Showing posts from September, 2015

Off-Grid Homesteading!

I have to admit that a great deal of the appeal to moving here was the idea that we would be off-grid homesteading.  Well of course it hasn't quite worked out like that.  Yes we are working up to the homesteading thing... a small amount of livestock, a veggie garden in progress... farming the olives and the figs... but... we aren't off-grid.  We have our own well for water and we use solar energy to heat the water but our little patch of heaven came already connected to mains electricity, and although we toyed with the idea of disconnecting totally,in the end we decided to stick with what we have. It works for us and since we aren't Doomsday Preppers   there seems little point in changing this.   Having said we are NOT Doomsday Preppers, I can say that should   SHTF   we are prepared.  We are able to generate a small amount of power, enough to run computer, lights tv or radio.  We also do not rely on the electricity for cooking or heating.  Although we have a substanti

Sick of Tomatoes!

And sadly I didn't grow any of them!  The tomato season is starting to wind down now.  For several weeks we have been driving over squashed tomatoes on the roads to and from Miajades - our nearest sizeable town - and every time we career around the roundabout we remark that someone should pick up the tomatoes.   No, we didn't stop to pick any up either.  Tomatoes are so cheap when in season and even though we didn't grow any this year I decided to bottle some tomato sauces for winter. 8kg of tomatoes to be exact.  Lakeland were true to their promise and my jars and lids arrived just 7 days after I ordered them.  The courier phoned me and we arranged to meet at the local fig factory which is just five minutes down the lane from the finca.  It was all very painless. Tomatoes, veggies, wine, vinegar, herbs and spices... yum. I made two sauces - a rich tomato and vegetable sauce that is suitable as a base for a ragout, a bolognese or a chilli.  And a pizza sauce - a

Technobilly Pursuits

After the long hot summer the weather has finally broken and thoughts turn to autumnal stuff.  I know that those of you who have had a wet and possibly dismal summer will be envious of our guaranteed summer heat - and it is part of the reason we moved here, but you can get too much of a good thing.  We have had weeks and weeks of relentless sunshine which turns the grass first to yellow, then to a burnished brown and finally it just seems to disappear leaving a fine dust like talcum powder which coats everything in a brown sheen.  Even hardy mediterranean plants like rosemary and thyme start to dry at the edges and no matter how much you water them it's apparent they are really struggling to survive. Several times we got excited by the weather forecast as rain was predicted for the days ahead, only to be disappointed as the forecast changed to sunshine.... again.  But finally after a day of cloud.... we have a gentle, intermittent light drizzle which is dampin

Autumn! What Already?

After all the inactivity of summer, and hiding indoors from the +40C temperatures outside, it felt a bit as if we hadn't actually done very much this year.  So I thought a review of what we actually have accomplished might be useful. Livestock: We hatched six chicks (well mummy hen did) five of which reached maturity, two of which were eaten by us.  We have an issue of having two full grown cockerels now and we are currently keeping one of them separate from the main flock.  We are too fond of him (even though he is very similar to our existing cockerel) to eat him so another hen run is planned with the addition of a couple of hens for his harem. Veggie Plot: Overall the veggie garden was neglected this year.  We have excused ourselves by saying that we have been making structural changes to the garden which will make it easier to grow next year.  We refined the watering system but it's still reliant on the water that comes off the roof of our house... 6,000 litres in

Birthdays and Age related stuff...

Birthdays are funny things.  I often resent the pressure to find 'the right gift' for someone and I am never happy to just buy the first thing that I see so shopping for presents is not always an enjoyable experience.  I think also as you get older you care less about the gift and value so much more the thought behind it - which of course only adds pressure to the gift buyer - it makes for a less than enjoyable celebration all round... so in our family we tend to focus on having a day out or a special meal or some other way of marking the day, the making of memories to keep rather than the buying of presents. In the past we treated my father to a family picnic with all of us wearing period costume from the year he was born, complete with wind up gramophone, stripey blazers and cloche hats, we looked like extras from The Great Gatsby.  Once when our children were young we took packed lunches (which of course included birthday cake) to the zoo and wearing animal face masks we s