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FARMSTAY ECOLODGE OPENING SUMMER 2021

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Land Management

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

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

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, you hear about a thing – a word, a book, a movie, a person – and suddenly, it’s everywhere? That’s what happened with me and The Biggest Little Farm. Since it came out, I have gotten emails, WhatsApps, and had it mentioned in conversation as a must-see “because it’s a lot like what you’re doing!” At long last, on Earth Day (a happy coincidence), we watched The Biggest Little Farm documentary. If you’re too lazy to read to the end, here’s my big take away:

It’s April 2020, and this blog is about what we learned in the growing season 2019 – so yes, I should have done this recap earlier. Better late than never? Our first year was incredible, fun, and a massive learning curve. Last year, we made a few changes up-front: We expanded the size of the garden and the number of beds Three of the beds were turned into raised beds by lining them with old ceramic roof tiles What used to be the tomato bed got converted into an asparagus

Earlier this fall, I finally met Antonella Notari – the cofounder of an agriturismo in Italy, Podere Trafonti – in person. A mutual friend connected us, and was spot on when she said we had a lot in common. Regardless of the age difference between us, with years of “corporate life” behind us, we have both opted to shift to a simpler life. A life closer to nature, on a farm, and hosting guests. In our first conversation, over coffee and a hot chocolate (piled with whipped cream, my

Somehow, even though "write a blog for Casa Beatrix" is often on my to-do list, it just as often gets bypassed in honor of other commitments and to-do's. I am working on changing that, but in the meantime, something else that is preventing me from posting blogs is the feeling that there is so much I want to share with you (ironic, I know). So, to take the proverbial bull by the horns, here's a quick and dirty all-around update to reset my feeling of guilt on not sharing

Imagine finding the most delicious, crunchy, slightly tart yet still sweet, apple. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a tree that produces such fruit? The trouble is, apple - and many other fruits - seeds are a genetic gamble - no seed will ever produce the same fruit as it came from. This is why fruit producers use often grafting to reproduce winning fruit. Grafting is both a simple and surreal concept. You cut a branch off one tree (the "scion"), and stick it on another tree (the "rootstock"). Done

Almost a year. That’s how long it took us from the moment we first saw the property we fell in love with to the moment we signed the papers that made us its official new owners. Well, 11 months to be exact. Ten, maybe, if you count from the moment we decided we wanted to buy the place. No matter how you look at it, it has taken quite a while. We are partly at fault, because we wanted to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s –

The pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof sounds just the way my inner voices would if they could dance for joy at the fact that it is raining. My imagination thinks up little fairies distributing water to every blade of grass, seedling, and tree, showering them with the promise of life, and growth. It’s raining! But I am getting ahead of myself. When we got to Portugal for the first time in May 2016, we were told that one of the wettest winters was only just giving way to sunshine.

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