Sunday, February 24, 2013

A mixed bag

Another wonderful sunrise, over the mist.

It has been a week of fearful weather... rain and strong winds, but also lovely days when the temperature feels just right for planting good things to eat. All the seeds I put in the ground germinated straight away!
                                                                           And here, clouds being born...

Busy bee. It's all beginning to happen.

Some pigs I met on a lovely walk I took near our monte

Here is what our bit of land looks like from another high hill...

I love these deserted houses, dotted about the place. This one is in a small valley, with a few other houses nearby, also deserted, but the orange trees are still bearing fruit. Great for a refreshing snack on a walk.

I made two loaves of bread, from spelt I ground in the hand mill, and cooked on top of the wood burner. Very tasty.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I always forget that January and February are very hard months. I manage, but usually with a grim determination. The real winter with storms, rain, cold. Last year it was draught conditions; cold, dry, sunny, dusty! This year it's been wet, which is a blessing as the wells and aquifers get refilled, and windy, which I must admit drives me mad! I can handle ordinary wind, but those gale force blasts really got me this year. I think it was the fear if the tin roof flying away leaving us without our shell! The great thing (one of the many great things) about this part of the world is that the winters are short.  Anyway, we got through it. Now the weather is much more Spring-like and things are coming up in the garden and around.

We have put up a line of electric fencing round the vegetable garden in the hope that that will deter the b****** goats. I think having my garden marauded so many times really did me in. I've been down with a bad cold . I blame the goats!

I have stuck in cuttings of rosemary along the sides of beds which will grow up to be windbreaks, and also have some box plants for the same reason.

A L Solar have installed a solar hot water system and yesterday there was enough sun to heat the water. Steaming! I had my first hot shower here. We still have to sort out the grey water outlet. Make it further away from the house. The chickens love it. They look for food scraps from the washing up.

R has planted two almond trees on the same level as the two macadamia trees which I grew from seed, but which look rather weedy. I hope they pick up as the weather warms up. I have planted an apple and a diospero (persimmon) in the garden, and some kiwi vines and some wild grape, along with some avocados grown from seed. They grow well in this part of the world, as long as they don't get too cold.

R has been digging deep into the side of the hill for the next rainwater tank. The rain has stopped that activity for a bit as it is dangerous taking filled wheelbarrows of gravel and sand down the steep, slippery path. He has been barrowing large quantities and it is an amazing feat of strength and endurance... Now he's dragging up chestnut tree trunks whcih he sawed down. There are some dead ones standing. They have wood bug on the surface, but look to be good wood inside. They are heavy pieces and they have to come UP which is hard work!

So things are looking brighter and there has been no sign of any goats since we put up the electric fence... I wonder if they know...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

spring is Round the Corner

What a site this was! The sun rose over the mist and through the tree tops, causing long misty rays. Ah, it's almost not peaceful, it's so exciting, sometimes..

The chickens are really becoming relaxed and free. At first they stayed near their penned-in area and ate mostly from their feeder, but now, they go all over the place, mostly up to the area around the house, which is more level.  If we are not careful, they will undermine the land and the house will slip down the hill... They seem to find it difficult to do their dust baths on the slope, nearly falling over when they try.

Oh, look at us go! After hearing my friends say how much they longed to dance, Gail organised a venue where anyone can come to dance for an hour. For two euros.  We bring our music and just get on down and boogy.  The venue is Friexial and it's lovely. The wooden floor is perfect, the sound system is excellent, and the view... well, you have to come and dance and enjoy. Thursdays from 4 to 5.
We, R and me, have been going to yoga with Charlie in Vale Bejinha. It is sooo good. Charlie is a great teacher and we both feel completely brilliant and knackered after an hour or so of his class.

The anti chicken/goat/sheep/dog fence is now in place and I am very conscientious about closing the gate, these days. I have been digging in muck and rotted straw into the beds and generally getting very hot and tired, making it all look really good. Next, I will start planting beans, peas, etc. This is a really windy site and I hope to grow some wind break, as the plants (and buildings) really take a beating. Well, we are right next to a wind mill!