Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A Galician Craft Fair

On Sunday Cath and I went to Parga which was holding its annual tripe fiesta with associated crafty entertainments. The sculptors were given a block of stone and asked to carve something by the end of the day. There were demonstrations of weaving and spinning, viewable bee hives, live woodcarving and turning.

Lots of local food was in evidence including the beautiful blue veined cabrales cheese wrapped in vine leaves.
All of the permanent stone tables had been requisitioned for family picnics by the river.
And a huge number of the men had arrived on traditional transportation, their horses. There must have been over 50. As is usual here many still use horses as transportation at weekends. I assume that as well as being pleasurable, you can't get stopped for drink driving on a horse.
And finally, Catherine and I were particularly taken by this handsome mule, perfect for our small holding we thought, and very gentle. We resisted his charms and those of the tripe being freely offered to all.

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Heat Wave Continues

Life has settled into a summer routine. It really is too hot to work outside for more than an hour or two in the mornings. It takes forever to cool off in the evenings as well. Siestas are the order of the day, helping top up the missed night time sleep and the nights are still so short at this time of year.

I am tied to daily watering of the vegetables. Although some areas are mulched which helps water retention the soil is still so poor that it dries out in a few hours. two years ago it was cattle pasture over granite, last year much of it was still being dug or under black plastic, It will need a few years of mulching, composting and green manure before it can hold the moisture sufficiently for me to slacken the watering regime.

The roses continue to bloom, the poppies are beautiful and many flowers have self seeded in our wild life area. I have eaten my first tomato from the garden this year and we have plenty of peas and mixed herb salads. The harvests are behind this year as it was a cold slow start with many seedlings perishing in the cold spring and needing to be resown. The puppies have managed to dig up some of the seedlings and bury some of the melons I had planted out. We suffer from moles which delight in digging under my veg beds as this is where the earth worms are found (working on the newly introduced organic matter). The dogs love to excavate the mole holes but are over enthusiastic, wiping out any surrounding vegetation.

Finally there is a huge sense of expectation in goaty world. Tensing pictured is due to give birth around Monday with her daughter Pixie due to drop around 5 days later. Catherine and I are keeping a close watch over them as they will be our first (fingers crossed) kids. We are ready to boil water and rip up sheets at a moments notice as I believe that is the correct way to aid a safe delivery (it worked for the Waltons).

Friday, 5 July 2013

Heat wave

The temperature is currently in the middle 30's and expected to stay there for a few days. No rain is forecast for the rest of the month except for occasional thunderstorms. My outside tap and hose extension are a godsend as I try to keep the vegetable plants alive.

It is at times like these I appreciate the design of the traditional Galician stone houses. They have walls a metre thick, no windows on the south side at all, and the windows they do have are small with shutters.

 Even with the current heat wave they are cool and pleasant inside. I have just said goodbye to family visitors so I am trying to catch up on some of the gardening when the temperature allows.

This morning Catherine and I were up before 7am and working on the land until 10am planting out the latest plantlets and harvesting gooseberries. They are a little unripe but past experience has taught me that birds can strip fruit bushes in just a few hours. I have made four jars of gooseberry jam and look forward to my first new jam sandwich of the year. The taste of the residue on the pans promises that this will be a good one!.