Sunday, October 27, 2013

Some photos, few words

This is where the chickens have their midday snooze.

I laid some old floor tiles out side the front door. It's a bit wonky and sloping, but anything else would look out of place!

They don't look very appetizing in the flash light, but these are biggish carrots from the garden.

Dawn, this morning.

Proud avo, Lucilia, with our lovely girls.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The waiting is over!

Welcome, Olivia!

And welcome, Toffee!

Yes, Laura was safely delivered of a beautiful baby girl and we are all in love with her! She is perfect and her big sister is proud to be able to help.

Another new comer, Toffee, AKA Mr T, is a very sweet tempered (yes, it seems possible) Shetland pony. He's two years old and ready to learn a few useful things to help around the place. My friend and nearly neighbour, Gail, and I have gone halves in this sweet little horse, for our grand children and for hefting stuff. He is very strong. And very cute!

The days have been hot and humid and finally some thunder and lightening, bringing some rain. The hills are greening up and the brambles are beginning to amass once more. Also, the olives are ripening.
some have fallen to the ground already. Not sure why, perhaps it's the heat. I have begun to pick them, but not in earnest. Another week, I think.

Armed with some more old straw and estrume, I have been digging over some beds, and it is very satisfying to notice that the soil is really improving. Where there has been peas, the soil is really good, so I have sown some more as green manure over the winter months. Also sown fava (broad beans), and cabbage, lettuce, pak choi, etc. The carrots are doing very well. The thinnings are not too mean. I must sow more and hope that they do as well as this lot. The red onions and leeks have been transplanted, too, so the showers that come with the thunder and lightening will settle them in.

The compost heap is still producing heat. I am very happy with how it chomps up the 'waste' so actively.

The chickens are back to free ranging. There is more for them to scavenge, now that the ground is looser and the grass is coming up, so the patio doesn't get so abused by them. They lay wonderful eggs when they are free to wander.

Soon be time to plant trees!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mini Spring in Autumn

A view of the village (I used the zoom, it isn't so close), but look at those clouds! The first clouds in months. It was so delicious to feel cool during the day. Already, since the rain, the fields are turning green.

 This overhanging tree on the road suddenly reminded me of Ginger. It looks like a dog's head, and it nods as though barking, when the wind blows through it.

Hmmm... I settled into the idea of rain and autumn and mellow fruitfulness. And then the rain stopped and it got hot again. But not as hot. In fact it is lovely. The perfect temperature, around 25 degrees. And beautiful, blue skies, rosy sunsets and new green grass coming up like living velvet.

The rain mashed up the figs which are all falling to the ground in a soggy mess. No dried figs for us this year. I hope that the figs in Algarve are more successful as they are delicious and people try to make a living from them.

I have pulled out all the tomato plants and have started digging up the beds to make way for the autumn planting and sowing. The ground is looking very good. All that manure, mulch, and compost that I have dug in, and also the growing of peas and beans, has really improved the soil. It is no longer just heavy clay.

I had put a few raw peanuts in the ground a few months back and today I pulled one up, and hey presto! it had a cluster of peanuts, in their shells, hanging from strings. Next year I will definitely grow more. They are easy to grow, and easy to harvest.

In the mornings the compost steams as it cooks up all the good ingredients. It only takes a few minutes at 50 degrees to kill of pathogens in the compost, so it's definitely working!

I explored the hugelkulture bed and found it to be rotting down quite well, but needs more time, and perhaps to be covered with earth. I will either plant more stuff on it, or even put the next compost heap on top. That should sort it out.

Mostly I am on stand-by for a call from Laura. The baby is due any day now. We are all excited.