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Showing posts from August, 2014

The Fig Harvest

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This year we took only enough fresh figs for ourselves.  We dried some and we ate some (and continue to eat some).  The rest we have left to dry on the tree and the ground in the Spanish fashion.  We waited to see what our neighbours were doing with theirs so that we know when to start gathering them up.


Its not that easy, well how did I know that would be the case?  I asked someone when the Co-operative would want our figs.  The reply was 'when they are dry'.  I know he was trying to help but in actual fact it was less than helpful.


Some of our neighbours have started gathering up their figs, some have put them into bags and some have left them under the trees - others have put them on mats out in the sun to continue drying.  And we have even seen a large stack of sealed fig bags in the Co-operative yard.  Why? When? What?  As with most things here we are simply having a go and we shall see what happens.  It's always going to be a steep learning curve for us foreigners.

W…

The Runaway!

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You will remember a little while ago we lost three hens to a fox.  Leaving us with one little white hen and Raul the cockerel.  We had planned to get another couple of hens to keep them company and to save our poor little white one from being 'ill-used' by the cockerel.  Before we got around to it a friend has donated us a little black hen who is the lone survivor of a predator attack on her finca - again in broad daylight but they suspect a bird of prey rather than a fox.  There are dangers to letting your chickens free range over here.


We popped the new girl in with our existing hen and cockerel overnight and the next morning when we let them out they were a little 'menage a trois'.  There has been no fighting and no unpleasant bullying which I was concerned about.  I have read that the cockerel is the one that keeps the hens in order and that there is more likely to be fighting if you don't have a cockerel.  Raul has been more than kind to the newcomer... he cal…

Long Leggedy Beasties

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There used to be a prayer that we chanted when we were children that went like this....

From Ghoulies and Ghosties and long leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night, dear Lord deliver us!

We have seen neither Ghouls nor Ghosts here and the bump in the night is usually the dog getting off the bed (or back on again) but the long leggedy beasties... well we have them aplenty!


And its taking a bit of time to learn how to deal with them.  Last year we had several encounters of the insect variety that both delighted and repulsed us - sometimes both at the same time.


I am mostly fine with the creepy wildlife around here so long as it stays out on the Finca and doesn't enter my living space.  Anything that comes into my living space is unceremoniously squashed.  I make no apologies for that - this is the only way I could continue to live here.


Although encounters are never on a daily basis, sometimes it can seem like they all come at once, and usually not when there is a man…

Back to the Vet - Again!

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We brought our beloved pets (2 cats and Fergus the dog) with us when we moved to Spain.  It cost a literal fortune to get their jabs up to date and their passports, not to mention the inconvenience and worry about taking them on such a long journey.


Once here the cats settled down almost instantly.  For them it really was 'living the dream' from the moment they stepped out of the cat travel box.  For the dog it took a little longer to settle in.  He was used to city streets and lamp posts to pee on and here its dirt tracks and olive and fig trees and grass that goes very spikey when it dries.


Needless to say we hadn't been here very long at all before we needed to see a vet.  This was initially quite a daunting thought but when its the health of a very much loved pet what choice do you have but to go for it.


Our vet does not speak English but a lot of medical terms are the same in Spanish as in English.  We used Google Translate to give us some useful words and after that …

Success!

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And boy is it sweet!


25lbs about 12.5 kg (I couldn't carry it...) and very very yummmy....


The trick to whether it is ripe and ready for picking is to check the tendril and the little 'spoon' leaf which grow right near the melon.  If they are wizzened and dry then the melon is ready for cutting.  Thank you to everyone who gave advice... all very welcome and very useful.

And now we are two very happy farmers!  We only have one watermelon plant this year, we planted three but only one survived.  Our first melon we picked too soon, this is the second one... there is one more just starting to grow.  This one was so good we just dived into it with spoons.  There is nothing quite like a watermelon on a very hot day.




Passata

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We live near a town called Miajades.  Miajades is the self proclaimed tomato capital of Europe.  They have at least two tomato processing factories and the surrounding countryside is full of fields of tomatoes.  We also have the best climate for growing tomatoes outdoors and they are just about ready right now.

Last year I was astounded by the amount of tomatoes that I saw going into one of the processing plants but its really hard to stop on the side of the road to take photographs... but this year we risked it.



The tomatoes arrive in huge skips on the back of very long trucks.  There is often a queue of several trucks waiting to unload and they each carry at least four skips.  The skips also queue up in front of the factory until the forklift truck comes along and hoists them onto the washing station....




The tomatoes are hosed with water and eventually they float out of a small door in the skip and onto a conveyer belt.  On the belt they are washed again while being carried on into …