Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas chat

I mentioned before that we bought a large leg of pork for Xmas dinner - it weighed in at 6.3kg / 14lbs and was absolutely delicious. I have been slicing, dicing, mincing and soup-making today and after serving 3 for Xmas, 2 servings cold with pickles etc, we have enough for 5 more meals for J and me and 6 servings of soup. Economical or what! All that is left are 600g of bones and I know a small black dog who will enjoy them.

We had glorious weather over Xmas apart from the day itself when it was cloudy and cooler. Yesterday we took Mat back up to the airport. Had an early start at 8am, frost on the car, only 1 degree when we left here but a beautiful sunrise helped compensate. So we arrived at Granada, looked at the departures board, no flight listed until 1.30 whereas a certain person had said 11.30.......checked his paperwork again and realised he'd mis-read the time! So an early start for nothing. Not enough spare time to go anywhere apart from a leisurely coffee and pastry with the newspapers.

Woke to drizzle this morning which has now cleared away but no sun as yet. The fires are alight, the house is warm and cosy, it could be the day for mulled wine I think as we haven't had any yet.

More to come after New Years Eve so hope you all have a good one.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Latest news

Forgot to put up the picture of the pea patch... there is also garlic, rocket and winter spinach in here but you'd have to look very closely to see any of it! The spinach started off wonderfully but seems to have come to a grinding halt and hasn't done anything for ages. Maybe it's sulking because of the weather.

Thinking of weather, it has suddenly turned absolutely glorious, photo of Mat to show how warm it is, taken today after lunch. 15 in the shade, don't know how hot out in the sun.

We went up to Granada yesterday to pick him up, flight delayed for 1½ hours due to people who had checked in but not arrived on the plane.....! Had a nice surprise when we filled the car up, petrol down from 1.26 to 83 cents.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

sunrise over Gador

We were out for a walk just before 8am today and the sun was just coming up from behind Sierra Gador, lovely colour skies again. The moon was still up over Mecina Bombaron, the street lights were on, the snow was shining on the hillsides above, it looked very Christmassy over there.

We had snow again on Sunday evening but not much this time, it's all gone now but the ground was icy yesterday morning. So far all the veg seem to be ok, the geraniums are looking a little bronzed but need cutting down anyway so maybe the top growth will protect the base.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

sourdough bread

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but I have started a sourdough "plant" so once established never need to buy yeast again. I had sourdough bread mentioned twice to me in one day by different people so decided to google it and have started a batch. It seems incredibly simple - 1 cup bread flour plus 1 cup warm water, put in a glass container (so you can see its bubbles) keep in a warm place and every day throw away half and add half cup of flour and half cup of water to feed it. After a few days, maybe a week, it is all bubbly, a froth on top and its done. That is your starter to keep in the fridge and only feed weekly. When you want to make bread, you save a cupful back for the future, and add flour, olive oil, sugar and salt to make your dough. We are still at the stage of growing the starter, feeding it daily and keeping it warm. Another day or so should see it ready to use. Anyone interested, this is the recipe I'm using. There were lots to choose from but this seemed the clearest.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

5 days have gone by..

I do sometimes wonder where the time goes, I have been reminded that nothing has been written this week and thinking back it has been a week of doing normal things.

Tuesday - washing and ironing, sorting out Xmas pressies ready for posting and household jobs.
Wednesday - I had a big bread baking session in the morning, 2 white loaves, 2 brown and 8 large rolls. It took longer than usual for the dough to rise, although it is sunny during the day the house is not getting as warm, the sun doesn't have as much strength to it at this time of year.
Thursday - I have a feeling we were cutting firewood up again, we have a lot that is too big for the upstairs fire and so it's better cut up so can be used in either fire.
Yesterday we went to post Xmas things, collect mail, buy the enormous leg of pork for Xmas dinner and came home via Yegen to pay Elena at the local builders yard for a delivery of sand that we had at the end of May! She always says it doesn't matter when she's paid and sits us down for a chat to ask about how things are, what's happening over xmas etc.

So quite an uneventful week, of course there is walking with Monty 3 times a day, checking the vegetables are ok, I've put in some garlic this week, taking stuff to the compost (how much woodash can I put in there? I'm layering with kitchen waste and leaves - is that ok?) Answers on a postcard please! Plus housework, cooking etc and so the days go by.

Next week the diary is empty until Mat comes on Friday for Xmas week, but we have no mince pies yet or decorations up, so I think we will be sorting those things out.

Monday, 8 December 2008

No photos today

We woke up this morning to the sound of rain dripping off the terrace roof and when we looked out of the window, there wasn't much to see. The clouds were down so low that visibility was only a few hundred meters - or yards - depending on your age:) At times we were looking down on the clouds, which is really pretty as the light/sun shines brightly on them and the Contraviesa hills are then above the clouds, which is a bit like the view from a plane.

It was a very quiet day: Saturday and today were holidays, Dia de la Constitution and Inmaculada Concepcion, and there are usually people out walking, the men go hunting for partridges and we hear guns and dogs, but today has been very different. It's cleared up now and we had a lovely sunset so hopefully tomorrow will be back to normal....

Friday, 5 December 2008

sunset over Sierra Gador

Most of our snow has gone, just a few pockets in isolated places, but Sierra Gador still has snow on its top. It's 2000 metres high which probably explains why it's still white!

The broad beans, potatoes and parsnips have now reappeared from under their snowy blanket, none the worse for it although the first planting of beans - being the tallest - are a bit bent but not broken. Unlike the geranium "bushes" - they were very large and now are slightly pancake like! I have taken about 50 cuttings from the broken bits and have left the rest to (hopefully) bounce back up on their own. 2 of the oleanders have also lost branches which are now planted, not sure what they will do, if anything. Time will tell.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

So this is global warming!

Woke up Sunday morning to 4" of snow, no power till lunchtime, no internet or phone till this morning and biting cold winds coming down from the Sierra Nevada. We've had 2 olive branches collapse under the weight of the snow, and there is an almond tree down over the footpath on the way to the spring and 4 olive trees have lost large branches near there as well. The broad beans, parsnips and potatoes are still buried under the snow and most of the geraniums which were huge, are now very flat! Not all broken, just squashed so there is some hope for them.

The ski slopes of Sierra Nevada opened a week early this year on the 15th November because there is so much snow around!