Thursday, May 14, 2009

The cycle has begun- Trying new things

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Toms undercover for protection:


Luis here:
This year´s vegetable growing season started during the Winter months with the ordering of organic seeds and the sowing of some seeds that we collected last season from a nice sweet pepper called "Isla" and a medium hit chilly pepper. We have started gathering salad leaves from the seedlings we grew. Others have been planted in pots and are awaiting to be planted in the ground over the next few days. Over all we are pleased with the results - the peppers and chillies are still a bit behind but the tomatoes that we raised from seed already show some flower buds. This year we are trying two different varieties of tomatoes one is called Alicante and the other Brandywine which is supposed to be an old variety and the tastiest of tomatoes from the 1800's. This season we are also experimenting with sowing some seeds of carrots and beetroot in PVCu pipes cut in half, once the seedlings get to a certain size, you open a shallow trench in the ground and slide down the compost containing the seedlings into position. Hopefully this will prevent decimation by a grub called a Leather Jacket. We will let you know if this technique works. We have also experimented with chitting certain seeds and this has worked well with the butternut squash, cucumber, marrow, sweet corn and french beans. We also buy seedlings from a local market: onions; leeks; cauliflower; aubergines.

Drain pipes make a handy seed drill:

Saturday, May 09, 2009


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We have two orchids growing outdoors on a sheltered bedroom terrace. These were brought with us from the UK and have survived well and cuttings successfully grown on and given to neighbours in the village.

Wild orchids have become a special treat each spring as they emerge around the garden.

This time of year brings a flush of orchids amongst the meadows and grassy verges. May is the time to see Asturias come to life with large areas of unspoilt lowland and highland meadows. We are lucky to have some native orchids growing in our garden and take care each spring not to cut them. We encourage wild unkempt areas to enable a range of native species to grow and become host to insects and spiders. Later in the year the birds gather grass and wildflower seed.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Artesania La Pasera

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Part of the plan when moving to Spain was to carry on the chair restoration work we had developed in the UK. We had built up a reputation for re-caning and re-rushing antique chairs at various craft and antique shows. We brought over 60 chairs and stool with us to Spain, bought in preparation at various antique fairs around the country. These were stored at Rita's (Luis' Sister), in one of the many outbuildings. We have since developed our contacts here and now enjoy a steady stream of clients including local antique dealers,furniture restorers and individuals. In addition, we demonstrate at two fairs locally - a street market in Nueva and a furniture and trade fair in Arriondas. Luis demonstrates rush seating and I demonstrate either seagrass or bergere cane work. We are allowed to take along various chairs and stools to sell, so throughout the year we gradually repair, renovate and re-seat some of the stock in readiness for the fairs.
A Thonet Two-seater for a private client

A Seagrass Stool for the Fair

A Child's Rush Chair in progress

The finished Thonet

More chairs lined up for restoration

Ready for the Fair - A Pair of Armourial Victorian Chairs