Graham Denby: Clearing new land in Portugal
Oct 28 2009 by Graham Denby
I HAVE just returned from my annual UK visit, taking in family, friends, entertainments (the highlight being Town’s 4 – 0 home win) and meeting what must’ve been all my readers ... at least a dozen.
I returned to Portugal to get caught up in the wife’s schemes to open up more of our land for use by the horses – the aforementioned mini-jungle – and she had announced: “We need to sort out this break!’’ Taking her at her word, I found a reasonably comfy patch and stretched out for a nap.
Unfortunately, she didn’t much care for my satire. What she was saying was that we should get the stevas (stevash) cleared and the revealed area fenced and gated for her darling munching moochers.
I have mentioned previously that we had a visit by the bomberos, the volunteer fire brigade, who checked the amount of ground clearing we had undertaken since we first moved in, which was considerable.
They also received assurances of our ongoing commitment to clear the remainder, hence removing a natural fire hazard and creating a considerable fire break.
This is a requirement on landowners in the Alentejo every four or five years. If left alone, the stevas – a plant introduced into the Alentejo to be grown as kindling but now gone all wild and wandering – is a highly flammable shrub, being exceptionally oily.
Also we have had a very hot, dry summer which extended through into September with regular temperatures in the 30s and even reaching warmly into mid October.