This is part of a series of posts where we ask one of our volunteers or visitors to say a few words. Serge is one of our longer staying volunteers, and has kindly agreed to share his diary.
A Visitor’s Perspective: Serge’s Diary
I came back from Lisbon one week ago to find Casalinho much livelier than when I left. Including myself, we are currently 6 WWOOFers on the farm, and the weather has improved considerably- a whole week has gone by without a single cloud in the sky and consistent 20 degree temperature. After having endured many months of of greyness and rain without respite or even a hint of seasonal progress it feels like a dream.
Needless to say, the combination of these factors has had a noticeable effect on the farm. Projects are moving forward with a refreshed vigour inspired by the sun and heat. The most ambitious project is currently taking the shape of the new solar showers, the idea for which won the WWOOF sustainable building competition grant. The foundation has been laid and it is gradually beginning to resemble a shower block. It will eventually be fitted with a green roof and the water will be fed by a ram pump.
Preparing the cultivatable land for sowing has been another main focus. The field which cannot be reached by tractor is being done by hand since the rotovator stopped working, which has brought the opportunity for some good old-fashioned peasant labour; rhythmical work in the sun and soil which leaves me feeling very down to Earth.
Last weekend WWOOFers Vinz and Sara kindly drove Gabriel and I to Fundao to pick up Yoska, my girlfriend, who was visiting for the weekend. The trip to Fundao included a quick tour of what to see in Fundao (a pretty short list), picking up supplies and a quick yet enjoyable lunch. Yoska brought her camera and used her photographic skills to document various goings on about the farm, including the Casalinho cheesemaking process which will appear as illustrations in Sara’s as yet unreleased cookbook.
Other highlights of the past week include:
-My involvement in Kate and Kendall’s Fitness Monk training scheme. Earlier today I participated in their hill-sprints session; tough but rewarding. A long, refreshing shower in the spring following a gruelling workout is unmatched when it comes to a sense of physical wellbeing – thanks very much!
-My first experience of an animal slaughter. It was a goat, slightly more than I bargained for, but altogether very interesting to witness the skinning and disembowelling process from a practical and anatomical point of view.
-A spontaneous adventure hike to the top of Portugal’s second highest mountain. The summit is only 2 hours walk from Casalinho, and the staggering panoramic view from the top puts it high on my list of recommended activities on and off the farm.
The Serra da Estrela mountain range in the background