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When I was eight or nine years old and living in Switzerland, I asked my parents if I could dig up a patch in the garden to grow things. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but the response was “of course!”. Somehow, my idea of growing vegetables morphed into a little rectangle under the kitchen window. Half was planted with basil, and half with mint. The basil died, and the mint took over (knowing what I know now… duh). Last year, I finally got my wish! Starting our

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

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 –

A few days ago, we lost Jackie Sparrow, our beautiful black chicken with green shimmers in her feathers, a friendly personality, and the ability to lay a delicious big egg each and every day. She’s the third chicken we lose, which makes this a particularly difficult blog to write. Should we stop having chickens until we have progressed with our project and can build a permanent chicken coop, giving up on letting chickens free-range? Having chickens was one of the things Francois and I were the most excited about as we

Last night, we had our first puppy crisis. If you recall, life with Mojito is pretty wonderful – he’s curious, clever, clumsy, adventurous, and full of energy. Although I’ll never understand quite how it happened, the puppy got his leg stuck between the last step of the tiny house we live in and the tiny house itself, leading to a deep gash on his right hind leg and a late-night visit to the vet for seven – seven! – stitches (so he officially 5-upped Francois, who got two stitches in

From recent conversations with friends, it has become clear that many of you wonder what in the world we are doing, not big picture but on a daily basis. So, here’s a taste of what a Cramooz day sort of looks like-ish… Ever since the arrival of “Mojito the mutt” – our adorable puppy born Feb 14 and adopted by us April 23 this year – into our lives, my daily routine begins around 6am. I get up, let the puppy out so he can respond to the call

Many of you are probably wondering what we are up to, where things stand with our project, and what we are doing with our days. I have to admit, I have been pushing off the writing of this blog for months in the hopes that instead of a lukewarm update, I could share some epic and exciting news. Today, I have decided to rip off the Band-Aid and share the frustrating truth – but rest assured, all that means is that the big news is on hold. Let

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