Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Wedding and the Weeding

What a wonderful day it was. Laura and Nuno got married on the beach!
Family and friends had created a lovely space on the beach that points out to the Atlantic and also embraces the big sandy estuary of the river Mira. The day was perfect Blazing sun, a bit of a breeze, high tide, and eighty guests in their wedding clothes all smiling and their children playing in the sand.
The alter was made from eucalyptus poles and blue netting, the space was marked out with bits of leafy cane and a white ribbon, in a large circle, and the entrance was made with a brilliant arch that Nuno had made from cane. It was soooo pretty!
The bride, my blooming and beautiful Laura, walked down the steps on her father's arm, her bride's maids in front all in blue, like mermaids, and Isabella and Beatrice holding the rings and rose petals....
As for the feast, afterwards... It was fun and fab. The food, thanks to Hotel Social, was beautifully displayed and tasty, too. I danced and talked and cried when Laura and Nuno took their first dance together as a married couple. It was romantic. A huge full moon and lots of sumptuous bean bags and bouncy castles. The perfect day.

Meanwhile, back on the land, it has become hot. 35 degrees and more! Because we are a bit inland from the sea, we don't get those cooling sea breezes. Some plants love it. The tomatoes and strawberries and aubergines are shooting up. I sowed some peanuts a few weeks back, and they are coming up.

I had planted a passion fruit next to a young cork oak, thinking it would grow up it, but they didn't like each other! I have moved it to climb over the first 'bender' I made, which is now my shaded area for plants in pots. It has a fruit on it already.

The experimental cabbage is doing very well. No watering, but growing strong and heartening up. It proves that if you give plants enough space and no competition, they can grow without watering. This is an important discovery in a land which is sometimes in drought.

The red cabbages are growing well and are not bothered by the flea beetles which are busy making lace out of the other green cabbages....

The new water tank is really taking shape now. It is solid and I have been inside, plastering the walls, listening to Santana and Jimi Hendrix. It gets very hot in the tank, even with shade over the top, so I come out soaked even tho' it's still empty!

 My shady bender full of young trees

And here is another beautiful day dawning on the top of the world!

Monday, June 17, 2013

building, learning, letting go...

Time is whizzing by. It's nearly midsummer and also officially the start of summer on 21st June.  The weather has been mixed, some days blisteringly hot, then other which feel decidedly chilly. Modern times.... Modern climes as they say.. well, I say.

Anyway, we have had another couple of chicken casualties... I found one lying by the path, dead as a door nail. No reason that I could see. Then on the weekend we went to baby sit for Laura and I didn't lock them up (the chickens, not the baby) because we left quite early and I thought we wouldn't be out too late.... Wild animals are cunning. They know when you're not around. They must check the fence and the door every night. So another chicken gone. Now we have one cockerel ( he ran off and roosted in a tree) and two chickens, one of which has been sitting on a huge pile of eggs for more than 21 days... Hmmm

We have been eating peas and cabbages and carrots from the garden and soon we shall have beans and tomatoes. I harvested a measly amount of tatties. They taste great. Just wish I had planted more. The first lot got done in by the bad weather in early spring. Too wet. Still, there is always next year. I plan to grow a proper amount and not too early. The guavas are in flower and have lots of buds. They seem to grow well here. I love guava. Also, I bought a passion fruit, which has flowered. Exciting.

I have a few trial patches of corn and beans and pumpkins (the three sisters). One patch I water and one patch I don't. The watered patch has bigger plants, but the proof is in the pudding. We also have two cabbages planted far apart which are not getting any water either, but are already big and heartening up.  There is a good book by Steve Solomon about dry gardening, where he did lots of trials and found that if you give plants enough space they don't need much or any water as long as they have no competition nearby. Seems to be true. Just means that you have to have huge gardens.

R has been building a large water tank using an experimental technique. It is top secret so you will have to wait for photos and results.

Nuno is putting another window in the kitchen and so we are immersed in dust and brick particles. Because the house is on the saddle of a high hill with a lot of strong wind, with the new hole in the side of the house, the front door has blown out and broken the door frame. Aye, it's a fair breeze we get here. No wonder they built a windmill here.

The big wedding day approaches. My beautiful daughter, and the handsome Nuno, and the delightful Isabella are all getting married on Saturday, on the beach! Family is beginning to crawl out of the woodwork. Anyone want to do some brush cutting or digging? Nah, they want to party and loll on the beach! Sigh, that's the problem of living somewhere as enticing as this. And it is looking particularly lovely at the moment with all the wild roses and other flowers of the fields blooming.  So on Saturday night I will wander down to the beach in my new dress, in the moonlight and ....
 You will have to wait for my next post to find out!