Rule One: Don’t Be A Jerk

Posted on Posted in Food/Kitchen, General, Projects, woofers of tojeiro
This is a post I’d never want to write, it’s not nice and it’s hypocritical, but it needs to be penned.
There is a rule above all rules in community living and it is “Don’t be a jerk”. Now this rule, as I see it, covers a lot of ground, most of it self-evident: no racism, no sexism, no homophobia, no discrimination, no violence, treat others with the respect you expect treated yourself and that means if you see a job that needs doing, do it. If you can. Community is only possible with the Don’t Be A Jerk rule.  As I say, self-evident, right? Well not always.
Many years ago when I was a young man I was Interrailing and was on a train in the former Yugoslavia. During the long journey I needed the toilet. I was warned not to go there by a fellow journeyman. I went anyway and the sight has remained with me since, the small closet door was open, it was open because it couldn’t close, it was wall to ceiling faeces, urine, sick and nappies, a room full of shit and piss. How could it have got that way? Certainly not by not giving a shit, lots gave of them self, physically. It’s easy to imagine how this “Shituation” came about, one day one person said, “Somebody else can do it”, and so nobody did it and then the WC was full and nobody without proper training and equipment could do it. If it ever got cleaned I don’t know and never will.
Yesterday someone of the community, was staring at the filthy rinsing water and wondering what to do with their plate and cutlery. “Empty the dirty water and fill it with new”, I suggested. “No, somebody else can do it”. “Fuck”, I thought, you lazy bastard, you take from the community resources and give not a single simple task back in gratitude that is beyond what you promised to do at the morning meeting. It took me 90 seconds to empty the bowl and refill it. The individual finished their plate and went on their way perfectly content. I’m sure most have us have walked past jobs that need doing in the knowledge someone else will do it, and the first couple of days can always be problematic. For example I heard a story from a Newbie the other day. The individual was on bar duty and was sat there awaiting chore instructions. After a while a long-term member of the community approached the bar and said, ” Do you think being a bar person involves more than being sat on a stool” and set up the task of filling the fridges with beer, a very time consuming task. Some time later the bar manager returned and said, “Fuck what have you done?” but said not to worry and set about emptying the fridge again. It was quite ironic the the taskmaster was, rightly, critical of the wasted labour hours on the farm. So entering a new community can be frustrating before you find your role, or your role finds you and you can find yourself flailing around looking for purpose getting in the way. If you’re a first timer don’t worry, you’ll find your place.
But I know I have walked past jobs and that’s why I’m a hypocrite but when the buck stops with you just do it. It’s the COMMUNITY thing you came to experience; if you want to come as a guest and do no community work then fine, very reasonable rates are available on Airbnb or camp for cheaper and nobody should expect you to chip in, you’ve more likely to have exchanged paid labour hours elsewhere to have the luxury of not doing anything now. But if you’ve come to experience community living and consume community resources, perhaps with the idea of starting you’re own little community, then do the job that stands in front of you and don’t pass the buck. Don’t be a jerk.

A Pizza With A Story

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Legend has it that Esposito was called upon to make a pizza for Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita when they visited Naples in 1889. That pizza, which featured fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, is still known as Pizza Margherita today. From: https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/who-invented-pizza

 

The Friday Happiness Association has one goal when you strip away everything else: making pizza. Excellent pizza, majestic pizza that will make people travel many miles to eat, and return again and again. And making lots and lots of it. The deal is 10 Euros for all you can eat, and two drinks tokes – but the kitchen closes 2300 sharp, so the wise get to the queue before 2000, and rotate around the serving area 2 or 3 times to get their fill before they pause for a quiet drink in the Cocktail Bar, then take their choice of two stages to dance to absolutely obscene hours of the next day.  And great fun it is too, so they tell me. But it is the pizza that draws in the crowds to this farming community.

 

Early on the holidaying tourists make up the customer base, followed by the couples, groups and friends out for a fabulous night. Then, later the drinkers come through the front entrance, but by then the kitchen has long closed and the Woofers are partying themselves, and they deserve it. Their shift starts at 1200, although some preparation takes place on Thursday. Then they start kneading the dough, lots of it, for the hundreds of bases that will be needed. Sauces made ready, vegetables and meats and tuna primed for addition before the specially adapted oven is log loaded and lit. The pizzas are cooked in minutes and the grateful volunteers get to test the first pizzas for richly deserved dinner. And then once the conveyor belt starts, a real division of labor, it pumps out quality, fresh and homemade Italian-inspired bread based treats. The Woofers, some who will be new to the job, work together in an inspiring, pressure filled environment, hot long hours are whiled away as they sing and dance and enjoy a cold fresh beer – and produce the prized pizza. Helping each other clean as they go. It’s amazing and testament to the method that a quality product is produced week after week despite the cooks changing on a weekly basis as people come and go.

 

The benefit of working and living and laughing and crying together in this environment is that we all learn new skills and add to the repertoire of that which already exists. If you want to learn how to cook cracking Italian-inspired bread based foodstuffs then you could do a lot worse than spending a couple of Friday nights in this kitchen.

Thefts in Tojeiro

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in General

We’ve had a week of it. Last Friday night/Saturday morning some members of the the community were robbed of gear, some up to 800 Euros worth. Some were insured, some not. Electronics and cash were the preferred items on the agenda for this professional team. They knew what they were doing. The stole from the periphery, in a big team, of the party, out of site of all the workers. No passports were taken, lessening the potential of a serious criminal investigation – passports are possession of the nation states that issues them and police should and, generally do, take their thief seriously. They also leave a trail harder to extinguish. There is still hope that in trying to offload their booty the thieves will leave a slug like trail all the way to the criminal justice system. Some have photos of their lost possessions and they are posted on social media – tattoo machine and needles for example. Any tattooists picking up a cheap machine in the last week? Or indeed any potential stolen property – we kinda know when it’s hot don’t we? Please contact asap.

 

To a degree ourselves we were responsible for the losses. We – I was one of the lucky ones whose meager, hidden tent and belongings were in the house or on my possession – should have secured them on the busiest day of the week. That lesson, would-be larcenists, has been well and truly learnt by this community and next time you may pick up a punctured air mattress, an old shoe or two, and if you’ve time before the new security regime pounces, a leaky tent and a pair of old knickers. All valuables are now well out of reach of sticky fingers. Let it be said pilferers, “The time Tojeiro was an easy mark has passed”. Pass it on.

 

There is a lesson here for all volunteers here, a lesson that can be applied to the broader activity of travel – don’t bring that which you cannot afford to lose. Too valuable, deep sentimental value, don’t bring it. Simple. No tears, no cry.

There was another theft in the community this week. This one hurt too. It was some alcohol. It is alleged that one, maybe more,  volunteers leaving recently took some spirits, vodka, rum, whiskey, gin. Maybe they felt a misplaced sense of entitlement, you know, “I’ve given 6 weeks of my time time the place, helped run the place, made money for Rudi, etc., it’s the least I deserve”. Now let’s get this straight from the start, I’m not one of those prudish people who think categorically  theft is wrong. No sir, no sir, people have the right to food and shelter and if theft is the only way to feed a starving child then thieve away from the big corporations and supermarkets.  Ruling classes have been stealing from working people for centuries (the theft of Common Land still drives me incandescent with rage) and still continue to do so with aplomb and fuck them and the system that supports them. To steal from those bastards is direct action and justice. But here we are trying to create and alternative to the exploitation of Capitalism (obviously within the strict boundaries that Capitalism creates – supermarket visits are a fact of life here). Here you know the terms and conditions. Free board and lodge for work – and believe me there is no strict time watching here, you are free to do as you wish but if you don’t put in shift you’ll soon find yourself ostracized and maybe there is the argument of the Tyranny of Work but that is for another time.  But the food is regular and good, very good and Rudi prices drinks and snacks so cheap they are basically cost. It’s a cheap easy life where just about anybody can find a place and fit in. Not all Workaways offer such advantageous conditions – there are some real Clockwatchers out there – and I’ve been there and couldn’t wait to leave. We should depart as friends, contract closed, redemption paid – and promises to return should we desire to do so. To steal from Rudi is, in this case, to steal from us all.  It takes valuable resources from the community that have to be replaced at the cost of a new washing machine, flea treatment or extras for the Woofers Wednesday party or any number of things the 60 odd Euros would go towards. So hear up thief or thieves – for it was blind theft – show decency and honour and offer up your spoils and let justice be done. Basically don’t be a prick. You risk your reputation and the reach of social media goes far.

 

-Disposable Harry

Roof of change

Posted on Posted in General

 

THE ROOF OF CHANGE

rain, rain

no drips again

for long you’ve been a pain

giving me nothing but muddy floors to tread on

this pissed the boys off

on the wave of anger they surfed

the boiling sun couldn’t quench their thirst

in search of the roof of change

off to work they went

3 days of constant toil

and roof was done

built out of inspiration,desire and willpower

our builder boys had given us a kitchen

worth looking at

its beauty is coming out

the pixies are prettying it up

Circles: good for your health

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The group’s silent positive judgment became the source of the talker’s power.

– Teodros Kiros

Yesterday we had a Talking Circle – Tuesdays 2pm – and a heady 12 participated. Some spoke a lot, some were silent. The choice was with whoever held the talking stick. Positives and negatives were expressed. The journey to self awareness, repair and love were dominant themes. Active listening was also an essential element in the dynamic that the Circle needed to function. Speakers needed the space, and power, to speak.

 
This power is important because we all have the need to feel validated and listened to, to be understood. Everybody reacts positively to feeling respected and offered power. We feel happy and content in the embrace of the group, this is the group saying, “Hey, you are important to us, so important we’ll give you some of our power, the power to participate in our activities and gatherings and we wish you to express and share your own unique talents, experiences and insights to add to our lives” – this can be one of the most important and fulfilling . Alternatively being invalidated – ignored or discriminated – causes our neurology to turn to a negative course and feeling, frankly, shit.
 
Giving and allowing others the power to express their feelings, thoughts and emotions can be a liberating and affirmative action for them. It can allow space for understanding, mutuality, intimacy and a whole flood of possibilities. It can also be a negative experience where preconceived expectations are confirmed and reinforced and new ones formulated allowing us a smug, short lived and ultimately unsatisfying pleasure. The choice, to a degree, is ours to how we listen, and how we feel about the orator. Do we listen to grow in understanding how the speaker got to where they are in the here and now, with all their joys and sorrows, achievements and failures. Or do we use their utterances to construct a bigger wall between us and them? Which feels the better to do? Why? Can we change? Do we want to?
 
Finally, as the insider, and thus privileged, we should forget at our cost that we too were an outsider and are most definitely destined to be one again. Remember then how we felt and give the girl a break should one day we be invalidated and the same fate, as it surely will, await us.
 
 
 
These and other questions and affirmations are discussed in the 2pm Talking Circle. All welcome.

Element of Tension

Posted on Posted in News

This region of Europe, as we well know, is prone to devastating, catastrophic and terrifying wildfires. Last evening, about 1800, we were woken from our late afternoon siesta, to shouts of “Gather all the farm buckets. Now”. Soon the knowledge spread, like wildfire, if you like, through the farm that an uncontrolled fire was playing its course 8 km away close to the town of Odiáxere. The tension meant we quickly reacted to the situation and contingency plans were put in place as the TV reported the efforts of the Bombeiros to manage the situation and protect the nearest town.

Tim’s, the gorgeous birthday boy, party was briefly interrupted with a collective consciousness that we were perhaps too close for comfort. Water was readied, blankets assembled and reassurance were shared as the primary instincts kicked in. Fight or flight. But soon the music started again as people assembled around the bar. “Ring of Fire”, “Light My Fire” and “Hellfire” being the first of many fire inspired songs hit the blue-tooth speaker. Confidence returned and the party continued – and a cracking party it is too. 

 

The question to what would we do when threatened with a disaster situation was answered. We would organize to the best of our abilities and assemble the resources we had – the most important for us being the cars and vans on site for a rapid escape – and then we continued as we did before. The rolling news and knowledge of the local environment inspired us that we would unlikely be affected by this particular outbreak. Phew!

 

But all of us realize the real danger and potential horror of infernos in this part of the world. What if anything can be done to limit the harm of forest fires? First people should not start them. They should be extra vigilant, watch those cigarette butts. Contact emergency services on 117, quickly. Gather together and use local knowledge and news to formulate a plan. As far as possible remain calm and reasonable, the brain is telling you all kinds of immediate things you should be doing, most of it wrong – some of it extremely relevant.

On a broader note it really is quite amazing that today, in this technologically advanced age where Health & Safety is supposed to be primary concern, we should still be prone to uncontrolled bush fire. Sure shit happens (although hopefully not to us) and natural disasters are inevitable in this universe, and living in a warm/hot region means one should be acutely aware of the potential dangers.  This BBC article seeks to explain why Portugal has its own unique reasons. Indeed the widespread planting of the profitable and highly flammable eucalyptus tree certainly doesn’t help and neither does the flying tipping of waste packaging and products of obsolescence. But then the frankly psychopathic and inherently self-annihilating search for profit has never really concerned itself with the very real devastation of environmental destruction, it can always turn a profit on the embers, until even they are ground to dust. But we too play our part in this insane game.

– Disposable Harry 

Two flowers in Tojeiro garden..

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Bom Dia World!

Im Amy! I have been here for three weeks, returning on and off for two years. I have been over seeing the garden for a little time with my friends here. After a day watering and tending to the plants. I sat on the sofa and then a fellow scouser appeared. For those who do not know what a scouser is; its a being from the merseyside of Liverpool, UK.

Instantly greeted with a hug and natter concluding to the reveal that we lived only ten minutes away from each other!

Already sharing the lovely Liverpool as our home, we had insane amounts in common already. From talking more and more in the last week, we found we have lots of common ground. We both aspire to create and craft wether this is plant based or paint based.

I was more than excited to see Ellie Jane’s sketchbook, leaving me with an anticipation to know so much more about this lady and her talentSo, i asked her some questions….

Please introduce yourself Ellie;

Hello! My name is Ellie Jane. I am 22 years old currently living in Cornwall, UK. I am studying Illustration, and i am thrilled to be here drawing all of the beautiful surroundings.

Why did you choose to come here?

I chose to come here because i wanted more experience working within a community. Tojiero seemed like the perfect place to merge my love for art with agri-culture and the wonders of nature! Mostly, i wanted to take myself out of my box, join a completely new and exciting experience and work with people in harmony.

What are your first impressions?

WOW! First impressions! Well within the first five minutes i was asked if i would like glitter on my face. I think that sums up how great my first impression was.

Favorite movie?

Thats too hard of a question, i would say top 3…

Pulp Fiction. Princess Mononoke and ANY Lord of the Rings.

Thats amazing, my favorite film was Pulp Fiction and Spirited Away..How would you describe your painting style?

My painting style is ever changing, i like to experiment, play around with different processes. Discovering new ways to create. I think my style with constantly evolve and there is something i find very exciting about that.

How do you find inspiration?

From everything, everywhere. It could be anything from a newspaper in a corner store to a bird sitting in a tree to a older lady sitting at a bus stop with me. I enjoy taking inspiration from people, i think this is why i love traveling so much. Understanding different cultures, experiences and tales that spark little sockets of inspiration in my mind. Tojiero is a hive for this!

Who is your favorite artist?

Ah i could not pick just one. Yayoi Kusama is one of my biggest spell binding inspirations. Kusama is a Japanese writer and artist. Her work involves a variety of media, from painting to collage to performance. I admire how she translates her mind threw bright electric patterns and colours. I find such beauty in takingstuggles and pains and turning them into works of multi sensorial art.

Frida Khalo is a painting goddess in the sky. Frida had such  strength and talent amidst all of her struggles. Her work evokes such passion and soul. Also she rocks  a monobrow better than anyone in history.

Would you like to make a ‘Living’ out of your work?

Ofcourse, i would love my craft to be an ‘income’ but it is not my objective or intention. My idea of success and living does not rely on income. I would much prefer to live in this sort of environment like Tojiero. I sleep in a converted bedroom in the front of a waffle truck tothe rising of the moon, and wake up at sunrise to  spend a day with animals, drawing, talking and creating.  I guess that its the most beautiful way of ‘living’.

Do you have any tips for people who want to draw more?

I would say, firstly do not let any fear or doubt or not being a good enough drawer or skilled enough. EVERYONE can learn how to draw, paint or create. I think of it like a muscle, you must exercise this muscle for it to become strong. The way in which i started was, i found paintings, drawings, sculptures that i admired and copied the style of process. This way, i picked up skills along the way.

What helps you when you have a creative block?

Poetry i would say, i love to play writing  or drawing games with anyone i meet. Poetry is a great tool to visualize imagery. Yet if the flow still isn’t coming, i will give myself time to relax, maybe do something else and let the inspiration come to me in time.

Beautiful. i feel you, I consciously carry poetry with me in my bag. Do you find inspiration here?

In SO many ways!! Its a crowded bohemian hive that is set in a enchanted little valley! In terms of how i find inspiration creatively- Tojeiro is a melting pot.

Do you have any styles of Art you do not like?

I have my own tastes, my favorite at the moment being Japanese wood cut printing. Yet I admire all art forms because i see art as a personal expression and i would never like to dictate or criticize anyone else expression because i value the time, energy and care put into creating.

Whats been the craziest drawing you have done?

Once i created a page of a comic book that was based on a narrative about a floating island in space. Where humans lived in a post-apocalyptic cyber digital world. The more surreal the better i find sometimes.

Sometimes the most spontaneous painting or scribbles tend to be the weirdest.

Is there any other art practice you would like to try?

I would love to delve more into the physical process of body painting, moving every limb of the body to create murals.

If you could be any animal, what would it be?

For sure, a bird. A tropical colorful bird flying threw rainforest trees.

What are you worst qualities of your work?

I would say the worst qualities of my work is when my anxiety gets the better of me. I am certainly my own worst critic, and i find i put too much pressure on myself to draw a lot. This frustration may lead to some of the drawings or paintings looking scrappy or untidy. Sometimes i may spend a lot of time on a project and it can not work out and that leaves me very frustrated sometimes. These problems always lead me to discovering new solutions or ways to create which i guess its a positive!

Ellie Jane, leaves me with a drawing of the magical garden before i return back home to Liverpool.

Ciao for now Tojeiro, Obrigada Ellie Jane

love, Amy

TRUDY

Posted on Posted in General

 

Trudy

This article is dedicated to Trudy. In loving devotion to the kindest sheep soul we ever did meet.

We rose from a coffee hit to a morning with the animals. First, the chickens. Then up to the top of the hill to greet the three goats, and Trudy the only sheep with a Bom Dia!

Trudy came to Tojeiro in the back of someones van, like most people. After time she grew big and now rests in her pen at the top of the hill overlooking the farm with her warm, dewy eyes.

Ellie, had spent two days with the animals beforehand and Trudy never seemed fazed or interested in spending anytime with her. Yet on this Monday morning, Trudy galloped down the hill to the open arms of Tim.

Trudy is the most lovable, soft and cuddly sheep, we had ever had the pleasure to greet.

Throughout the morning, she spent most of her time with us underneath the tree. She would come very close, and rest her head on our arms. Her silky smooth ears reflected the sun as we gave her a whole lotta love.

After sometime, we began to wonder..

Where did Trudy wander?

Ellie had an inclination that she had returned to the farm as Trudy had done in the past. Time passed, and we ventured back to the farm in search of the lady herself.

We found her resting, in a wooden structure just below the pen. As we closed the gate, Trudy galloped for Tim just like she  had done at the start of the morning.

Thank you Trudy  for being the best part of our day today, in Tojiero.

Ellie and Tim

Trudy

This article is dedicated to Trudy. In loving devotion to the kindest sheep soul we ever did meet.

We rose from a coffee hit to a morning with the animals. First, the chickens. Then up to the top of the hill to greet the three goats, and Trudy the only sheep with a Bom Dia!

Trudy came to Tojeiro in the back of someones van, like most people. After time she grew big and now rests in her pen at the top of the hill overlooking the farm with her warm, dewy eyes.

Ellie, had spent two days with the animals beforehand and Trudy never seemed fazed or interested in spending anytime with her. Yet on this Monday morning, Trudy galloped down the hill to the open arms of Tim.

Trudy is the most lovable, soft and cuddly sheep, we had ever had the pleasure to greet.

Throughout the morning, she spent most of her time with us underneath the tree. She would come very close, and rest her head on our arms. Her silky smooth ears reflected the sun as we gave her a whole lotta love.

After sometime, we began to wonder..

Where did Trudy wander?

Ellie had an inclination that she had returned to the farm as Trudy had done in the past. Time passed, and we ventured back to the farm in search of the lady herself.

We found her resting, in a wooden structure just below the pen. As we closed the gate, Trudy galloped for Tim just like she  had done at the start of the morning.

Thank you Trudy  for being the best part of our day today, in Tojiero.

Ellie and Tim

Frames

Posted on Posted in General, Poems, Projects

Glitter frames the edge of her eye lashes

As she lounges within the drum and bass frequencies

Theres a magic mystic floating threw the air

I wait for the wind to direct my next path

My actions are random but justified

by the flow of the wind

Rocking up, down and everywhere else

 

Yet here

In Tojeiro

We gather one and all

Smiles last for miles and miles

A bohemian hive

transforming the world around it

our lives are essential,

they say with pride

with their individuality as one

speaking their words

doing the works that make their souls

glow in harmony

 

Developing amoungst compassion and diversity

its a perma-culture party dream

 

Can you see my dream?

The lights never seem to matter

nor the darkness

the music is one with silence

we dance ever so still and furious

 

Presently time is no object.