The North Wind Doth Blow….
ok well as a few of you have noticed (those living here) its got colder all of a sudden and WINDY!!!! something we know about first hand. We were sat watching tv yesterday when we heard the wind get up, the wind generator was whirring round when a gust went across the front of the house bending the walnut tree then there was an almighty bang. I jumped up looked out of the window in time to see the boys cage disappearing past the wall this was followed by another crash and me dashing for the door. Throwing it open and expecting to see the cage turned over and broken not to mention the boys being hurt I found (thank god) that the noise was the shed roof which had been completely blown off including some huge metal wheels which were on top. We decided to play safe and placed the two shaken but not hurt boys inside the kitchen (very glad their cage is on wheels) then went to re-fit the shed roof.
As you can see the wind took two of the sheet metal roofing and tossed them over by the little house, knocking over the old cement mixer (destined for flower-pot) and you can also see one of the large metal wheels that was on the roof thrown to the floor. As Michael said when surveying the damage, if we had been working out there we would have been hurt most definitely had a bad headache at the very least. Two hours later as it was getting dark after collecting the sheets of roof metal, gathering the fixing hooks, cement made and used to re-fix the poles in place, roof back up and bolted into place again with the huge metal wheels used as weights we AT LAST had the job finished. One quick look round to make sure nothing else needed sorting we turned on the generator and retired for an evening of Castle.
The boys were most definitely shaken but not stirred as they sat one at either end of their roof perch, but this morning they were back cuddled up together.
They say snow is on its way along with rain but up here it means more wind……
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Book Reviews, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birds, forestry, high winds, storm damage, storms, weather, weather systems | Leave a Comment »
Bringing in the Olive Oil
This picture taken in the height of summer shows the workable part of our olive trees. The rest which we are gradually bringing into line are tucked away in the forest, but we still have around 30 trees here. Because we have not been pruning some are like large Oak trees this year they have fruit on them so they are being pruned as we go.
As most farmers will tell you here the olives are not pressed commercially until this time of the year ie., November, but up here they have been turning black since late September. Not wanting to lose any oil I decided that instead of loosing them we would do it ourselves. So I bought a small press and we started picking.
However, we found that because we had not been able to keep the trees on-line for the past two years there were not as many olives as we had first thought, oh yes there were there but they were very small, but we continued pruning, picking and pressing and so far we have 4 ltrs of oil. With a few more trees to go we will probably end up with 6 ltrs not much you may think but for us that is a lot and will take us through most of next year plus any I win at petanca. My wife also buys oil from the annual Olive and Honey fair in Perello so we do quite well.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birds, books, catalunia, farming, forestry, gardening, olive oil, petanca, trees | Leave a Comment »
Then It Rained!!!!
Right now most of you who read the blogs will know, we have been bemoaning the fact that there has been very little rain this year, in fact as a local pointed out if the river wasn’t there this part of Cataluña would be a desert. Well Monday it rained, yes it did and how. It began in the morning with the sort of thing we have got used to, a sort of drizzle that can’t decide whether to go full on or bog off somewhere else.
We had been into town to get the shopping when it began to get wet and windy, very windy. The drive home was interesting loads of twigs, leaves, rocks and stones on the road plus the odd tree by the river blown down. When we got back we unloaded the car then parked it and we just had time to grab a few logs and get the generator going before it hit. First the rain came down sideways as the wind was so strong, this led to a puddle on the bedroom floor under the closed (I might add) window it was that fierce. Next it began to come in under the front door so the mop was in action, then Michael looked out the back. We are glad he did but at the time I wished he hadn’t, it was just like a river flowing. It was so strong that it was literally flowing over the sumps of the cisterna, all that water gushing away then the generator began to splutter. So with umbrellas up jackets on we were out as action was needed and quickly.
Firstly Michael had to sort out the flow channels to get rid of the huge puddle that had formed in front of the house and was in the process of washing the sand away and had made its way into the generator shed where water was steadily rising. I held the umbrella whilst he pulled the weeds up that had grown in the channel and also blocked the runoff drain. Once this was done a deluge of water began to either rush down the slope towards the track where it continued its down hill run towards the river. The water that came out of the pipe onto the lower level would not have disgraced the effect of a water pump had we used one.
Next we tackled the shed. This was simple knock a hole in the back wall and the water came out with a little help from me and a broom. Whilst I was getting the generator shed sorted Michael went and sorted out the sumps to the large cisterna. Now this went on for around an hour and a half during which time the water from the roofs, gullies etc., filled the 5000ltr small cisterna, one of the 1000ltr cubes and 3/4’s of the large cisterna not to mention the wheelbarrow, buckets and sundry that were outside. There aren’t any pictures as we were to busy getting rid of the water, but this morning the first saffron crocus appeared in the saffron patch in the garden, the ones in the field have also begun to arrive, says everything really.
This is not how the track looks now, it’s full of gullies where the water dug it out rocks and stones everywhere, what was once a fairly smooth track now exists. The road into town was strewn with rocks and mini slides which had come down but these were the usual suspects, the really worrying bit is on a bend where there are two trees with roots exposed and they are leaning a bit. We have no idea what the top end of the track is like but the town hall has been out having a look at things so must be bad.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life, Short Stories | Tagged forest, gardening, gardens, rain, rain flooding, rivers, storms, tiempo, trees, water, weather | Leave a Comment »
Introducing the Boys
Do not go ahhh they are not as sweet as they look but we love them. I suppose I’d better start at the beginning. There is a market in one of the little towns every Wednesday, and at the top of it is the pet stall. Every time we went there Michael would stand and look at the birds. This time he went and looked at Bluebottle a couple of times muttering I really do like him, so I said if you want him buy him, which is how we came to go home with Bluebottle sitting in his cage in the front seat while Michael drove and I sat in the back.
At home he had the coffee table to sit on but as the week progressed he became quiet and a little uppity. So the next Wednesday we went back and bought Eccles – that’s right Bluebottle and Eccles! Now as I have previously said, nothing we do goes exactly to plan and Eccles was no exception. He was placed in a cardboard box with air holes quite secure so you can imagine how we felt when driving home he suddenly starts flying round the car – little devil had chewed his way out – so Michael pulled over and Eccles landed on his knee then sat on the dash-board which was how Michael was able to catch him. Once back in the box with my hand covering the hole he behaved, so the drive home was fairly quiet. When we arrived home all we had to do was put him in the cage, easy….don’t you believe it. Michael opened one of the cage doors held the box up against it and waited, and waited and well you get the picture and I know you’ve heard it before.
We are slowly learning about them and they are very different individuals. Bluebottle is both noisy and cuddly whereas Eccles is fairly quiet but also cuddly. If one sits on a swing the other one sits on the same swing, so we got them one each waste of time they still sit on the same one. They chase one another away from the seed trays, but when they think we are not watching they cuddle up together. Night time is regulated by light, it gets dark they want to go to sleep, gets light and they want to get up and go outside. We cover them with a blanket but I have to admit they love sport they will sit cuddled up on their mineral block and watch the tv. Michael thought they wanted to sleep and covered them over you should have heard them so that’s how we know they like tv.
During the day they are either outside hanging from the olive tree or in the fly free zone depending on the weather and wind. The wild birds are interested in them and we have a Black Redstart that sits in the tree and shouts back. You will probably hear a lot more about them as we go on, a trip to the Jardi Land is on the cards with ladders, bells etc., on the shopping list.
Talking of which must get the boys in as the winds getting up and they are swinging, stand by for shouting and squawking. If either of them ever talk first words will be SHUT UP!!!!
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life, Short Stories | Tagged birding, birds, books, forest, gardens, goon show, parakeets, radio 4+, weather, wildlife | Leave a Comment »