It has been a year since we moved here, which is very confusing.
Because it was so intense, it feels like we just moved here, and we are just starting to get a sense of our whereabouts. At the same time, because so much has happened, it seems like many years have passed already.
The balance so far is very positive. We are healthier and stronger. We have taken very significant steps, to turn a waste land into a food forest. Our children can tell different species of plants apart, can plant trees, and are happy to go outside and harvest a carrot when craving a desert.
My husband and I can look at our plot, and see all it has given us but also all the potential ahead. We want to keep developing and supporting this place towards our vision; to make it an inviting place for others to learn more about Permaculture; to create a fun space for children to connect with nature and one another; to bring animals to care for, while they care for us as well.
Not all was good, though. Our routine has gone out the window, whatever bits and pieces there were of it. I miss when kids had a sense of what to expect and being clear if it was morning or afternoon. Now, they are often confused and running around, craving for structure. While we can see that is the case, it is hard to provide it to such as extent, when everything keeps changing. Even their biological needs - they are growing up and naps are becoming spotty at best. They are loved and have a safe haven from which to explore the world, though. And that is an incredible gift.
Our initial projects have also been “capital intensive”. Solar panels, ventilation system, earthworks, an expedited implementation of trees have all required a big investment - all of that on top of actually getting this home. Sometimes I wonder if we could have spent less if we weren't so eager to surf the moment - but collecting and germinating some tree seeds wouldn't have saved us that much money; and would have required much more time to start seeing results.
This is, of course, part of a trade-off, a continuous search for balance. The whole family is in a much better place, each individually and all together. For that, it really is time to take a moment to celebrate our first anniversary in Portugal.