls, mostly using old olive or water pots and cauldrons.



The font in the centre of the village, complete with more pots.



More goats on someone's garden. There's some more next door, too.




It turned out I knew the owner and he invited me in to take some close-ups. This is a milker.



I just want to tell you all the story of how I got to know this guy. The first time we met, he was working on a piece of land he owns near my village. I was out walking the donkey, who I hadn't had very long at the time. He looked up from his work, saw me walking Teia past, and had some kind of emotional overload seeing her. He dropped his tools and ran up to her with tears pouring down his face and buried his face in her mane, telling me all about how long it was since he saw a burro.

When he emerged from her neck, he pulled himself together and proceeded to tell me off for being out in the forest without my husband. I assured him I was fine and we parted good friends.

I met him a couple more times while out on my walks, and then one day I bumped into him in the supermarket. He immediately dragged me over to meet his wife.

"Look dear, this is the woman I meet in the forest!"

Oh dear, if looks could kill. I mean, I don't speak the language too well, but the body language and the words I could understand said it all.

"What the hell do you mean - 'This is the woman you meet in the forest'??"

It took a bit of explaining, and I had to drag my other half over to demonstrate that I was happily married and that it was perfectly normal for me to walk through the forest with the donkey but no male chaperone and that nothing untoward was going on with her husband.

We've all bumped into each other a few times now, and she even smiles when she sees me, so I think everything has been smoothed over. I don't even know the guy's name, but we always seem to be best of friends when we do bump into each other.

Here he is with a rather scatty youngster who was tethered by a front leg.



I hope the tethers are strong else that washing is going to get eaten!



Pretty as a picture...



Community Oven



Which is exceedingly quaint.



My friend spotted me taking photos and turned up to give me a tour.



Inside the forno.



He wanted to show me the tools and demonstrate their use. Here's a shovel and a fork...



...and a broom...



...and a thing for pushing stuff around in there.



An old marble topped cabinet and a heap of stuff ready to burn for the next baking session.

The marble tops are very common and you can sometimes buy the marble cheaply when the cabinets have fallen apart.



A very traditional bench.



The underside of the roof. This must have been renovated fairly recently as it has a concrete beam in place.



Purslane growing between the cobblestones in the village.



It's edible, succulent, and a good source of omega 3.



The road to the old font.







I bet this place was nice once.



Figs! Om nom nom. I only pinched a couple. There are loads on the floor, too.





The old font.





More purslane, with more red.



It's out of focus, but you can see the ants crawling everywhere, collecting the seed from the purslane.



The land just outside the village, with olive trees, fruit trees and corn fields.



A row of grape vines along the fence next to the track.



I'm not sure what these are called, but it's basically a big hole dug out to collect water, which is then used for irrigation. They are pretty common, but there are probably better ways which would actually rehydrate the landscape a little better.



1st Sepember, just after the first rain, and the first cabbage plants of the season have been planted out.

Look at the way the soil has been shaped to catch any rain and concentrate it near the roots of each plant.



Another shot of the textured planting area. You can also see the way they do something similar around the fruit trees.



The soil is mounded around entire beds, with little channels to direct the water to where they want it to be.



An olive tree and some chick peas, I think. The railway line is in the background.



Blackberries! They grow everywhere but it's rare to get them anything other than hard and shriveled as there's not usually enough rain at the right time of year to plump them out.



A wall built atop a natural rock feature. I find these rather fascinating...



And finally, a gap in the wall shows the way over the railway line, which leads to the track back up the hill to my farm.



It's been a fun walk. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!
 
steward
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now we know who to blame if families in your surroundings break up! forest women, but what can we expect from a Mother Tree if not that she encounters people in forests!
 
gardener
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I wonder what this says about Portuguese men. If women need a chaperone, do they go chasing after any strays that break protocol?
 
steward
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I wonder what this says about Portuguese men. If women need a chaperone, do they go chasing after any strays that break protocol?



I'm going to say that it is a generational thing, with women (delicate creatures that they are - ) requiring a proper chaperon to make sure they aren't overcome with wanton lusts and desires. Yes, that is the thinking involved, and pretty generational/traditional.
 
steward
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Thank you Burra ! What a beautiful area. I love the use of rocks in almost everything.
 
Posts: 1403
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I love it! Very beautiful and I love the intelligent planting. Americans could learn so much from longer standing cultures.

It is funny to think of needing a chaperone though. Of course, I think I do now so......../sigh
 
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Burra, I'm curious if the villiagers still use the community oven and if so, how frequently?
 
gardener
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I love the purslane. It showed up for the first time in my garden this summer (I think it may have come in with some potting soil I bought, or as a contaminant in some eBay seed) but I love the stuff and have been encouraging it to spread. Tasty and succulent!
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Eric Thomas wrote:Burra, I'm curious if the villiagers still use the community oven and if so, how frequently?



It was certainly still in use - the stack of fuel looked pretty recent, especially with the still-green weeds on top. Also the home-made broom looked like it was still fairly new. I should think that they need to be replaced frequently.

I can't speak for the community oven in these photos as it was in the next village, which I don't go to very often. But in my own village, which is about an order of magnitude smaller, the oven is now only really used around Christmas and Easter times, which are both major celebrations here. I have a feeling that larger villages use them more frequently, especially in hot weather when no-one wants to cook indoors. Most houses have their own outside-kitchens and clay ovens, and I think that the community ovens were mostly used by the older inhabitants with smaller houses (there are a lot of very small ones - mine is 17' x 17' for instance, and I think it's fairly typical) without their own outside cooking facilities.
 
steward
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I'm with Miles - the rocks and stonework are just wonderful! And a Mother Tree as a brave, unchaperoned forest woman does seem rather fitting, too.

This was a beautiful window to your world in Portugal. Thank you, Burra!
 
gardener
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This is a lovely walk, thank you for sharing it with us.

Rather gives me a chuckle to think you need a chaperone... more I would think to defend you against single men in the woods. hehe
 
gardener
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I really like the community oven. The village really seems close knit with a slower pace of life, and the stacked stone buildings look hundreds of years old. Thank you for sharing that Burra!
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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It seems that the village has an oven festival occasionally, which I've never been to.  Here's a video about it



And here's a couple of photos of the oven in use, taken from this page - Os fornos de Amarelos





There are a whole load of photos on that page, of a whole load of traditional cooking practices.  Also some photos which include my very good friend Ruço - I'm sure  you'll guess which one he is...



I always meant to go back to the village with my camera to take a series of photos of the place that raises sheep, uses them to clear grass for fire protection, and makes fantastic cheeses, but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do that now.  Maybe one day...
 
Don't count your weasels before they've popped. And now for a mulberry bush related tiny ad:
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