NEWS

More than 3 months have passed since I fell in the mountains. The broken bone, the ruptured ligaments etc. seem to give no further complications. A 2nd opinion noticed CPRS (algoneurodystrophy) which makes rehabilitation much more difficult, but it seems, we managed to not let it increase, but to decrease the effects a bit due to intensive fysio/exercises/massages etc. Also, an MRI scan 2 weeks ago showed chondromalacia patella grade 4; which means, that there is no more cartilage behind the patella (knee).

So no more ‘’dreaming’’ of mountain climbing, bungee jumping, Tour de France bicycle riding or beachball or rugby….And it limits the amount of bending the knee. So now, after learning to walk again, the focus is on reinforcing the muscles and keeping as much as possible ‘’movement’’ in the knee without overdoing it. I left the ‘’bed residency’’ and sitting in our office room in front of the computer. After 2-3 weeks of rollator walking, I’m on crutches, and sometimes even only on 1. So my ‘’speedy chair’’ is only used at night. Can put my sock/shoe on.

So many things have improved; I’m walking much more now. Swimming exercises every day 1-2, fysio 3x/week, and intense training sessions at home with weights etc. We are seeing the progress, but it will take a long effort and much more time and we still not know, how far rehab will succeed. But we fight. Won’t give up.

 

Joost has done a great job in managing the garden; of course we had to make some decisions; he can’t do it all alone with me….So the only thing that is in the garden now, are peppers/chili, and potatoes, onions, tomatoes and lots of other stuff have been harvested/processed and are waiting to be eaten. Now he is cleaning the land; ploughing etc. And we await, if we get saffron in October (which we replanted after 6 years). Pears, apples, grapes, lemons, nashipear. So much fruit. Surprised, we are not looking yet like fruits…

 

Catootje, our last ‘’wild’’ one who came to us, passed away. Felix (a slender, young black white male) and Droppie (a white/black big male) are applying to be part of the family, so if our cats adopt/accept them, who are we to not doing so as well? Right now, we see them daily at the food, and Felix seems not to be so shy as Droppie. We’ll see. Blacky is the only one, who loves to cuddle, and drops in every night for 1-3 times, to feel our hands, to lay on me, and then goes to sleep in his penthouse….

 

Joost and I are cooking together; I’m sitting at the table, cutting, preparing, etc., instruct but after so much time, he is doing a fantastic job and becomes a good cook; love it! Since garden work is now almost ‘’over’’ (he just harvested all almonds), there is a bit more time to relax/taking it easy. And that’s good too. 

Where do I start? So many things have happened, so many things we've done...

Well, we are still fighting as a small group against the asphalt factory and it seems, that we have gained some succes, but we are not yet there; the plant still stands (but still) but we won't stop until it's over. Endless hours of investigation, reading juridical complex papers, issuing allegations, acusations and so on. However, the good thing is, we have a lawyer, who is dedicated, very knowlegdeable and she is helping us with strategy, knowlegde, advice and activities. Just did an interview for a local tv station, I coordinate and inform people about what is going on.

Gardening: a huge amount of citrus fruits, what a blessing! we still have every day our juice; we are now terminating the peaches, figs starting to come, apricots were lovely and first tomatoes are getting red. I had everything under control...until I fell on may 23 and broke a bone in my right leg, ankle sprained and heavy torn knee, of which we don't know yet if there is some problem undetected yet,  and a ligament torn and so on...not so nice...

After 2 weeks in complete bandage/brace from toe to butt (which was very inconvenient and I could not get in/out of bed without help), they changed it to one of toe - knee, which meant, I can move around with my office=seat w/wheels; I am able to do a lot more, not so dependent anymore. And as Joost had set up a ''bed office'' with a monitor on my bed, mouse and keyboard, I can work, whild\st resting my leg. Just this monday, they told me in the hospital, they want to start rehab. Whilst the bone is not yet 100% healed and the ligament not yet fixed completely. Well, if I can, the sooner the better!

So you can imagine, our life has been turned up a bit: Joost is taking care of me, cooks, does the garden, and I help where I can. 

Earlier this year we have isolated our roofs; and made sure, no more water can enter anymore. A hell of a job, but it pays off now too; with 36 degrees on the day, inside the house it stays around 24 degrees C. Excellent. 

Taking pictures has come to a slowdown since Joost is so busy with taking care of everything, but the moment I can walk a bit steadier, we will go out, enjoy the nature. However, a walk in the mountain is not scheduled soon......

Our 6 cats are doing fine, and just one of us is coming every eveing to cuddle a while; all others are too independent. They find it strange, that I'm on ''wheels'', and not outside, not working in the garden. Strange....Well, I hope soon it will turn out fine. There are worse things. 

 

 

Hope, all readers have been ‘’gliding’’ in a good way into the new year. It will be a new year with more challenges, some politicial turbulencies and so on…My sincere hope for you: happiness, health and enjoy life.

 

Since november, a lot of things have happened. Some smaller health problems (dealt with), swimming pool being removed/replaced, but now we’re confronted with a problem on the terrace around it (due to bad work years ago)…., the roof is leaking (flat roof, must become non-flat roof); and so on. But yeah, the quad is ‘’home again’’ but in the winter time, you can’t use it; too cold...

 

Last week, just before snow came (every 30-40 years or so, there is snow here until into the town…); we picked the last tomatoes; still have a huge amount of parsley (covered); lots of citrus fruit and the last potatoes are in the ground, waiting for us to dig up (when temp. is a bit higher).

 

And hell broke loose on dec. 16th, when we found out, that there is an illegal asphalt plant on the end of the village. Since june. Which has been testing and producing some quantities of hot-process asphalt, with its toxic emissions but without any covers, filters etc….And I’m the one who feels the need to save the world. Or better; our village, our people, the valley, agriculture, economy, tourism and so on. And most important; environment and our health. Oh boy. Countless days and nights of work, endless screening, reading, laws, reglements etc. in Spanish, writing allegations, searching for arguments, looking for proven health hazards and so on. With the help of some Spanish persons, more people got informed, talks were held. Too much to tell. Last week, the deadline for the allegations ended. And yesterday there was a Town Hall meeting. Pffff..thought, no hoped actually, that the situation would turn out to the better soon, but it seems, that the Town Hall is not only stupid and blind-eyed (only looking for profit, not smart enough to discover the risks) and it might turn out to become a legal fight. No time for easy living, enjoying life, or work on the mosaic, or read or whatever ‘’pleasant’’ pre-pensioners-activity. Nope. Just work. For the well being of all of us….Will be continued

 

Catootje is not coming into the closed terrace (even with cat flap); but has its own sleeping hole and his terrace-based feeding station. Until the terrace is open, and things normalize, however, it seems, that the tenses are less, and they get along better.

 

Trees have been cut, we have ‘’cleaned’’ and cleared the various spots of gardens around the house; less plants, more open spaces. And Confucius….a nice statue, I found in a construction-hall; did ask what the price was, and when they told me, I immediately bought it. Thought it would cost hundreds of Euro, but no, only 50,-- ! So now, Confucius is waking on our entrance.

 

O yeah, almost forgot, we are in process with a company to put a new (pointed) roof….but it is not yet the best moment to ask for the permit at the Town Hall…I will send Joost there…

OMG, time flies! We just have picked 93 kg of olives and pressed them - this results in approx. 9 liter of oil. And we have still 20 bottles in stock...Quite a work, but it's done and over until next year.

We enjoy still every day grapes; and within a month, we expect that we can start with OJ, fresh, every morning. 

Our 3 freezers are full with vegg's, fruits etc, lots of peppers have been dried, and we have had a good harvest of almonds; around 40 kilo's. 

At times, our 6 cats do get along not so smoothly, but I guess, this just takes time, mostly, they get along fine...They have put on much weight for the coming winter; wauw, but we know, in summertime they are as slender as ever, so not to worry. No slim-trim-program...

A new, large mosaic will be created behind the jacuzzi. When finished, we will show pictures. 

Now it is time to prune the trees: almonds, fruits, also grapes, so lots of work to carry out.

THis year again was dry. Too little water. Fortunately, this valley does have water. Yet. But for how long? So I try to inform myself about ways of growing veggs/fruits with the least amount of water. Being prepared is better than confronted suddenly.

 

 

Time goes faster every time; already halfway 2016! Well, we have been busy. As usual....Gardening took (and takes) a great part of our free time; but all the work, the back pain and the fuzz is forgotten when we eat our organic produce; fruits, vegg's, saffron, olive oil, nuts and so on.

 

And organic eggs, laid by our ladies. However... It is very sad to tell you, that a couple of days ago, a fox has entered our grounds (via the neighbours); and killed two of our hens; one Catalan, which had already som walking problems, and one of the new Biblu-hens; just here since a couple of months. So sad. It was terrible to see the mess; the 2 chickens laying on the path; the fox was unable to carry them back over the (from our side 40 cm higher) fence. A waste and so sad. Anyway; the fence is now higher, we've checked all our fences/walls and one leak has been closed. No easy way in, fox! And should he succeed somehow anyway, the small chicken coop does not allow him to enter early morning; it is placed before the hen's house, and I'll remove the door to release the chickens in the morning, when I feed them. Of course, I understand; its us, people, to make it harder for wildlife and nature to survive, so I hope, he finds his food anyway. But not here....

 

Organic farming is very time consuming; not only with crop rotation/gardenplanning and organic fertilizers, but also with organic pest control. However, now we've found a company, that has a lot to offer; from traps with pheromons (to attract and kill the insects who harm our fruit, vegg's and olives); and so on. Organic farming is every year a challenge, but so rewarding when you eat your own produce. We've had 6 months every day our fresh citrus juice; we've pressed in dec/january again olive oil, sufficient for cooking and skin care; harvested saffron and almonds. The best quality you can get, and as fresh as possible. The chickens get organic feed - inclusive salads/greens from the garden - and the taste of the eggs is unbeaten. 

 

Joost has improved his taking-pictures-skills and enjoys this very much. We try to make a trip or a short visit once a week; close by there are many beautiful mountain/nature area's, but also in the garden we encouter many beautiful things; like praying mantis (we had over 10 cocoos, and when they hatched, they were so tiny); lots of special insects; so garden is not only great for providing us with food all year round in full, but also to discover many other things!

 

We do have the regular hassle's, other people may have as well; and we try not to stress too much, and solve it in the best way we can. Having said that, sometimes I run out of patience....

 

Our 5th cat, Blacky, who came to us last year, is the only one, who loves to sit on my lap, to be cuddled. When I'm working in the garden, he will visit me regularly to make me stop working and to give him attention and to take a break. The 6th cat, Catootje; is still shy, but gets closer in the garden. Last week, he was very close to me, next to me sat Blacky and a bit further away Zwartje. I saw black all over.....The other cats do get by, we've built another tower of cat-penthouses and escape routes, so most of the time, the space (and choice) is sufficient enough not to have troubles. 

 

In january I started to study serious: paleontology (University of Alberta) and geologie (various institutes and self-teaching-books); love it! However, the last 2 months were so busy with gardening; I hardly find time for it. It's fascinating, and here in Spain, I have so many opportunities, to practise my knowlegde of geology. So when we are ''out'', Joost is taking pictures of flowers, landscapes and insects/animals; whilst I will be looking at rock formations, determine the type of rocks and try to figure out how they evolved. Never a dull moment.

 

We've built a gardenshed/annex quad-garage in the 2nd part of the garden; since we've renovated the house last year, the walls have ''increased'' by at least 20 cm; so the quad doesn't fit between wall and car anymore...No problem, we've done this job in just 2 weeks, with wood; painted it, and now it functions also to keep all the gardentools neatly in place.

 

Hopefully the problem with the quad will be solved in short; 1 1/2 years ago, they refused him to pass control, because of inconsistency of data between the actual technical sheet and the quad itself. Not our fault; it seems, that the importer had messed up, and sold it to the vendor, from which we bought it a couple of years ago; it only came to light when the formal pass-date was due early 2015....Well, this is something, that has cost me a lot of energy, stress, many letters to write (in Spanish), dealing with the ''high rank'' officers at University/control stations etc. So far, it seemed a month ago, we've received the ''green light'' to proceed with changing the paperwork - at quite some cost. It would take about 2 weeks, to be ready. Well, that was 5 weeks ago....And still, my hopes are gone, but Joost believes ''it will be alright''. And if not? Then I put a sign out in the street ''Gardenshed for rent, no B&B service''......

 

 Last but not least....the plans I had to make a mosaic wall behind the jacuzzi (4.50 m long, 1.50 m high) are now concrete; I choose a design, and draw it up on scale. I'm not going to tell you what it is, surprise! But when I'm finished - which may take quite some time - I will ask Joost to put the pictures in place, like I did for the Gaudi bench. When to start? Autumn, cooler times. Now the temperatures are way too high, and anyway, summer time is garden/harvesting/preserving time!