Creating Quinta da Floresta by Marko

Creating this place and manifesting our vision comes from following a thread that leads from one step to the next. Sometimes I feel I am very much in touch with that thread, I just know that what I/we are doing is the right thing. Sometimes I don’t see the thread so clearly but I still know it’s there and at those times instaed of doubting I am learning to just keep on going and do the next right thing .…

It started when three years ago I wanted to show Laura this really cool place in the woods that I had discovered. When we were there something crazy came to me and I said "I think we should buy this place" and I did not say it then but I thought "We should get married" – and we did six months later.

A lot has happened since then. We have been able to buy the place and we are living on our land in a beautiful, Portuguese-made Yurt. We have installed a water system to get the water from the stream to where we need it 60m above. We have cleaned a lot of the overgrown terraces, planted some fruit trees and thinned out the woods. We cut the bigger trees around the ruins and brought them to the sawmill to make boards. I’ve been cutting and extracting some other logs for roundwood construction and prepare them for building. The actual building work on site started last February and we have made good progress so far. 

What strikes me about the whole adventure is that creating this place and this project is not separated from my and our process of development. It all seems to happen at it’s own pace which is sometimes very different than the pace I think it should be, but ultimately the timing is always perfect. Interestingly we never could clearly say which particular purpose we are creating each building and even the place itself – but we have a vision and then we just know that what we create now will serve that.

At the beginning of the build I was very determined to build a very smart house - a simple, intelligently designed home, very functional, very well insulated at quite low cost. I spend a lot of time figuring it all out …. and then we actually started building and it all changed.

Of course I still hope the place will be functional and easy to heat but rather than being fascinated with smart practical considerations I am getting more interested in the expression and transmission of the place and I am appreciating the whole process in different way. I am discovering more of my passion for artistic creation and creativity and I am deeply appreciating a very intimate soulful relationship to what we have created - I know where every tree for this roof was standing, I’ve debarked every log and I’ve hand cut every lintel myself, I remember everybody who helped out and I’ve seen my own hands change from many hours working with hand tools. For me there is something really powerful to all of this. In a world so full of things that mostly have no meaning to us, where there is no relationship to where things come from, creating in this way is a very healing experience. Using a lot of materials from the forest, processing and shaping them by hand is helping to get closer to the sense and knowing of interconnectedness and complete relatedness that must be so alive in indigenous people. For me it also has to do with really getting in touch how much I love all of this, it has to do with being integrated in the place and environment where I live and feeling at home.

Practically speaking, we have overthrown all plans we had to build the place so many times that we now don’t seem to have a plan anymore, the smart design went overboard with the plans. The building has not been that cheap and of course its much more work and taking longer than planned. It has to be because for someone who has never built before it’s impossible to think of all that needs doing. I now pretty much know how to do everything better than we did … and I love what we have done so far. I am more letting go into the process, still making plans and trying to figure out things but being less rigid when life goes it’s own way, working step by step in an organic way. 

As it is all learning by doing there has been a steep learning curve in many aspects; from learning how to work with people we employ, dealing with money to very practical knowledge of timber framing. At times the experience has been far out of the controlled and planned comfort zone. The “oh shit I have no idea what I am doing here” moments have been many but also the relaxation that there is some kind of solution for every situation has grown. 

Sometimes when I look around and I see all the things that need doing I can get overwhelmed and anxious - “Is this ever going to be finished?”. At those times it’s good to zoom out and see how far we have come. When I think of all of everything that I want to create here then indeed there is no end insight so I better learn how to be happy about that and live life in the moment …

All in all I am very, very happy with everything and I am amazed with how the whole process has led me further into what I want to do and create.  

     

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Benfeita, May 1st 2017
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Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita October 21st 10 - 5pm

I am very happy to announce another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita 12 - 15 Ocober 2017

In our times crafts such as green woodwork are something truly revolutionary. We find making a useful product with ones own hands straight from the forest is totally inspiring.  Not only is such work simply sustainable it is also deeply...

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Date TBC 2018

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.

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