Well it’s been a while since we posted anything, so thought it was about time we updated the blog with how things are at Casa Neroli.
There is very little construction or major improvement work going on these days, but of course there is always something to do maintaining the property. Of course we are making the most of the property and enjoying the results of all the work over the past few years.
This year has been a horrible year in Portugal, there has been some tremendous fires and it has been a very scary time, an incredible amount of land has been devastated or destroyed. We have, however, been very fortunate, which we are extremely grateful for, the nearest fire to us came within about 10kms, which is still too close. We try never to be complacent and do our very best to reduce the risk by keeping our land clean, plus keeping the land around the house as damp as much as we can and making sure there is water available should anything untoward happen. We are lucky as well that we draw our water from our own borehole and to this point we have always had water, but in a number of areas water is sparse. The long period with no rain and that much of the water available has been used in the fighting of the exceptional numbers of fires has affected availability. We will continue to do as much as we can, where we can.
We are still having problems with our main gates, because of where we are, we do get quite high winds at certain times, which is lovely for a bit of relief from the heat, it does put a strain on the huge metal gates and once again the electric arms have worked loose from the walls and the close stop has been ripped out of the ground. So, we are back to manual operation until the corrective work is completed. It is all well under way; the walls and gate stops have been repaired and we are just waiting for the locksmith to come back and refit the electric arms. We have also asked for a bolt to be added, that will go into the ground to hold the gates better when there are high winds or we are away for any period, it should help to stop the issue happing again.
We have also made the decision that we need to add heating to the swimming pool, whilst it is fantastic as is in the summer, we would look to use it earlier (Easter) and later in the year (October) unfortunately the water temperature is a little too cool at those times of the year, we are not getting any younger so need it warmer as we really do want to use it as much as possible. We know it will also add running costs, but we don’t need to have it on if it’s not needed eh! We have requested a quote to add heating from the guy that originally built the pool for us, so we will keep the blog up to date with how things develop.
We thought it might be a good time to post a little photographic tour of the property so you can see how things have progressed. There are still lots of things we want to do, but we like to see how things develop and then use that as a basis to decide what we want to achieve.
Let’s start at the main gate,here you can see how big and heavy the gates talked about above are.
View up the track towards the village, shows our fence and up to the garage.
Just inside the gates and the drive up to the car parking, we have the newly added and yet to be completed cactus garden.
We still have to find some more to add.
We are continually looking for a more various items of interest to add, maybe an old pump and a few older pots would be nice, guess it depends on what we find.
Also here is “The Cactus” mentioned in many a post, was originally on the bank of the track to the fruit farm (Quinta) and we were determined to keep, but with the work that was done, it was too near the edge and eventually fell out, luckily, we were there at the time and managed to rescue it and plant it at the main gate, to start it looked a little unhappy but you can see it seems to be doing really well now. This has pleased us immensely as it has almost become a trade mark of the property.
Here you can see down the side of the house, the road shown earlier is on the left, and you can see how the planting on the bank has taken, this is holding the bank together really well and stopping any washing away, when the rains come.
When we had the house build there was originally 3 old cherry trees in a row, two we had to lose as it was where the house is now, but we wanted to keep the remaining one, you can see how we have incorporated it into the drive, it seems to be happy enough and gave us a good crop of fruit this year.
Now we are on the other side of the house and here you can see the pool.
Further down the track we can see the channel / drain we had installed to take the water away when the rains come, without damaging the land to much. Over time we are sure this work will blend in better with the natural surroundings.
As we go down the hill to the farm area, here you can see a spot where we had a nice surprise a week or so ago, after walking up and down a few times we suddenly found a small water melon growing. How it got there we don’t know, either the seed blew in on the wind or maybe a bird had dropped it, either way we didn’t plant it, but that area obviously is very suitable and it was a lovely surprise. It wasn’t large, but a perfect size for two of us to enjoy over a few days.
We move down further to see the stream, now with it high banks and clear of undergrowth. If you read back over our blogs you will see about how we had problems a while ago with floods and the stream bursting its bank, we shouldn’t see that again, eh! However, we do have to keep the stream clean, else debris washing down from the mountains/hills and other areas where farmers have/have not cleaned their property, will collect and block the pipes and cause a problem. A small price to pay.
Here are few photos around the property of the trees, wells and views. The wells we are going to seal over in the coming months to make them safe, but for now we just clearly mark with warning tape.
Lastly, one of the wonderful things we do get to see around the house is the wildlife, some more unusual than others and certainly things we don’t see a lot of in the UK.
Spiders, mummy and babies.
That’s it for now, keeping checking back for updates.