A Day in the Life

From recent conversations with friends, it has become clear that many of you wonder what in the world we are doing, not big picture but on a daily basis. So, here’s a taste of what a Cramooz day sort of looks like-ish…

Ever since the arrival of “Mojito the mutt” – our adorable puppy born Feb 14 and adopted by us April 23 this year – into our lives, my daily routine begins around 6am. I get up, let the puppy out so he can respond to the call of nature not in our tiny house (he’s surprisingly good about it, thank goodness). I follow suit and we go for a walk. On some days it’s just around the property to check on recently planted or transplanted things, the water tanks, or whatever else comes to mind; on other days we explore the area (we’re trying to find the best spot to go swimming at the nearby river!).

When we get back, it’s time to feed the cat, Murdoch, who has reappeared after a night of hunting, sleeping, or whatever it is cats do when the world is theirs and the moon is up in the sky. I feed the puppy at the same time – cat inside, so he can then go curl up next to Francois again, who is still in Dreamland; and the puppy in the dog chalet Francois built months ago and that Mojito will eventually call home.

Around 7.30/8am Francois and I have breakfast together, consisting of granola, yoghurt, and fruit. Nesquick for me (the best!), coffee for Monsieur.

Before we tackle whatever program we have for the day, potted trees (maracuya, pecan, yew, and avocado for now), seedlings in the hoop greenhouse, and the vegetable garden need watering. That requires filling up a 25L container and a watering can of water at the tiny house and lugging it to each of those locations. Unless it rains, in which case we can use the rain water collected in a big IBC tank that has a hose all the way to the hoop greenhouse – but these days it’s mostly sunny, so we get a workout along the way.

It’s really quite magical to witness seeds turning into shoots and small plants! My current pride and joy is the few asparagus shoots we started from seed, but I have to say that seeing corn grow from odd-colored seeds we bought as a souvenir in Peru is quite epic too. I’ll leave it at that, lest this turn into a gardening post – but stay tuned for updates & photos.

The rest of the day varies depending on what errands or projects are on our to-do list, and the state of our various electronic devices… because while we have running (cold) water, our only source of solar energy is a wonderful Fenix system – more than enough to charge our phones, the Wi-Fi dongle, and even give us light at night. That leaves power tools and laptops to contend with, and we typically do so by going for coffee or a meal at the local café where we can plug everything in (or we visit our friends at Vinha da Manta, with whom I regularly go out horse-riding and that we often share foodporn-worthy meals with).

Going into the nearby town of Guarda – which at 1045m or so, gets the title of highest city in Portugal – is a 15min drive. That’s where we have our lawyer, architect, and grocery stores as well as suppliers of all things DIY. Over the past few months, we have been there a lot. Hopefully, as time goes on we will be able to juggle our to-dos so we can head into town less frequently and thereby spend more time doing what we love.

In case you were wondering, we have a badass Nissan Navara 4×4 pickup truck (4 doors), a.k.a Wondergazelle, and a grungy Suzuki Vitara 4×4 jeep (3 doors), a.k.a Gru. Soon I hope to add some four-legged rides to that list, ha.

As for what has been keeping us busy on the property, well, there is a seemingly never-ending list of mostly fun things to do: plant seeds and watch them grow under the protection of our hoop greenhouse; prep the vegetable garden and plant seedlings there once they are ready; find spots to plant trees and other plants such as the incredibly fragrant wild lavender Francois pulled up from the side of a road or the organic golden delicious strawberries we bought on an inspired whim (see photo); set up water systems; build an outdoor shower; put together a chicken coop and manage the three chickens who have joined the Cramooz clan; cut trees both for firewood, DIY projects, and to clear the land as per fire prevention legislation…

The adage “never a dull moment” is fully accurate, because between Mojito the puppy, Murdoch the cat, our three chickens (Blackbeard, Dread Pirate Roberta, and Rakam the Red), DIY projects, and all the things we’re growing – we’re always busy or entertained.

And that doesn’t even factor in me writing* and work (we’re the French team for Pure Portugal, remember?)! In other words, we’re busy and happy, and the trickle of income is enough to keep us afloat as we work on the bigger picture challenges.

Photo Credit: Nicolai Baehr

*You can find recent articles by me on Medium, Startup Grind, and the Holstee Mindful Matter blog (with a new piece coming out there in June).