Mountain horses (Garranos) and sheep.
Garranos are indigenous horses from the nearby mountains of Peneda-Gerês, an endangered species of which there are only about 2000 left, all in the region. Most of them still live in groups in the wild, mainly in the high mountains, taking shelter in the forests. Much less live in farms or horse riding centers. Nevertheless, they are gracious, amiable, clever and highly tamable. It is possible to educate them even for show-jumping, racing or dressage, although most are used for teaching children to ride or for pony trekking.
In Biodynamics, the mere presence of animals in the farm’s environment is considered vital, for a harmonious ecosystem needs to have all of Nature’s kingdoms working together in full circle. As regards the practical aspects, they keep the cover crops cut short saving the use of machinery, help to replant flower species as they move from one place to the next, and provide us with high quality manure which we use for our compost heaps. In fact, they contribute to the permanent fertility we search, for through their digestion they recycle the substances of the plants and return them to the earth already processed and enriched with bacteria, to be composted in situ.
Sheep perform similar functions, and are specially suited for being in the vineyards. There is also the consideration that these two kinds of manure are complementary and indirectly beneficial for the wine quality, in the sense that they indirectly enhance the aromatics of the fruit. Horses are animals where the Fire element (associated with the fruit processes) predominates, whereas in sheep the Air element (associated with the flower processes) is the dominant one.
“The bees surrender themselves entirely to Venus, unfolding a life of love throughout the whole hive. This life will be filled with wisdom.” Rudolf Steiner
Bee keeping is one of the essential practices in holistic farm management. Besides their major role in plant pollination, contributing to the variety of floral species in cover crops and peripheral areas, they bring balance to the whole insect/plant relationship in the environment. We may say they permeate the landscape with the Venus influence, creating harmony through the forces of Love, through working with the parts of the plants that also have this influence and extending it further. The beehive itself is a model of harmony where universal wisdom may be seen at work.
We are lucky to have multi-talented Alberto as our beekeeper, following the footsteps of Sr. António, his father, who has tended bees in Casal do Paço for over 6 decades and keeps hives scattered in the property. Recently, to expand further the presence of bees in our lands we have an agreement with a professional beekeeper for the installation of 60 hives in Quinta do Espadanal and is preparing for more.