Saturday, November 22, 2008

Autumn Reflections

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Luis here:
This year the month of November is a particularly wet one, it still remains warm and as yet we have not had any frost and the warm sunshine we still get is very nice and allows us to continue with some little jobs. It was only last week that we cut the wild flower meadow and we have delayed the covering of the orange tree to protect it against the cold - this year we will cover it in an attempt to protect it from the cold, strong winds and sea mist to increase the chances of it blossoming for the first time.
As the soil is on the wet side, we hope to be able to plant some onions to harvest in May in the near future. The vegetable plot continues to provides us with good organic ingredients to use in the kitchen. We are starting to harvest the last of the lamb's lettuce we sowed earlier as a trial to see if we could extend its season. The carrots sown for the same reason are doing very well and we will start harvesting Jerusalem artichokes any time- we introduced my sister Rita to them and the whole family now appreciates them. Over all, the vegetable plot has proven to be such a rewarding hobby. We have obtained our own organic vegetable seeds- Thanks Gordon for those extra packets of seeds, they are much appreciated. We are specially proud of how much we have reduced the use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers with our home made and organic alternatives that can be made with a variety of plants. We successfully used rhubarb as a fungicide and horsetail both as an insecticide and fungicide. The homemade organic fertilisers based on nettles and comfrey were extensively used in the garden which continues to evolve as more beds are created and our stock of plants increase. I continue to design and make pebble mosaics to use around the garden, the latest are intended for in front of the shed - photos of this will be posted when they are in situ. The chair business is also keeping us busy during this wet period. We continue to enjoy our walks and the latest ones have been around the coastal areas near us, the area of Torimbia gave us such spectacular views.
We enjoyed the recycling festival in Gijon at the university- a series of events including, performances, exhibitions and a variety of crafsmen coming together to highlight the need to reduce, re-use and recycle. The university of Gijon is such an impressive building, no real age but built in sandstone, granite and limestone, in a neo-classical style.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Chestnut Festival - Festival de la Castaña

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Now well and truly back in Asturias - Autumn is here with lovely colours forming in the deciduous woodland and scrub. We are experiencing wetter than average weather with little chance for the ground to dry out between downpours. We have harvested the remainder of the apples and collected walnuts from the caminos. The Chestnut Festival in Arriondas gave us an opportunity to demonstrate cane and rush work - as at other events we took along a few completed chairs for sale and hoped that we might sell one or two. The two-day festival comprises of a large furniture and artisan marquee ( where we were) and lots of outdoor stalls selling crafts, cheeses, honey, and of course chestnuts. Lots of people come into town to visit the festival and other associated events. On the first day we had a lot of interest but made no sales. On day two.....we sold every single chair and stool we took and once again had a lot of people asking for restoration work. Luis even got his picture in  the regional  newspaper and given a crystal trophy for participating!