Archive for October, 2010


All over the world many plant varieties have disappeared from gardens and orchards. Farmers now depend on annual purchase of hybrid seeds and biocides. Today we visited the Encontro de Semente of the Portuguese network Colher para Semear where seeds of traditional varieties in organic farming are shared. We contributed some seeds from our garden. Together we can keep agricultural biodiversity alive.

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Volunteer for a year

Nuno and I went to the Centro Social today where Sara told us what we need to know about the European Voluntary Service, a program that enables young Europeans aged 18 to 30 to do voluntary work in a foreign country to develop new skills and improve their personal, educational and professional development. Volunteers get board and lodging, insurance cover and an allowance for up to one year. We are applying to be a host for this program. Afterwards it was time to harvest some olives. They need to be crushed which is what you see us doing in this picture, and then washed for three days and marinated for several weeks. There are also some more expert jobs to do, like tiling the roof terrace. Here you see Tatiana and Anna in action. Since coming to Portugal I have grown accustomed to see women doing the professional jobs. Equal opportunity? Forget it, we men are simply not as smart, pretty and skillful as them.

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No worries (roof) mate

Check out how far our roof builders have progressed. Navino who is assisting Bas said he wants his daughters to see what he’s doing. Well, nobody knows exactly what but he’s always smiling and Bas seems to be happy with it. By the way, Roofmate is not what we call a friend on the roof, it’s the name of the blue insulation panels that will keep us warm in winter and cool in summer.

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Fromage de Tournesol

It sounds so much better in French, although Shakespeare might say: What’s in a name? A sunflower cheese by any other name would taste as good. At lunchtime today our vegan chef Anna proved that also cheese does not need animal ingredients, in this case she used sunflower seeds, lemon and various herbs and spices to make something similar to what the French call a fromage blanc.

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The culinary arts have generated delicious recipes but unfortunately many are based on animal ingredients, which we prefer not to use. So what about our cappuccino in the morning? Well, I have good news. Today Anna created a vegan milk based on hemp seeds, almonds and some more ingredients (wait for our Vegan recipes tab) that tastes better than cow’s milk and can easily be foamed into a perfect milk froth.

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The nature of meditation

Yesterday we had a picnic on The Land. Everyone agreed on the nature being beautiful, a perfect place to meditate. At our morning meeting today I asked what meditation means to each of us. There were 8 radically different answers ranging from having no idea to observing strict discipline. I was happy to hear everyone share his own truth, difficult as it is to find words for it.

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Going wild

They all wanted to go camping in the wild in the Monchique mountains yesterday night and so I enjoyed a rare day off in Osho Garden. Of course they came back with tall tales of wild boars growling in the night, of swimming across a big lake and now they seem addicted to the wild life. Good! Tomorrow morning we can all go wild again. No-mind meditation aka Gibberish starts at 6 am.

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