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Archive for October, 2016

Making Our Olive Oil

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This is our first bottle of home-grown olive oil from this years crop. We did not think we had enough olives to press but then it rained! not a lot but enough to fill them out a little.  Now we could pick the olives and take them to the local commercial press but there is a snag.  The presses are still making wine and our olives are turning black so by the time the second week of November comes round we would have no olives.  You can’t pick and save them for nearly a month because by that time they will have shrivelled up and gone like stones, so on the basis of that last year we decided to do it ourselves. Along with a little ‘heath robinson’ approach a dash invention and a good dollop of *&$%£ing we ended up with 6x1lts of our own oil.

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When we decided to pick this year, the trees looked like they had black leaves so we started with the tree in front of the house. So we spread a large net under the tree, Michael got the step-ladder and small saw I got my ‘picking chair’ and we were off.  All the olives that fell to the ground – and missed the net – were picked up and placed into the old cement mixer which is our crusher. Large stones were added and it was turned on and left to do its job.

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After a while we had a pulp which Michael then wrapped in cloth and placed in the press, then the real work begins. The press is turned until the oil starts to run then every few hours till eventually no more oil is left.  Then the container is brought into the kitchen where it is filtered several times until we have a clear oil.  This takes a few days but is worth it. The oil when it comes from the press is a combination of black sludge a little water and the oil itself.  To separate the oil and water its left to stand until there is a visible layer of oil of the top then it’s passed into one of three lemonade bottles to begin the filtering.  When you are trying to filter the oil some of the black sludge gets in there so the first filter takes that out, the second takes out any cloudy residue and the third and final filter is to make sure the other two have done their job then it’s poured into 1ltr bottles before being capped and stored.

 

Black Redstarts and Bloody Pigs

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I like to think this is one of Sam’s brood. For those of you who haven’t met Sam before he was a little Black Redstart who became my gardening friend.  When I was digging he would be there to see if there were any grubs/insects he could eat. Michael thought he was funny and we were heart broken when we came home one day to find him dead in front of the house, so in his memory I called the tree garden ‘Sam’s Garden’ and things in it have done very well.  We got the boys last year and yesterday we heard this bird calling to them.  Then this morning there was the Redstart sitting first on the tv areal then flying down to see what I was doing in the saffron garden.

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This is what the saffron garden SHOULD look like! below is how it looks after the piggy wigs have been there!!!

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What was I doing there??  trying to find any saffron bulbs that the wild boar hadn’t eaten!!!!  I had over 40 bulbs in that garden I have exactly 15 left, so I am planting them in a tub so at least I shall get a few bits of saffron this year.  But I did have a nice surprise I found one crocus open in the small walled garden with others on the way I just hope the boar don’t find them or there could be saffron flavoured pork on the menu…

Well there you have it, do it yourself olive oil making and gardening forest style.

(c) M D Bosc  – Author –

 

 

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Well now we have another one, Heathrow was in use as an airfield during the 20s 30s, during the war and in 1946 became the official London Airport because the rich people of south Croydon didn’t like the idea of having London Airport in their back yards. So Heathrow was in existence long before most of the houses in west London were built. Of course all the rich friends of Mr Goldsmith do not want aircraft flying over their homes except, that is, when they want to get out of the country quickly and jet off to tax havens of which they have many. Why can’t they build an Airport where poor people live, because it’s LONDON dummy, only rich people can afford to live there!

Everyone wants all the benefits of modern living but it has to be environmentally friendly. You cannot have nuclear power or oil-fired or natural gas now all that CO2 coal use has been killed off completely. Lets build lots of wind turbines but not in Surrey or Kent or anywhere that rich people live so that their view isn’t spoilt. Why isn’t there a nuclear power station in the City of London? it’s very safe and that is where they need all the electricity for their air-conditioned offices.

Why aren’t there rows of nodding donkeys all over Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey? after all that is where the oil is. Why is fracking stopped in the home counties but allowed in Lancashire and Yorkshire? simple, not enough rich people live there, you would know there is true democracy if there was fracking in the middle of Oxfordshire. All the infrastructure is designed for just that – big cities convenience – but any further west and you enter the dark ages with single line railways and the most atrocious road network in the UK.

We really need another railway line going north and south? but decent railway lines going east and west that is never going to happen. However to keep the rich and famous happy HS2 and HS3 will end up as a giant metro system with a tunnel running from Folkestone to Newcastle after all it would be the simplest solution. Of course it would be slightly more expensive, but hey, it comes from the taxpayer and as we know he has very deep pockets.

So where, I wonder, are you going to get your oil and gas so you do not spoil your green and pleasant land? As a modern society needs vast amounts of energy to run all their new and fancy gadgets how, I wonder, can you have your virtual reality if you cannot handle the real reality. Everything comes with a cost and if you dump the cost on another country the pollution does not diminish, if anything it gets ten times worse. Take a good look at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and the pollution they churn out because they do not have our technology or regulations they make the World a complete disaster zone.

When London is under water perhaps then the NIMBY’S will be prepared to share the load, but I doubt it. They want it all, as long as its somewhere else and they don’t have to pay for it. Perhaps its about time they left ‘cloud cuckoo land’ got real and joined the rest of society.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  – Author

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So I write naval adventure stories which have a relationship running through them and yes there is sex in there.  But what people must remember is that in the times I write about (and I have resear…

Source: So I Love Sailing and All Things Nautical

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Navy First Having had time to think about what I write and why, I suppose I write about strong women because the time I set the stories in needed them.  The wives of naval officers often had to fen…

Source: Strong Women and Social Ideas

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“Well its like this your honour. There I was minding my own business, fast asleep when this here Jason Watson turned up and hauled me off to China to see how he helped the East India Company …

Source: Well Its Like This……

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Rain, Goats and Gardens

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Like everything in our lives nothing is separate. One thing is connected to another in some way take yesterday for instance.  Wednesday is one of my physio days plus it’s also market day.  So just after 8am we were going along the river road when my wife cries stop Goats!!!!  there in the road were three small goats who had just been for a drink.  Although time was pressing we watched whilst they clambered up the steep bank into the cover of scrub and pine trees.  Once again we were given an insight into our neighbours.  However, my wife was not so thrilled this morning when I showed her what the ‘little dears’ had done to her saffron bed, obviously hungry they had nibbled the shoots as they were appearing and dug the bulbs up they could reach.  So once the ones that are left have flowered they are being moved to the back of the house amongst the daffs and planted deeply.

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Friday IT RAINED!! not hard flash rain, but long soak it in rain, the stuff we need so badly. This is the misty photo the trees as the rain subsided.  It started  Thursday evening and was still going most of Friday all the plant pots were put outside even threatened to put the boys out for a bath. Anyway, my wife had to go to the Doctors for her BP tabs & I wanted to go to the engineers, so there we were going along the river road when suddenly a small herd of goats were crossing the road from the river – never a camera around – they were so quick, but at least we know they were not the Ibex we see on the masa these were small with curved horns not the straight.  So we now have an idea of who’s been digging in the garden….and yes one of the cameras is pointed at the bulb beds.

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The result of the rain is that the Lilly bulbs are starting to shoot.  Now it may be early in other parts of the world but these lilies shoot and carry on growing through the winter before blooming in early spring.

Agricultural Fair or ‘What Day Is It?’

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What else did you expect from an agricol fira? fun, wine and food? hehe they come later. But seriously folks, every year we go there simply because we like it.  Now normally it occurs on the last weekend in October, this year however it falls next weekend on our birthdays.  Our weekend will be a round of dinners, the fira and petanca with good friends, which night I don’t know we are still sorting that out. Anyway, when we were there on Friday we saw the stalls being erected, bars set up but no sign of the rides so we were a bit perplexed had we got the dates wrong?? Well not wanting to miss the fira we decided to wander down only to find that what we saw was actually what was happening they were setting things up for NEXT weekend – drrrr are we getting old????

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We always make for the horses first then wander round watching the people enjoying themselves.  My wife visits the Church tombola and buys tickets the proceeds of which goes towards helping others.  Then we go to look at the machinery, wines and any other displays on that side of the fair.  Our last stop is the café where we enjoy a glass or two plus some jamon and or cheese.  Another wander around then we head for home.  As most of the rides and stuff are the same these pictures give you an idea.  The last picture is to me a gently reminder that Christmas is not far away.

And So To Books and Radio Devon:

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I was listening on-line to radio 5 live the other day – cricket of course – after which I decided to wander around the radio stations and came across Radio Devon. Now as those of you who have read A Plymouth Story know I have a love of all things naval, and Devon is so full of naval history, pirates and the likes that I have a fondness for that part of the world.  On one of our visits to our daughter in Torquay we went one wet grey day to Dartmouth.  Crossed the Dart on a ferry and wandered round a town that looked like it was still in the 1700/1800’s, quaint but very picturesque, which is why I could see James Blackstock walking down streets like this in Plymouth.  So now we are linked into Radio Devon with good music, chat and a general community feeling, for those of you who are interested and like on-line radio give it a try.

(c) M.D. Bosc  – Author

 

 

 

 

 

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Plot and Counter Plot!

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They look lovely sweet caring lovey dovey love birds  OH NO THEY’RE NOT!!!!  believe me.  Michael came home from his op and showed them where he had been. (Now I have said this before these birds really help him to relax, when our daughter came to visit they helped her as well).  Anyway after Michael had got used to not being able to type or use his hand for a while he would sit there and chat to them all very friendly.  So when they had him in a relaxed mood they got him to fix the rope and wood ladder they had been given then asked for something to chew on.  He found a nice piece of wood pushed it through the bars so it formed a perch then sat back and watched.

 

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Who US???

Well as you can see they made short shift of that, but he managed to stop them for a while.  The bit they were chewing was next to the bars and their intention was to get it to fall to the cage floor once they had chewed through it.  But Michael pushed the wood through so that bit was now in the middle and this is what it looks like now.

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who us??

who us??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we would not change then for the world.  They shout and holler at the other birds and if anything/one approaches the house they do the same better than watch dogs lol.  The pictures above are them just being themselves, mind you during this time we would listen to the cricket on -line  and they loved it, especially when the test match was on and Tuffer’s was talking, must be his only true birdie followers…

The Finca

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Now for a long time I have also been watching the olive trees and they are loaded so we have been looking at a good harvest and our own oil for next year.  WRONG… because we have not had any rain (I mean proper rain the sort that soaks into the ground)  for over 6 months the olives have formed but when you touch them they are basically stone covered fruit, no flesh to produce any oil.  So bit disappointed but then we have had this before, and it will give me  time for some pruning.  I am just hoping that it rains between now and Christmas or we could be in a bit of a pickle water wise.  Yes I know we chose this finca knowing all the problems but we are told it has been the driest year since 1924…. We did have a few almonds though enough for cooking and Christmas.

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The garden is looking good for the conditions. I have cleared the Cacti garden and planted a few more it’s looking quite good up there. My wife has cleared away most of the dead leaves from the beds.  She found that during the hot weather they help to keep the ground from turning into rock, it doesn’t always work but it helps.  Together we have created a small Bougainvillea garden next to the little house and I built a small wall so she can build up the soil around them and hopefully they will again survive the winter.   The white stuff is their ‘winter blankey’ which along with some bubble wrap will keep their little roots warm.  Now begins the deciding where to put the ‘water tanks’ she is making for the various beds/flowers and to prune the roses.  She cut the lavender back and we now have a nice new lavender pillow to hang over the bed.

 

(c)  M.D. Bosc  Author

 

 

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