Saturday, April 21, 2018

Catching up

A potpourri of recent activities.  The rhubarb continues to bloom.  This is for all of you who prefer your rhubarb in nice red stalks, just so you know what a blooming plant looks like.

Also, they came and finished the installation of the stove hood.  There was a lot of grinding and a strong smell of ozone in the kitchen when they finished, but it does the job.   I might not have used white silicone caulk, but it´s done.  Now I really want a steel plate to cover the hole in the wall where the stovepipe goes to the chimney.

And since there was a sudden break in the weather, and we´re now getting 24C/80F and sunshine, the mud has turned to cement.  The pasture grass came back while the rain was falling, so I´ve gotten some black plastic and weed fabric spread to try some occultation weed control until I can get to making the remaining many, many raised beds.

In the meantime, I got a start on planting the roses that were languishing in their pots.  Th fence posts are in, but I haven´t found a local source for plastic rolled fencing to keep Breo out of the garden and provide a little wind break.

Speaking of Breo, it is such a joy to see him galloping around like his old self.  We´re still pondering finding him a little sister to play with, since he thinks I go outside just to throw him the ball all morning.

And lastly, as I was giving him some well-deserved tummy scratches, he swiped me with a paw and managed to scratch my eye.  I guess my reflexes aren´t what they used to be.  So I´ve spent the last few days recovering in piratical fashion with eye patches, and applications of antibiotic ointments and eye drops.  The good news is I got a tetanus booster in the process so I can fling manure and compost around with even more abandon.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mutant Rhubarb

As I´m setting posts to keep Breo out of the new patch, I have a question.  Is this normal? Rhubarb planted last year.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Building an Ark

Whilst it continues to rain, we´ve at last made progress indoors.  The second set of appliance people finally, after 2 months, came and installed the stove hood and dishwasher!  Woot!

It´s not quite done, though functioning.  They´re supposed to be back to put up the rest of the stainless steel covering for the tubing after the holiday weekend.  We´ll see.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!  Stay dry.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Still vexed

Thanks for nothing, storm system Felix.  Salvaged a few sweet peas, everything else lost.  Two more weeks of rain in the forecast.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Spring update

Took advantage of a week of sunshine (!) to spread some manure, leaves, worm castings and pine mulch.  Moved some roses that were unhappy or too big for their spots, pruned everything that isn´t going to be moved or in a pot.  Moved some Japanese maples who were unhappy and planted some bleeding hearts in the shadier beds.  Also moved some gladiola bulbs because V thinks they look like funeral flowers.  My glutes are talking to me.

And the tractor guy came and re-tilled the veg/flower patch!  It looks fabulous.  And we rediscovered the well, which is currently under water.  I guess it re-charged.

Now, we´re supposed to get snow and then 2 weeks of rain, again.  Spring, how you vex me.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Looks like the old oven didn´t like 3 months of continuous rain, either.

Not looking too bad after V cleaned up.  More stones for the pile.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Valentine´s Day

Spain imported 185,2 million euros worth of cut flowers and plants in 2015, flowers sold mostly on occasions such as Valentine´s Day, Mother´s Day and Todos los Santos.  The majority of these come through Holland and are shipped in, even if they were grown in Spain originally.

Since the 1990´s, cheap imported flowers from South America and Africa have had an enormous impact on domestic production, both in the US and Europe.  Items imported from abroad are not required to meet the same labor and environmental standards as those grown domestically. The flowers in your typical supermarket bouquet, in other words, were likely tended by underpaid laborers exposed to harmful pesticides, preserved with chemicals, and cut days or even weeks earlier.

Needless to say, this is hardly beneficial to local economies or the environment.  And, much like the local food movement, Debra Prenzing and the Slow Flower movement have been working to raise awareness in the States of the impact of domestically produced flowers.  Their manifesto:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:
  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry
 So, should you be of a mind to send someone some lovely flowers for Valentine´s, please consider asking for locally grown, be they American, British or Spanish grown flowers.  Grown not flown.

Some links:

Flowers from the Farm - UK

American Gown Flowers - CAG United States

Floret Flower Directory - US/Canada/Worldwide

Floritismo - Barcelona area Florist/Farm

FlowrswelcomeHome - Madrid area Florist/Farm

Special mention to Georgie Newbery at Common Farm Flowers in Wincanton, Somerset (I really, really want to go to one of her workshops this year).

Meanwhile, this is what it looked like here this morning.  Sigh.