the Valley of Bamboo & the wooden house in need of repair… Part Two
So this week has been eventful,
and full of opportunities to learn, grow, and develop…
Mostly, we have come to the realization that we cannot do this on our own.
Basically, that our life will not be built by ourselves alone;
yet working cooperatively we might not only survive but collectively thrive.
(Just to get back online, we have had to rely on the kindness of our neighbors.
Yesterday during our trip north to Porto Covo, we lost our two mini solar panels,
so without electricity from neighboring houses, we cannot make phone calls,
take photos, or search for housing & job opportunities here)
Yesterday a lot of the previous post had reached its fruition:
(the Valley of the Wind & the perfect seaside house at a dead end… Part One)
We drove northward into the Alentajo to meet a diver about aquaculture
and see the adorable wooden house in São Teotónio.
This dive master is a seaweed specialist and also a knowledgable farmer.
He runs Eco Alga, a recreational dive center,
although he has been looking for funding to begin a serious aquaculture project.
My husband Mohammed is a diver and had been studying biodynamic farming practices as part of his Biomimetics Masters program. His thesis was on shell formation.
Their meeting was an informal talk on the possibilities of aquaculture,
as Mohammed wants to use his diving work to help the sea and humanity,
and restoring the marine ecosystems while growing food seems a win-win.
We are hoping that somehow a partnership may develop, funding may materialize,
and the ocean may help grow our future.
On a side note, the coast here is nearly pristine,
the clearest water I have ever seen in an ocean,
because of the momentum of the Gulf Stream is north of here,
the warmer waters (& all the pollution & plastics they carry) aren’t here.
So as far as growing uncontaminated shellfish, these cool waters are ideal.
While in Porto Covo, we visited their incredible beach.
(Unfortunately it was a cloudy day the day,
so we had no charge to take a photo of the pristine coastal coves.)
On the way back, we stopped in São Teotónio and met with a Dutch realtor
to see the adorable wooden cottage on 1.17 hectares of hillside.
Unfortunately the house was never entirely finished inside or out,
as the husband of German couple who were building it fell ill,
and has been left abandoned for over a year now.
The part of the roof that needs work shows promise that we could finish it as a green roof,
growing a local flowering succulent that thrives in full sun and minimal, sandy soil.
The bathroom will need a lot of work (the fixtures are all there, not sure of the connections)
because insects have moved into the ceiling insulation, requiring some repair.
The exterior walls beckon for paint and in some cases, siding,
which we could possibly experiment with recycled metals to create a reflective surface,
capable of both blocking the rain and winter winds,
and creating a microclimate to grow some tropical trees.
Yet overall, the house is ready to move into, with solar panels and their storage batteries,
a furnished kitchen, bedroom and living room, with a wood stove.
The property needs some borrowed goats to mow the year’s overgrowth,
yet with its small pond, nearby stream, and canal water,
ideal for a large sustainable garden, berry patch and fruit orchard.
And, the surrounding location was incredible, with cork oak and eucalyptus trees uphill,
as the property is tucked into a hillside surrounded by a stream and bamboo forest.
(However, tucked away in a valley accessed by swerving, narrow local roads,
it doesn’t seem very bike-friendly. And our car needs repair,
and at this point, not very sure we will be able to keep it in Portugal
due to outdated laws about importing autos across Europe.)
And the selling price claims our whole budget,
and the repairs might require 10,000-20,000€,
depending on how much we can fix ourselves.
It reminded me of my grandparent’s house,
a magical cottage my grandfather built himself.
On the drive home I began crying,
thinking that if my grandfather were alive (& about 40 years younger)
he could transform this place into a dream home.
(And then last night I had a dream take place in his home, reinforcing the connection.)
I wonder what will develop,
and will continue searching for alternatives,
but a part of me hopes to live there.
Today Astrid and her family stopped by before their return trip to Austria.
They met with architects at the municipal office to verify building codes
for moving and installing their yurts and containers, and were denied.
So after all their searching and meetings, they are no closer to moving here.
We were told to try further south, where there is less demand for property,
and hopefully leas restrictions. And further north, for similar reasons.
So the quest continues. The clock ticks.
And the ocean beckons…
the sea our one stress-relief during these trying times.