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Vegetable garden lovers in the Red Bus

“Do you have a moment?” My brother bumps into me in the kitchen and drags me to the Butterfly Garden where he’s been digging hard the past few days.

We have a family visit with a few passionate (vegetable) garden enthusiasts

So one of the sisters and my brother, so a lot of things happen on the natural plane when they’re around. “Look,” he says proudly, gesturing broadly over the bare earth, “This is now completely free of weeds, and here, between those sticks, I sowed the phacelia*. Here, this whole piece, I sowed those other flower seeds broadly.”

I’m impressed. “But beware of the birdies of the field, for I have already seen two sparrows pecking.”

“Uh, oh,” I reply, “then maybe we should add another stick, and then rope in between with aluminum strips flapping on it. They find that scary.”
“Wow, what an effort for just two sparrows.”
“Yes, but they all tell each other that, don’t they? What do you think they are talking about, early in the morning at 6:30 am, in the kiwi in front of my bedroom window? Then they pass on that information to each other!”

I walk away laughing to get my motor mower.

When I’ve been busy for half an hour, Sister Net comes up to me with a mysterious bowl and gestures for me to step aside and open my mouth. The first strawberries from our own garden. You don’t know, so delicious.

Delicious, a home-grown strawberry. A great advantage of having a vegetable garden

To get to that vegetable garden, my 82-year-old sister has to walk down a rather steep inclination from her room. Despite the fact that she spends hours on end pruning or weeding, that is just too much of a challenge. But that’s not a problem, because Brother has found something about that.

Fortunately, they grow luxuriantly here, those reed stems. It looks like bamboo, it also grows so fast, but it is slightly less strong. Strong enough to turn it into a nice support, which gives you just a little something to hold on to on such an inclination.

“But … that’s not strong enough,” I shout, “you can’t lean on it!” “No, you don’t have to,” says Net, “I just need a little support, then I feel more confident.”

Other Sister doesn’t like it all, that rooting in the earth. “Boo, it’s full of tiny little buggers” she says, and dives back into her book. We all need to read. Inherited from home, a family of readers. For example, the series about the seven sisters – we’re also seven sisters – by Lucinda Riley.

A little later she is diligently turning potatoes into French fries, while her husband opens the paint stripper with my son Broes. It turns out to be an immutable fact, the paint burner is definitely broken. This means that my appreciation for Parkside – Lidl’s house brand – has dropped a bit; he only went with six windows and a door.

“Not entirely fair,” says Broes, “those drilling machines have been doing it for years.” “But Einhell is better after all”, brother-in-law Dick throws in, and with that they get into a conversation about tools and brands, interspersed with Other Sister’s interfering telephone, who looks up everything on her iPhone in between readings.

Family. The basis of your existence. And your vegetable garden. And your tool park. And your intelligence agency. And your recipe file. And your …

Look what a cute purple flower it is. Bees and butterflies love them, and they’re also green manures. If you don’t know what that is, you don’t have a garden, you’re not a garden enthusiast, and it’s no use knowing that anyway. Cheers!


We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.

A big step, especially with two small children.

We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

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