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.