Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Separating the house/garden blog from the arts and crafts stuff.
Back when I thought I´d be a soapmaker, I came up with the name Romanesca, referring to the Romanesque, a style I love for it´s simplicity, strength and beauty. Í´d like to eventually use the blog and facebook page for a whole range of farmstead crafts, and associated events. We´ll see if any turn out to contribute to the cottage coffers.
The new blog is here. Icons to the right link to Facebook, Pinterest and an email address. Eventually, there may be an Etsy page, but I´m still struggling with mailing rates and photos. I´m not especially social media savvy - so follow/like or whatever won´t end up annoying you, as you wish.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
July 25th is the Day of St. James, or Santiago, and Gallegos dedicate almost 2 weeks of concerts and events in Santiago de Compostela, finished off with a giant multimedia fireworks display over the cathedral.
But what I´d really like to see is the Diá do Traxe Galego, with the runway and parade. The variety of regional costumes from the mountains to the coast is really fascinating, some of them being family heirlooms. This year it´s Sunday the 20th.
Monday, July 14, 2014
(The Chieftains!!! - C)
Thursday 17 July
Royal Burgh of Renfrew Pipe Band
Proxecto Runas 2014:
Xabi Aburruzaga Band
Pepe Vaamonde Grupo
Escola de gaitas de Ortigueira
Dominic Graham School of Irish Dance
Bellón Maceiras Quinteto
Fest Rock (Bagad Kemper+ Red Cardell)
Anxo Lorenzo band
Parade of bands of the Celtic Nations.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
They´re putting on the first Festival del Indiano in Ribadeo this weekend. Los Indianos were those who emigrated to the Americas in the 19th century, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, et. al., and came back rich the frst part of the 20th century. They built ostentatious houses in Asturias and Galicia, set up businesses and some actually did quite a bit of philanthropic work like funding schools once back in the old country.
With so many ¨medieval¨ activities, it´s nice to see a change. I hope everyone gets out their white linen and makes it a rousing success.
Images from the facebook page.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
36 inches of lovely black dirt next door
First, a rant. When our neighbor to the east indicated the line for the new retaining wall separating the properties, there was a certain amount of excavation to be done to straighten it. The fill was dumped on our ¨back 40¨, next to the hill of dirt already waiting to be redistributed. So far so good. But when I went out to take a tour of our dominions, I noticed all manner of plastic, metal, and general refuse mixed in with the stones and dirt I was expecting. I spent a couple of hours filling 3 garbage bags with bailing plastic, plastic bags, rebar, foam insulation, styrofoam, and broken glass. Some genius had decided they really needed to spread the ¨infill¨ out and then run the tractor back and forth to really, really compact it down. The deeper I dug, the more garbage was revealed. Now, I fully expect to have to build some kind of sifters and go through all the stone/gravel/dirt/construction debris that´s accumulated over the last 3 years, cartload by cartload, but I physically can´t get down through this stuff to lever it out of the ground.
But that will have to go on the list of earth works - along with Mount Doom, now covered with weeds, and the giant pile of old wood scrap that was taken out of the house and barn when we started. unlikely to have any use now it´s been sitting out in the elements for years. Probably providing some dandy habitat, though.
General plan, updated to reflect the new house size and boundary.
The pile of rock occupying the parking area is reduced, but by no means gone. That´s actually good, since I keep coming up with new plans for stone - patios, terraces, steps.
I´ve gone back and forth about what to do along the other section of wall separating their garden from ours. At first I was all for a line of espaliered fruit trees, pruned high enough to admire the stone and tall enough to provide some screening, but I´m concerned about tree roots pulling down the wall and invading the vegetable beds. Also, anything tall will cast some shadow on their plot, which seems unneighborly. Panels or trellises for peas/beans/other climbers? I also thought about a step-over espalier of pears and apples between the beds and the barn. Might prefer a fence to keep out the chickens.
Is it better to try some lasagna layers over the winter to kill the grass and then excavate levels in the spring? Or just hire/rent a big machine and get it all over with. Can´t really afford that.
Good crop of elder flowers this spring, the apples and pear struggle on, big pruning job there. No sign of nuts on the walnut, again. I found what I think is a quince buried under the re-emergent blackberries and grape jungle on the south side of the barn.
Yes, there´s a barn under that
Other things I must have, some roses (alas, the hedge rose cuttings I took in June all died), a mock orange, some roses, peonies, lilacs, Christmas trees and hydrangeas. Another consideration is a cover for the patio on the south side of the house. I don´t think we can afford to roof it right away, so should we just settle for a wire structure for the traditional grapes or kiwis, or a pergola. Neither will do much for rain, but at least a pergola seems like an intermediate step to a covered space.
En fin, enough yammering. There´s lots to be done.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
It´s San Juan again. The most poplar activities associated with this holiday are leaping over bonfires and then taking a dip in the ocean, or roasting and eating sardines. But there is another, less well known pre-christian tradition, making a preparation called el cacho made from seven herbs and water from seven springs, used to banish witches.
Tradition dictates that during the June 23, the eve of San Juan, the Galicians collected seven different herbs with three basic qualities: they must have a special smell, multiple applications in medicinal remedies and be the best to drive away evil beings.
Although possibilities are many, the seven traditionally are fennel-called Fiuncho, St. John's wort, lemon verbena, male-fern or Fento, rosemary, mallow and laburnum.
Along with these herbs water from seven different natural sources is collected and everything mixed in a bowl to make the cacho, which used to remove the devil from the body, ward off witches and cure envy.
After being left outside all night to collect dew, the scented, green cacho is used to wash on San Juan, and after air-drying, guaranteed a healthy year and the absence of witches. After San Juan, the herbs are left in the sun to steep further and the resulting infusion used throughout the year in home remedies. Others gather the herbs and hang them over the door, or burn them on the bonfires.