Showing posts from March, 2015

Ready and Waiting!

I promised you some photographs of what Steve has been making for our very special little visitor who is coming next week.... ta da! The posts have been set in concrete so it is very sturdy.... ... the view is great so you could imagine that you were flying through the air. I would have preferred the rope to be a little thicker but that's because I am old fashioned. This nylon cord has a breaking strength of 900kg which is a little more than will be required for the job but it feels very fine and I was a little nervous when I had a go..... It's been a long time since I went on a swing. Steve had the first go, just to reassure me that it was safe...not because he was enjoying himself. And then I sat for a while watching the chickens scratch around the meadow. The orange kidney vetch is in bloom with a lot more to come yet... soon the meadow will be a sea of orange.  And then we shall have to cut the grass before it gets too long.

Salad Days

The dictionary definition of 'salad days' is a time of youthful inexperience.  I am not sure about the youthful bit but certainly when it comes to gardening here in Spain I would count myself as very inexperienced. The veggie patch in all its glory i.e. none at the moment. Last year we had limited success with our vegetables - we put it down to paucity of soil and lack of water.  I don't really know what the issue was even typical mediterranean  plants failed on us. This year I have decided to focus more on the big stuff.  Providing shade, establishing perennial herbs and permanent pathways between the vegetable beds and improving the soil.   The chicks are growing and are now free range - here patroling the perimeter of the veggie patch with mum.  We have already covered everything in a layer of well rotted sheep manure.  But one application won't be enough.  It will need another load in autumn and several years of adding to the soil before it can even come

Solar Eclipse - Did you see it?

Here in Spain the eclipse was only partial and the weather forecast dismal.  We didn't hold out any hopes of seeing anything. The day before the eclipse I came down with a crushing headache which paracetamol wouldn't shift.  My headache was still there this morning and I totally forgot about the eclipse until Steve returning from the weekly post office run shouted for me to come out and look. It was cold, I was in my pj's with a shawl wrapped around my shoulders and a crushing headache stood on a damp and wind swept veranda feeling in awe. I know what an eclipse is... I understand the science (in spite of what my physics teacher might have said) and still I am in awe.  Mother Nature is truly awesome. Maybe that's what is causing my headache I said (very unscientific)... Burn the Witch!  Was the unscientific response.... mmmmm maybe we haven't come so far since our cavemen ancestors cowered in fear while the world went dark during the daytime.

Everything! All at Once!

For several weeks now I have been looking forward to the ground being warm enough to sow some seeds, to plant more trees, to get some plug plant veggies in to the vegetable patch.  Waiting and waiting and being anxious to start but telling myself I have to be patient. The wild lupin are just starting to flower.  ....and then... all of a sudden everything needs doing all at once!  We were given some Mimosa saplings and have been planting those. Thinking carefully about where to put them as they send up suckers and I don't want them to be too close to other plants that could be overwhelmed.  Still to come is a walnut tree and a bay and a quince - all for free or bartered for frozen goose.  Permanent fencing around the vegetable garden is almost ready. Soon the hens will be banned from the vegetable patch and I can start planting some vegetables.  There is such promise in the air at this time of year... my kiwi that I thought had been eaten beyond recovery (by the ge

The Vikings Are Coming!

Those of you who know me well will know that I am a big fan of costume drama.  I particularly like it if they get the details right.  The story is often secondary to my enjoyment of the programme as I can sometimes spend the entire episode trying to work out how a lace collar was made or where the seams or darts are in a gown I particularly like.  A couple of years ago I got hooked on Vikings.... Need I say more?  Well perhaps.  Its a series based on the story of Ragnar Lothbrok and begins with the raid on Lindisfarne in 793.  The truth of the whole Ragnar story is lost in the mists of time and many of the events are not verifiable in actual history but are related in Norse mythology... some of it is actual events and as you would expect from a production financed by the History Channel, a lot of it has been written to encompass the latest archaeological discoveries from Viking sites in Scandinavia and around the world.  So it is accurate enough in lots of areas to make me curio

Chick Chick Chickens!

The last time we had chicks on the finca we had incubator hatched them and I found the whole raising of the brood thing quite stressful.  I woke in the night to check on them several times and as they got older and got noisier I couldn't wait to get them out into the hen house and off my hands... I concluded that I am just an anxious kind of person and that in future I would leave all the worry to the mummy birds. Well.  As the due date approached for our broody black Castilian I did worry that she was young and didn't know what she was doing... that she wasn't getting off the nest and not getting enough water or food to sustain her.  It didn't help that she sat on the wrong eggs once and even sat on an empty nest until we moved her onto the correct one.  I feared the worst.  It seemed like the stress was just the same whether I was responsible for their upbringing or not. Yesterday was the due date and by lunch time we saw a little black head and a little tawny