Monday, 25 June 2012

Weather warnings

The meteorological agency has issued weather warnings for most of Spain advising of unusually high temperatures from yesterday until probably Friday.  They are warning of temperatures reaching 39° around here, with a maximum of 40° in central Spain.  Thought it was hot yesterday, when it was still 32 at 5.30pm and even this morning when I went for a very early 7am walk with Monty and Pip it was almost 25.

The aemet site is saying 41 in Sevilla for today - wow, that's hot!

I decided to paint the bedroom wall this morning,  not surprisingly it dried very quickly! 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Thunder and lightning.

We had the most amazing thunderstorm raging around and over us last  night.  It started early evening with some rumbling way up in the Sierras,  gradually moving around until there was a wonderful lightning show going all around the Contraviesa.  For a while there was  lightning flashing and thunder rumbling all at the same time, with the lightning going from left to right and back again.  Occasional heavy rain at that time, but it got heavier in the night.  Very dirty rain, don't know where it came from but it's left a sandy deposit over the garden furniture and the pool has lost it's sparkle.  It'll settle in a couple of days onto the pool floor then we can clean it out.

Consequently today has been cooler than the 30's of late, still some cloud and quite humid and sticky.  But the ground is all lovely and damp so I took advantage of that and did some more chilli bed digging.  Another 70 or so chilli plants in, some were replacements for the first planting which were perhaps a bit small and didn't survive.  But still more seedlings in the potting shed,  all in yoghurt pots so no rush to plant them out as they have plenty of growing room yet.  If these all grow and produce - fruit? vegetable? - then we will have a few years worth to dry and freeze for stock, plus seeds for future years.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Another week...

Another week has whizzed by

- plants out, watering done daily but different plants on different days,

- hot winds this week, it's felt at times like we have been living in front of a hairdryer,  and that also brings dust into every part of the house which means more cleaning when the winds die down,

- the winds also blow the olive blossom off the trees and most of it seems to land in our pool so more cleaning, or skimming of the surface on a daily basis,

- John has added a watering pipe from our top storage tank down to the every growing strawberry beds which now include a raspberry area.  Last year we had one cane, now we have 14.  Waiting for a good crop, we think they are autumn fruiters, so roll on September,

- a belated Spring-clean too this week, partly because of the dust making wind,  partly because we were moving the bedroom furniture around and decorating  plus changing some of the lounge furniture.  It's better to do it now, as it's cooler indoors than out.  All the upstairs curtains have been washed and the rugs went to the lavanderia last Wednesday.  Collected them on Friday - yes, that quickly - she is a bit overwhelmed with things and doesn't have much long term storage.
- something has been wandering through the chilli plantation at night so I have put some plastic fencing around them.  Looks like a dog from the  paw prints and other unmentionable things  :(

- plus the usual early morning dog walk which seems to be getting earlier and earlier the hotter it gets!  A couple of times a week we (the dogs and I)  walk down to Yator and meet a friend, she then walks up here with us and either stops for a cold drink or coffee before going home to have breakfast with her husband.  It gives us time for a chat as we walk,  we talk about plants and things, we swop cuttings and seedlings, (she gave me a lovely lavender plant this week,)  it's a nice - and cool - start to the day.  John meanwhile is preparing for his day and we have breakfast in the garden when I get back.

- so that's life at the moment.  Early starts, lazy afternoons,  late watering sessions and an even later evening meal.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hot chillis

I don't know if it's just my planting technique or what, but if I only plant a few seeds then the chances are nothing germinates.  There's always next week to put in a few more, and then the week after....but this year I planted up all the chilli seeds that we have been saving,  all at the same time - they are all seeds from the previous year dating back maybe 5 or 6 years to the original plants.

This year, what with one wedding or the other, things got delayed a bit as we didn't want to have seedlings needing daily watering when our friends were doing us a huge favour just looking after Monty and Pip.  Taking care of numerous beans, chillis and cucumber seedlings was not as important, so when we got back from Japan we started the planting.  We had 7 varieties of chillis which were just  germinating when we went to Paris.  This week I have been planting the biggest of them straight out into the veg patch,  the smaller ones have gone into yoghurt pots or small plant pots. 

When I'd finished that this morning, I went and did a head count and discovered that there are just over 200 seedlings! 

If they all grow well, they are easy to dry and then grind down for storing.  Or we freeze them whole and slice as needed.  Or we slice and bottle them in white wine vinegar, especially the 'jalopeƱo' variety.  

The next thing is finding the right place for the remaining seedlings to live.  There are places ready dug that just need watering ready for planting up, but I'm not sure there's enough space yet.  And as the temperature is way above June's normal - it's been hovering around 30° this week and today reached 32° -  neither of us fancies going digging.  But we have lots of pots and lots of compost so maybe they'll end up living in pots.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Barking mad

Pip, the dog with character - or as a friend said, a dog with attitude.  She is loving and affectionate, but has a stubborn streak as well.  If we call her in and she doesn't want to come, then she'll sit down in the garden.  Shut the front door and say 'ok, see you later', then up she gets and in she comes.  But always on her own terms.

When traffic goes past, she barks.  If it's a  car with a trailer - particularly an empty rattling trailer - then she'll hide first then bark when it's safe.  She barks at friends if they are wearing a cap with a peak, when they take the cap off  she's fine. She hides from the wind and the rain, and she barks at a chair if  any of the furniture has been moved  for cleaning. Mixed up dog or what!

She's been here for 3 years now,  and from the middle of May for about a month or so the mulberry trees in front of the chapel drop their fruit all over the road.  There is a carpet of ripe black and white mulberries,  Monty sometimes stops to eat them and Pip has always just walked through them like we do every day, twice a day on our walks.

Until this week.  Now when we get to the  mulberries, she stops and sits down.  The first day it happened I didn't notice she was sitting, just thought she'd stopped to eat the fruit, gave a tug on her lead and she  gave a quick wriggle and de-harnessed herself.  Her lead is clipped onto a harness, not her collar as she used to pull really hard and sounded like she was choking.  I thought the harness was something more secure but she has proved that with a twist of her legs and shoulders that it's not.

No amount of coaxing would get her to move,  Monty was off sniffing at something interesting so I just picked her up and carried her across the mulberries.  Coming home she stopped again but for some reason decided to be brave and ran - a bit ungainly, she reminded me of a spring lamb, all legs - but got across on her own.

Same thing that night, again yesterday morning, this morning and tonight.  Always stops going up and sits down but gallops across on the way home.

Any suggestions?  Does she need counseling?