At last I have taken the big leap and made an offer to buy some land. 34 hectares in the hills of rural south-west Portugal.

There is an abandoned orchard and vegetable garden in the main valley, lots of cork oak forest, including a lot of fairly recent planting. Lots of olive groves. Some eucalyptus. Some steep slopes of worn out land with hardly any soil, growing mainly cistus shrubs with a few olives and young oaks. There are huge areas covered in brambles. There is a well, a water tank, a ruined house, and another small ruin near the well. It feels vast and exciting. I am happy walking around there for hours, discovering more and more.

So far I have seen these trees: cork oak, chestnut, medronho, poplar, olive, eucalyptus, orange, apple, pear, nespera, mulberry, pomegranate, fig, walnut. I intend to plant many more fruits, and also other native trees to evolve the land so it is predominantly mixed forest.

It is certainly more land than I thought I would buy, and I have sometimes questioned whether I am taking on too much. So far the project team comprises me and Servan.

Before making too many decisions or plans, I wish to spend plenty of time connecting with the land, getting to know it, meeting its elements, its gradients, its foliages, its winds and waters. This feels like a deeply nourishing process for me, an opening to a stronger connection with the earth. I want to listen to what it tells me, and learn how to work with it to bring more life and richness to this land, and all who inhabit it (including myself!).

I envisage others who will come and work there too (I will need plenty of strong and willing hands). I imagine at times it will be a place filled with people and action and work. But for now I am relishing this stage of peaceful dreaming, roaming, quiet listening, as I expand into this new adventure.

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