Moonrise Kingdom

In AbbyVille we are blessed with the most fantastic guests! To meet people from all over the world, who enjoy the place we created, is the best reward of our work.

 

Last night we where invited for a beautiful meal, Italian Risotto and a summer salad. We are thankful be a guest in our own kitchen.

 

And, of course, the last course is best enjoyed around a campfire while the full moon lights up the place with her mystic silver glow.

 

Want to join us for dinner? Might as well sleep over! Stay with us.

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Spot the biggest mammals on earth

The biggest mammals of this planet roam the seas around the Azores Islands. For many visitors an encounter with one of these massive creatures is the high light of their visit. Not a surprise if you imagine they can reach up to 33 meters (about two city buses in line). Even more fascinating that these diving cows feed their 300 ton body with merely krill and and some other petite proteins they filter out of the water.

Whale watching on the azores

Our Trip

2017 06 Wale watching Azores web-17After walking on Terceira for three years, it was about time to say hello to our neighbours out there. And man. What an introduction. We spotted a female with a calf. The mothers tend to stay in the garden between the islands, while the dads have the tendency to migrate (ow, how typical).

 

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Happy with the image of whale skin I have been able to make from the deck of the boat, I realise that it doesn’t match the true experience by a single bit. The excitement of getting closer, the waiting to reappear after a dive and then the feeling of a impressive creature swimming in front of you.

When they gently reach the surface they blow out air and water of their nostrils and it just feels big. You have to hear this.

2017 06 Wale watching Azores web-13So, if I can give one advice to future whale watchers; don’t get too stoked on getting a wicked photo. If you are not a professional, with a lot of patience and a proper zoom lens, you will have a lot, a l o t, of blue pictures with a grey stripe. And peeping through the view finder,  hiding behind your device, it is not the real deal. At some point put your camera down, feel the experience and buy a postcard.

Well, I tried as well. And have a couple of nice grey stripes, which you see here. Curious if I can follow my own advice next time, I guess not.

Ocean Emotion

We made the experience with Ocean Emotion, one of the operators based in Angra do Heroísmo. Although we have no comparison with other captains, we would highly recommand this organisation. The smiling captain, the contagious enthusiastic marine biologist who was still in awe of the sightings we made, they give us a great day and we learned a thing or two.  The crew of Ocean Emotion treat the animals with great respect, like keeping their distance and not to hang around too long.

I could tell you 10 more fun facts I have learned about these beautiful animals and inform you about 10 more species you might encounter when you are here, but as always, it’s better to find out for yourself when you stay with us!

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Adeuuuuusss!

 

How to bake pancakes in the morning sun

Don’t you love to eat pancakes in the morning sun? Well, so do we. Our biggest project for this summer was to get this of our wish list. As always we used local and reclaimed materials and try to keep the expenses in control. As always it took us 2 months longer than expected, we learned so many new cool skills and are we proud and happy with the final result.

 

We used old telephone poles that were there to support a vine trellis. They will last a life time, but the challenge was they are not aligned. Abby did a great job measuring and drawing a design that can carry a square roof.

 

If you ever need skilled people to help you with your project, try initiatives like Work away or Wwoof. We were blessed with Sebastian and his carpentry skills to help us with the frame and roof trusses. In between he build us a storage cabinet so our guests can lock and charge their (electronic) belongings .

For the roof we used a simple tarp, to see how this works. Because of that the construction can stay light and still be strong. It has already survived strong winds as crazy as 90 km/h, so we are confident to say the construction works!

 

The side wall is made from waste material from the sawmill and old windows that came from a school that was torn down. We also made a sink with a grease trap (made from a disposed wine barrel and metal washing bowl we found). In a vessel we filter the water and as the flow of water is slowed down the fat floats and the grey water can go back to the garden.

Now AbbyVille is blessed with a humongous kitchen with 2 stoves and a table for 10 people. It has proved to be a great hang-out for our friends and guests who stay at the camping.  Of course we had to have a fridge to keep our beers and juices nice and fresh.

DINNER TIME!

 

Spring adds colour to your garden

Spring is one of the magical moments in Terceira. The weather is ever sweet and the green colours on the island are at its deepest. In these months all wild flowers pop and the fruit trees open their blossoms.

Finally I found some time to experiment with my new second hand marco lens, so I could make these close-ups. It is an old analogue lens and all settings had to be made manually, oh what a joy.

Under on the left you see a flower from one of our lemon trees. We have a lot now, so hopefully the bees have done their part. On the right you see a peach blossom. All though flowers are also plenty, the old tree will give us nothing more than that.

 

If you want to sleep under our orange trees, check out our tents!

Getting the garden ready

Grasses and weeds, herbs and flowers. Shiny details for the eye and meal, but so far not so many vegetables to be seen. At least the view is stunning, most of the beds are prepared, so we are getting ready for the spring.

Just some shots web-4In the front you see 2 Hugel Kultur beds we made last year. And it is a complete disaster. We buried a pile of wood and covered it earth, soil and compost. However, the rats find it a castle and build a massive bunker underneath the wood, so big wholes appear everywhere. We have already put a lot of effort in this experiment, but so far, it doesn’t win our hearts.

Finally we have finished the raised beds that we put on top of our ‘compost-E’ and filled it up with compost, manure and lots of carbon materials to help decomposing the cow dung.

In the meanwhile little plants are awaiting in the nursery to set root in their new homes.

With the next full moon we fill up this garden as much we can, so we can enjoy a long summer with fresh food.

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The true vagabond

tillandsia air plant

You’re not bound to just stay put,

need no roots and yet feel grounded.

Feed on which the wind brings you.

You are my one true vagabond.

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We ‘discovered’ the Tillandsia family in Borneo, where we met a great Chinese collector. He created a fairytale world on his porch with thousands of these little beauties. We brought a couple of them and flew them across the world to decorate our Azorean home. Here we found that many relatives of our vagabond decorate balconies and porches.

This odd cousin of the pineapple is one of our favourites. After the bloom, they grow children and grandchildren around them. In this way they shape to become huge bulbs or funky serpents. You can easily adopt one, by breaking it off from its family. We have spread our family by giving them away as souvenirs. I wonder if they have showed their flowers in The Netherlands already. Anybody?

If you ever have the opportunity to get one, just hang her in front of your sunny window and spray every once in a while. All she needs is sun and humidity, so easy to please.

Lucky Shower

This “winter” we started with the construction of the second bathroom, The Lucky Shower. Last year we finished the first bathroom in the old wine shed, complete with authentic bath. The second one will just have a cold water shower to cool you down in the hot summer.

 

This year we impart some local wisdom to the youngest helper. We hope he will build us a sauna next year.

 

We use the same sushi wood, the local cryptomeria, for the walls of the bathroom and the shower wall. The wood is sanded and treated with four layers. Let’s hope it stays as pretty as it is. All pipes and drains where already mounted when we completed the first bath.

And because this is our very first plumping project, the drain of the second shower ended up to be a good 20 cm above the floor level. With rocks and wood we gave shape to the shower which we filled up with a two wheelbarrows of cement.

 

Pretty satisfied with how straight the shower looks in combination with how non-straight the actual walls are, I can’t wait to start with the mosaic tiles for the floor, the wooden shower doors and of course all the finishing touches.

UPDATE AUGUST 2017:

And finally…. the work is done! With some rests of mosaic tiles, a mirror from the second hand shop and two wooden frames (including an old map of the world) found at the garbage, we are really happy with the result.

Camping shower made into mozaik art

It turned out to a cold summer splash shower, which is great in the warm Azorean summer. But honestly… I made a little mistake in the plumbing work, but I guess you can’t do it all perfect on your first time.

Want to see what else we have to offer?

Our Azorean garden life