Friday, May 31, 2013

I am still having problems with posting photos on this blog so sorry for that. I wanted to show you our fridge. We call it the African fridge. It is a large terracotta jar inside another large pot, the in between is filled with sand which we keep damp at all times. It does actually work! R keeps his beer cool, and we put in butter, vege, occasionally a bit of meat. It works due to the water sweating out the sides and keeping the inside cool.

The insulation is working a treat. The big room keeps cool during the heat of the day.

I have had Nuno working for a couple of days, digging a trench around the back of the house. It got so wet last winter that there were puddles inside the house. I really don't want to live with that this year. Of course, it may not rain this winter... Still, it's good to get it done.

We have been eating lots of peas and onions and carrots and cabbage, from the garden! The mange touts that I ordered off the Internet are very good. They have dark purple pods. Very sexy. And very tasty. When I cook them up I keep the water. It makes delicious stock or a hot drink. Yum! The spinach (Swiss chard) is coming on nicely and also the cabbages. I have to patrol them and rub out caterpillars...

I have planted two beds of the three sisters, corn, beans and pumpkin. One of the beds I am watering and the other i am not. Just to see what happens. We also have two cabbages that are planted with a lot of space around them, at least a meter, and they are not getting water, either. It is possible to grow stuff without lots of water, if you give them enough space and keep the weeds down.

The golden oriole has been singing away and I wonder if it has taken the black figs... there are none where there were some a few weeks ago... Hmmm.

The new water tank is rising out of the foundations. R is slowly building it up. It is an experiment, but it's beginning to take shape.

Around us the fields have been cut and baled into barley hay. In small bales. I like to see them dotted about the fields. The farmer hopes to sell them for 3.50 each.

And so we move into June. This has been a long slow spring, cool and windy at times. Let's see what summer brings.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Sorry, no lovely photos for the moment, as I have a new system on the computer (Linux) and don't really know how to use it!

We bought some wool from the son-in-law of the lady in the cafe. Three huge bags full! And for a few days I pulled off the dag ends (with the help of Marian, who also did some sterling work on some of my poor weedy beds and borders, while on 'holiday' with us!) and then I stuffed them in feed sacks and stapled them to the rafters under the tin roof. Now that it has started to get hot it has made a big difference! It looks a bit funny and smells a lot worse, but already the smell is diminishing.

We have been eating quite a bit of food from the garden. Peas, beans, broccoli, spinach, leeks and yesterday I harvested the first proper hearted up cabbage! I feel very proud :) and rather healthy!

We have started digging a new terrace for the next water tank. The ground is like iron. I used a huge iron bar and broke up the surface, then scraped it off, then did another depth. Hot work!

Yesterday I put up a big tent on the only bit of flat land we have. It was windy and quite a few swear words were being blown over the hillsides.... but finally it is up and now I'm getting it ready for my cousin and her son who are going to come and see what we are up to. Exciting!

The swallows have made a nest under the eave of the tin roof, next to the bedroom, so I hear them whizzing about and squeaking. I hope it's not too windy for them. I have made a small temporary 'pond' for them out of a huge plastic bowl. I would like to have a larger area of water for all the animals, the birds and the bees. One day.

The once-a-month Sunday market is on in the village today. I will go and see if there are some organic avocados and figs to buy. We have eaten all our dried figs from last year, and the avocados from Algarve are really delicious.

Hopefully, I will get the photo thing sorted as it is fun to share them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A new month

I have been to England and back since I last wrote here.

And we have new a chicken and cockeral. R saw them in the flea market in Sao Luis and we had to get them (guilty conscience?). They are lovely, polite little chickens and now most of them are laying so we are rich in eggs. The colour of the yolks are deep orange.

We have been working on another water tank, lower down the hill. In the last couple of days we have been laying concrete foundations. Hopefully, we will soon put up the walls. It will be a kind of ferro cement construction. It's going to be muxh bigger than the 'elephant' we built last year.

R's mother is visiting and she has been doing brilliant work on the flower borders and clearing brambles from a fig tree. It's great to get help with that kind of work.

We have just received three huge sacks of sheep's wool and I have begun making roof insulation by stuffing it into feed sacks and stapling them to the rafters. I think it looks very neat and should work a treat. The sheepy smell will soon dissipate (we hope!)

We are eating beans, peas, brocolli, spinache, leeks, onions and carrots from the garden. I am very pleased about that. The taste of fresh vege is so good.