Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 in Review

Despite the appalling loss of celebrities in 2016, on the positive side we did get quite a lot done this year.

5.  Guest Bedroom

Although this didn´t make it on the blog, probably because it´s practically impossible to photograph, we cleared out the many, many boxes of stuff, bought a sofa bed and an armoire, put down a rug and now have a perfectly serviceable guest bedroom/office. Honestly, where did people buy furniture before Ikea?  We looked locally, asked all our contacts in Madrid and La Coruña and ended up back at the Swedish behemoth anyway. The room has received the approval of several family members so far this year.   I had toyed with the idea that the space might serve as a sewing/craft room for me, but once the furniture was in, that´s really not practical.  I toy with the idea of earning a small part time income doing something online, and there is Wifi reception in that room, so we´ll see as 2017 develops.

4.  Main bath finished

Finally painted, added sconces, and finished installing the lav sink in it´s antique cabinet.  Ongoing challenges in this room are the cold (it´s the northeast corner of the house) and the shower doors which have a 1/4 inch gap in the gasket corner at the hinge that flood the floor with water every time someone showers.  We´re thinking a heated towel rack might help with the heating issue, and I suppose we´ll have to look for replacement gaskets to fix the other.

3.  Garden started

The veg patch produced well for a first timer.  I pulled out bags and bags of trash, rocks and weeds and the veg seemed to appreciate it.  The experiment to leave the carrots in the ground has produced split carrots.  The kale and beet greens are still thriving, despite several frosts.  The peas are still growing, but I expect them to succumb this month.  They´ll get plowed in in the spring.  Hoping an earlier start will help with bigger harvests this year. 

2.  Patio area

One of The Best ideas of 2016.  This patio got used practically every day once it was done.  A truly lovely spot.  We finally just moved the table and chairs over along side and hung out in this shady little corner.  Put up some solar lanterns and had many enjoyable hours chatting and relaxing.  I encourage everyone to have an agreeable little corner like this to retire to.

 1.  Breo

The best idea of 2016!  After a couple of months of adapting, Breo has taken to the place and settled into being a delightful dog, though he can be a handful.  Ongoing challenges are due to our own lack of training skills and consistent discipline.  He´s a very willing collaborator around the place and caught 2 rabbits, much to V´s distress.

He gets walked, er ¨goes on patrol¨, twice a day and, weather permitting, gets an hour or so of ball time, er ¨prey practice¨.  There is a complicated, and highly secret, buried bone rotation in place.  He likes to help dig holes and absolutely loves it when the garden requires an application of manure.

He´s diligent about warning off passersby, whether on foot or in enormous farm machinery.  He completely charmed all friends and family who came to visit and behaved quite well with other dogs, both family and strays who´ve happened by, all while maintaining the property absolutely cat-free.

We´ve switched from feeding raw to one raw and one kibble meal a day.  Mostly because, should we have to drop everything and go to Madrid for a family emergency, a dog residence will have an easier time feeding kibble, and also because the Vet is always warning us to watch his weight.  So he´s on Acana Light and Fit and he seems to enjoy it. 

On the other hand, the hair!  The ongoing, constant, unstoppable shedding.  Clouds of hair.  Tumbleweeds of hair moving through the patio.  Also, I cannot in all conscience recommend a blonde dog with black cabinets.  But here we are.

We´re delighted with him, and he seems to be with us, especially lately he´s been more and more cuddly.  It will be a year now, since we brought him home, and yes, the Reyes Magos will be bringing presents.

And in honor of the love and joy and life he´s brought to the place, we´ve named the house ¨Fogar de Breogán¨, or Breogan´s Home, which figures prominently in the Galician anthem.  Some purist Galleguistas will no doubt be offended, but that´s OK.

So that´s 2016.  Many thanks for reading and following our story.  Projects for 2017 will be forthcoming.  We wish you all the best for a happy, healthy 2017!


  1. Nice catch up post, and wishing all the best for 2017.

  2. Lovely, you have done more than we have. We must rearrange that visit to my place after three kings. Have a great 2017.

  3. Thank you, Vera. Same to you!

    I do want to visit, Nicky! It will have to wait a bit because V is going out of town for a couple of weeks and I don´t like to leave Breo for long periods of time on his own. But it will get done. Best to you for 2017!

  4. Hi, Coco!

    I think that you have done marvelously over the past year. But nothing can top you adding Breo to your family. What a joy! Those are wonderful photos of him. How about that leap in the meadow? Priceless!


  5. Hi Coco,

    That is a great looking sofa bed. They're really a good idea for guests. The antique cabinet looks good too, and that colour on the wall is just right for a bathroom! The raised garden beds would have served you well in those really wet months of the growing season. They work here when that sort of weather happens. Breo is a true delight and a great name for the residence!
    Cheers. Chris

  6. Thanks Chris! We never seem to get as much done as you do, but onward we go.

  7. Thanks Pam! He´s challenging at times, but also such a joy. Best wishes for your 2017.