Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Summer Again

As usual there are loads of annoying flies and it's too hot to work outside in the daytime heat but the buddleja is back buzzing with bees and butterflies and there is nothing better than watching all the activity in the early evening from our armchairs under the porch with a cold beer.
As everything has been so overgrown, and still is, I am making do with containers this year. There is the one planted with culinary herbs and the fabulous hanging basket.
Everything is watched over by the ruler of this place, Nosher the elderly tabby, from Kent in the UK. The warm weather agrees with him.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Getting Hotter

Most days have been cloudy and humid with an occasional hot one. This is unusual for Galicia but I blame climate change as weather is becoming increasing unpredictable. Our fabulous friend Billy came and did some brush-cutting and strimming for us. There is still more to do but it has changed my mood immensely from overwhelmed to positivity as order reigned over chaos in some areas. He has created raised beds in the polytunnel using locally grown and milled chestnut planks, and now I need to source some compost and manure to fill them up. At least watering is more effective as the precious water doesn't run off the beds, it now gathers on top and has time to infiltrate into the still rather poor soil. Once I have got the soil wetter I will mulch with barley straw.

The orchard is looking great as well. Lots of fruit setting and the strimmed grass and bracken is now a mulch beneath the trees.

Pears are developing well, the quince has set fruit, there are tons of apples but I expect the trees to drop some as it gets hotter. I also hope to get my first taste of bletted european medlar this winter as the fruit has definitely set. No sign of kiwis yet. I think I need to wait until they are a bit older. Plenty of male flowers but no female flowers that I have seen. Even the hardy kiwis that are self fertile need bees to pollinate and the long cold winter and spring has resulted in fewer bees than usual. Perhaps some will emerge in the foliage as they get bigger. Talking of bees we have another small colony that have set up in our Warré top bar hive. As yet they are few, last years swarm died possibly due to hunger while we were both in the UK. Tim and I have our fingers crossed.

The loganberry is a vital part of our breakfasts and the edible day lilies are great in salads, other flowers are just beautiful and feed the soul.
Finally mixed news on the chick front. We are down to seven chicks from the eleven we started with. One drowned in a water bowl when sneaking through a crack in the stable door and falling into the big chickens' water. The other three have been eaten by crows we think. The survivors are enjoying the sun with their mother but they are small enough to get through the fencing into the cattle field where they are easy targets for crows. The remaining chicks are less adventurous and dive into a bramble patch when the alarm is raised. We hope that they will remain healthy into chicken adulthood now they have became less foolhardy.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Galicia Is The Best

I have been back here for nearly a month now and I have to say Galicia rocks! Cancer makes you appreciate the good things in life. After fearing that it was all going to be taken away there are so many good things here. My Galician friends are fabulous, always asking after my health and just saying I am fine is not good enough, they ask again "How are you really?" They care and that is very special. There are so many friends who have helped Tim and I, from running us around to taking Tim into town, lending us freezers and looking after the place. Thanks guys, you know who you are.
Cancer wise I am still in remission, I am being monitored every three months for signs of it's return. The reversal surgery went well so I now produce waste the same way as the majority of people do. It was very rough and painful at first but now I am getting into a sort of routine and although it will never be the same as it was before, I can live happily like this. Hello onions and salads, how I have missed you. Lentils will be phased in at a later stage but now I can eat almost anything.

Petas is looking awful or stunning depending on your point of view out of this small window. The grass, wild flowers and brambles have completely taken over but the green lushness is amazing. We haven't fought our way into the forest garden as it is blocked by head high growth but trees appear to be thriving. Veggie patch? What veggie patch? Shrubs are blooming, fruiting trees and kiwis have been full of blossom. The poly tunnel has a small cultivated area but the rest is bracken fronds and weeds but we dutifully water the cultivated bit. The lime, mandarin and nectarine look good in there. We have more chicks, eleven of them the darlings of their mother's eye. She is in heaven with her little ones orbiting her feet as she clucks reassuringly. For this year we have mostly given up trying to tame the wilderness. We know a man who will brushcut and strim for us and so we will be hoping he will rescue the worst of it. I still can't lift anything heavy and I have developed an incisional hernia so probably another op needed to fix it. Tim continues to work hard during the week and we are indulging ourselves at weekends because we more than anyone know that life is short and you have to enjoy yourself when you can.
There is always next year.......