Friday, December 26, 2008

Energy......

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Neatly Stacked of course - our woodstore.
The shortest day came and went and resulted in a positive change in the weather. For the past few days we have had bright sunshine and daytime temperatures of 21 degrees C. The garden is still very wet and a few days of strong sunshine and breeze will help to dry out the soil and begin to warm the earth as spring approaches. Energy has become an everyday consideration in our lives here in Toriello. As a part of our endeavours to remain environmentally friendly and as sustainable as possible we have started collecting wood from the beaches to burn in the workshop. We have just received a delivery of wood for the house woodburner and taken advantage of the low fuel prices to stock up our supply of diesel for the central heating boiler....although we prefer where possible to use the woodburner. We are pleased with the delivery of wood as it contains a good mix of ash, oak, beech and birch.....hardly any eucalyptus which is good as it doesn't burn that efficiently. In addition to the woodburner we use the sun and the south facing aspect of the house to gain most advantage of the warmth where possible. This winter has seen us install added insulation to doors and windows to reduce drafts and keep the house warmer for longer. The energy considerations in the garden range from ensuring vegetables are planted in the correct position for light, heat and sunshine, to maximising the soil's fertility by adding organic matter when and where possible. We compost all vegetable and garden waste, add woodash from the fires, collect and compost leaves for leaf mould and of course......add manure, kindly delivered by our farmer neighbour and friend Luis (yes another one) or his son Luis (yes, yet another one).We continue to build up our stocks of organic matter and continue to look for additional sources. This year Luis (the one and only) has added barrowloads of roadside dirt to the flower beds and it has improved the soil no-end. It sounds bizzare - roadside dirt but it comprises of a good blend grit, sand and organic matter that has collected over the years and only serves to narrow the lanes and play host to many weeds. The network of country lanes around our area are mostly narrow and without names - here they are known as caminos. It has only been for the past 20 or so years that most of these lanes have had a proper road surface. As we await the spring energies from the sunshine and longer daytime periods we have started to think about crop rotation, varities and range of vegetable and salad crops to ensure we make the most of our space and abilities........We are looking forward to be able to get out into the garden and begin the work. We wish you a very Happy Christmas, Good Health and Prosperity in your adventures in 2009.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter beckons......

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Winter beckons: wild and windy weather, hail and rain, cold and damp. The garden is wet with leaves collecting in borders and in hedges: awaiting gathering to add to our leaf mould. The woodburner beckons around mid-afternoon and provides some welcome warmth and comfort. Snow has hit the nearby mountains which glow bright in the rare glimpse of midday sun. Luis has returned from a week away in Barrios de la Vega at his family home (processing piggies). Laden up as usual with fruit, vegetables various cuts of meat and collection of metal rods to build plant frames to prevent our citrus from strong winds and salty sea mists. 

With lots of winter vegetables in the garden it is an ideal time to make substantial vegetable based soups, broths and casseroles - home made bread - a glass of wine......perfect. The cats spend more time indoors but soon get restless and venture out to hunt and stalk. Walks out have been shorter and less frequent. We have identified a good source of mistletoe to collect nearer Christmas  - it grows in abundance here on old apple trees. Although parasitic, we will attempt to introduce it to one of our older trees in the hope it will colonise and grow. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Autumn Reflections

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Luis here:
This year the month of November is a particularly wet one, it still remains warm and as yet we have not had any frost and the warm sunshine we still get is very nice and allows us to continue with some little jobs. It was only last week that we cut the wild flower meadow and we have delayed the covering of the orange tree to protect it against the cold - this year we will cover it in an attempt to protect it from the cold, strong winds and sea mist to increase the chances of it blossoming for the first time.
As the soil is on the wet side, we hope to be able to plant some onions to harvest in May in the near future. The vegetable plot continues to provides us with good organic ingredients to use in the kitchen. We are starting to harvest the last of the lamb's lettuce we sowed earlier as a trial to see if we could extend its season. The carrots sown for the same reason are doing very well and we will start harvesting Jerusalem artichokes any time- we introduced my sister Rita to them and the whole family now appreciates them. Over all, the vegetable plot has proven to be such a rewarding hobby. We have obtained our own organic vegetable seeds- Thanks Gordon for those extra packets of seeds, they are much appreciated. We are specially proud of how much we have reduced the use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers with our home made and organic alternatives that can be made with a variety of plants. We successfully used rhubarb as a fungicide and horsetail both as an insecticide and fungicide. The homemade organic fertilisers based on nettles and comfrey were extensively used in the garden which continues to evolve as more beds are created and our stock of plants increase. I continue to design and make pebble mosaics to use around the garden, the latest are intended for in front of the shed - photos of this will be posted when they are in situ. The chair business is also keeping us busy during this wet period. We continue to enjoy our walks and the latest ones have been around the coastal areas near us, the area of Torimbia gave us such spectacular views.
We enjoyed the recycling festival in Gijon at the university- a series of events including, performances, exhibitions and a variety of crafsmen coming together to highlight the need to reduce, re-use and recycle. The university of Gijon is such an impressive building, no real age but built in sandstone, granite and limestone, in a neo-classical style.  http://www.uniovi.es/economia/5workshop/


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Chestnut Festival - Festival de la Castaña

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Now well and truly back in Asturias - Autumn is here with lovely colours forming in the deciduous woodland and scrub. We are experiencing wetter than average weather with little chance for the ground to dry out between downpours. We have harvested the remainder of the apples and collected walnuts from the caminos. The Chestnut Festival in Arriondas gave us an opportunity to demonstrate cane and rush work - as at other events we took along a few completed chairs for sale and hoped that we might sell one or two. The two-day festival comprises of a large furniture and artisan marquee ( where we were) and lots of outdoor stalls selling crafts, cheeses, honey, and of course chestnuts. Lots of people come into town to visit the festival and other associated events. On the first day we had a lot of interest but made no sales. On day two.....we sold every single chair and stool we took and once again had a lot of people asking for restoration work. Luis even got his picture in  the regional  newspaper and given a crystal trophy for participating!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wildlife and apples

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Luis here:
As you may know, Ian returned to the UK and after spending nearly three weeks will be returning to La Pasera on Monday accompanied by his dad, Gordon. During those weeks, I have kept myself occupied with different things, gardening, mosaic making, chair restoration and improving the soil structure in the garden in preparation for some serious sorting of the borders which have been used in a way as a holding bed up to now. I have also enjoyed some nice local walks and at times I was joyned by different people from the village. Wentworth and Gawber continue to bring presents- some more pleasant than others.
We have been doing some gardening to encourage a greater number and variety of wildlife. It was nice to see ladybirds in the vegetable plot for the first time this Summer, the butterflies and moths have also been present in greater variety and numbers, the drastic decrease in the cricket population appeared to coincide with us starting to create and alter the garden but baby crickets were seen again this Summer, the glow worms have been spotted more regularly and as late as the beginning of October. The birds are coming closer to the house as the bog garden gets established and acts as a bridge have way up the garden. We are hoping to create a pond in the near future to encourage amphibians, we already enjoy the presence of toads.
As Autumn is well under way, Asturias is experiencing the beginning of the apple harvest to make the famous cider- I recently harvested the Russet apples and intend to make an apple tart to welcome Ian and Gordon- the recipy for the tart is one that Rita gave me and it takes 2 kg of apples, delicious!
In the near future I will let you know about my organic home made pesticides and fertilisers.
The weather remains very pleasant with temperatures reaching the mid twenties in the middle of the day. I hope that you all enjoye the Autumn light and colours.
One of the photos shows the glow from a glow worm

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The tomato trials

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Luis here:
Earlier this Summer, we decided to grow various varieties of tomatoes to see which one performed better in the Asturian climate. The main problem with the climate when growing tomatoes is the high humidity levels and sea mist that result in the blight. We planted 4 different types, two named (royal chico and siletz) together with two generic types, one bought locally and the other bought in Castilla. Home grown tomatoes are really worth the effort because of the superior taste when compared with comercially grown ones that are as far removed from organic as they can be.
The results of the Asturian jury in terms of the tomato trials are as follows: all four varieties succumbed to the blight. It was the siletz variety that was slightly more resistant but it lacked taste and texture. Next year we shall try further varieties and hope to have a little more success. It is a good job that my sister Rita has a glut of toms with 130 plants, at least we got some supplies to make tomato sauce and pisto -a tomato based sauce made with peppers, marrow, pumpkin, onion, aubergine and garlic.
Other than the disappointing results from the tomatoes, the vegetable and fruit garden have produced an abundance of crops throughtout Summer and will continue to do so well into Winter. This week I sowed carrots, turnips and salad leaves. 
The weather remains very pleasant with days turning sunny and warm with plenty of sunshine but usually after early morning mist and heavy dew.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy......

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The past few weeks have been really busy with visitors Sue, Sam and Lucy May, harvesting, injuries, jobs around the plot and avoiding the summer madness in town. We had a good time when Sue et al came over for 5 days at the end of August. The weather was reasonable but a little too much seaweed to make swimming in the sea an option - although we did manage a knee deep paddle. Earlier storms had decorated the normally golden beaches, with deep red seaweed that formed meter high mounds - most unusual for the time of year.


Harvest time has arrived again with the vegetable garden producing many crops that all need processing and/or eating. We have been busy making Jam (from foraged blackberries and windfall apples), Chutney (various types) Piccalilli, Tomato Frito and Pisto (tomato, marrow, onion, pumpkin, aubergine and peppers). It is good to see the shelves full again and nice to know that we have supplies that will last us well into next year.


Luis went to his Sister's for a week and I stayed behind to l.ook after the cats and the garden. All went well until I took a walk along the camino with Indiana Jones and Lara Croft (you know who you are!!!). I slipped when pole vaulting a wall and badly sprained my ankle - oouch! Healing well and begining to weight bear. Asturias and town have been very busy and buzzing over August (the main holiday season here) and it is good to see it reverting to its quieter and tranquil hum. Luis will report on the tomato trials in a later post in the mean time a few photos for you include scenes from a local fiesta and street market.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A fruitful walk along the cliffs

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Luis here:
Today after a very nice walk along the Toriello cliffs with impressive views of the sea and unusual limestone rock formations, I picked our first batch of wild blackberries and thus the jam making season starts. I will aim to collect a few more blackberries to make blackberry and greengage, blackberry and apple and blackberry jam amongs others. As different fruits become available I will make more jam with pear and cinnamon, figs and orange - that we will use throught the year. The jam I make has a reduced sugar content and in order to preserve it once made, I will further cook it in a bain marie. In this way I will continue to enjoy my favourite breakfast, toast with jam- and if your are lucky like me, then you will enjoy home made bread. What a treat!
Last Sunday we had a stall at the local "rastrillo"(flea market) in aid of doctors without frontiers. The weather could not have been sunnier or hotter, there was lots of people who took a keen interest in the chair rushing demonstration I was doing. We sold most of the chairs we had for sale, gave contact details to numerous people who have chairs in need of restoration, Ian did very well selling pottery and we came back with a couple of bargain half oak barrels for plants and two pottery figures to decorate the pond and bog garden. A very enjoyable day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amethyst, Apples and Aubergines....

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August has arrived and brought with it hoards of tourists (mainly Spanish) and sunshine. The normally quiet town of Ribadesella is busy and in full swing with many events happening including the Jazz Festival, International Canoe Descent, Exhibitions and of course.....Fiestas. We have been busy with the garden and a few visitors over the past weeks which has been really enjoyable. We discovered the Amethyst on a local beach, unpolished but never-the-less really beautiful. This collection will be added to the ever-growing piles of ground glass and shells that one day will make a really fine sculpture or picture. The cats are enjoying the summer hay harvests with many more mice and rato topos scurrying around the fields trying to escape the scythe and rakes of our neighbour as he collects feed for the animals. The Staghorn beetles are in full flight in early evening and despite their heavy looking armour, they fly like finely tuned light aircraft emitting a low pitched hum as their wings carry them onwards and upwards. Luis will fill you in on the apples and aubergines, but in the mean time enjoy the slideshow.
Luis here: This year the aubergines have started to crop and are doing extremely well with the very hot and dry weather we have now been experiencing for some time, in fact the whole vegetable plot has benefitted from the rain we got recently. The apple trees are doing very well considering the very wet weather we had as they were comming into blossom. However, the hot weather seems to favour the growth of pests that I am regularly treating with my home made organic insecticide and pesticide based on horsetail and rhubarb- more on this and this year´s tomato trials later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Attracted to the wildlife.....

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Since moving to Spain we have been lucky enough to see many plants, animals and insects that we would normally have seen. Some of these we have managed to photograph whilst others evade our attempts and stay well clear of cameras. We often hear and see Deer grazing in the field beolow our garden and Wentwoth and Gawber can often be seen mingling with them hunting for mice and shrews. We have many owls and birds of prey including buzzards, kites and vultures. Birdlife in general is growing since we have attempted to encourage seed heads and insect life - keeping our plot as diverse as possible with different habitats and natural areas that encourage their visits. A small slideshow has been placed above this posting.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pebbles and vegetables

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Luis here:
As you may be aware, I recently started experimenting with making pebble mosaics using the indirect method and the results have been very good. We collect the pebbles from the local beaches, good hunting grounds for different sizes and colours. I perfected the technique and recently had an opportunity to show Rita and Alfredo, during their visit to La Pasera, how to make this type of mosaic- they are familiar with making mosaics as the romans used to do applying the "opus tessellatum" method. Those of you who have visited us may have noticed, on our living room wall, the mosaic they made for us. The picture of the mosaic shown is part of a set that will be used as a series of stepping stones leading onto the garden tap.

The weather remains mixed and the rainfall is less, we were able to take the hammock out for a few days. In the vegetable garden, the salad crops, mongetout, beetroot, leeks, rhubarb, spinach and courgettes are doing very well but some of the casualties of the wet weather such as the onions are not doing very well and we may loose the entire crop if the wet weather persists. I have almost given up the thought of sowing more french beans as this crop likes hot and drier conditions. The tomatoes this year are doing well in spite of a rocky start. We are running a trial to see if two varieties of blight resistant tomatoes bought in the UK out-perform the local varieties. Last year by now we had lost all the tomato plants.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A friend in need....

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In an attempt to remain organic in the vegetable plot we try not to use any chemicals - natural control is our preferred method i.e. Toads and hedgehogs eat slugs, rhubarb as a pesticide, horsetail as a fungicide. Waking early yesterday morning we were surprised to see the tail end of a fat hedgehog stuck in the front gate. Pouring with rain we ventured out to find the poor little fella well and truly stuck........Not able to move forward or backwards. After half an hour of gentle teasing, tugging and pushing, attempting to ease the bars open and trying to cut a bar with a metal saw we managed to rescue him. The little fella/madam (eventually named Geraldine!!!) was exhausted. We nursed her all day in the boiler room with plenty of water and cat food. Needless to say Wentworth and Gawber were intrigued by this new addition and spookily seemed to know the little hog wasn't 100%. After taking advice, we decided by early evening that she had recovered enough to be released. We released Geraldine in the bottom of the garden near to a small meadow. After 15 mins curled up in a tight ball, Geraldine stretched out and tootled off into the long grass - appearing no worse, perhaps a little bruised, for her adventure. Let's hope he continues to munch on our slugs for a few more years yet. Judging by the sheer number of slugs we have this year it is no wonder she is such a tubby little thing. Good luck.




Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wet, wild and well......

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Found this little mite when dead heading the white roses - Misumena Vatia, apparently rare spider that lives in/on/around white flowers. Needless to say I will be using gloves from now on for dead heading. The weather has been very unsettled for most of May and for the beginning of June with a lot of rain and low cloud. The seedlings have suffered and it looks as though we have lost the majority of the tomato plants. The potatoes had to be harvested early due to an attack of blight and the beans, peppers, carrots and aubergines have succumbed to the ravages of slugs, snails and crane fly larvae - now all will be re-sown and fingers crossed they will germinate in time to crop later in the year.
The bad weather has given us an opportunity to catch up with jobs around the house and workshop. Lights now installed in the workshop, the wood store half built and pine chest stripped and waxed. Luis has been very busy re-caning chairs (5), making pebble mosaics and working as an interpreter.
The kittens (now cats really but hey) have been a bit subdued with the rain but manage to catch the odd mouse or shrew between showers. They are growing fast and take no notice what-so-ever of commands, instructions or bribes. They love climbing trees and can be often found in the top branches of the apple trees, jumping from limb to limb and occaisionally hanging on by out-stretched claws.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spring Showers

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Well spring has been here with gusto........plenty of rain, sunshine, distant storms and cool winds. The plants and trees have sprung into full bloom, apple blossom is in abundance and the birds are busy feeding their young. My Dad has been with us for a week and enjoyed it despite the rain. We ventured to Barrios de la Vega near Saldaña to have lunch with Rita, Alfredo and the family, travelling through one of the passes in the Picos de Europa Mountains on to Riaño and down through Guardo. With the weather like it was we also took the opportunity to visit the Tito Bustillo Cave complex in Ribadesella. Cave paintings dating back to between 15,000 BC to 30,000 BC are still evident and offer an insight into the lives and minds of our ancestors.

We came across this little fella (Adder) whilst out walking on the Camino de Santiago - actually a little female about 45cms long and making hissing noises. Luis, of course yelled out (not his favourite reptile).

Plenty of ongoing projects in hand including: gardening and growing vegetables; building work for the garden; hedge planting and making; collecting driftwood to burn; looking after the cats. The village has once again celebrated its fiesta by parading the Statue of Fatima through the lanes in procession with Rockets, bagpipes and drums, villagers in traditional costume and tambourines. The fiesta culminated in free octopus and fried potatoes served in a large Marquee. Two bands played upbeat but dated music until 5am in the morning - a good time was had by all.

Monday, April 28, 2008

More sweets?

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Luis forgot to add that after the christening they throw sweets to the waiting children and adults from the village. 50kgs ready for the feast.


Luis here:


As April is coming to an end, I will let you know the latest in our life. First of all, many thanks for my birthday cards, we had a very nice day, my treat. We visited the pre-romanenque church of Santa Maria de Valdedios from the IXth century containing some remnants of wall paintings from that preiod. We also visited the monastery of San Juan de Valdedios (XII), both set in the beautiful valley of Valdedios. I intend to return to the monastery to hear the monks singing the mass service in gregorian. After this cultural visit, we travelled to Gijon were we were blessed with very nice weather and after a lovely lunch at the vegetarian restaurant, we went for a coastal walk.

We have just returned from Barrios after spending the weekend to attend Laura´s christening (my new niece) on Saturday 26th, the baby was very happy both during the service and at the banquet. On the Sunday all the family gathered together as there was a fiesta in Barrios over the weekend- for those of you who do not know, Barrios is my family´s village.




In the vegggie plot things are happening fast, last week we made a salad with all our own home produce, it included lamb´s and oak leave lettuce, spinach, radishes, onion and beetroot. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to go down the plot and pick the veg just before preparing them. We are not self-suffient regarding veggies but it is very satisfying to eat a freshly prepared meal with orgnanic home produce. This also enables us not only to eat healthy veg but also to reduce our carbon footprint- more on ways in which we aim to lead a greener life in future entries.


The garden is changing almost weekly and the latest additions include a hedge we just planted today with small tree plants of hawthorne and blackthorne that hopefully will encourage more wild life in our plot. The bog garden is the home of a big toad that will help reduce the slug and snail population as we have decided not to use slug pellets, instead we use coffee grounds, egg shells and ash as well as planting a few extra.



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Calls from Nature....

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Asturias is not known for its facilities outside of the towns and cities, unless that is you happen to spot a small bar nestled in the corner of a sleepy village........don't count on it being open. Coming home one night last week Luis asked me if I could stop on the verge so he could make a call if you know what I mean. Out he stepped into the darkness, the stars above twinkling brightly, when a grunt and a scream was heard. Along the way he had found a nettle free spot complete with resident Wild Boar. I will let you work it out which one grunted.

We are making progress in the garden with some of the hard landscaping and a couple of new beds. Luis is working hard on the vegetable garden and painting the wood work, the kittens are growing well and enjoying the boom in mice and shrews at this time of year. They enjoy playfighting as the sun goes down, ready for their food around 8pm.

The coast is interesting at this time of year with low and high tides bringing tons of driftwood and fallen trees and branches onto the beaches. Rough seas have once again given us a great show down on at the blowholes in Gaudamia. Ribadesella remains quiet with a few extra tourists at weekends and bank holidays.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April showers?

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Luis here:

We have commenced my favourite month of the year, April, with Ian´s return from the UK where he spent a busy time. I stayed behind at La Pasera with Gawber and nursing Wentworth who has now returned to full health after been very poorly. He ended spending the night in hospital and we feared that he might have been poisoned accidentally when we gave him some flea treatment that we have used in the past. The flea drops were Bob Martins Spot On, needless to say that we shall not used this particular brand again as it is notorious for causing harm including the death of people's cats- the accompaning literature did not mention how harmful it can be, we only realised it once Wentworth bacame unwell and after checking the chemicals over the Internet. Use this at your peril. Wentworth´s health was further complicated few days after being discharged when he had a bad abcess on his tail resulting from an earlier fight with a local cat. Both cats are now back to normal and being such good hunters, gawber still hunts more than Wentworth and it is Wentworth the one with a taste for meat.

The weather is unsettled and changeable at present. I hope that the windy and wet spell we had in the last two weeks in March is now over. The cherry blossom this year was a lesser show than the previous due to the two weeks arround Easter when we experienced a cold spell with heavy rain, strong winds, storms and hailstone. The vegetable plot benefitted with the moisture as the soil was rather dry. We were able to fill up the water tubs with the rain from the shed roof, this water is being used already to water different seeds and young plants and helps us with our efforts at being more environmentally conscious by reducing the use of the hose pipe even when we do not have a drought.

I recently finished making a pebble mosaic using the indirect method, this entails bedding the pebbles on a bit of dry sand until you have finished the desired design and before filling the mould up to the top with mortar and once dry you turn it upside down, if there are any mistakes, you need to live with them but unfortunately I was far too impatient to see the results of the new technique and it broke in two pieces coming out of the mould. We will be able to repair and use somewhere in the garden.

In the vegetable plot, we continue to enjoy a variety of vegetables and this years sowings are starting to delight out meals, at present the baby radishes and early sprouting broccoli are very tasty.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Seasonal Changes.....by Luis

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After what it felt like a very short Winter but much colder and with more ground frosts than last year, we had some very nice weather which has caused many wild flowers to come into blossom such as the hepaticas, aconites and heliborres. It has been very nice with hot sunny days that felt much like Spring. We have now made a start on the patio base and steps that lead down from the house. We are proud of the brick work (Bob S. and Terry M. would be proud of their pupils!) . Not like the ones in the picture below which me made for Gawber and Wentworth to go up onto the shed roof. What a nice vantage point for them.
The veggie plot starts showing signs of new life with seedlings of carrots, spring onion, spinach, lambs lettuce and radishes. We are still continuing to harvest two types of lettuce, leaks, cabbage and early sprouting purple broccoli just starting to crop. The potatoes are in but showing no signs of life. In this area most of the locals follow the phases of the moon as a planting guide that we do not always follow. One of our friends in the village, Manolo, has helped me to graft a wild cherry tree in the garden with some dark juicy cherries - an old variety. We now have horses in the bottom field and calves nearby, nice sound of bells in the morning to accompany the early morning chorus - lovely.We recently went otter spotting in the river Piloña at Arriondas. It was an interesting evening but not an otter in sight, better luck next time.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

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The weather continues to be warm and sunny throughout the day with cool evenings and early morning frosts. Spring flowers are coming though in abundance with swathes of Aconites, Primroses, Hepaticas, Hellebores and Violas. The vegetable beds are full of oats at the moment - this is used as a green manure and also helps to break-up the soil to minimise digging. We are still gathering cauliflowers, leeks, cabbage, sprouts and lettuce with early purple sprouting broccoli beginning to show. Needless to say the freezers are almost full and there is a growing range of produce to 'dip into' should we need to.


Wentworth and Gawber are venturing further afield and luckily with no more tree climbing adventures. Mice, voles and lizards are amongst their latest finds........Wentworth usually eats whatever he catches whereas Gawber plays with it then passes it on to Wentworth.
video
We have created a small 'Bog Garden' near the orchard and are planning to make a start on the patio area in the next few days. The fruit trees have been pruned and various beds have been tidied.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bullocks and Hounds

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The past two weeks have been really warm and sunny during the day with cooler evenings and the occasional short-lived shower. We have spent increasing amounts of time in the garden, preparing beds, tidying leaves and pruning fruit trees. Bullocks have been brought to the field at the far end of the garden - the kittens have made good friends with them and often share the same patch of grass. There is a downside though........the local farmer comes every 2-3 days to check on his herd, bringing with him two lively and large dogs. Twice this week we have had to rescue Wentworth from the top of trees, in absolute panic after being confronted with these two hounds. 30 foot up a cherry tree begging a kitten to come down is no joke especially when Gawber spots him and starts to climb the same darn tree. At one stage Luis and I were stood underneath the tree with a sheet held by the four corners shouting "come on Wentworth, Jump." Until we realised what idiots we were.......Ah the joys and responsibilities of pets!
Spent a couple of days walking the coast near Llannes and discovered some lovely new coves and beaches. Luis is away for a couple of days in Palencia region. He is demonstrating rush and cane seating at a large agricultural and craft show. I am kitten sitting and getting on with jobs around La Pasera. We have held the first two meetings to discuss the setting up of an Arts Association and ideas are coming thick and fast. We will keep you posted. Keep warm back in UK and don't forget to tell us your news........