Saturday, 20 May 2017

Ram-a-lamb-a-ding-dong

We have two ram-lambs and they are wonderful. They are Galician sheep, less than five thousand in the world and two now live here. They are a small breed used to rough pasture and we will eat them at the end of the year. We hope that they will keep the grass down and manure as they go and so far they have been very relaxed and eaten tons. When confronted by our dogs they stamp their feet and toss their heads and the dogs back off because they have been disciplined by goats in the past and their butts hurt at the memories.

The bigger one is Rammstein and the smaller one is Uriah Sheep and we hope that they have a wonderful summer with us.

Fruit is now setting and we have apricots for the first time as well as many plums and cherries along with berries of every kind. We are very lucky to have so much.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Droughty Days

The weather continues to be mostly dry with an occasional rainy day. We never got the torrential downpours that normally defines a Galician winter and the lack of rain continues to be a problem. Headlines in the newspapers report that despite the reservoirs being almost full water issues are expected later this year. Our winter stream never flowed, there were some puddles in the stream bed but no proper flow. This means that the groundwater remains depleted. After some discussions with Tim we have agreed to downsize our vegetable growing areas this year. The soil remains poor despite my best efforts as I have been stretching the compost too thinly trying to meet conflicting needs. This year I will concentrate my efforts on the polytunnel, tyre towers and the best veggie bed. The rest will be covered and I will throw garden waste on top in an effort to improve the soil and reduce watering requirements. I see no sense in pouring effort and water onto bad soil if the expected drought tightens it's grip and the veggies are unlikely to thrive.
We are eating homegrown strawberries, broad beans and loads of salad leaves, the Chinese leaves have done very well. Fruit has set and the baby kiwis Red Ken and Issai are both flowering for the first time. Another fruit that I have never tasted.
Bees are working hard and the new cockerel Gandalf is settling in well He is a grey SureƱa Porcelana and very beautiful. He is still a bit young to take up full duties but he has two young Pineira hens to keep him company until he plucks up the courage to take on the older matronly hens.
The last of the apple trees is now in blossom and the squashes have survived the most recent heavy frosting I hope. They lost their leaves but the stalks with embryonic flowers and new leaves are still green. Tim is still back and forth to the UK but we both hope that he might get to stay here for longer than a week or two at some point. Happy growing all you gardeners out there.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Blast of Snow

I knew it was coming, timed perfectly for my Mother-in-law's visit and we went from snowy showers to this overnight.
It was the most snow we have had in the six years we have been here, fabulously powdery, all the sounds were muffled in a bubble of peace but no chance of getting out on ungritted roads up steep hills. We sit at 620 metres altitude and the views were spectacular.
The big dog loved it, the smaller dog hated it but bravely waded through the snow as I fetched wood for the stove. He wasn't going to let me die alone in the blizzard.
Poor Tim and his Mother were trapped in the hotel but their hosts were fabulous, feeding them and ensuring that they had a roaring log fire. We still have a leaking roof and no hot water so we felt that Tim's 91 year old mother would be happier in the best that money can afford locally, and we were right.
It was very beautiful though.