Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hot and dry - saving water.

August has been hot, well hotter than usual for Asturias. We had little rain in spring and only a few days of rain in early summer so things are suffering a bit.

Large cracks are opening up in the grassed areas, the leaves on the trees are turning yellow, fruit is falling and vegetables are running to seed early. We are watering the vegetables more than normal but not the garden, it'll survive in it's own way. We are finding jobs like weeding are impossible due to the baked earth and if you try you leave the roots well and truly buried and end up just snapping the leaves of. Many plants are drying early despite the heavy morning dew.

The weather has been great for tourism but generally the numbers are down but not unexpected I suppose given the economy and risk of further austerity cuts. We are walking earlier in the day and keeping shutters closed as the sun navigates it's way from east to west. This week daytime temperatures have been hitting 34 degrees and dropping to no lower than 14 degrees at night. Our mean summer day-time temperature is usually around 25 degrees.

We try and save water where possible and always have a large container handy to take grey water from the kitchen and studio. This is usually taken to the bog garden and used to water the Gunnera which is about 5 times the size it was when first planted. With its meter wide leaves and spectacular flowers, the Gunnera forms the focal point of the bog garden which is a haven for frogs, toads and lizards, keeping it damp ensures our slug eaters are well looked after.

View across to the bog garden and the meter wide leaves of the Gunnera
Gunnera flowers

Looking back this has been the driest year since we have been here. We are making the most of the days when the heat is too much and when the muggy nights border on uncomfortable. At least we don't have wild fires in this part of the country at the moment and water isn't in short supply so we can't really complain.

We have just nearly finished building another fountain (as outdoor taps are called here) half-way down the garden as our current out door tap is situated at the front wall of the garden. Further down the garden we have two large water butts that catch rain water from the shed - it's surprising how much we can collect this way. We hope to add to this method soon with further butts or tanks collecting water from the studio and garage roof.

The cats Wentworth and Gawber are also suffering with the heat and prefer to sleep in shade most of the day and venture out at night when it's cooler. The warmer weather triggers shedding of their downy inner coat so regular grooming helps to keep them cooler and gives us an opportunity to check for ticks and fleas. We treat them every four weeks during  summer with Frontline Combo as a preventative measure and also Drontal throughout the year, for intestinal worms.

It is getting cooler as I type and clouds are gathering so it looks like the rain will return in the very near future. That is why Asturias is usually so green and lush, we enjoy a higher humidity and rainfall than the rest of Spain and are rewarded with beautiful verdant landscapes. All at La Pasera will welcome the rain when it eventually arrives.

A local bay - ideal for a swim


  1. Anonymous12:26 pm

    a local beach, is this cuevas del mar?

  2. Hi Josey - the first is San Antolin and the second is Cuevas del Mar - both lovely as you probably know.

    1. Anonymous1:16 pm

      Thanx Ian,
      haven't been over there for two years now, pity.
      best regards.


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