Friday, January 19, 2018

2017 in Review

One of the few sunrises lately.  Since it mostly hasn´t stopped raining since the beginning of December, time to review how 2017 actually went (goals here).

1. Barn renovation - Nope.  Frankly, we didn´t have the money so it´s back on the list for 2018.

2. Garden - Expanded!  Tractor guy will be coming back when the water isn´t ankle deep out there.  Needless to say, it´s growing grass again.

3. Interior projects - Nope.  To be fair, we tried.  We´re still waiting for a quote for the hood installation from early December.  When prompted, the appliance guy said he ¨forgot¨ and then didn´t get back to us, again.  And when V tried to get additional trim pieces from the tile store in Madrid for the backsplash, turned out that no, contrary to what they told him over the phone, they didn´t have it in stock. This sort of thing happens a lot.

4. Experimenting - I did have a go at the dyeing, results were OK.  But no progress at all on the cheesemaking.  I should probably throw out all those enzymes and cultures in the freezer.  We did finally get a batch of beer brewed, and I made soap for Christmas gifts.

5. Water - Renovating the well is moving up to the top of the list.  Need to locate it again since it´s all overgrown and currently underwater.

6. Chickens - Nope, still no chooks.

7. Community - This is a good news / bad news one.  Good news - my former student actually got a job!  Thrilled for her.  She dropped by to catch up over the holidays and is doing really well.  Bad news, she moved to another town and we haven´t made any additional contacts.

Breo´s 2 surgeries put a real dent in the budget this year.  It´s great to see him getting back some of his old mobility now, but it kind of threw a wrench into the discretionary fund budget.  Also, it seemed like we were driving to the vet in Lugo every other day. That, and other circumstances impacted how much we could spend on infrastructure this year.  Fingers crossed that gets straightened out early in 2018 so we can make some progress.

What we did get done:

Planted some trees.  2 oaks, 1 lemon, 1 lime, 2 hazels, 1 cherry, 1 almond have survived.
Side Patio - turned the weedy, wet side area into a pretty space.  Need to re-arrange some plantings so they´re happier.
Veg - lots grew.  Battled new pests.  Improved yields.
Hosted the Inlaws for another successful stay in August.
Ate/preserved the veg.  Had one jar of tomato sauce that didn´t seal, but the rest has been good.  All the squashes have been delicious and are keeping surprisingly well.  Onions and garlic that were stored also kept well through December.  Made pickles, sauerkraut, ketchup and salsa.
Got Breo through his health issues.  He´s happy and energetic and always on the look out for those nefarious felines.

Coming up - plans for 2018!


  1. you've done a respectable amount-and considering the weather,couldn't expect more. Well done!

  2. Thanks GZ. I confess I back-slid in fall and didn´t do bed prep. Note to self - spring is really wet here, even if it seems like it will never rain again come October...


  3. Hi, Coco!

    Your 2017 was a lot like mine - a lot about the budget . . . Your veterinarians must be as costly there as they are here. But I'm so glad that Breo is doing so well. Thinking about Breo and chickens, though . . .

    I have forgotten what your dyeing project was? I was giving away a whole bunch of plain white cotton t-shirts to a charity shop the other day and my son wanted to know where they came from and I told him that I had acquired them when I was dyeing. He looked quite taken aback as he had not realized there was a point when I was "dying"!

    Actually, you really did get a lot done last year.


  4. Hi Pam,

    I tried some India Flint style eco-printing using some marigolds and nasturtiums from the garden. You fold up the mordanted fabric/scarf around the plant material and then wrap tightly around a stick. Steam for an hour or so and let dry for as long as you can stand. Unwrap, compost the plants, wash and voila. Mine are mostly blotches of color, but it´s a start. I never got around to blogging it.

    I think Breo´s surgery was probably cheaper here than the US or UK, but still. I´ve also wondered how he´ll do about flapping, clucking live birds. Fences I guess.

  5. Hi Coco,

    Good to hear that Breo is on the mend and onto the feline business. The fluffy collective sends tail wags and greetings! I hope you get a chance to blog about the well renovation when you get to that. I'm very curious about wells because you don't see that many of them around here, but on some very old farms they are there if you know where to look. The old timers down here used small windmills to lift the water up from the bottom of the well. I haven't sorted out the water systems here yet and have not forgotten your request, it may just take a while. It is complex and technical enough that it may score a page of its own on the blog. You've done some good stuff, and expanding the garden space is a great idea. Are you still getting access to the stable straw and horse manure? It is good stuff.


  6. Hi Chris,

    I´d love one of those windmill towers! They were all over the midwestern US. So practical.

    When V gets back we´re going find the borehole and make some calls to see what can be done. It should certainly be re-charged by now. Running city water from the house out to the back field seems like quite a job, but some sort of water will be necessary. Setting up the pipes and drip tape seems logical, but how do you calculate the rate water comes out of the tank, how much you´ll need stored, how much pressure required to get it to the other end of the field, the elevation you need to get the pressure, etc. Not my strong suit. Are your water pumps solar, too? A page about water would be great, thank you!

    I think the locals are going to be investigating water storage after the last few very dry summers, so maybe there will be more options available. The well diggers may have a busy year.

    I have 8 bags of bedding/manure for the roses, but it´s still too wet to dig. And there´s rain forecast through the beginning of February.

  7. Coco:

    I've never heard of India Flint style; that sounds neat. I used to love to tie-dye. I hope I have time to dye again someday. Luckily I made notes on the natural dyes that I experimented with.