moonfarmers has landed!
We now own a slice of land in the valley of bamboo:
Barranco da Alcaria
which means “Ravine of the Village”
and we are in the narrow valley between two streams
at the Eastern edge of the village of Malavado.
After a small day-long delay,
due to a problem with the sellers’ paperwork,
we closed on the property and became home-owners.
The previous owners came by later that afternoon
to fill us in on the workings of their solar and water system.
We also learned that our almost self-sufficient house
will also be on its’ way to being financially sustainable,
with only 21€ in annual property taxes.
(If it wasn’t for the thousands ahead
for needed repairs and wanted renovations,
and the purchasing of fruiting trees and livestock.)
So cleaning and moving in has begun:
eagerly, excitedly, and exhaustingly.
After two days of rain,
Mohamed installed our solar panels,
I cleared out some garden boxes,
and Marmalade has moved most of her toys
all over the living room sofas and floor.
The next day we assessed the water system:
which begins with 360 meters of hose
running from a leaky connection in the agricultural canal,
down through the woods, crossing over a stream on our property,
and uphill to a 300 gallon storage tank, now over-growing with algae,
that has an outlet running through another hose, to another tank,
and then through a filter and into the house.
So besides smelling like a slightly rotten swamp,
the water system works as long as nothing floats in to block the hose.
And with over a year unused, algae has grown in the hose,
probably trapping all sorts of things with it.
Mohamed has spent two mornings trying to clean out the connection,
which might get the water flowing again, at least to some level.
But we are trying to figure out our best alternative:
We might be able to find a new connection to the canal,
an actual legal connection, using an actual pipe, to bring the water in;
Or tap into the stream that is much nearer the house;
Or dig an actual well somewhere near the house.
Since our house is located on a hill between two streams,
finding underground freshwater shouldn’t be a problem.
(Unsure of the expense, but the reliability would be nice.)
Meanwhile, I’ve been working in the garden,
clearing the second overgrown garden box,
and sowing arugula and kale seeds during Leaf time.
Inside, it’s been mostly cleaning and unpacking,
and cleaning what I’ve been unpacking
(as two & a half months camping has collected,
among other things, lots of crickets and spiders).
Our solar system is working fairly well,
everything but the fridge is working
(so we are using our electric cooler instead)
which isn’t so bad for just a few days of sun after a year of darkness,
especially considering how old and small the system is;
and we really appreciate being off-the-grid.
Low impact living.
Today we loaded the last of our belongings
into the trailer from the farmer’s field in Rogil.
It feels good to have our stuff consolidated,
though the unpacking and sorting will probably take weeks.
Tomorrow we will try to navigate the government system,
hoping to acquire a real postal address (post office box)
and information about preschools and health insurance,
and possibly switching our car’s registration from Austria to Portugal
(although we’ve ben told that it could be a very expensive procedure,
costing thousands more than the car is worth,
in which case we’d try to sell our car for parts,
and trade in for something old and affordable.
It’d be a shame, as we really love this car and it runs fine,
having to scrap it because of import taxes
seems so environmentally irresponsible.)
p.s. so we’ve met one of our eight-legged neighbors:
Marmalade found it on a huge web in the grass,
it’s about as large as her hand, always facing downwards.
We stop and visit when we are in that part of the yard.