Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't count your chickens...

Sweet little cantaloupe melon

Magic dawn

How to grow melons in a green house!

Darn! The black hen was sitting on eggs. I had lost track of the days, but was beginning to think it must be soon... when she decided to get off the nest and come and have a good old dust bath.... and didn't go back. So I went and had a look. Sixteen eggs, still warm. I decided to take away the ones that looked fresh in the hope that she would come back quickly, but she stayed out. Then I decided to take them all away as they were cooling down, and as soon as I had done that she went back to the nest! I am confounded by this chicken lark for the moment. I also have a bucket of dodgey eggs.

EDP finally came and connected the solar panels to the national grid, so I am now officially contributing to the nation's power supply.

I have been working on shoring up the hill that the house sits on as the chickens have been systematically undermining it and I'm sure they are the cause of the large cracks in the floor and walls! I carried bucket loads of stones and earth and filled up the shoring and it looks quite good. Rather like some ancient Peruvian terracing...  I have covered it all in stones to keep the darn birds from scratching all my hard work down the hill again! I don't even eat very many eggs!

In the garden the figs are ripe and falling to the ground in abundance. Sweet, sticky, beautiful. The black ones are the best this year, probably because I have been watering plants under the tree. The small crop of melons was quite successful. I planted them over a pile of bramble prunings ('hugelkulture') so I hope that has encouraged the brambles to decompose at the same time as helping the melons to grow. I will have a look under the plastic soon.

I sowed some carrots a few weeks back and they germinated almost immediately. I was so surprised. Now they are growing well, and I must sow some more, as you can never have enough home grown carrots. Also have red onion seedlings growing thick and strong, in a bed where the mange-touts were. Looks like I will have some transplanting to do soon. Also time to sow cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, and other delights.

I bought an avocado tree and have planted it below the banana, where it will get watered from the kitchen sink and shower water. It looks so lush I can't wait to plant more fruit trees. Have to dig the holes first. That's the hard bit. Especially at the moment while the ground is so hard. I think I will wait for nature to do some of the work first!

And it is raining! Lightly, but wet. First rain in months. It makes the air smell so lovely.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bits and pieces.

I had a bit of a do and it was lovely to see friends and we had so much food!

I tried to say 'I embrace shabby chic' but it came out as 'I embrace shaggy sheep'! Well, this is a towel rail a la shabby chic.

Finally, I managed to get down to a bit of digging! I was beginning to despair and to think that I didn't have it in me to do this gardening lark, but today it wasn't so hot, so after doing stuff in Sao Luis I came home and got swinging that enxada and picking out the creeping coutch  grass and pulling out the cherry tomato plants. They were prolific but I got bored with them! I have bottled some, but they are better to eat raw and I couldn't eat them all.

I have made chutney and other kinds of bottled vege. It's a good thing to do when it is too hot to be outside. I have also made some face cream and am going to make some soap when I can remember to bring the scales up from my house in Sao Luis.  The other day I made some laundry detergent which works fine and costs about 3€ for 20 litres. If you want the recipe just ask.

It has been a bit boring without R. I don't feel inspired to cook anything and am eating far to much chocolate!

I have white washed the house. It is so quick and so economical and it is good for the walls. None of that plastic paint for me.... I hope it will help to dispel the rain when it comes horizontally with the wind on our hill top.

Soon it will be time to order more firewood. I hope that my improvements on the woodburner will make a difference. Fire bricks and clay.

The chestnut trees are full of big bristly balls. Looks like a bumper crop in November.

The black hen is sitting on eggs, again. Let's hope it works this time, and that the saco rabo can keep his paws off.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Still Darn Hot

 A day on the beach with Isabella. That's my idea of 'child minding'.

Thursday, 5th September, 2013

I so seldom write out the full date, or even need to know it, that I hovered over 2013. 2013, I thought, that's a bit further on from 1978. I wonder what I was doing then that my mind should choose that year? Anyway, I am home alone and my mind is wandering around the big empty space of my head and trying to sort out old thoughts and new ones, and maybe even do a bit more writing. It is still too hot to really get my teeth stuck in to the garden, and also I don't know what job to start first. So I have retreated to the house, in the shade, in a nice cool draught, to write up this blog.

The tomatoes are still going strong, and the aubergines and peppers. A few cucumbers cling to the vine, but I am beginning to wind down the watering. Soon I will clear out the beds and get them ready for autumn planting. The figs are beginning to ripen. Big fat juicy green figs.

I keep the chickens locked up most of the time these days as they were turning our patio into a chicken roost. Why is it they like to hang out near us? And eat my flowers? I love for them to range the land, but not come and eat out of my plate.

The weather is changing slightly. There were one or two clouds today. I will have to start thinking about battening down the hatches, in case there is a sudden storm and everything gets battered or blown away. But it's still hot. The beaches and water holes are emptying out of people now that the summer holidays are over. Ah, we get the place to ourselves. It's great that folk come here and have a good time, but it is also lovely when it's just the locals.