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.