EIGHT HUMANS AND A SHEEP

Eight is an auspicious number at Golden Web. It’s the number of legs on a spider. It’s also the sign of infinity, of new beginnings, and represents the constant flow of energy. Before the olive trees went in and before my daughter arrived, much was in ebb. The humans on the farm numbered nine. Then…

45. AN UNEXPECTED BOUNTY

When Covid-19 surfaced in the U.S. at the beginning of the year, Ise, my only child, was studying in California. Within the space of a few days, when it became clear the virus could not be contained, her college announced it would close its dormitories and send all the students home to continue classes online….

44. IF WISHES WERE TREES

It’s time for the olive trees! The Algarve sun shines and the land, soaked through from the winter rains, is ready for planting. The last clouds of the season drifted seaward a few days ago so the surface of the fields is dry enough for the disc mower and the digger. Both machines need traction…

43. THE GIFT OF GROWTH

According to Wikijunior, ‘Spiders undergo simple metamorphosis with only three main growth stages, egg, spiderling, adult. The pupal stage is omitted and the young spiderlings often look like small versions of adults. Even the eggs have legs. Because the exoskeleton cannot stretch, spiders can grow only by shedding or molting the exoskeleton several times.’ Between…

42. A SNAKE SHEDS ITS SKIN

The dark day is not over. After a glimmer of sun streams for a short while through the clouds, the skies close in again. A fine drizzle permeates everything. Everyone at Golden Web is shadowed, somber. I am weary. We all need rest and recharging and our communal dinner will soon be on the table….

41. A RAY OF SUNSHINE ON A VERY CLOUDY DAY

It is John who pulled me away from the fracas to calm me down when the two drove off in their van. “Come out to the yoga platform,” he says comfortingly, taking me by the hand. “You need to take some time for yourself. Then you need to get on top of the situation. People…

40. UNTIL IT ISN’T

“Look, you need a break today. Let me deal with everything. I’ve helped you with the schedule, with the young ones, and I’m having a chat with Sigrun every morning and now she’s handling breakfast and lunch. Trust me, I can handle everyone. Sometimes they need a bit of scaring and if they do, I…

39. A WEB IS A WONDROUS THING

Within a week, Golden Web Farm expands from two to twelve human inhabitants. (There are a few furry four-leggers but more about them later.) When we share our names and nationalities the first collective morning, we discover that our first languages encompass Croatian, Dutch, English, French, German, Malayalam, Norwegian, Polish, and Spanish. Hailing from ten…

37. BAPTISM BY VIRUS

“Girl!” a voice shrieks to me over WhatsApp, “What if I told you I could come to Portugal? Would you be up for a visitor? Could you spend a few days away from the farm and then I’d join you there and give a hand? Gosh, girl, I miss you and it would be so…

36. THE RACE IS ON!

This Friday, I have decided, is my day to slow the week down. From Monday to Thursday, I’ve been out buying paint for our builder, approving bathroom tiles, browsing tents and solar showers on the internet, perusing architectural plans in Olhao, searching for lighting in Loule, contemplating shrubs at a local nursery and purchasing with…

35. BANG! AND THEY’RE OFF!

We make it home without incident in our inadvertent car bomb. My daughter, her college roommate and I unload the five full propane cylinders from the old yellow Land Rover that we have just filled at a station, each one a weapon in itself. Five could take out the entire village of Fuseta which is…