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. 


  1. Thanks GZ! And have a wonderful trip! Though how you can leave that fab kiln, even for New Zealand, I don´t know.

  2. Congratulations on your new clothes line. I wanted one like that, but we could never agree as to where to put it, so for several years I had to make do with using an clothes airer, which was a flipping nuisance! But then Lester decided not to keep hay bales in the arbre attached to the tall barn, so I took the space as my own. I bought some cheap clothes line and festooned the interior with it, and voila! One under cover drying area. I also gained an under cover sitting area for when it is hot, and did not mind sitting under the drying washing!

  3. Hi Vera,

    Genius! Multitasking! Someday, when the barn has a roof and a floor, we´ll have covered drying space, too. We´ve been using one of those aluminum, collapsable things from the Euro store. They last about 2 years until the welds and joints start to go, though the size is great for an apartment with a balcony. I´ve hung on to the first and second ones, so I can hang them somewhere for drying herbs and flowers.

    I´d really like one of those Sheila Maid drying racks, mostly because I´ve watched way too much Downton Abbey, etc. But they seem pricey.

  4. Hi, Coco!

    I have been dreaming of just your sort of clothesline for years. For a long time I have hung the clothes, etc. on lines on the covered back porch (it is a pretty big porch). All of the sunny areas are taken up by garden and everything else is under trees (the cars stay regularly covered with sap and so I am hesitant). I also worry about the deer who come through so constantly. A pair raised themselves up on their hind legs and fought this morning. Imagine if they had a whim to do that while they were under some laundry!

    That is the most exquisite rosebush and the perfection of your flower arrangements always astonishes me.

    They come through occasionally and mow through the power easement on our property, maybe every 2 years. In a very short time it is a jungle again. It is on quite a steep slope and it seems like they have been coming less. :) They are suppose to cut down any trees that are leaning towards the wires, but it doesn't happen often. However, we can have those trees for firewood, so that is nice.

    Some years we have voles, some years not. You have had a terrible year. Our tomato-eating squirrels were no joke, though.


  5. Aw, thanks Pam! Basically I just shove stems into a jar until it´s overfull and then take out some, breaking a number on the way. The whole 1/2 an inch higher here, 1/4 inch lower there is beyond my patience.

    I asked a crew once if we could get some chips or something but they looked at me like I had two heads. It happens here.

    Fingers crossed about the castor oil solution. It will almost certainly get washed away with winter rains. I´m a little worried. Spring bulbs are a big deal and a sizeable investment, so we´ll see. On the other hand, I´ve never seen a squirrel, though there must be some. One year in Chicago, the squirrels ate through all the ties on a hammock so we couldn´t use it any more.

    Fighting deer! It´s like Wild Kingdom at your house!

    Enjoy your autumn

  6. Hi Coco,

    The clothesline is a really clever idea. And the roses are beautiful, and they're growing really fast. I'd heard on the radio that a huge storm was headed your way. Glad to read that it wasn't too bad in your part of the world. The line crews are taking the fire threat pretty seriously. I wonder what they do with all of the mulch too and down here they never hand it over to the locals. Oh well. No doubts that they must sell it.


  7. Hi Chris,

    The clothesline is working great. Go us! There were two hurricanes. One came straight out of the Atlantic (!), the other was what was left of Michael. Eastern Spain is really getting hammered this year, lots of terrible flooding, even southern France was affected.

    The cutting crew seem to just leave everything where it falls, though they did move the bigger trunks to the sides of the cut. I´m also noticing ¨mission creep¨ in that trees that are left standing after one session are cut down in the next to widen the gap. So on the one hand, I´m sad that we´re losing trees, but on the other, like you say, it´s a good fire break. Still not allowed to burn anything, and no more rain predicted for another 2 weeks.


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