Sunday, 30 January 2011

Catching up.

On and off during the winter so far, we've had snow showers forecast and although it has been cold and sometimes drizzly  no snow as yet.  But it's on the forecast again for a few hours tonight and again for tomorrow night.

This week has been a bit of a non-event as far as outside work goes.  I love working in la huerta, there's a huge satisfying feeling when all the time and hard work pays off and we are still eating fresh vegetables such as red and white cabbage, brussels, kohlrabi, rocket and fresh chillis from last years planting, apart from what is still in the freezer.  But even I draw the line at hoeing, weeding and planting when it's grey and threatening to drizzle.  We've peas in but not up yet  and I want to get the next lot in soon,  so I'm waiting for a sunny day.

Yesterday was such a day, blue skies, sunshine and a good gusty breeze  (the sort that blows the sheets over themselves and they all get tangled up)   but after 4 cold grey days there was a backlog of washing so that was the priority. 

So this week I've tidied cupboards, sorted out wardrobes, baked pies for the freezer,   while  John is re-learning old skills and has started painting again.  Painting, drawing and photography have always been a part of his life but until recently he hasn't had enough  time to do much.  This week  he has started doing oil paintings  of the local area.

We had a problem with the phone recently,  land-line didn't work but the internet did so after testing the handset at our neighbours (he has the same  setup as us) we phoned the company to report the fault.  They rang us back on Monday evening at 8.10pm to try and reconfigure things but it still didn't work.  Thursday afternoon, the technico rang to say he was in Cádiar and where exactly did we live?   John drove down to  Yátor to meet him,  the technico followed him here and having tested things he  replaced something - the router I think but not being technically minded I'm not sure!!   It's a box with leads going in and out and the new one is about half the size of  the old one.

Why do things suddenly stop working?   That is a question I have to ask of the washing machine as well,  as it is not happy either   - they say  things happen in 3's -  so  what's next?

Monday, 24 January 2011

A celebration

 This weekend there has been a big fiesta in Yátor for San Sebastián Mártir, started on Friday and continued over Saturday and Sunday.

 We took time out from land work and went down to Yátor for the lunchtime do, had a glass or two of some very scrummy local wine, and the usual selection of meats, cheese and bread, also hot pork casseroled with peppers and onions.  The afternoon turned out to be slightly longer than we'd planned and it was dark before we made our way up the pista.  We walked up but had forgotten to take a torch - at least now it's concrete it's easier to see than before.  It sort of shines in the starlight.

A mixture of old and young played guitars and sang traditional songs during lunchtime followed by a different brass band to the usual group of youngsters.  There were more drums than brass instruments and they got people up dancing to the rhythm.

PS     it's cold....tried to snow yesterday morning and it was only just above freezing when I got up,  although this morning it was over 3° and  it almost reached 7°  this afternoon.  But there's a cold wind blowing.  What happened to last weeks'  Spring-like weather?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Spring blooms

In case the sun isn't shining wherever you may be reading this,  or maybe your spring flowers haven't yet started to bloom, here is a little ray of sunshine.

Photographed this afternoon in the garden are almond blossoms - both a pink and a white variety, narcissi and violets.

Not sure this glorious sunshine is  going to last as the  forecast  has it getting colder and colder,  by the weekend down to less than zero overnight and only 2° in the afternoon!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Olive harvest helpers

Another sunny day, more olive trees harvested but this afternoon we had some help.  Donald and Adrienne go out walking a lot, quite often pass by during the afternoon and usually stop for a cup of tea.    Today we were just finishing a tree and moving the nets to the next tree, one which Adrienne and I had already picked olives from  way back at the end of November which we brined (and I have now stored ours in oil and garlic)

They stopped to help get the olives off and then helped clean the leaves and twigs from the nets, then we did another tree and cleaned that lot up as well. 

And before they knew it, a couple of hours had passed.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue and not a cloud in sight.  Totally peaceful apart from the sound of the 'whack' as the sticks  hit  the  tree  and the occasional 'ouch'  as olives landed on the poor person harvesting the lower branches! 

Sunday, 9 January 2011

What a difference a day makes

Took Friday off from harvesting olives and shredding as planned and packed away the Christmas decorations, did some cooking including some for the freezer and as the sun was still out in the afternoon, I hoed some of the broad bean beds and planted peas in between the beans.  The peas will cling onto  the beans for support as they grow.

Yesterday was beautiful as well, so I decided to carry on with the hoeing and pea planting - half the top terrace is now done, and when those first peas appear, I plan on starting another section.  That way, they shouldn't all be ready in the same week.  During the afternoon we moved all the branches that we'd pruned out over  the past few days  into one big pile  and  cut them up for storing for next years firewood.  It was almost 17° in the shade yesterday at lunchtime and I was still out in a summer t-shirt at gone 5pm.

However, it rained last night and must have been windy too as this morning 2 garden chairs were floating in the pool!   There's a cold wind today and although the thermometer says 11° it feels much cooler.  I've just lit the wood burners and have a large rice pudding cooking which will be ready for later on this evening.  Comfort food, just what you need on a chilly day.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Epifania del Señor

Having just got over Christmas and the New Year celebrations, another one pops up.  Last night the villages celebrated the coming of the Three Kings in true Spanish style....... with lots of fireworks amongst other things.   Today was a holiday and again, we heard lots of fireworks from the villages near us.

We however have been continuing with the olive harvest.  Picking, pruning, cutting the branches down for firewood and then taking the unwanted trimmings up to the shredder for shredding (surprisingly enough!) and then composting.  We have probably got about 2 cubic metres of finely shredded olive  trimmings which should rot down well and will eventually be rotovated into the vegetable  terraces. There was a time today when neither of us thought we'd get it all trimmed down, moved up to the shredder and into the compost heaps but eventually we were on our last heap of branches but of course they were the furthest away from the shredder and by that time of the afternoon our legs were tired.  Perhaps we should have started at the bottom while we were fresh this morning and then worked uphill.  Hindsight -  a wonderful thing!

After 6 days, and most of our top terraces done, we are taking a break tomorrow - but only from olives as we have house stuff to catch up on - bread baking, washing, ironing and packing away the Christmas decorations - I know they should be down by 12th night but we've had other things to do as well.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

We had a quiet night in with a few drinks and watched the fireworks from around the world on TV,  at midnight the usual fireworks started around the villages here but as it was drizzling we decided not to go outside to look at them,  just stayed inside and had another drink.  Actually, I'm not sure we'd have seen much really due to the cloud cover.

The forecast for today was on and off drizzle, possible light snow this evening, but we woke to blue skies and sunshine.  Olive harvest!  But the trees were dripping with last nights rain, and harvesting under that is like having a cold shower so I thought I'd clean the house while the trees dried off.  So at 10.30, with the house almost sparkling I thought I'd better tidy myself up.  I did brush my hair before I took the dogs out but that was it, and since then I'd raked out the wood burners and relaid them, swept, dusted etc etc and was  feeling a bit grubby - not to mention a lack of makeup.  Not that I wear much, a  touch of mascara but it's enough to make a difference.

On my way upstairs to try and look slightly more myself, I heard Mariano outside.  "Where are you, I've come with a bottle of Cava to celebrate New Years Day!"     "Oh no, I'm not ready for visitors!"     "Never mind, come and have a drink, that doesn't  matter."

So at  11am, we were outside in the sunshine polishing off a very nice bottle of Cava - makes a change from our usual cup of tea.

We did get olives done, another 2 large trees which gave us another 2 sacks.  And if it's dry we'll do some more tomorrow.