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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

It seems obvious (that a donkey is not just a horse with long ears)… and yet. As an avid horse-rider since as far back as I can remember (which means it has been some 30 years, and now I feel like I’m a million years old), my first experience with donkeys dates back to the 90’s (yep, that didn’t help). At the barn where I learnt to ride, they had a big field used for occasional jumping lessons and the annual horseshow. On every other day of the year,

My high school math teacher, Mr Brown, always said that a picture was worth a thousand words. With that in mind, here is a mostly visual update on how Casa Beatrix renovations are progressing:   Old sheep shed, aka La Bergerie This space was decrepit, dark and smelly with the roof partly collapsed. The existing building was renovated into a living and dining room. It is gorgeous, except it doubles as my summer office (in winter, I use my laptop from the tiny house as that’s more energy efficient than a

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

We begrudgingly gave up on mushroom foraging and headed back towards the car. Our friends Jacky and Menno had found a small handful of purple mushrooms, but the outing was pretty much a bust. Mojito didn’t care, he loved running around in the woods and exploring. Mojito's discovery We were not that far from where the cars were parked, so I whistled for Mojito. He had been ahead of us on the path, but seemed to have veered off on some adventure. Nothing. I whistled again. Still no Mojito –

In the business plan we drafted while traveling, we called our future home “Cramooztopia” to make it easier to refer to. When we visited properties we liked, a few got nicknames such as Babylon or Dreamland. We figured that once we found our actual place, inspiration would come for a real name, to use forever more. The Process It was harder than I thought. From the moment we decided to buy the place in September 2017, we brainstormed regularly. It was as painful as it was fun. Our ideal was a

Every year around this time, the National Horse Fair of Portugal takes place in a small town called Golegã – pronounced “Golga”. On the “Portuguese Caminho” from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela, Golegã’s claim to fame is this National Horse Fair. It is centered around the Portuguese breed of horses, the Lusitano. Last year, we wanted to go with friends but left the planning too late so everything was overpriced. Lesson learned! This year, my friend Jacky and I decided to go make it a girls’ adventure, leaving husbands behind

Everybody has phases. Good ones, bad ones, “meh” ones. I have frequently blamed Mercury in Retrograde for stretches of time where nothing seems to quite fall into place the way it should, and at least 50% of the time, Mercury was indeed to blame (conveniently). This is not one of those times. On the eve of my “leveling up” to the tender age of 36 (just go with it, I am the birthday girl after all), it feels like I not only paddled at the right speed, managed to

There are many things I do intentionally in life, such as quitting a job I love in NYC to travel the world with Francois and relocate to Portugal to build a life I love even more. Or opening a bottle of wine on a Tuesday night, just because. Living off-grid? Not so much. It happened anyway. The other day, I was standing in our outdoor shower, enjoying the contrast of hot water and a slight breeze under a clear blue sky, when it struck me that we were doing this

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