Sunday, January 24, 2010

Artesania La Pasera

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Well here it is.......Sue's House Number Plaque that she completed whilst here before Christmas - and doesn't it look good?
Since starting Luis' blog in May last year, we have built up a terrific following. With over 1000 hits per week and 20,000 hits in total, needless to say we are really pleased with its popularity. Given that it is only available in Spanish, that is a great result. Some translation gizmos will do a poor job of converting it to English if you are really interested, otherwise you can just look at the pictures from time to time. This next week or two we are developing a link to Flickr so that more pictures can be shown. The link to Luis' Blog is: www.lapasera.wordpress.com


In addition to ongoing chair restoration Luis is busy planning a series of mosaics to incorporate into the drive - a project we hope to complete these next few months.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fennel

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The fennel has done really well this year - sweet, crisp, fresh, with a slight aniseed flavour, tender......


We discovered (can't remember how!) that if you cut the fennel at ground level, leaving the main root in the ground, you get a second crop of baby fennel later on in Spring. Now that is the sort of vegetable growing we like.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snow on the beach - Logs on the fire

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video
La Pasera is just half a mile from the coast, nestled between a small mountain range and the sea, we rarely experience freezing temperatures or snow. I understand from fellow villagers that is was nearly 10 years since snow settled here. This week we saw lots of snow, hail stones, rain, ice, strong winds, thunder and lightening. The weather was bizarre to say the least. The snow didn't stay for long but never-the-less came, covered and thawed within the day. In anticipation of the cold spell we took the opportunity to stock up on fuel. We mainly use wood to heat the house and workshop so a quick telephone call and friendly negotiations with the woodman, brought us a load of good quality (oak, beech, ash etc) logs that will ensure we have sufficient stock to see us through the winter. The wood we buy, together with wood we are given locally, is a great renewable energy source and very efficient at providing heat. Recent storms have provided us with a couple of trees from neighbouring plots - Chainsaw and wheelbarrow beckons when the weather improves. Meanwhile, along with Wentworth and Gawber, we'll be keeping warm and toasty until spring arrives.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Oink

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We have just had our good friends Sue and Sam, Mother and Son, to stay for a few days just before Christmas. Despite the dreadful snow and ice in the UK, they managed, just, to get both out here and home again. We had a really chilled time and didn't feel the need to be dashing about. Sue and Luis decided to make a mosaic number plaque for Sue's house. For anyone who knows her, it doesn't take a genius to guess what Sue choose as an accompanying decoration....a Pig. For anyone who knows Luis, it doesn't take a genius to work out how he felt about the opportunity to talk Mosaics. Teacher and Pupil, Guru and Groupie or Mork and Mindy....take your pick. Needless to say Sam and I welcomed the break and took the occasional opportunity to irritate where possible. The goggles and hats were just for show - they both love posing.

video

Monday, January 04, 2010

The fruits we grow

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One of our dreams at La Pasera has been to produce organically, as much fruit as we possibly can. To help us achieve this we have spent some time creating a small orchard. I was once told that to be able to say that you have an orchard you need a minimum of 6 fruit trees, we certainly have a greater number than that.
When we first moved to La Pasera, we inherited some mature fruit trees including 5 apple trees, two very old and hugh cherry trees, a walnut tree and several wild hazels. Of all the apple trees, we were lucky enough to have two varieties of nice eating apples, one of which is a russet (my favourite apple), the others are cider apples. With biodiversity in mind, we have planted two different types of pear (Conference and Manteca Hardy), a greengage and an orange tree, in addition, a selection of soft fruit bushes. The greengage and pears are still a bit young and we are hoping to start getting some fruits from them in the near future.
The orange tree was a birthday present from Ian´s parents and after blossoming last May for the first time, we now have a few oranges still hanging from the branches that hopefully will be ready for picking towards early Spring. The orange tree is an interesting tree as you get at the same time: blossom, very young fruits and fruits ready to be picked. As the weather gets colder, we are keeping an eye on when the locals start protecting their young orange trees so that we can do the same - they seem to have the experience and local knowledge to know these things! Last Winter we put a temporary frame that protected the tree during the few days we get, of light ground frost and, from hailstone. The photo shows some very healthy young oranges that we hope to taste in the future.


This time of year turns our minds to pruning, something that we are also slowly learning and putting into practice. The raspberry canes will need cutting, the apple trees further pruning and the young blueberries, gooseberries, red and blackcurrant bushes will all need tending and top dressing if they are to produce to their best this coming summer.                                              
Gawber on Patrol