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How they used to ...............
Travel  -  Irrigate  -  Thresh  -   Mill
Process wool  -  Make Paint  -  Make Salt

A leap out of the vehicle, point and shoot, captured this elderly couple in their carrinho as they were about to disappear over the hill. (It also shows the delight of old Portuguese public wiring which can occasionally be found!)
A similar occasion found a local farmer going into Espiche to collect water. The Espiche spring is often quite busy, as the water is considered to be the best natural water in the area.
Traditional ways of life that are not 'put on for the tourist' are more likely to be discovered in this "Cornwall" of Portugal.

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Vila do Bispo. 11th May 1999

Going to Espiche, 29th September 1999

Donkey cart in Almadena

Many farms still have their own wells, but with the dryer climate, some have now resorted to bore-holes. With the advent of the diesel or electric pump, it is now simple to draw water from the well.
Strange structures over wells, with vertical metal wheels and strange bars, are known as Noras.
These wheels used to have a chain which looped down into the water. Metal buckets (originally clay pots) were attached to the chain. With the aid of a donkey, mule or ox, harnessed to the long pole, walking around and around the well, the water was lifted and poured into a chute, which led to the aqueduct for irrigating the crops.

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By the EN125, Espiche


Threshing and Drying
An Eira is a circular paved area, where each farmer used to thresh the grain. Now they are more often used for drying produce such as maize for the animals, pulses, almonds and figs.
The threshing could be carried out with a flail, or by circling a number of animals - donkeys, mules, horses and oxen, over the pavement, to separate the kernels from the ears. These structures are also found in Morrocco, showing the Arabic origin of the method.

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Abandoned Eira near Lagos The Eira at Vale Grifo

An ancient method of capturing the force of nature, the remains of windmills are scattered throughout the hills, and surrounding the villages.
A few have been restored and some converted into homes. Now the modern variety can be seen where the Atlantic winds prevail, generating electricity for the National Grid

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Almádena Windmill ruin Restored Mill at Odeaxere
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Converted Mill at Barão S. João

The Wind Farm behind Vila do Bispo

A Tidal Mill
Just opposite the aerodrome at Lagos, the remains of a 13th century tidal mill flank a bend in the River Bensafrim.

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Copyright © 1999 Vale Grifo
Last modified: June 04, 2007