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Archive for December, 2015

 

Well 2015 is closing fast only a few hours to go then a new year begins, strange how it happens every 12 months….  But seriously I would like to wish everyone a Healthy, Peaceful and Happy New Year. 

Christmas in the Forest

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Ok now for some serious stuff.  This little chap as you will know is a white Wallaby and looking cold even though he’s been around for several years. “been around” brings me to the Big Cat…. IT’s BACK!!!!  not our small wild one but, we think the Lynx.  We heard it last night when we were turning off the generator, Michael thought it was a large Boar out there but boars don’t make deep growly grumbling noises.  So this morning we got the camera in and took a look but all it had on it was the car going and coming and an old boy walking up the drive.

Up here at night you develop a sense of something being around be it humans or wildlife, and for the past few nights we have felt a ‘presence’ now we know what it is. So I no longer have to creep forward towards the generator shed torch in hand in the hope of seeing the wild boar, they’re not here and we now know why.

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This cat arrives every so often when weather conditions are strange he didn’t come last year but it has been so dry this year  (we have had one real storm). It is possible that the river has become a watering hole and possible hunting ground, and could explain why we haven’t seen any boar  around recently just foot prints on the track, but if we are lucky 2016 could give us a sighting –  the hunt is on!

The Weather

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Well what can I say, last spring it was sort of wet but nothing like normal. The summer was very hot with no storms,  and now it’s foggy, damp and misty.  This is a picture of the valley around midday, if the sun comes out its only for a short while but you have to admit it turns the landscape into a Japanese look a like.  This is not normal though, there has been a lot of mist along the Ebro Valley which runs from up near Santander right down to the Med. We have also seen tremendous flooding and wild fires along its route which is not comforting.  Even now there are wild fires up north, but we think they have been started deliberately.

The Boys

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Another addition to the farm are these two ‘erberts.  They are a constant source of amusement and provide a calming effect after a stressful day (which can and does happen on a farm).  They are still squabbling over bits of wood, paper and anything else that one has and the other one wants.  Even after buying them a larger cage which can be wheeled about they have escaped and are currently trying to dig a hole in their nesting box.  As I told them you do that and you will fall through the floor, waste of time one just looks at me while the other keeps pecking at the wood.  Some people keep cats or dogs, us we keep a pair of noisy escapees.

The Garden

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Well this is an ever-changing environment.  Ideas come and go – mostly go – because I start off with wanting to put something in one place then when Michael and I start it evolves into either something different but almost what we planned or we don’t like the look of it and start over again.  So a very brief update.  The tyre garden has been finished and planted up with bulbs,  what was going to be a new bird bath is now a new bulb planter (the gang and Michael didn’t like the look of it) so change of plans.  Round behind the house we have started landscaping a small area making stone beds planting bulbs (because they don’t need much water in summer)  and paving the washing line area.  Walls are being built to stop the water – when it rains – from washing earth down onto the patio and the garden away.  The tree garden is still being done having trouble with the water tank for the bird bath but that’s nothing.  most everything else is normal winter work.  I shall be posting a proper garden blog when and as things are finished.

ME!

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Its been a bit of a roller coaster year with my health. I can say that the medical people over here are looking after me very well.  My Blood Pressure still goes up and down but I am being monitored regularly.  They are keeping a watch on the prostrate and kidney, but apart from getting a little tired now and then I am fine.  Our first holiday in years set me up for the year and was a real treat, something I had always wanted to do see the Comarque and the white horses.  A drive round the corner into the South of France and there they were. Nothing stressful, no airports, ques, trains, strange hotels and the other stuff that went with my twice yearly medical’s before.  We could stop as and when we wanted and my wife shared the driving as usual.   I still play petanca though not as much and have not been in as many competitions, but I still enjoy my afternoons.

I am now learning Spanish at school twice a week, which helps me and keeps the old brain ticking over.  Still writing, I’m on my latest novel set in the middle ages so it’s a lot of interesting research keeps me occupied for a while.

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Well that’s about it for 2015,  we are meeting friends for drinks tonight but not going for a meal this year.   Keep safe everybody  see you in the New Year   Bon Fiestas.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well its over for another  year, feeling stuffed, tired but relaxed.  Knowing that we would be on our own for Christmas friends asked if we would like to meet up at Carpe Diem just as we did 4 years ago.  So Boxingday saw us heading out into the Campo in the mountains and a wonderful 5 hours.

Now outside behind the car park live some interesting characters who are obviously used to being photographed so instead of talking I will let them tell the story.

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Oh look everyone more humans and a CAMERA!!!!   This is my good side.

 

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Dont bother with him I’m the one you should be interested in look at my fine feathers and my leg stance all fashion walkway here ducky…

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Well that’s her normal remarks but this is her normal position head in ground I might be smaller but I’m definitely more bird.  Oh dear are they being strutty again  your obviously here for dinner its cold and misty so I’d go inside if I were you  Merry Christmas and enjoy your meal.

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So we headed towards the restaurant and found this little chappy one white Wallaby looking decidedly cold. once inside the magic took over, this place never ceases to amaze, enjoy the photos.

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This is the large dining area decked out, all tables had candles and large gold coloured plates, napkins and crackers.  We arrived early which surprised us as it was very very foggy and getting cold outside.   Michael wanted a picture with the large tree, he looks rather military but once dinner was under way he relaxed.

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Then we were in for a surprise who should walk through the door but authoress Rosie Reay with her two boys. It’s a long time since we had seen her and she looked good.  She has lost weight, had her hair styled and Michael just did not recognised her.  Needless to say we were pleased to see her and caught up later before they left.

IMG_0183 (640x480)So we headed home in the fog calling at the garage to get petrol for the generators.  We really enjoyed our dinner good company, good wine so as it was said here’s to the next time in 4 years……   Happy New Year everybody

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Gardening

Source: Christmas Gardening

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50 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG!!

Forgive me if I seem a bit excited but Friday saw us celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary, yep we had made it.  Life is not all roses and chocolates, there are a few thorns and bitter almonds in there but if you truly love each other you survive.  So this is what happened:

“Two old codgers enjoying the event went to the seaside for lunch. Muscles then shell-fish in a savoury rice, washed down with Cava and sparkling water followed by postres (that’s pudding to you)  this was the life.  Sitting opposite the marina the boats in rows remembering when they sailed a long time ago.  Then replenished and happy they headed for home, and wishes on FB from friends, coffee and wine saw them put out the lights go to bed after saying Amen to that.”

Well what else can you do or say?  except that we are still going strong, mind you we didn’t get up till nearly midday it was Saturday and we did celebrate….

The Forest

 

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Well what a surprise we had the other week.  Whilst working round the finca – picking the olives – we heard this heavy machine on the track. Not being nosey (yes we were) we went to look and there coming up the track was a heavy tractor dragging a leveler with a blade behind it, our track was being made useable again.  The tractor took three passes to do its stuff and we were very impressed, all the loose stones had gone everything was smooth, the edges were very clearly defined wow!  However, knowing this place like we do it won’t be long before the quad and off road bikes get going then it will be back to normal.  We hope the bikes will stick to the top part of the mesa where it is rough and wild but we will see.

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The weather has been very misty so we have not had much sun, this is because we are in the Ebre valley so here we have our own little weather systems. But we are having a few ‘grey days’  lots of cloud, dampness but no sun and its cold. This means the fire is going full belt just to keep the house from feeling damp. Although its grey outside is quite pleasant so we can get the various jobs done, like restoring the original cisterna.

The Birds

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We have not seen much of the birds this autumn but the little Redstarts are here, and we know the blackbirds are around we have seen them as they are becoming rather partial to the leftover bird seed from the boys. We have therefore made an area especially for them with some protection and so far they are loving it.  The Song Thrush is back darting here and there, but no one has visited the tree perhaps we pruned it too sharply. So we have decided to let it grow again to give some cover to the water bar (which is being revamped) and the strawberries, these I covered with hay this morning as they still have fruit growing.

But its these Eagles that have our attention at the moment.  They are large things and look like tree stumps from down here but you can see the beaks are huge.  Thing is though they sound like ducks quacking and these two had two young ones, life seems to be thriving up here.

The Garden

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Well winters on its way and with the cooler weather comes a flurry of activity in the garden.  Our growing year starts in October when it begins to get cooler and runs till April/May when nature turns the heat up.  So there are always projects going  on – several at a time – which is probably why some are still being finished off in April.   This is the Lily garden before and after its makeover.  As you can see there is a water pipe running through it and the wall needed attention plus there were plenty of weeds at the far end. So I weeded then planted Sweetpeas around the oblix, next came a tidy up and covering over of the pipe with stones.  The wall was a little simpler. With a quick tidy along the bottom then cemented in to ensure that it stayed intact and volla job done.  I also moved around to the mint bed covering both the mint roots and pipe with stones making it tidy whilst providing the mint roots with protection from the sun and providing moisture retention at the same time. Although the wall along the path is not finished you can basically see the way it will look.  The other side of the rain gully has to be done that contains the Sage bed so I have a few other herbs to go there once I get to it.

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This was the start of Sams Garden which is still a work in progress.  Ideas change so often here that I usually find I am back to the original design and this is no different.   I had wanted to make the ‘water bar’ into a small two layered thing, but then Michael suggested that I build a larger bird bath under the olive tree by my sculptures and tyre garden.  But as often happens other things got in the way so that by the time it came to sort this out neither of us liked it so it was back to the original.  My biggest problem is how to make the tank (white bucket) work better without too much hassle.  After clearing everything away from the centre so I could see what was there,  I built a new bulb garden to one side here I have planted Freesias and other bulbs I am not exactly sure of then covered the earth with stones to – hopefully – stop animals digging.   Next the bucket was painted green in the hope that it will prevent algae from stuffing up the filter, I am currently looking for some tubing to replace the old stuff in the hope it will work better.  The plinth has been leveled and I am in the process of building it up to make it more secure. This garden has several aspects to it so I am not rushing anything.

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This was originally destined to be the new bird bath  but try as we might neither of us could decide what to do with it so we scrapped it and it is now being turned into another bulb garden.  When its finished I am hoping it will look different a bit of a seaside theme….

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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To look at Bluebottle you would think he is a contented sleepy little parakeet, WRONG….  He is a bossy, noisy, scheming little git.  If you look closely at this picture you can see where he has been hard at work on the nesting box trying to dig his way out, hence his nickname ‘Big X’.

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Mind you this one is no better.  He watches whilst ‘Big X’ gets going then joins in especially when I have placed clean tissue in the box to keep them warm whilst they are outside, we sat and watched them one afternoon.  I had just cleaned out their cage put clean paper – in bits I might add – in the box and they were sitting on top in the sunshine behaving.  So we sat there enjoying the sun and their company when Bluebottle suddenly dived into the box then emerged with tissue in his beak.  He then hopped up onto the top and proceeded to pull it apart.  This of course made Eccles want to join in there then ensued a small squabble – which is normal with these two – before we noticed each had a bit of the paper and were pulling from different sides.  Needless to say after another small squabble  Bluebottle regained control of his prize whereupon Eccles turned his back on him and we saw he had a piece of paper to nibble. it went something like this:-

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Look what I’ve got mum Eccles hasn’t got any its all mine….

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What you got there Bluebottle? I want some I want to play.

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No! I got it out it’s mine you go get your own..

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Ok I will, but you can’t share it and I’ll get a bigger bit than yours….

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Oh alright, here you can share it with me be friends.

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Right lets play tug of war winner gets the paper ok?  Ok!

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Hehehe got a piece,  he didn’t see that!

They are also control freaks.  If we get up early and open the shutters to see what the day is like they start shouting and hollering to be taken outside. Well the other morning I got up to make a cup of tea and they started, so as I could see it was not only cold but very misty out there I simply opened the front door and put the cage there in about 5 minutes they were quiet and in their box heads poking out as if to say ‘close the door mum’ it’s cold.  Now I don’t know if other people who own parakeets have found this, but we bring them in at night because it gets really really cold up here, and when we go into town for school they are left inside all nice and warm with the bathroom light on.  However, on returning home we would be met with shouting and screeching because the lights go on along with the kettle and television. It was a case of ‘we are tired YOU go to bed’….  So now when we come home I open the door turn the light on and sing out ‘hello boys and what about the workers’.  Know what? no more shouting or screeching, they have learnt we rule at night – at least I think they have……

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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The Great Escape Staring:   Bluebottle as ‘Big X’ alias Dicky Attenborough   and Eccles as ‘The Cooler King’ alias Steve McQueen (no motor bikes)  in the boys big adventure.

Da da de da de dada dada de da de da dedada dedede dada de da dedada deda dededa deda da daaaa deda…..

The story is set in a finca in a valley surrounded by forest in the mountains of Cataluña.It opens with Big X sitting in the doorway of the hut surveying the FFZ (fly free zone).

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On a cool winters morning the boys cage is taken out into the netted fly free zone which in the height of summer keeps wasps and other nasty biting insects at bay its cage cleaning morning.  ‘Its ok CK (Cooler King) I’ve got this covered you finish making your plans then I’ll take a look, but be quick mum’s about to start cleaning.’

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‘Ok Big X all done come take a look I’ve taken a good look at these stone things there’s a way out at the top I’m sure, just needs a bit of tunnelling. Let me know when your ready mum’s just taken out the bottom of the cage while she’s not here I’ll throw the millet down then we can take our chance.  Quick mum’s back and opening the big door right Big X there’s a gap over her shoulder go for it I’ll cover you.’  A flutter of wings, a dart and Big X is out. Mum forgetting CK is still inside stands up in surprise, calls for dad just as CK flies out of the door.

IMG_0051 (640x480)Right we’re out, now what?  Well I can see a gap down here you keep an eye on them and I’ll take a look.

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Yep there is definitely a gap but too small for us to get into, have to try something else. Whats the other side like? lets take a look.

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Some kind of bitty stuff up here not sure what it is but I am going to try to chew our way out. What’s on your side?

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Oh no mum’s got the camera out, quick let’s go to the other end and see if we can find something useful there.

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As you can see they found some wire destroyed the plastic container for the light batteries then flew back to where they started from, wire in beak.

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CK took a look at the wall but decided that the wire was useless so dropped it.  ‘Wires not good Big X, have to think again.’  Ok CK  back to the original perch take a look at that gap again.’

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Still no go here, don’t know about you but I’m getting hungry Big X.  Think I’ll go take a look on the floor dad’s been doing something to the cage and mum’s put a tray of food on the floor.

They flew down walked around under Michael’s feet then Eccles decided that his hunger was too great. He flew up onto the door then down onto the floor of the cage and began to eat.  Bluebottle walked over to the cage peeked in saw him eating then followed him in. Michael then shut the large door and they were back where they needed to be and we could move around again.   As I said they might look sweet but DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!!

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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