Saturday, 25 April 2009

Veg update

So apart from being adopted by a dog, we have been busy planting out the first lot of runner beans, (started off in the caravan-greenhouse), we have 5 cucumber plants just germinating outside under cut-off plastic bottles and another 6 seeds in, the first sowing of dwarf beans are doing well (11 up out of 12 seeds) and a second planting is in, we are picking peas and broad beans as and when we need them, although there are more beans ready than we can eat! They are lovely when dried and then lightly done in olive oil and salted instead of peanuts or cashews for a snack. Also stir fried with panceta, garlic and onions for tapas :) Cabbage and brussels are due soon for replanting, the rocket is going to seed although I have cut a lot of seeds for drying, we have more spinach than we can eat.....the only disappointments are the beetroot, leeks and spring onions which we have always grown but this year...nothing as yet! The tomatoes, chillis and peppers are all going well, hopefully ready for transplanting soon but again, aubergines....always done well, this year nothing as yet. Put out the 2 biggest courgette plants this afternoon.

Sun is shining, (well, not now obviously as it's almost 10pm) it's reached 25 this week - summer is coming!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Introducing Pip

Pip's mother arrived in Montenegro about 10 or 11 weeks ago, found a safe place in the empty nesting boxes of Micha and Connies chicken shed, and gave birth to 5 puppies. 2 brown, 2 blond and the smallest of the litter, black. They've found homes for 4 of them and this one seems to have found her own home. She made her way down here alone on Easter Sunday, so I took her back up to Connie, she came down 3 times on Monday, with her mother following and obviously wanting her to come back but each time we put her outside, she came back in through a lookout hole we left in the wall for Monty, and started to play with him. Then in through the fence....didn't seem to want to go. Connie and Micha don't want to keep her, they already have 2 dogs and 3 cats so here she is. She follows Monty around like a little shadow, tries to keep up with him when we go out for a walk, stops and sniffs whenever he does and eats and sleeps a lot.

Her name came because of the little pip and squeak noises she makes, not really big enough for a proper woof yet. Her mother is a Spanish hunting dog, they are quite small but have big pointy ears, mum is black, tan and cream which probably explains the colour of the pups. She has small feet and so we expect her to be about mums size when grown. As for dad, well we think a small black and white terrier of which there are a lot - Monty's dad was one too. No-one knows where mum came from, she was extremely thin and limping badly when Connie found her in the chicken shed as if she'd been travelling a long while. She's still around up at Connie's, not sure if she will go now there are no pups left there.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The insect

hopefully including a photo!

At last!

Finally, we have finished the rebuilding of the walls - 4 in all, ranging from 2 metres in length to about 5 metres, all of them about 2 metres high. Still have wood to cut and move, but that's for another day.

I went to water the vegetables in the side garden a couple of days ago and saw this thing eating - luckily for us - a weed. Ran for the camera and got a few photos.....there's an oleander leaf nearby, about 3" in length.....any ideas what it is?? It moved very fast, definitely has 6 legs but seemed to drag its body on the ground as it went!

Strange weather at the moment, sunny and warm in the morning, getting breezier during the afternoon and sometimes that goes away and we have a glorious evening but other evenings it's been really chilly and we have had the fire alight. This evening we had a visit (for a beer or two!) from the son and his friend of one of our Spanish neighbours. Miguel was born in Hannover where his father worked, has been to university in Dublin and also lived in Bradford so speaks good English. His uncle married an English girl, one of his cousins - Jose - is English and plays football for Leeds United. Then Antonio - another uncle from Yegen - came down as well, not sure if he came to see where Miguel was or whether he came for a glass of wine!! But an interesting few hours of conversation.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy Easter

We have been given a box of creme eggs for Easter and are about to start on them... thanks to Terry for those! We have also had another unexpected load of firewood, 24 barrow loads today moved to the car and then down to the house. (not all at once, it took 3 car trips) Some logs were so big it was only 2 to a barrow! The people whose walls we are repairing have had a JCB in on the next terrace down to clear out about 30 years of brambles, reeds, overgrown fig trees and other assorted plants. Amongst it all were quite a few fallen trees, and being on-site at the time, we were offered the wood. So, no walling yesterday, just logging as the digger dragged stuff away, then we stacked it to one side and today got it back here.

It's been a good week for extras, on Wednesday I went to pay the car tax for the Polo (34 euros!) and took the recycling as well. Behind the bottle bank were hundreds of plant pots a hands width at the base and over a hand high, and also hundreds of various sizes of trays for seedlings. I put as much as I could in the car - also had cement and was in the Polo not the 4x4 unfortunately! I bought home 40 pots, 12 trays with 54 holes, 8 with 45 holes and 5 with 45 much deeper holes. I left behind hundreds more but there is a limit to how much you can or need to grow and a limit to the compost we have available too. However I did ring a friend who also grows all her own and like me, keeps absolutely everything it's possible to grow something in......yoghurt pots, meat trays, loo roll middles, plastic bottles cut in half etc.

The weather continues to be nice and sunny, now the clocks have changed we don't come indoors until about 7.45 when the sun goes behind the hill so we are eating later and later at night. Must get more organised with meals then we can eat outside, we have enough wood for a proper barbeque and won't use the gas one so much, although it is handy as it's so quick.

That's it, creme egg time now - and a glass of red too!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

So, another week passes

It doesn't seem a week since I last wrote anything but time flies when you're having fun!!! Saturday last week we did some tidying up of the path we'd been working on - more people around at the weekend needing access to the water deposit - and did some planting later on for ourselves. Sunday we had a day to ourselves, but there is always something to do here especially since we are out so much. Monday we were back on the walls, Tuesday and Wednesday J had a bug (headache, sore throat, ear ache, blocked sinuses etc) and spent most of the day asleep so I got on with re-digging and weeding the areas we want for beans and tomatoes. Thursday, back on the walls, talked to one of our neighbours who also has the same bug, as does his brother in law. Friday - yes, more walling and today for a change we took down an olive tree that is rotten and in the way of completing another section of wall. 12 or 13 barrow loads to the car to bring back here - 3 car loads of fire wood :)

In the greenhouse (aka the caravan) we have tomatoes, courgettes, runner beans and chillis up and there are dwarf beans growing outside covered with halves of plastic bottles as protection from the birds until they are bigger. Different beans this year, dwarf borlotto beans and climbing kentucky wonder wax! The first broad beans are ready for picking now, and the peas are almost there, a bit fatter and we'll have the first lot this coming week. Tomorrow is our watering day so everything can have a good soaking. In the next week or so, we'll put courgettes direct into the ground to come on as a second crop, the same with runner beans and probably get some more tomatoes too. Usually we buy small plants from the market, the ones we have in the greenhouse/caravan are only cherry and beef tomatoes. The brussels are up, as are cabbages, radish, coriander and basil. The sage plants - we have a lot - are all about to burst into bloom which means even more seeds for next year. I keep planting as you never know if they will get caught by a frost and die off and if there's too many, there's always someone wanting a plant and we dry the leaves for the winter to make sage and onion stuffing.

So life continues to be busy; in between all this we somehow fit in washing and cleaning and stuff like that.... big shopping day due soon to fill the shelves and freezers as we are nearly out of vodka and tonic -amongst other more mundane things!