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Global pandemics have a way of messing up plans don’t they? Currently ‘locked out’ of Portugal, I’ve been unable to get myself back over to Quinta da Estrelinha to continue preparations for the ‘big move’. Originally scheduled for this summer, I’ve now had to push that back until Feb 2021 due to a Covid-related loss of earnings but like any true Scouser, I’ll try and turn a setback into an advantage. The building work on an abandoned house on the farm adjacent to the Quinta that I acquired in 2017 was due to have started by now, but although delayed, we expect the house to be rebuilt by next summer, ready to accept guests.
Instead of fretting over the things outside of my control, I’ve tried to use this unexpected ‘gained time’ to upskill and develop my design skills. I managed to take advantage of some free content put out by Jean-Martin Fortier at the point in which I was designing my market garden. Serendipity. Whilst not allowed out I’ve begun work on the website that will support the business, running alongside our social media streams which have been an excellent way to network with other designers and producer, both in-country and further afield.
I’ve also found some time to look into some of my data regarding the impact of permaculture on biodiversity on the farm. I am in quite a unique position in that the land I took over was abandoned and I am also licensed and trained as a bird ringer. From the outset I have wanted to produce a quantitative dataset of the impact of introducing permaculture methods on wider biodiversity. There isn’t a lot of permaculture research out there that looks at the special-level analysis of permaculture implementation, most of it is just non-specific qualitative and anecdotal references. I’m quite excited about this project and, whilst not that up-to-date, I wrote a blog about it a while ago which you can read here.
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it into the country at some point during the school summer holidays to try and restore a degree of order over what will undoubtedly be a bit of a jungle. Whilst I’ve been set back on the groundworks and green manure preparation of the market garden, I’m fortunate to have quite an adaptable year-round growing climate.and so I should be able to claw back any losses to an extent.
You can follow me on Instagram @QuintaEstrelinha and @permaculturepirate and on Facebook. I will be accepting volunteers through Workaway from February 2021 - you can see our workaway page here.