Tuesday, 30 June 2009

What with watering, picking, freezing, drying, sewing, walking early and late with Monty and Pip, keeping (or trying to) on top of housework, washing and ironing and pool cleaning, the days are just flying by. The first figs are ripe and John has made a hot box for drying them in - converted an old window and frame we were given, made a mesh base to keep them off the ground, and put black plastic underneath and round the edges. The temperature is rising to about 55 inside and figs are drying in about 24 sunshine hours. We are going to use them instead of sultanas and raisins for cakes, biscuits, curries etc. I pick more each day when out walking to replace the dried ones. The first peaches all got eaten, but there are more on the way. I froze 1 kg of green beans this morning, we have been eating them every day but needed a break today!!

Our shady seating area over the tables and chairs by the pool is gradually filling in, we are using palm branches and cutting fresh bamboo as and when we can - it looks very tropical and beach bar-ish. It's much needed at the moment, it's not dropped below 30/32 for days now - it's still 30 now at almost 8pm. We are eating late, after the sun has gone when it feels cooler although it isn't really.

So what else is new....J has stripped now an old table and varnished it for using by the bbq's, I've made curtains for our bedroom (lovely fabric bought locally - 2.8m wide and only 4 euros a metre) and finished the last of 6 new wrap skirts - almost one for each day but unfortunately they wrinkle in the wash and need ironing and I really am not one of life's ironers.

Our neighbours came again this weekend, invited us round for Saturday evening but we were already prepared for dinner, just as well as there were 20 next door and it would have been hard work. They left between 1.30 and 3am, the last ones going via the spring to turn off the water that was going to their olives. How do we know the time? Both Monty and Pip heard the cars leaving and assumed it was time to get up!!
We were up at the normal time on Sunday morning for our watering day but they didn't appear till 1pm and then started digging water channels in the heat of the day. By which time we were finished, in the pool and thinking about making brunch - our Sunday breakfast/lunch.

Time to stop, Pip has just come rushing in, all wet from playing in the running water in the acequias and is leaving wet paw prints on the tiles. At least she's cool but I'd rather she was cool outside than in here!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I've just looked back at June's blogs and there is only 1! So here goes...the most likely reason for not writing is the weather because I am outside all day and only come indoors to shower and sleep. I very rarely turn the computer on and am only inside now because I need to cool down a bit. It's been unseasonably warm of late, up to 35 this Sunday and totally airless as well. It's not too bad if there is a breeze and you can find somewhere to sit and catch the air but failing that I get in the pool for a swim.

Sunday afternoon we went up to a neighbours house for lunch with him, his brother in law and 2 of his sons and another neighbour. There were 2 Mariano's, 2 Juan's, 2 Antonio's and me. The evening before we were at our neighbours for the evening. Carmen and her 2 daughters, 2 sons in law and 3 grandchildren plus another couple from Yator and their daughter all talking at once with us trying to keep up with everything. It's almost 4 years since Manolo died and Carmen went back to Granada and it's 2 years since she has been back to the house but she seems now to want to come and spend some time here. They are talking about coming everyday of the school holidays, spending the day here and going to the house in Yator to sleep. There is a pool in Yator but it's 2 euros per person and only open to the public from 4 - 8 pm (it's free if you live in the apartments, and available all morning as well) so over 8 weeks that they will be down from Granada, that amounts to a lot of money! Last week they came and cleaned their water deposit and filled it up so the children can swim for free.

We've been having some creative days recently, I have made 3 wrap skirts from material which has been waiting for me to do something with for ages. Another is ready for the finishing touches and 3 more are cut ready for pinning and sewing. Its a slow process because my sewing machine is in the caravan and it's just too hot in there in the afternoons really so I nip in, sew a bit and when I boil over, go for a swim. John has also been using up things we have left from other projects and has made a frame which we are going to cover with bamboo for a permanent shady seating area. There is lots of bamboo growing up at the fuente which we've asked if we can cut down so we won't have to buy any.

We had a bit of a delay last week doing the shady roof because our water tank sprang a leak and had to be replaced. Not something that could wait, unlike the shady area. We have a sun umbrella there at the moment but the tank was priority! Luckily we had already bought a replacement tank but - obviously - not done anything about fitting it. The tank lives on the roof of the house and when the temperature is 30+ in the shade, it's not a very comfortable place to be working.

Watering the vegetables has got into a routine, some first thing, others in the evening, some daily, some alternate days. We are picking dwarf and climbing beans now and courgettes. Not loads each day but enough at the moment for when we need them. There are flowers on the cucumbers and aubergines too so they should be growing soon. The olives have flowered (seemed like all of Montenegro's blossom landed on the surface of the pool - took ages to clean it off with the net!) and now you can see baby olives forming. Hopefully a good harvest this year and maybe a better price per kilo too.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

And so another week has gone -

all the tomatoes are planted, most of the chillies - last ones go in tomorrow - the dwarf borlotto beans are now ready to be picked as needed and the first climbing beans - American Wonder Wax - are off the top of their frames and flowering. The first courgettes in are in flower and there are 3 baby courgettes which should be ready this weekend. We have a small but steady supply of strawberries to add to the peaches and mulberries, of which there are many! This morning when I was dead-heading in the front garden, I could hear a noise, it was the mulberries dropping on to the ground.

The golden orioles which started nesting in the mulberry trees by us a few years ago are back again and we think we have a nest in each tree again. The house martins come swooping low over the pool in the evening, probably for insects but also to drink as they swoop. Quite amazing, especially if you are in the pool for a swim!

The temperature is hovering around 30 each day, 19 overnight, while the water in the pool is 26. So early starts to the day, too hot to do much between 2 and 5, (that's when I read and swim but not at the same time and John plans the next things we need to do) and then we work/plant/water in the evening.

Pip has grown - about 2" on her legs and gone up 2 notches on her collar. She and Monty spend most of the day indoors on the cool tiles with moments of madness when they wake up and play then flake out again. Mornings and evenings are definitely their best times when it's cooler and we can get out for a walk. But even then they need to get into the aquecias (water channels) to cool down - it's not easy being a dog in a black fur coat in this climate! Much easier to cope in shorts and t-shirt.