Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Breo Report


this is Breogán, chief of security, reporting from operation Fogar de Breogán, or ... my house.

Commandeering the glowing screen thingy after the shocking lack of reports on my convalescence.  I´m now 13 days post surgery for my torn anterior cruciate ligament.  The injury was sustained on duty while in pursuit of a suspected intruder of the fluffy tail variety, and left me limping and unable to adequately fulfill my duties.  Rapid pursuit was out of the question.  I could barely confront strangers who approached the compound perimeter.  Constant vigilance!

Fortunately, my team have mostly stepped up and are coping during my recovery.  The female staffer is a keeper.  By that I mean housekeeper, groundskeeper, gate keeper and bookkeeper (while I am monitoring evening neighborhood movements, she reads a book.)   She is also the keeper of the bones, which I am gratified to note, have not been lacking.  With my movements strictly curtailed, I would go stir crazy without something crunchy to snack on.  Despite my injury, buried bone rotation policy is strictly enforced on an ongoing basis.  She also monitors my bandages, and provides physical therapy in the form of tummy and back scratches which are greatly assisting in my recovery.  Perhaps that´s the reason for blog-silence.

The male staffer is the operation´s PR person.  I deduce this from the hours he spends talking loudly on the phone and looking at the glowing screen.  But, to his credit, he has stepped up patrol frequency, at least as far as the patio, and continues night shifts which started when I first came home from the operation. In addition, he has provided activity objects which allow me to hone my crushing, rending and tearing skills.

Primarily, my duties now consist of supervising the female staff as she excavates and providing alerts, should vehicles or individuals approach.  Although long range reconnaissance is impossible at this time, local patrols and perimeter checks continue on a regular basis.  Communication channels remain open with auxiliary outposts in the surrounding territory and alarms duly repeated as necessary.  Constant vigilance.

The stitches came out Friday, and a case of rash has precluded more bandaging.  The vet staff have been universally impressed with my physique and forebearance.  The now regulation applications of sticky stuff on and around the injury are a constant temptation to self-cure by licking.  I know I´m not supposed to take measures into my own paws, and when I can´t help myself, the staff bring out the collar of shame.  I hate that.  So undignified.

I fully expect to begin extending patrols for longer distances next week.  In the meantime, I am happy to report that I was finally provided with a sofa worthy of the name on which to recover.

A cordial wag of the tail to my canine comrades.  Keep to the Mastiff code.

Signing off,

Breogán, Bonecrusher, Cats Bane and Celtic Cur.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

More May Showers

Last few days have been very wet.

But I did manage a personal best, fitting 8 bags of manure in the car.  And they let me have it for free because I shoveled out the stall myself.

Now waiting for the ground to drain to keep digging. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

May showers, May flowers

Finally had a few showers, mostly during the night.  There was a downpour with some hail earlier this week, which didn´t help people with grape vines who suffered a frost a week ago, but didn´t do any damage here.

Seeds still germinating.  The squashes have been potted up, waiting for new beds which will require a trip to the horsey place for manure.

Got the tomato panels up and some RAF and some Santiago black tomato starts planted.

Gave up on the parsnips and turned the bed that will be peppers.  Ate the garlic scapes in a scramble and a stir fry.  Now, enjoying fresh salads, too.

Calima bush beans transplanted.

And FINALLY the potatoes showed. Whew!

Iris are still going.

Don Juan looks spectacular.  Unsurprisingly, I´m a little in love with him.

V couldn´t wait and planted some annuals in the beds around the old oven.

An unknown rose, fighting with the old grapes for a space.  Unfortunately, no scent.

The unknown pink rose that climbs the crabapple.  She smells really good.

Breo enjoying a sunny break.  Judging from the dirt on his nose, he´s been in the veggie plot again.  Must arrange more secure fencing.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

Lots in flower.  April, in general, was very warm and dry.

A good year for iris, which are some of my favorites.

Don Juan is the first rose to bloom.

Oddly this year, first came the daffs, then some tulips, then the crocus, and now more tulips.

Seeds update.  Great germination from the sweet peas, also the calima bush beans were almost 100%.  Some of the squash are up and getting true leaves.  But the tomatoes have barely made an appearance, the peppers not looking spry, and nothing on the tomatillos or the indigo.  Have since sown more indigo, cucumbers, zucchini/courgettes, herbs and flowers.

In the garden, my neighbor gave me a sack of sprouted potatoes so they went in.  I checked the early reds and found only a very few with eyes showing, so I replanted those and composted the rest.  So much for early.

Onions planted last weekend.  Mostly the local ¨chata¨ which are a little squat, but great keepers,  and some regular Spanish onions too.

Peas are up, lettuce thinned twice.  You can see the nasturtiums that overwintered on the wall. I´ve tried transplanting volunteer seedlings, but they all seem to die.

Breo ¨helped¨ thin the carrots, so they´re uneven but coming along.  No sign of anything resembling a line of parsnips.  Seriously considering planting peppers here and trying the parsnips again early fall.

Ripe strawberries.  Two of them!  That´s one more than I got last year.  Birds must be busy doing something else this year.

And the currants are showing fruit!  Is that early?

Found ants had set up housekeeping in the bagged soil.  Made some worm tea for the seedlings. 

Hoping to get the panels for tomatoes up this weekend. Scapes on the garlic have to be cut and made into something delish.

In ¨Sprung¨ news, Breo has been limping on and off since January so we finally took him to the animal hospital in Lugo for x-rays and a diagnosis.  We´re told he has a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his knee (ACL).  This is apparently quite common in large, active dogs.  He´s taking anti-inflamatories.  Surgery is expensive, but left alone the joint will get arthritic and since he´s only 4, that hardly seems fair.  So, he´s scheduled for surgery in May and we will have to think of ways of keeping him absolutely quiet, no jumping on furniture, no racing to bark at tractors or passersby.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Chipirones en su Tinta / Baby squid in ink

 Link - we ate ours before I could get a picture

Something to change up the usual fish night offering.  Ink is sold in little frozen packets here, and is not really necessary since I don´t think there´s a distinct flavor change after you add it.  But it makes for a dramatic presentation.

Minced garlic to taste
1 leek chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1 medium green pepper chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
1 lb baby squids, cleaned and de-beaked.  Stuff the tentacles and fins into the cavity.

Heat a little olive oil in the pan, add the garlic for a moment then the vegetables, sauteeing until soft.  Add the white wine and allow to reduce 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper the squids lightly and add, lower the heat and simmer 20-25 minutes, covered.  Add the ink and stir to incorporate.  Serve with white rice.

Notes:  Tasty and simple.  I´d say that the stuffing needs a little something more, i.e. breadrcumbs and parsely or lemon or chives or something.  It would also probably be worth removing the squids at the end and puree the veggies and sauce for a more sophisticated presentation.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Seeds started

Garden update for 2017.

Beds from last year have been turned and weeded.  Carrots, peas, lettuce and spinach are up.  No sign of early potatoes yet.  Garlic looks good but no scapes yet.  Need weeding.

Blueberries (which are actually whortleberries, I think) and strawberries are flowering.  Rhubarb starts and sage and parsely OK.  Direct sowed some sweet peas for color and cutting, plus polinators.

No sign of the parsnips yet.  Started on the end of the potato bed thinking I´d put the tomatoes there.
I´ve a bit of a dilemma regarding the potatoes.  Can´t find seed potatoes except in 25k sacks, which seems rather a lot.  Could buy some that don´t look sprayed from the grocery store, but they tend to have mysterious black spots when peeled which gives me pause.  Am seriously considering not planting potatoes and using the already dug bed for something else.

Added to the seed potato shortage, we´re having mid 80s and no rain for most of April.  The direct opposite of last year.  I´ve started watering regularly. Perhaps I should consider buying potatoes and using the bed for more tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash.

Speaking of which, they are also MIA.  But germination conditions couldn´t be better, sunny and warm.  I´ve been schlepping them out to the patio every morning and bringing them in every evening.  Some of the seed is pretty old now, and I don´t have freezer space to keep them well, so fingers crossed.  If I have no luck with germination, I can still buy starts at the farmers market or the ag cooperative, but they won´t be either special or heritage/open pollinated.

Monday, March 27, 2017

What to do

When you can´t get anything done outside?

Start getting the bottles and pans together for a brewing session!