Monday, July 9, 2018

Another project

V has a new toy and he built a little shelter for it.

In some far away future, when the barn is enclosed, the scooter will live there and we´ll use this for firewood storage.

The complicating factor was building on top of the septic tank.  So the forward posts aren´t excavated, they´re fixed with the planters.  The back posts are fixed to the wall.

He may be getting the hang of this DIY thing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


At last.  Long, warm sunny days.  And I´m always behind on the weeding.

We dug out the solar lights and the cushions for the patio.  V sanded and applied a few coats of teak oil to the table tops, and we planted some annuals in the planters.  Now, that corner is ready for barbecues and summer visitors.

Finally got enough elderflowers together to try the River Cottage cordial recipe again.  Last time, whilst lemony and refreshing, there was a nasty aftertaste to the concoction.  Apparently, there are elder trees and better elder trees.

General directions are to add lemon and orange zest to the cleaned blooms.  Shake them a lot, there were a ton of tiny, tiny black insects on them.  Also, I read somewhere to take as much of the stem off as possible.

Pour boiling water over and let steep over night.

Strain the flowers into a pot, add sugar and the juice of the lemons and orange and bring to a simmer to dissolve.  I didn´t have an orange on hand, so I just threw in a half a cup of orange juice. I also only used about 3/4 of the sugar in the recipe.

While a definite improvement on the first batch, no funky aftertaste this time, this isn´t quite as lemony and refreshing and is really too sweet for my taste, even mixed with sparkling water.  But for someone who enjoys sweet drinks, it would probably make a picturesque, summery refreshment.  I wonder if vodka would help.

Cheers from Galicia for a happy solstice and Viva San Xoan!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Raining Again

It´s been raining and cool, again.  Not much going on, other than some family drama I won´t go into here, though I managed to finish the beds in the sunniest part of the new plot.

Great year for wild foxgloves and broom.  The hedge roses are flowering, while the garden roses are a little slower to open, waiting for more sun.

I was going to have another go at Elderberry flower cordial, but they´re very slow at blooming in this weather, so that will have to be another post.

Fortunately, I have flowers to cheer up the house, just not enough to take around to florists to guage interest.  Oh well, more quality control research.  BTW I am now on Instagram as Granxaromanesca.  Will have to fiddle with the buttons on the right side column.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Viva San Isidro

In honor of the  San Isidro Labrador holiday, May 15th, another garden update. (He´s the patron saint of farmers and land laborers) a few pics of the garden progress.


I´ve started on the sunny end, dividing beds between flowers and veg.  So far, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, corn and peas have gone in, still trying to decide where to put the courgettes/zucchinni.  Believe it or not, this year I´ve got more tomato plants than room for on the two sections of fencing, so I´ll have to find space for another.  Still to germinate are the pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers and melons.  Carrots have sprouted.  I figure I have about 3 more beds on this end to put in.

After losing almost all the flower seedlings earlier, I´m struggling to get germination.  I finally direct seeded and now will have to spend a lot of time hoeing grass out of the beds.  Dahlias went in.  The sweet peas haven´t exactly leapt out of the ground, but they haven´t died either.  Roses and ranunculus are budding up and the iris is spectacular this year.

The first bouquet of 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

May Garden 2018

With better weather, summer temperatures actually, I´ve been making raised beds for planting and seeding into trays.  The soil has lots of stones, lots of grass rhizomes, and very few worms.  I despair of getting it to a  ¨fine tilth¨.

I´m happy to report that I have had more success with tomatoes this year - look, proper little plants!  I took Nicky´s advice and bought a heat mat to help out and it seems to be helping.

I´ve had some trouble with germination from both flower seeds and herbs.  You´d think herbs would germinate pretty easily, but apparently not.

I bought some onion starts, lettuces and potatoes from the farmer´s market. This week I´ll get some peas for the trellis, since the pea seeds I have didn´t impress me last year.  The lettuces are marking a row of parsnip seeds and there are some bush beans at the end of the row.  As it turns out, there´s a waiting list to get a vendor´s spot and a whole lot of paperwork required so that plan is on hold for the time being.  After the atrocious spring weather, I´ll take this year to see how the flowers and herbs do and get some experience succession sowing and conditioning.

The new roses are putting on foliage, but some of them seem to have canker, which will have to be pruned off.  It´s only affecting 2 or 3, but it hurts me to prune more off when they´re so small.  The more established roses are thriving, especially with this sun and high temperatures, as are the irises.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Catching up

A potpourri of recent activities.  The rhubarb continues to bloom.  This is for all of you who prefer your rhubarb in nice red stalks, just so you know what a blooming plant looks like.

Also, they came and finished the installation of the stove hood.  There was a lot of grinding and a strong smell of ozone in the kitchen when they finished, but it does the job.   I might not have used white silicone caulk, but it´s done.  Now I really want a steel plate to cover the hole in the wall where the stovepipe goes to the chimney.

And since there was a sudden break in the weather, and we´re now getting 24C/80F and sunshine, the mud has turned to cement.  The pasture grass came back while the rain was falling, so I´ve gotten some black plastic and weed fabric spread to try some occultation weed control until I can get to making the remaining many, many raised beds.

In the meantime, I got a start on planting the roses that were languishing in their pots.  Th fence posts are in, but I haven´t found a local source for plastic rolled fencing to keep Breo out of the garden and provide a little wind break.

Speaking of Breo, it is such a joy to see him galloping around like his old self.  We´re still pondering finding him a little sister to play with, since he thinks I go outside just to throw him the ball all morning.

And lastly, as I was giving him some well-deserved tummy scratches, he swiped me with a paw and managed to scratch my eye.  I guess my reflexes aren´t what they used to be.  So I´ve spent the last few days recovering in piratical fashion with eye patches, and applications of antibiotic ointments and eye drops.  The good news is I got a tetanus booster in the process so I can fling manure and compost around with even more abandon.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mutant Rhubarb

As I´m setting posts to keep Breo out of the new patch, I have a question.  Is this normal? Rhubarb planted last year.