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FARMSTAY ECOLODGE OPENING SUMMER 2021

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Author: Shahnaz Radjy

In 2020, it was my third year managing our vegetable garden. (As a recap, here's a summary of Year 1 and lessons learned from Year 2.) A lot of things went right this season; it felt like I went from baby steps in the right direction to taking a leap forward. There were still blunders and learning curves, but then that’s something I don’t anticipate ever changing! We continued making overall improvements: adding raised beds, improving the soil by mixing in aged goat and donkey manure, and an automatic sprinkler

On the 21st day of March, the world celebrates the International Day of Forests! While we try to celebrate trees and forests every day through our lifestyle, we think it's a great idea to dedicate a day to highlight why this is so important. Even if you live in the city, and venturing into the woods is not your cup of tea, you – like any other living being on the planet – rely significantly on forests. Even if you don't know it. Woodlands provide us with most of the

Today, 3 March 2021, is World Wildlife Day, an opportunity to honour the rich variety of wildlife we can encounter in Portugal. (Note: This is not a sponsored post! We don't stand to gain anything if you book any of the activities below.) Located in the ancient Côa Valley, the Faia Brava Reserve, known for birdwatching among other things, is the first and only private protected area of the country – and is less than 1h30 from Casa Beatrix. The natural environment consists of a mix of gorges, dramatic cliffs,

The Serra da Estrela - the “mountain of the stars” - is the highest mountain range of mainland Portugal, two hours away from the vibrant city of Porto. As the largest conservation area in the country, the Serra da Estrela is well known for its wild and raw nature. This extends to wool making, artisanal products, the shepherding tradition, the abundance of wild rivers and vast green pastures. While summers are hot, averaging from mid-30s (centigrade) with a few days in the 40s, winters can be rough by Portuguese standards.

The trailer for the Kiss the Ground documentary emphasizes the narration by Woody Harrelson – I don’t know much about him, but he is not an actor I particularly like, and he definitely doesn’t strike me as a champion of the environment. That’s why my initial assumption was that the whole documentary was a bit of a marketing gimmick. So why did I watch it? The preview (see below) makes it clear that this film is about investing in soil as a key solution to fight climate change and mitigate

Recently, I came across the #homesteadfavorites February photo challenge on Instagram, with a prompt for each day of the month. One was “How it all started”, and I realized that was a story worth sharing beyond a mere Instagram caption – especially because in the case of our journey culminating in the Casa Beatrix Farmstay, there are five such “beginnings”… A Childhood Dream My first recollection of a childhood dream was the desire to become a vet, but not only. I wanted to live on a farm, a big house

If you've been travelling in Portugal, you probably know that three main can be found in any random village: a café, a pharmacy, and a padaria. A padaria is a bakery, while a pastelaria is a pastry shop - not to be confused. And if you stay long enough in one of these villages, you might even start recognizing the different delivery "soundscapes". The gas man, the meat and fish man, and… the bread man! Several times a week, the baker does his rounds. A honk (or two or three), and

As I sit on my Pilates ball and look at my big belly, or look at the calendar where January 31st is circled as my “due date” (quotation marks are because – as anyone who has been pregnant will know – this date is a ballpark, and the baby can come two weeks sooner or later while still having matured to his or her full term), I thought now might be a good time to share some reflections about 2020 and projections for 2021. Lessons & updates from the

I used to hate the rain. Now, I don’t just put up with it – I appreciate it. For years, I associated rain with cold, grey, depressing, endless days. That’s probably because when I lived in Switzerland, from September through to April it was dark when I made my way to work around 8am, and it was dark again before I even left work, typically as of 4.30-5pm. In-between wasn’t sunshine and rainbows, but gloomy weather more often than not. Then, when I lived in New York City, rain made

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