Friday, 30 October 2015

That Autumn feeling

The nights and mornings are starting to get chilly. Although it is far from cold, the summer duvets have been put away to be replaced by the winter ones. Today I got my winter clothes out and put away most of the summer ones. I was quite disheartened to see how much useless 'stuff' there was in the boxes: clothes that are no longer needed in our new lives. But I was also delighted to rediscover some old favourites and to find that some of my clothes that have always been a bit tight now fit perfectly, including a pair of vintage Levis I bought off Ebay several years ago. I will hang on to the clothes that are now too baggy, just in case we fill out again once we settle more into the good life!

Although we are well into Autumn now, I love NOT waking up in a double glazed and centrally heated house.

What are we getting from the land at present? Quite a bit considering we've only just started! Pomegranate juice, tomatoes, green peppers, an aubergine is making a late appearance, oranges are almost there (still a little sour), French beans, lettuce, rocket, one or two last figs, apples, miniature lemons, fresh herbs, almonds and olive oil (of course), and a kind neighbour has given us some walnuts, avocados, persimmons and late grapes. There are also lots of young veg plants in the pipeline.  Some of our olives are beginning to fall and I have been picking these up as they will all add to the weight of the harvest we take to the mill in a month or two.

Last week we made some dulce de membrillo (quince paste) which is best served and eaten in Spain with Manchego cheese. We don't have a quince tree (yet) but there is one we pass on a local walk and many fruits had been lying on the ground unwanted for some time.

Dulce de membrillo - quince paste

We have had a little landscaping project on the go, to try and stabilise a bank that is being eroded. We have used the wood from old beams to try and stake and retain the soil and finished off by planting 2 new young olives at the edge of the terrace. If we manage to retain the soil long enough for the olive roots to get a hold this should help to bind the soil and stabilise the bank. 

This project has given Mark the perfect opportunity to christen the chainsaw and don his new PPE which was given to him as a leaving present from his last job.

We have had a fair amount of rainfall recently which has meant that we haven't needed to spend as much time watering. In the week, whilst we were at the garden centre, we saw a beautiful rainbow arcing across the valley. 

I have successfully rendered and repaired a crack in the wall on the balcony above our living room which had been causing water to drip in during heavy rain. I am going to finish the job by adding some decorative Andalucian tiles for extra waterproofing and they will also be very pleasing to look at.  I saw exactly the effect I want to achieve whilst out and about recently and took a photo so I had an idea of what materials to order. Now I realise I am setting up a bit of pressure for myself by blogging about doing something I haven't even done yet, but life is treating me so kindly at the moment that a little bit of positive stress should keep me nicely grounded! We brought out to Spain with us a super duper tile cutter so here goes!!! 

This is the effect I am after - hahahaha

Our poor cat Pepper has had a bit of a set-to recently. We returned from Granada one evening a couple of weeks ago and it was clear she had been in a fight (a very persistent semi-domesticated cat keeps hanging around). She was limping and appeared swollen and we were keeping an eye on things as we thought she just had a sprained shoulder. Unfortunately, she had developed an abscess which duly burst. The lovely vet has put her on antibiotics for 20 days and anti-inflammatory medication. We have to pack and bathe the wound daily with an iodine solution and apply a herbal cream. To top it all, she has to wear an Elizabethan collar, a.k.a. the cone of shame.

Poor Pepper

 She has been very good, considering she is quite a grumpy cat, and it is clear she is starting to feel better as we now have to chase her to put the cone back on after she has eaten!

Last weekend I returned to the UK for a family wedding. This meant that Mark took on the role of supervet single handedly. The wedding was a lovely occasion and it was good to see so many of my family. I realised from being away that I am well and truly beginning to consider our place in Spain as 'home'. So that I did not arrive at the wedding looking like a wild witch, I went to have my hair cut - my first appointment at a hairdresser's in Spain. I had to swat up a bit on vocabulary to use first and read that you specify the amount you want off in fingers. I asked him to cut off two fingers - well they must have been the fingers of a seasoned flamenco guitarist or an old workman because a lot came off. The friend who recommend the hairdresser said he has two rates, €20 for tourists and € 10 for locals, so my conversation with him whilst he was cutting was all about how we LIVE HERE and what we are up to now that we LIVE HERE. When he had finished I was reassured to see that he had not cut off two of my fingers. And then he asked me for €10. Great success! And what a bargain price for a wash cut and blowdry!

Last week we went to a garden open day at a cortijo at the bottom of our track. The couple whom it belongs to have renovated and transformed a ruin and 3 acres of land into a little paradise - and they even serve tea and cake in the garden! It was a lovely afternoon off for us and we got a bit of inspiration here and there for things we might like to do in the future. We were particularly impressed with the chicken house they had built and I am twitching and itching to make something of a similar design .But lets see how the tiling project goes first before I run away with myself!

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