Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Ribeira Maior

When we were living in the 5th floor in Miranda do Corvo, in a moment of despair we fell in love with a piece of marginal land, Ribeira Maior. It lies in a steep valley in the Serra da Lousã and is crossed by a little river. I'm biased in favour of landholdings crossed by little rivers...

The land had been in the hands of a peasant family since the 1970's. As they were now quite old and the man one day fell in the wood and got too hurt to continue farm work, they moved to a daughter's house in the next village.

One day they came to show us the limits of the landholding. But, after a while we discovered that they themselves didn't know very well where the limits of their land were in the steep wooded area.

Below you can see the fire place in the "kitchen" of the house. That's where they cooked and ate and sat around in the cold winter nights... up to 5 years ago. It reminds me of the hut of the shepherd Ti Ferreira from Monforte da Beira... I think it's not unusual.

The soil is very fertile but extremely stony. Water abounds. In the first year we grew potatoes, beans and marrows. The corn was eaten by the wild boar when it started flowering and the tomatoes got a disease... This year we were too busy and living too far from the land (UK, Germany...) to cultivate it.
I'm sure this story is representative of what happens to marginal land in the mountain areas. It is not "abandoned forever", but abandoned temoprarily. It inspires and there is always the wish to keep it and care for it, the wish to return...


Mano 69 said...

Excelente texto, conheço muito bem.

O curso de água (é um ribeiro) chama-se Ribeira Maior e daí advem o nome do local.

A.S. said...

Ola Mano 69, obrigada pelo comentario. Se sabes alguma historia ou tens recordacoes sobre Ribeira Maior, gostava de saber.