Monday, January 14, 2019

2018 in Review

It´s time again for that year in review post.

I´m afraid not much on the list of 2018 got done - again.  Once again, economics got in the way of the bigger projects.

No well.
No barn.
No laundry room.

But, I did make progress on the flower farm.  Didn´t sell anything at the market as they have a waiting list and a 2 page long list of administrative requirements, but I gave away several nice bouquets to neighbors (bonus points for social engagement), had lots for guests over the summer, started up an Instagram account, refocused the Romanesca Facebook page and got actual enquiries from other businesses.  Met some guys in Pontevedra who are absolutely deeeelightful and have exactly the same interests in wild, organic flowers and greenery that I do.  They are keeping me sane and giving me hope.  If you´re in Pontevedra check out Indigobygm.  And, I´m in a Whatsup chat with several other women who are flower farming around Spain, so I can ask questions and get experienced answers.  Thank you social media!  Did a lot of reading and planted a bunch of seeds and bulbs/corms in the fall for Spring 2019.

And Breo is now enrolled in school at Montegatto, in Oza dos Rios.  We´ve signed up for 10 classes with the trainer, who will help us out on basic obedience and getting him to cooperate a little more on the leash.

And finally, we brought home Briga!  She is growing apace, and starting to settle down into a good puppy.  Not quite so much ferocious biting, lots more tail wagging and we´re tremendously relieved she sleeps through the night now.  We´ll be applying what we learn with Breo to her, and hope to have 2 well-behaved, well-adjusted canine companions by summertime.

In the meantime, we´re stocking up on more firewood during this frosty spell.  Now looking at two weeks of rainy weather, and so, so much more weeding to do.

And started some sweet pea seeds for planting out in a few weeks.  Onward and upward.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays!

This was the best I could do this year.

Because then this happened.

Wishing all of you a happy, healthy 2019!!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In the garden

The new intern, while enthusiastic, has trouble following instructions and something of a problem with authority.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mushroom season

Whilst we are incorporating Briga into the routine, getting anything done is a challenge.  So I thought I´d just post some photos of the mushrooms Breo and I have seen on our morning walks.  This seems to be a cracking year with so much rain in November.

I don´t know much about fungi. There´s a lot I don´t know about a lot of stuff, and frankly, mushrooms aren´t high on the list.  I don´t pick them for two reasons - 1.  I would no doubt poison myself directly and 2.  There are lots and lots of more knowledgeable people around who do, so I figure I should leave the ones I see to repopulate.  They are really beautiful and interesting in their range of shapes and sizes, so here is a selection.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Presenting the new Intern

Salutations and well met!

It is I, Breogán, Chief of Security and I have commandeered the glowing screen device to inform the wider public that I am happy to announce that I´ve finally gotten a staff increase approved by management.  It is my great pleasure to introduce our new intern, Brigantia, Pearl in the Crown of the Ancient Kingdom of Galicia.

She has mastiff credentials on her mother´s side with additional guarding qualifications in German Shepherd (and I suspect from his impressive mustachios, some wire-haired gryphon tracking aptitudes, as well) from her father.  All in all, she brings the whole package to the mix. She comes to us highly recommended and I´m sure will be an invaluable addition to the operation.

She is quite young at eight weeks, but you can never start too early with a new recruit and I fully expect her to be assisting in standard investigative and monitoring operations within a few months.  I will, of course, personally oversee her progress and initiation into the mysteries of the Mastiff Code and ongoing training in critter patrol, bone hiding/rotation and ball keep-away.

In the meantime, please join me in woofing her a warm welcome to the team.

Constant vigilance!

A courteous canine wag of the tail to all.

Breogán, The Belligerant, Bone Crusher, Cat´s Bane, Celtic Cur
Head of Security

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A change in the weather

As predicted, no sooner had we put up the clothesline than the weather changed.  First, a plunge in temperatures with snow on the hilltops, then wet and rainy.

Leaves are starting to turn and mushrooms are popping up all over.  The woodstove is crackling.

Fortunately, the rain means the burn ban has been lifted, so we got 2 years worth of trimmings and weeds out of the way.  Last year, it started to rain in November, didn´t quit until May and something always prevented us from doing it when we had a permit number up to July when burning is banned for the summer, so at least we´ve gotten something accomplished.  This, after moving a pile of beams, will allow for expansion of the growing space.  Assuming it stops raining.

Musings on mulch.  I was delighted to find straw at one of the ag stores and bought some for mulch on paths and beds.  Unfortunately, as you can see, it doesn´t do the job.  And it also provides cover for the d@mn voles.  So off will come the straw from the beds and I will hand weed.

Got the foxgloves and the early sweet peas in.  Next up are the aquilegias, dutch iris and tulips.  And I´m unsure about when to dig and lift the dahlias, as they need a hard frost and there´s no telling whether we´ll get one or when.

And sadly, I learned of the sudden death of an old friend from my university days in Texas.  She broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding, both valuable things in your twenties.  I reconnected with her again after 20 odd years via social media, and learned of her passing the same way.  I always thought someday she´d come over and we´d share some good food and better conversation.  RIP Tipler, you´ll be missed. Suddenly, these misty autumn days are more poignant and melancholy.

Monday, October 15, 2018

And furthermore

Small improvements.  After discussing for years where it should go, we finally got a clothesline up.  Just in time for the weather to turn, and we´ll probably have to dry clothes inside anyway.

We had the posts made at a metalworks down the road. The trick was keeping it relatively close to the house, but out of potential traffic patterns, and far enough from the trees to avoid bird droppings.  Now lots of space for sheets and pairs of jeans.

The roses are giving their final performance.  Here, Apricot Nectar celebrates the cooler temperatures with an explosion of apricot. She seems to be hitting her stride in her third year.

The electrical crews came and laid waste to the areas under the high tension wires.  These guys don´t mess around!  It seems to me they might as well put down some grass and give a concession to a shepherd as pay a team of guys with heavy equipment every few years.  By next spring, this will all be bracken again.

Tasks in the garden are bringing in the (very few) pumpkins, taking out the remains of the veg, reconditioning the beds and planting fall bulbs.  The daffodils are the only bulbs that come back here, and I thought it was lack of chilling hours.  But since the voles ate half the carrot harvest and did some damage to the potatoes, now I think they ate all the tulips and crocus that were planted.

Fencing barriers and layers of grit aren´t practical in my cut-flower context.  My dear friend W, brought me a bottle of castor oil from my favorite chemist shop in Madrid on a recent visit, and I´m going to try a mix of oil, dishwashing liquid and water as a vole repellent.  I read that cats are the only reliable method of control, but Breo has vetoed that option.

In local news, a friend had an unplanned litter of puppies, so I figured flowers were appropriate for becoming a new ¨grandma¨.  More on this anon.

The sad, wet remnants of hurricane Michael are passing over this week.  Hopefully, the fire ban will be lifted and we can get the burn pile taken care of.  After that, I´m hoping to call the tractor guy to expand the planting area again and then I´ll have until next spring to trench, shape the beds and fence.