Etnographic Description

By highlighting different aspects and details of the Farm, we wish to provide clues which will make the discovery of the displayed cultural richness easier. And we are sure that the visitor will finally encounter some of the particularities that his/her grandfathers used to talk about when remembering the good old days. Upon arrival at Hammer's Farm, there is a flag once used to warn the miller that there was grain to be ground. When it was missing it meant that there wasn't any grain, which avoided detours and delays. Nowadays the flag means that the Farm is available to welcome its visitors and friends. In the narrow road leading to the Farm, and even before the flag, one could have noticed the wooden area that precedes the house of the once wealthy farm-owner.

After the flag, one finds the old main gate with the hammer-shaped door knocker that gave the Farm its name. A little ahead there's a fountain with a designed drinking space for cattle, a scrap tank, a laundry washbasin and even a water distribution sink. On the right side one can see the thatch hayloft for the farm implements, carts and several other utensils, dry food for cattle and a hut with the appropriate divisions for cattle and horses
There is also a barn made of stone and roofing tile ("palheiro com eira") with its rustic doors and wooden locks where tools were kept. After opening the main gate without knocking (for the door is always open) the visitor reaches the Farmyard where a triangle-shaped wooden structure used for storing corn stands. It is called "burra de milho". One can also see the doghouse, rattraps, replicas of the wooden crates used to export the "Japanese" oranges, firewood, fishing rods, and cages hanging from the roof. The roof has wooden drainpipes to collect and store rainwater for the lots. There are also old-fashioned doors and windows with wooden bolts and latches, door handles, wooden and iron locks, hinges as well as bolts of different models correctly positioned for an efficient usage.

Still in the Farmyard and in front of the farm keeper's house, one can find the building that was used for packing the oranges for exportation. Although this house has lost its original purpose, it still shows the signs of the different phases through which it has gone since the 18th century. Today we can find traces from the wooden orange boxes until its final phase as a general storage building dependent of the old house of the farm keepers, who felt the need to use the place not only as a slaughter house but also as a big storage room, a place for those big family reunions that couldn't be held in the main building.

To use it as the latter, furniture was moved from the main house, and put together with the out-of-date furniture that was already stored there. There is also a chopping block made from a tree log near a wood-burning stove with an improvised chimney used to melt down the fat and smoke the sausages. All the instruments used in the traditional pig slaughtering are also placed here.One can also notice the larder, a cupboard and a clay chimney everything traditionally built in their wall niches straw hangers, a hamper, a sieving, a sifter, different pieces of ware and several recipients used for storing and preserving food. Through wooden stairs, one reaches the attic ("falsa") where less frequently used utensils were stored.

The lightning utensils are displayed here in order to give the visitor an idea of its evolution through the different epochs in which they were used: from the primitive oil lamps ("grizetas" and "candeias"), several lanterns, and kerosene lamps with little glass chimneys, to the more sophisticated and first electrical installations with twisted wires and ware switches. With the decline of the orange exportation and the loss of the Farm's original purpose, the farm-keepers eventually acquired the estate and readjusted it in a more auto-sufficient manner.

Thus, one can immediately notice a primitive rotating door connecting to a new annex made into a small cellar by the need to produce wine for consumption. The annex is a fine example of this type of structure used at the time. Noteworthy are the following items: the ventilation window and the refurbished wine-press, the grapecrusher, recipient for grape dregs ("moega"), casks, the cedar funnel and pot, the picking-grape tray that was used as a dining-table during vintage, carboys (large glass bottles encased in basketwork), a small domestic still, benches and wood logs used in tasks related with the vintage.

Finally, one exits this fully-operational cellar and passes by the "casinha" (the common name for "latrine") which stands outside of the house (as usual) and through the laundry washbasins with clay pipes carrying and redirecting the water from the cistern. The latter is the biggest private cistern with a terrace in the Azores . At the time, it used to supply the neighbouring houses given the need for water during the orange exploitation period.

Bearing towards the narrow paths ahead, one can find the main house supporting buildings: a chicken yard and a piggery next to the rabbit-house, with its clay and wooden rabbit-dens. Further on stands the house where once was located the first hand mill, with its pigeon house later turned into a storage place. Once at the narrow paths, one notices that they are at a higher ground than the parcels of land. This was a typical orange-exploiting-farms architecture which used these high walls with upper pathways not only to store the excess of stones but also to shelter the orange-trees from the damaging ocean winds. Obviously, this type of protection also provided with a greenhouse effect thanks to the dark and porous volcanic stones which captured the sun's heat, keeping the air temperatures hot during night time. Nowadays, these parcels of land supply the Farm with almost everything that it consumes, through the use of biological agriculture. One can still encounter a great variety of citrine and fruit trees such as: cherimoya, araca-boi, bananas, figs and loquats. These fruits are used in the production of brandies and pastry. Because of its natural characteristics, part of this area was salvaged in order to breed and preserve some autochthonous species of domestic animals of our island. Out of these, we would like to point out the Old Portuguese spotted pig, island chickens with their different features, the Azorean donkey, the Ramo Grande cows, island goats, etc.

The Hammer's Farm estate is certified for producing several biological products as well as spices, different types of herbal tea, and a number of endemic plants. At this point, one has arrived at a cropping area that has been modified in order to maximize this type of production given the constant increase of the Farm's needs. As a part of this area stands a clearing. Once it was a meeting point used by farm workers to gather cattle, change animals or park farm carts. Nowadays this area serves as a parking lot and a place where different organic compounds are made to fertilize the lands. There is also an old cistern-well that has not been rendered useless and a storage area.

From here on we come again to the narrow path leading to the Farm. Based on vestiges found on the estate we were able to rebuild all the types of housing and storage buildings that have evolved from the period of the early settlers. This natural building evolution took place according to the availability and range of the ceilings, walls, windows and doors. Naturally, the first settlers were concerned in building simple shelters that have grown into today's houses. For economic and space optimization purposes, what was once a shelter for people soon became an animal shelter and later a farming apparatus shelter. Nevertheless, this was an interesting evolution. The more primitive buildings serve only as a display of how they were built and used in early times. The "Settler's House" is the first one that we can truly recognize (in modern concepts) as a housing building since it has an indoor inherent organization. Although there were no quarters there was a very clear division of the house's four corners: cooking corner, eating corner, storing corner and sleeping corner.

The house had a thatch ceiling and the furniture was made using the most suitable wood at the time. The next type of house already had a tile roof and the inner area shows us the need that was felt for somewhat more elaborate furniture and more developed concept of indoor organization of the house. From here on and down the narrow path, one can find examples of all types of housing buildings (with their living spaces, furniture, indoor decoration, garnishing) up to the last century. One can also examine the evolution of the types of wells and cisterns, stoves and ovens, as well as the building's construction quality. Hammer's Farm also offers its visitors an area of work shops and traditional endangered crafts. If, on the one hand, we found the need to appeal to a large group of craftsmen in order to execute and accurately reproduce all the equipment (from tiles to furniture, locks, etc) on the other hand, we found out that most of these crafts were in danger of becoming extinct.

Therefore, we felt the need to rebuild and haulage to Hammer's Farm some idle work shops, take them up again, hence fulfilling our needs as well as preserving these crafts. Our keenness in re-enacting in detail these traditions came together with the historical foundations of an island rich in traditions, a World Heritage city and its inhabitants cultural awareness. Thus, we were able to find new markets for these old crafts. In this area one can find a pottery (including the oven), a tinsmith's, carpentry, cabinetry shop and a cooper's shop.

There are also blacksmith, shoemaker, barber, whitewasher shops as well as other seasonal occupations such as: basket weaver, cane-worker, broom-maker, loom weaver, woodcutter, sawyer, etc. Since this is an area where all crafts and trades are concentrated, its visit is both an amusing and learning experience. On the opposite side of the narrow path one can find the buildings where the stills, hand mills and the small grocery store are located.
FLVPlayer requires JavaScript and the latest Flash player. Get Flash here.

Canada do Martelo, nº 24 - Cantinho- São Francisco das Almas - S. Mateus
9700-576 Angra do Heroísmo
Terceira - Azores - Portugal
Telefone: 351 295 642 842
Telemóvel: 962 812 796 / 969 009 191
Fax: 351 295 642 841
GPS - 38º 40' 23.64" N / 27º 16' 06.39" W
Welcome to the best of our tradition
Culture and tradition
Our difference in a world with increasingly little difference.
Home page