Elderflower squash recipe

It is time! It’s time for a nice refreshing elderflower squash!

Black elder (Sambucus nigra) blooms in late spring to mid summer and its flowers have several uses in culinary. Here goes my elderflower squash recipe:


 1l water

10 elderflower heads

1kg brown  sugar

3 lemons

After you have collected elderflower heads you put them in a bowl, add water, sugar and 2 squeezed lemons. Cut one lemon into slices. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it on a room temperature for 24 hours. Mix occasionally to melt the sugar.

Strain a drink through a fine sieve or even better, a cloth. At the end wring out the flowers and lemons to extract all the flavours. Pour into bottles and keep them in dark and cool place.

Whenever you are thirsty dilute the elderflower squash with water

and enjoy the summer!!!


 

New season, new life!

Last week I’ve spent a lot of time in our backyard were I also have a small garden. I was enjoying in a summer heat but the plants not so much. So while I was watering I noticed I have more company than usually.

There are two bird families with offsprings which have their runway in our backyard. I specially like the little blackbirds (I think it’s them) who are observing me at work and are trying to be unnoticed.

These little birds just learning to fly reminded me that we are still in spring and that 30°C in Covilhã are not really summer heat. The hot days are yet to come!

Hitchhiking is on!

Last week I had first serious hitchhiking experience and it was much more pleasant and ordinary than I had expected. Me and my friend Lara went to La Rioja to see her family for Easter and on the way home to Covilhã we stopped in Salamanca and hitchhiked the rest of the way home.

Inspiration

There are several reasons why I suddenly decided to become a hitchhiker:

– My friend Marlene who has hitchhiked across the country and even traveled that way in Morocco was my great inspiration.

– Just before going to Spain I ran into this video:

– My brother Igor is experienced international hitchhiker.

We could say that for me becoming a hitchhiker was just a matter of time. And now it is the time for new steps and experiences. Tomorrow we’ll hit the road again!

 

 

Home made toothpaste

Here goes the recipe for a homemade toothpaste. It’s very easy to do, the hardest part is to get all the ingredients. But we’ve found all of them in Covilhã, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get them anywhere else.

Ingredients:

white clay – 8 spoons

liquid glycerine – 4 spoons

mint essential oil – 1 coffee spoon

clove essential oil – 1/2 coffee spoon

distilled water – 12 spoons

fennel or ginger in powder – a pinch

baking soda – 1/2 coffee spoon

 The recipe:

Mix all the ingredients and wash your teeth. It’s that easy. You can adapt the recipe, using other essential oils, leaving out baking soda, adding more or less distilled water, etc. After trying this recipe you will never buy toothpaste again.

 

Hot composting

On PDC course in February we had also some practical activities and one of them was preparing the compost. We have learnt hot composting technique, which takes a lot shorter period to produce the compost than regular composting, also known as cold composting. I was told in Portugal it would take about 20 days to have the compost ready. It depends on the outside temperature and humidity. If the weather is dry you can water the compost to speed up the process but if it is very wet there is not much you can do.

How to make a hot compost?

You will need some manure, straw and fresh green organic matter. And you will need a lot of it. It is the same than with sheet mulching, you always need more material than it seems, so get ready.

The order in which you put layers is this:

1. Brown layer – Manure

2. Yellow layer – Straw

3.  Green layer – Fresh organic matter 

Before you start, wet well the soil. Start putting the layers in a circle with diameter of 1,5 m. Try to make a cylindrical pile, because it is much more efficient than the pyramidal one. Try to reach 1 m of height. The manure layer should a lot thinner than the other two.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When you finish you cover the compost with plastic and only leave it for 5 days. The compost should warm up to about 55°, if it is a lot more the material will just burn and the compost volume will reduce significantly. If the compost reached 55° you turn it around. Try to put the outside part of the compost into the middle. The part from the middle, that has been breaking down rapidly, goes now to the outside. And now turn compost every two days till you reach the PERFECT dark COMPOST!

If you are really into composting, like me, have a look at these two websites. You will find all the theory and practical tips you need:

Hot compost in 18 days

No turn, self aerated hot composting method

New start!

Serra da Estrela with Sunshine

Serra da Estrela with sunshine

After a long winter, spring has come to Covilhã! This year the start was specially hot and it felt so good wear just T-shirt instead of the usual ten layers of clothes. It was just to good.

 

Cherry blossom in the courtyard

Cherry blossom in the courtyard

Apparently it was too much summer for my body that expected some spring first. I caught a cold and spent a week in bed, observing the summer through the window. Now the spring and rain are back and so am I.

 

Pues la vida siempre te dará

Un camino, unico a ti

Con tiempo verás

Con tiempo verás

Aunque tengas preguntas

Sigues continuando,

buscando,

continunado.

 

PDC – Permaculture Design Certificate Course 2014

I’ve just returned from a PDC course in Coja, Portugal, organised by New School Permaculture. They say that PDC changes lives and this one sure did its job. Our course with a teacher Helder Valente was based on informal and creative education methods which made learning much more fun and interactive.

The most important lesson of the course for me was the importance of social permaculture. In order to connect as a group we made countless energizers and games, which sometimes gave us a new lesson and the other times just created relaxed atmosphere.

It depends.

This is the answer for all the questions one might have while working on permacultural projects. Thanks for this one, Helder.

Our course depended pretty much on us, the participants, and everyday we had opportunity to share our passions and knowledge with others. Thanks to this flexible form of the course I learnt about cultivating mushrooms, how to make my own toothpaste, I meditated, had a massage, observed birds in the morning, learnt about naturalism, ecovillages and construction and I shared with a group what the iniciative Covilhã em transição does. This is only what we have shared during the official program of the course, but during the breaks and meals is when the sharing had really flourished.

Now the course is over and its our turn to design our lives and change it the way we want. After doing this course and before having participated at many projects with very diverse groups I understand how important is to connect and cooperate with other people and I will have in mind the following words of Bill Mollison:

I can’t change the world on my own.

It’ll take at least three of us.

Seed exchange

I’ve already started to seed plants I want to have this season in the garden, but I still don’t have all the seeds gathered. Better than buying them is to swap the seeds you have too much for the ones that you need.
Seed exchange in Covilhã

This Saturday we will have “Troca de sementes”, seed exchange in Covilha and the participants will bring some seeds they don’t need for this season and exchange them with others. If there is no event like this where you live, you can exchange seeds with your friends, family and neighbours.

Troca de sementes in Covilha

St. Valentine has the keys to roots

Image

St. Valentine has the key to roots

St. Valentine has the key to roots

In Slovenian folk tradition, St. Valentine was the first harbinger of spring. There is the proverb that says, “Saint Valentine has the keys to roots.”

14th February is traditionally the day when plants start to grow and when the first work in the fields and in the vineyards begins. It is the day when the nature starts to wake in spring.

Seeds of Transition

One of the most important seeds of my transition is probably the garden I started two years ago. This seed brought me from Slovenia to Portugal under the Serra da Estrela and this week to the Atlantic coast, where I stay at Quinta do Luzio.

Azenhas do Mar

By now I’ve met so many people, who shared their story with me, and numerous inspiring projects that today I want to share with you a movie to inspire you.

The Voice of the Wind

Don’t watch the news today. See how many seeds of transition Jean-Luc and Carlos Pons have found on their journey from Provence to Granada. You might not be able to take part in the projects seen in the documentary but I bet that just around the corner you will find people with whom you can create a wonderful story.

I’ve seen this documentary when I started my Portuguese journey and now I find it even more touching. If I made a movie about my experience here it might look something similar. With the voice of the wind, colours of nature and seeds of transition.

[EN] The Voice of the Wind

[ES] La voz del Viento

[FR] La voix du Vent

http://www.lavozdelviento.org/