The Ultimate Relationship & the Earth Collective

A pivotal moment

I have finally started to view some properties, an indulgence I wouldn’t allow myself until now as my initial priorities (during the first two months in Portugal) were to network, find my tribe, imbibe the culture and the way of life, locate a rental property, get my bearings and explore the countryside to find areas which would best suit the Earth Collective project.

The entrance to a 'rock house' ruin in the national park

It’s very rural in the north, and it’s also very busy. The land has been divided up into small plots over many generations, as families handed it down to their children. Being good Catholics, of course, there were many children, especially in the poorer parts where people were less educated and religious indoctrination dominated life (and still does). The result is a predominance of small plots consisting of a house and a patch of land for growing food. It looks very pretty but it’s intense and noisy in a Portuguese sort of way, which I have talked about before.

I scoured the internet, asked around and found a few good estate agents. But every time I mentioned I was looking for a minimum of 10 acres (about 4 hectares), and preferably more, people winced and shook their heads. They were right. I hadn’t banked on that. I chose the north because it’s the most temperate part of the country, it’s perfect for food production, abundant in water, not too hot in summer (by and large) and has a lower fire risk. However, for exactly these reasons and also because city dwelling Portuguese favour the region for their holiday homes, prices are high.

Against all odds, I managed to find a handful of properties with 7-10 acres, though nothing lit my fire. I am looking for land with a ruin so it has a residential permit, which will give me a greater chance of getting planning consent for my earth-ship’esque co-living project. Unfortunately, land that accompanies a ruin has usually been abandoned, left to its own devices for years and returned to nature. One such property looked promising as the ruin was structurally sound and could be renovated quickly but, after bush-bashing my way to house (a machete would have been handy), the jungle-like vegetation prevented me from getting on to the land. I have no intention of buying ‘blind’. Property is the biggest investment most of us make, and it is astonishing that we buy with such little information and limited research (possibly even less than purchasing a car). Small wonder the reality is often surprising – and not in a good way!

Two traditional Portuguese rock houses in a derelict rural hamlet
Several old stone houses in woodland, another property I viewed

Another property had lovely rolling land (a rarity, as most land is steep and terraced), an abandoned cottage (a step-up from a ruin), several water sources and an orchards. But a church a little way down the valley and another a quarter of a mile further up, would make the property a sitting duck for bellowing music and religious services delivered via the church’s loud-speakers. (I am enduring exactly that right now, where I am living - not ideal for writing a blog).

Another property I viewed had a 5G mast in close proximity, so that was immediately ruled out as, despite the many devices I have to neutralise the harmful effects, I certainly don’t want to look at such ugliness in the midst of nature, or be constantly reminded that the technology is a military grade weapon being used against the global population. There are a few more properties to see, but it is already apparent that 10 acres (which may seem a lot) isn’t enough land to have the peace and privacy I desire. My original thinking was 25-40 acres but that is an impossible feat in the north, on my budget, at least. I have owned two farms in the past, one was 10 acres and the other 20, and neither felt completely private. Had the houses been in the middle of the land, it might have been different. Now, though, I am looking for somewhere to build 7 homes and a community centre, and each building will need privacy. So, the more land the better.

An olive tree orchard

This brings me to a pivotal moment. The centre of Portugal has an abundance of properties that would suit my project. Much bigger parcels of land, much quieter and much cheaper. But on the flip side, it’s hotter, has a higher fire risk and less water. Nonetheless, I am contemplating a dramatic volte-face as, at this stage, it is sensible to be open-minded. I am coming round to thinking that fire risk is probably more about the nature of the land and trees on my property, the type of terrain that borders it, the strategies I employ to make it as fire-resistant as possible, what my neighbours do to the same end, and how diligent the rest of the region is (there are laws regarding this).

Even in the north, there are no assurances. This week, a major fire destroyed over a 1500 acres of land in my area. And this is the second big fire since I have been here. I was alerted by sat-nav that my route might be interrupted by ‘severe fire’. The Earth Collective project, with its partially buried Hobbit-house style buildings, turf rooves and natural materials such as hempcrete and lime, offer fire resilience. I intend to have a watering system too, that will drench the buildings in the event of a threat. And good husbandry is a given, such as clearing the land around the houses and planting cork trees, as a fire barrier. So, in theory, the risk should be manageable. It’s about controlling the controllables - basic risk management which I have used in many other aspects of life. Once all practical precautions have been taken, I don’t dwell on the risks. I use use the power of thought to manifest what I want - in this case, safety.

Interior of a derelict cottage

On the issue of higher than desirable summer temperatures though, my line of thinking won’t be to everyone’s liking. Over the years, I have done much research on climate change, and it seems to me that we are heading towards a cooling phase, which is preceded by a warming. This is a natural cycle which has occurred before. (The poisoning of our planet is a separate issue, which must stop.) There is much research to support the notion of a cooling phase. And going ‘off-piste’ for a moment, there is also marvelous channelled information on the subject, from a highly evolved cosmic consciousness called Kryon, which explains why the Gaia system needs cooling cycles. I summarise. ‘Unlike a fish tank, which can be emptied and cleaned from time to time, Gaia is a closed system. When the oceans (the majority of the surface of the planet) get depleted, the only mechanism to refresh them is temperature change. This is the main benefit of a global cooling.’

My money is on cooling being the direction of travel and I expect it will become obvious in about 5 years time. That said, I am under no illusion that the period of warming we are in is likely to be uncomfortable. It is also being exacerbated by the ill-considered consequences of geo-engineering, which is being used to manipulate the weather (amongst other things). The weather is an eco-system, not an isolated event, and changing it in one place has consequences elsewhere. Geo-engineering is finally being acknowledged in the mainstream media and in politics. An article in a key UK newspaper last week, for instance, talked about how manipulating the weather in parts of the USA is expected to precipitate heat-waves in Europe, this summer. Oh joy! However, if we are heading for an average cooling within the next 5 years (2-3 degrees globally), then the centre of Portugal will be much more pleasant during the hottest months. Time will tell. I will probably venture south next week to satisfy my curiosity and view a few properties, ranging in size from 25-50 acres, one of which includes a mountain. What a thought, owning your own mountain….

On matters more turgid, there has been another round of bureaucracy – this time working out what to do with my driver’s license. Now that I have a residency card, I have to legitimise my license in Portugal. As per my previous experience, however, research revealed a mass of contradictions. Rather than exchanging it for a Portuguese license (which used to be the case, and is still an option), I discovered that the UK made an agreement with Portugal at the end of last year, which allows me to keep my UK license until it expires. Result! But more conflicting advice makes it unclear as to whether I qualify, as I am over the magic age of 60. Bummer! Assuming age is not an issue though, I need to register my license with the Portuguese tax office. Just for good measure, it is also unclear as to what information I need for the meeting! So I will print off chapter and verse (in English and Portuguese) just in case news of the new agreement hasn’t reached the local officials. Fingers crossed.



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3 comments on “A pivotal moment”

  1. Wow! Owing your own mountain? Cannot wait to see the picture of this plot of land/site 😀 The center of Portugal sounds exciting! Onwards and upwards Fiona! Enjoy the adventure in central Portugal and fingers crossed for sorting your driving license.

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