To gather the nuts, it is customary to tap the branches with a stick. Nets are placed on the ground prior to this to catch the fallen produce. Some nuts fall free of the husk whilst others need to be separated (manually, in our case). Last year when we went to sell our produce to the almond dealer (!!) we bought a carbon fibre rod. This implement is light enough to control accurately but heavy enough to deliver an effective whack where needed to the odd stubborn nut.
|I never imagined I would be able to wax lyrical about almonds|
We have several different types of nuts on our land. I will have to confirm with my Spanish neighbour what they are all called. The biggest and the one that is considered 'king of the nut is the 'marcona' - we have several marcona trees. These fetch the highest price if selling them on. Needless to say, we won't be selling any of these beauties. There are elongated types, which I think are called 'desmayo larguetas'. They have a lovely milky flavour. Some of the tiny ones are very hard to break and have a very strong almondy (but not bitter) flavour - I think they will be great in marzipan. One thing we have discovered is that the size of the nut shell is not proportionate to the size of the nut inside, and some of the tiny ones are surprisingly large once cracked open!
|Clockwise from top left: 1.marconas, 2.desmayo larguetas, |
3.teeny weenies, 4.regular almonds (haha)
The French beans have been planted out. Following the example of our experienced neighbours, we are planting out in mounds then flooding the furrows in between. As the soil is not very free-draining, water seeps into the mounds within reach of the roots. (Actually, I couldn't resist a quick spray with my thumb over the end of the hose as well! Old habits die hard!)
The eating of the aubergine
We did this deed last weekend. The first vegetable we had grown since arriving! It had reached a respectable 6, no! 7, no! 8 inches and cutting it should enable the one beside it to develop. We prepared a sauce consisting of aubergine, onions, garlic, fresh basil and tomato salsa made from plum tomatoes (the Spanish call them pear tomatoes!). It tasted g-o-o-o-d and we hope there will be enough warmth and light for a few more aubergine dishes on the dinner table.
The courgette plants are finally starting to produce female flowers. There seemed to be a dearth of air-bourne creatures following the rain so Mark went out and attempted hand-pollinating this morning.
We have found somewhere that sells organic fertilizer and have invested in a sack to give the plants a bit of a kick-start until the compost heap conveyor belt starts to move. We look forward to chicken manure once we have set up the hens' accommodation.
|A nearby hermitage - a pretty destination to end up at on an evening's walk|
|Pomegranates are ripening!|