Patience is a Virtue!

It has been nearly two years since we had the builders here and we had quite forgotten how stressful having any building work done can be and so invited them back to do a little work.  We need a retaining garden wall built.  We did at first think to do it ourselves but we realised that actually it is a lot of work and it is very hot and we should just bite the bullet and get the experts in.

Why is the act of building so destructive?  I mean everything gets turned upside down and until the work is completed it looks like a battlefield.    I hate seeing my finca in such a mess.

Part of the finca has become a moonscape where the builders lorry and the digger (Oh lord the digger!!!) has passed.

There is debris everywhere.  I know that it is essential materials for the construction.  It isn't restful to the eyes.  It looks so out of place here... it makes me feel like things are unfinished, which of course they are, but this isn't a pleasant feeling for me.  Patience is something I do have struggles with.

The wall however is going to be much sturdier and much better built than anything we could have done ourselves.  In fact, we have mused that come the end of the world, only our wall will remain.

The casualties.... we could have tried to move the baby fig trees... we did suggest it... after all a digger can dig a hole for a tree in no time at all.  Yes it is summer, the worst time ever to try and move a tree and we would lose this years figs and would have to nurse it back to health... and even then it might not make it.  But.....

This one is a gonner.  It might recover from the base next year... but the concrete truck is due back tomorrow and will no doubt drive right over it, again.  We have mentioned not breaking the trees but access is an issue and sometimes you have to just look away.  This one should recover, even though the roots have been quite ruthlessly chopped into.

We dug out a rose and a baby grapefruit tree before the builders turned up because we just knew that they would probably not even notice them... I guess these things look very small from the driving seat of a digger.

Another week should see it all done.  And we will be delighted with the finish I know we will.... and we are asking them to come back again in October and do another little building job.... (I'm actually trying not to think about that...)

Mrs Black doing some excavating of her own

Steve is also doing a little building work.  On a smaller scale.

We have always kept our hens very free range.  They are free to range the entire 7 acres of the finca if they so wish.  We have been complimented on how tasty our eggs are, even from a local who buys her eggs from another 'free range' source.  Why?  she said, Are your eggs so much better?  I can't really answer that except that I know there are varying scales of 'free range' and few people would allow their hens the complete freedom to roam like we do.

There are drawbacks to the roaming.

The hens eat the figs as they drop from the trees, which is not good... the figs are our cash crop and the more they eat the less we have to present at the Co-op in September.  They leave 'doo doo's' (crap basically) everywhere... of course usually just where you are about to step.  And we can't go out of an evening without putting them to bed first and even with tempting treats, if they don't want to go it is very hard to make them!

So Steve is in the process of constructing a pen.  It can't be too big but also we don't want it to be too small - but realistically after the free range of the finca it will be small to them.  Ho hum... they have tiny minds and they will get used to it and it will be as fox proof as we can make it.  Steve met Mr Zorro this morning on the finca, and it has spurred him into action to complete the work before Friday when we have an evening out planned.

And now... to the Cotton.  Earlier in the year I planted about five baby cotton plants.  They need a long hot growing season - which we certainly have here - in order to produce the cotton bolls that I hope to be able to spin into thread.

Well they grew... kind of... but they are certainly not very high, or very bushy.  They should be a lot bigger than this....

The size is down to the continuing problem of poor quality soil.  I continue to add manure and organic fertilizers when I can get them... but I suspect this is going to be a recurring problem for a few years.

Yup... that is a cotton boll.... I am so excited.... I will need a few more of course.  I am already familiarising myself with how to prepare the cotton for spinning - the internet is a wonderful teaching tool - the gods bless Youtube!  From flower to cotton boll popping open is roughly a month and I still have flowers coming so I am hopeful to get enough to make a start very soon, I should wait until they have all finished and then see how much I have but I  have no patience for that, but I will need more than one!  Oh for goodness sake!  I can't wait... I don't think I can be a very virtuous person.  But whether I can or I can't I have little choice... Nature won't be hurried... neither will the builders.


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