June 2016

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!