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Since writing the last blog we now have 3 bottles of olive oil, not bad going for a heath robinson operation.  It really is surprising what you can achieve with a little thought and ingenuity.  Part of my kitchen looks like a small factory but its well worth it for 7 bottles of our own olive oil especially as we never thought we would get any this year.

 

IMG_0019 (640x480)As for the saffron well I have planted the bulbs I rescued in the flower pots in the ffz they are shooting so I am hopeful.  But it is the from the small walled garden that I got my biggest surprise, saffron!  I had forgotten I had planted some there, the bulbs have multiplied and provided me with saffron, not as much as the main bed but certainly enough for a couple of paella’s. Then Michael began to find the odd bulb here and there so I am getting a fair bit which is more than I anticipated.  It seems that in my usual way of digging things up separating them and re-planting I have spread the saffron all over – wow!!

Cough Cough!

Well winter is here and as usual we are coughing. Poor old Michael has been quite rough but, I am glad to say, is now on the mend, I was a little worried for a while. When we were both really really ill we didn’t get any work done either on the computer or the farm and the olive oil had to wait.  But after a bit of a spell in doors, lots of lemon and honey with lemsip before bedtime, we not only felt a little better but began to get twitchy, the need to be active was very strong. So weather permitting we were wrapped up and out side fiddling around then as the sun began to return ( In the mornings it is so misty, damp and nasty) we started picking the olives again.  This time  mostly from off the ground as the wind had been playing knock the olives from the trees.  After two days of gentle picking and creaky knees despite kneeling pads, there are enough olives in the crusher/mixer to prepare another pressing.

 

Green Living???

Now I have heard loads about ‘Green Living’ and seen the tv programmes most of which show the latest technology but also have the benefits of mains water, electricity etc., on stand by – just in case and this is called green living???  yeh well we live the real green living life!  We chose this farm because its away from the town in the mountains in the middle of a forest (now a National Park) halfway up a valley and its tranquil.  We have learnt to live with the birds and animals ok and snakes, without a mains anything.  WE WENT GREEN – big time!!!

Over the years we have installed a solar system which works well with a generator as back up for when the sun does not shine. This system runs the fridge, freezer, computers and tv, now that is being green.  The water system is simple: it rains the rain water runs into the cisternas then as needed its pumped to a header tank to give pressure and is fine.  I have a washing machine, shower, and hot water via the gas water heater (if it does not rain and we are low on water we have to buy it in) and NO this is not mains this is bottled gas.  Michael had to build a gas shed to keep them in and it was inspected and ok’d. then I had to get certificates for each gas bottle, there is no way you can get round it legally, the new gas bottle (which you can then replace when empty) comes from a registered supplier so as long as you obey the rules you are fine. The gas also runs the cooker and when we first came here the fridge/freezer, but once Michael had the solar system fully up and running we exchanged it for a small fridge and freezer – you need somewhere to keep the ice in summer.

We are not the only people who have done this but most of them have access to agricultural water we don’t.  But hey that’s how we roll up here and we love it.  Some nights we stand and look at the stars they are wonderful we are also looking for the mother ship!!!!!!!  Oh come on, what humans in their right mind would live in the mountains, in the middle of a forest halfway up a valley with no amenities, wild birds (Owls, Eagles, and a large range of smaller  bossy birds) wild boar, (all of who have names) and Sid the snake??????

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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The macer and forest

Writing is a consuming occupation. I have been so tied up in other events that I almost lost sight of where I live, and why I live here. We chose this place, our little bit of heaven, from one photograph on a sales blurb.  What makes you choose where you live? well apart from the reason you are looking to move it’s the feel of the house when you walk in the door; it will either say welcome home or I’m not for you.  Very seldom is it the surroundings, but in our case that was exactly what grabbed us.  

We looked at the photograph of a small Spanish house with a cisterna at its side and a large olive tree to the right and fell in love.  We came here knowing that we would have to be very green and inventive in our life style. The family thought we were mad but I am not sure they still think it now.  We have everything everyone else has electricity via solar and batteries, with generator backup for the winter months and to run the washing machine.  Hot water system, cooking and fridge/freezer are run by bottled gas, whilst the fire is fueled by wood.  We are not allowed to cut trees down without permission but being in the valley the wind can sometimes be very strong and trees are often blown down so there is never a shortage.

 Our main problem is water. We do not have a well and the cost of drilling one would be prohibitive, so we have stayed with the cisterna plus a header tank which provides the pressure for showers and washing machine. As I said before we have decided to add a few more tanks so that if the family come to visit there is plenty of water. The one thing we have learnt is how to conserve it, such as the washing is done once a week not every day. We shower quickly not take ages in there, the washing up is the only exception, all in all we have it sussed.

So how do we cope in the winter? quite well actually. The strange thing is last year it snowed and we were very warm and cosy. This year it has been so cold, that we have had to have the portable gas fire on in the bathroom during the evening and bedroom during the day as well as the fire going.  It is unusual in the fact that neither the house nor outside temperature have warmed up, so we have been cutting extra wood, it is surprising how many fallen trees you can find when you look.  Who said can’t see the trees for the wood? it can be very true.

I am pleased to think that when I get cross with the things I see happening in the world I can step outside and get a better prospective on life, its a true place of sanctuary.

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