Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘forestry’

A lot has happened in both my life and world events since I was last on here that its hard to know where to start. So I won’t even try to put things in order just jump right in.

Covid-19 and Lockdown effect – Catalan view

As we get older things and events take on different meanings, all looked at in different ways from different viewpoints because we are all very different individuals. But this Covid-19 has, in many cases, helped put things into perspective. After 7 months of lockdown law and self imposed – NO we did not have Covid-19 but November/December of last year we spent recovering from Pneumonia – isolation we were able to revalue our lives and way of living. What we found was that we were less stressful, eating better – basically fruit and veg – and felt better for it. So we cut the chocolate, crisps and other comfort foods down to a minimum by saying we couldn’t go and get them because of lockdown and learnt to spread them out. There have been bars of chocolate in the fridge for weeks but only having a few squares now and then means we aren’t binging. I have also taken to no sugar in coffee or tea the fight to keep my blood sugar down and Diabetis at bay. With being confined to the house for over 11 weeks in the countries fight against the virus and only allowed out to do shopping, get medication or visit the garage its surprising what you come up with. This is the before picture of the kitchen before we decided to change it now have more space and units rearranged make it more country kitchen.

burst

Keeping Active

However there is always catch 22. For me its that although I try and keep active by doing odd jobs around the farm, it was taking a long time to build my energy back up as I got tired easily – at my age I’m sticking to that. Once we could move around again and get to the coast I have felt better as walking on level ground is easier then forest ground. There is the gardening which I helped my wife with and gave more ideas for the small gardens and me a liking for garden centres and potteries so going to look round them gives us plenty of exercise and gets us out. Which brings me to the animals.

The Wild Life

Yes he’s still here and wandering around. He and his friends come and go as they please he has a new friend we call The Rock. A Sandy coloured lump twice the size of Puddytat and wild like him. I think the wildlife up here is doing well they look healthy and well fed we don’t seem to have any mice etc,. Question! What makes a crunching noise and dislodges uncemented stone walls? Wild Boar rooting for grubs of course. We have seen them on the track looking healthy and heard them around the house in the night. So the forest at least is back to normal.

My Writing

I have started back writing, but picking up from where I left off has been a tad difficult. Until recently I hadn’t felt like writing. I’d start something then think whats the use and stop. I’m not sure why it just happened but I would regularly make notes and expand on ideas so now is the time to sort them all out and get back to my favourite pastime.

Well there you have it in a nutshell. I am quite sure I will be expanding on things but for now that’s it.

Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

Read Full Post »

A Story With a Difference:


Writing is something strange, you either feel it or you don’t.  Personally for me it’s something that’s there and often the urge to write even if I’m not sure what is strong.  Thats how Drifting came into being.  I have a book of jottings where I write down ideas and this was one of them.

In the past I have written about people and their lives Stanley for example.  His story was one of crime, sex and how he and his mother survived during and after WW2.  Then there was Jason. Now his story woven into the British Navy of the 1700/1800’s was different. This was historically challenging, not the naval side but the social side of life then, which makes these books Adult books.

Then came young persons books Clearing in the Forest, Peaceful Land and I am currently working on the third book. These were from ideas written down in my little book.

But Drifting was something different, something with no social comment, or historical reference just a plain straight forward story, of happenings and the supernatural.  I entered a strange world of possibilities and did it or didn’t it happen, was it real or just imagination and the ending well….

So I have decided to write some short stories along these lines, where it will lead I don’t know, but there is one thing I am sure of I will not be delving into this realm.  The stories will come from all over woven around an idea, yes some will have a historical nature but they will be based on factual events, only the story will be fictional because you cannot ask the characters exactly how they came to be where they were.  My research into history and stories from the west country have given me a few ideas along this line.

So there is an awful lot to do and keep me busy for a long time. Such is writing.

 

(c) Jason D’ebre – author

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Kath Spreadbury I’m hooked now I will have to get it.

Linda Coombes Love this book such a great read 💖💖💖💖💖

CLEARING  IN  THE  FOREST  by JASON D’EBRE  –   Authors remarks:-

I wrote these books with the younger generation in mind, in the vain hope they would like reading about events in history whilst wrapped up in magic, witches, villains and good v evil.  Now a days everything seems to either whoosh bang wallop or killing, bloodshed, total destruction with NO proper story behind it.  Comic book films seem to be all directors can do these days.  Now I like certain films, the penguins, scooby doo, (the original films) and so forth. They are fun, relaxing and THEY HAVE A STORY RUNNING THROUGH THEM even tom and jerry have but they entertain and have more words than hey lookout etc.,

Writing is hard and those who pay others for ideas, or to ghost write for them are NOT real authors.  Stories come from within a person’s head, they feel part of the story as if the characters were telling them what came next, at least that’s how I fell about all my stories.  Sometimes I cannot sleep because there is a character in my head nagging me about something that either needs to be written or I have got it wrong and need to get it right before I forget. So then it’s up and laptop on writing, and usually the character is right.   I am not the only person who writes and experiences this so I am sure there are many of you who do.

Over the past few months when I have been busy repairing and installing security stuff in and house, I have not been writing.  So when at last everything was done and I finally sat down to write again, imagine how I felt the other night when I had this voice saying you should get this down now this is what happened, not whats written get it put right now before the others have a chance to interfere….. So there I was at diddly squat hours pounding away on the laptop and do you know that character was right.  Once I had typed everything then read it corrected, refined, checked research then read again it all made sense.  I have tried having a pen and paper by the bed but I find if I wake I am sitting there for hours writing so it’s just as easy to sit at my laptop.  I have a plug for charging and a lap cushion for the laptop, but it is easier to sit at my desk….

(c) Jason D’ebre – author

Read Full Post »

Part of our garden, rocks, shrubs, herbs and olive trees not to mention the pines – some of which grow mistletoe or have squirrels drays in them.  It is in this environment that my wife insisted she had a garden of sorts. Lack of water decreed that it should be mostly bulbs and drought loving plants so here’s how we go along.

Lots of weeds, an angle of the forest  and a couple of sculptures..

As most of you who follow me know we live on a small olive in the middle of a forest with wild boar, wild goats and other animals. This is not a great problem for me but for my wife and her small flower beds it’s a bit like painting the Fourth Bridge you get to one end and have to start again at the other.

The garden is only one part of life up here the olive trees and the odd almond tree not only keep me busy but tending the olive trees is a full-time job.  I have plenty scattered through my bit of forest but around 30 on fairly flat terraced land which I can easily reach and look after.  Being in my 70’s plus not having agricultural water I have no intention of farming on a grand scale – it does not pay – but I look after enough trees to produce our own olive oil for the table for about 6/8 months of the coming year.  So I thought I’d talk about them properly from our perspective no quoting statistics or things like that, just observations on my own trees plus a bit of history. Thus forgetting about the commercial growing of olives this is how we grow and make our own Olive Oil.

On my little tractor to collect wood

The trees on the finca are very old, some are around 1,000 years old with bases that have, over the years and with encouraging new growth, been in the ground for centuries. It is well documented that the romans grew olives in this part of the country the fact that terraces were built along the side of the now long departed river that once used to sprout from the side of the masa and run down to the river Ebro. It also shows the ingenuity of their engineers and that they had slave labour as the terrace walls are not only still standing centuries later  but are deep and well-built.  Every now and then the boar will disturb one trying to reach grubs and the result is a collapse that offers an insight into history.

It was the same with the trees. Olive trees are an interesting subject, before we owned the farm I did not realise that they flowered. Every year the trees turn from a deep green to a creamy green as the flowers open.  There is no perfume but the bees are very busy, as the flowers die off you begin to see the olives forming.

Before trimming and Sam’s garden built round it this tree in all its glory

Today they have machines which can grasp the trunk of the tree and shake it collecting the olives in a large bag which then passes them into a truck a bit like you see the combine harvester doing.  Our trees however are to wide and solid for this plus the terraces are only big enough for a man and donkey.  The other point is years ago to get more olives from each tree and make picking easier they would do several things. First they would split the trunk into three so eventually they ended up with three trees instead of one.  Secondly they kept the middle of the tree open so light could get in there.  Thirdly the trees were kept to a certain height for ease of picking.  As time went on people let the trees grow a bit taller and made A-shaped ladders to reach the olives on the upright branches.

 

You can see here how large and tall they can grow if not farmed.  When we arrived here this tree was like a huge Oak tall with growth around the base so much so that we didn’t realise there were actually three trunks.  So I set to and lopped them halfway up then let the branches sprout leaving a few branches to produce olives.  I have to say that it still needs to be pruned again climbing a ladder to cut the branches so we can get at the olives is a risky business at our ages.

But olive trees are a hardy bunch, they have to be up here.  They put down long roots to find water  80 mts down is an underground river and I know that some trees put roots down a lot further than that.  So they have over the centuries found the water,  but they also have to fight the bugs that live in the ground some of which attack a tree from the middle eating it away they then turn into large black beetles which lays eggs in the ground near a tree and so it goes.  The result is that the olive tree will repair itself even when the centre is hollow and this can be a little daunting when hit by lightning, however  the roots may be burnt but the tree still goes on.

And this is just the start, so here

the introduction.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc  –  Author

Read Full Post »

Remember me? I’m still here – just!!!

Its been a long time since I wrote and this picture just about sums things up.  For a start I shall be pleased when this year is over we do not need another one like it.  Around three months ago we were broken into and robbed, that was bad enough but the wanton damage they did was evil.  So we have spent the past months securing the house and making as sure as we can that its safe.  The Cameras that we used for wildlife are now employed in other parts and a security system linked to somewhere safe is installed (cost a lot but peace of mind at our ages is important).  So the scumbags who did this actually did us a favour.  14 years we have been hidden away up here and nothing like this has ever happened, if we were going away we told certain people and the hunters kept an eye on here.  So here I am with the security people who fitted doors to the house and little house (here when the civil war went past) plus windows and other stuff.  At our ages it humans we are afraid of not the animals whom we share this forest with.

We have also taken the opportunity to repair and re-new the ffz, which is nearly finished.  Having this to do has made us more determined to stay put, but I had to draw the line at my wifes suggestion of putting ABIM’s (anti bastard individual mines) down… but the machine gun nests are ok.

 

My writing

In between all this I have been busy catching up on my writing.

                      

These are three of the books under my pen name Jason D’ebre written for young people and those who love adventure, history sand ghost stories.  They are on Kindle in both e-book and paperback, and can also be found on Kobo and iTunes plus other sites.  The adult books are also on iTunes and Amazon.    If you want a book then Create a Space is there.

And others

The wild boar are still here this is their watering hole and as you can see they make good use of it.  These are the last pictures we took with that camera it was stolen because they thought it had them on it.

The Boys are fine we have them in the little casa whilst we are busy safely tucked away from nasties and they can see out and shout at the other birds. Once the ffz is finished they can come back over and fly around.

Well without getting angry and ranting that’s about all I can say.   Age changes you a little and sometimes brings the hooligan in you to the fore which is no bad thing me thinks.  Now I’m back I shall be here more often so see you all soon.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc/Jason D’ebre   author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Drifting a short story by Jason D’ebre

I often have lots of ideas running around my head which end up in my note book for future reference or on my laptop in note form.

So with my short story Drifting it was the same. Al  (the sheriff) would not let me rest until I had written it. As he would say “once I’ve told you the story and you have written it down then I will leave you in peace”, so after a few restless nights sleep I got writing.

Now this book is different in that This is a western with a twist no shoot em, kill em blood and gore stuff like some, but a story with a theme running through it. Yes there is action, yes people get killed and the sheriff is Al but it’s what happens to him and a boy’s family that makes this very different from other cowboy stories.

The desert is a place where things either live or die or…….

 

(c) Jason D’ebre  Author

 

Read Full Post »

My New Book 

This is my new book Drifting. It’s a cowboy short story which ventures into the unknown. Often things come to me when I am researching or reading other things this was such a time. It is not my normal style or subject, plus ghost stories are quite difficult to write and this was no exception.  As usual you start with an idea then build on it only now you have to remember the ghost, how it came to be and in some cases not reveal this until later in the book, whilst all the time including it in there.  Write and re-write came into this, as I would sometimes forget this rule, but I got there in the end and it has had some good responses – albeit the cover I first put out was the wrong one. As usual it’s on Kindle and Create Space as well as Books2Read.

The Wallow Hole

 

Remember these jokers? They who dug up my bulbs and ate all my saffron bulbs in the process. Well they have decided to make a wallow hole on the lower terrace.  Finding a good place for the camera was a little difficult as the tree has been pruned and the good branches for positioning the cameras have gone.  So I called Spurs into action but the position of the dish was wrong however the pump is just right and providing they don’t come poking around the photos are not bad.

After a windy night I have had to find another position for the camera but at least I have these shots of the little so and so’s. First is the wallow hole in daylight to give you an idea of its position. They have made this originally it was a small – very small – little trench which provided run-off water for two fig trees. We should have known better as the boar decided to use they as rubbing sticks and eventually killed them off.  Then this appeared.

 

So to the pictures of  the little gits having a bath and generally enjoying themselves.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

There are some things that you come across something surprising and creative.  Well that’s what happened last year when we went for coffee and a drive along the coast.

We had stopped off at the little restaurant we like for coffee, and sat watching the rain falling and being blown around by the wind.  It was nice to be in the warm, so we ordered cheesecake and relaxed whilst keeping an eye on the weather.  By the time we had finished the rain had stopped so we decided to take a walk along the beach – to walk off the cheesecake…. On our way back to the car we passed these sand sculptures and could not resist taking a look.

Well this year they had some more on display these were a mix of sheep and ‘modern’ sculptures which to me looked more machine than animal or human.

But the effect was the same the little area was full of people looking and taking photographs.  So when we went for a drive and passed the sculptures we just had to stop and take a look.  It took some time to find a parking spot but finally we found a place further along the beach parked and walked back to take a look.  By this time it was getting dusk so the flood lights were on and people were almost queuing to get a look. So here are the sculptures:

These are a find we now look for something to brighten a dull, windy day in winter.  Hope you have a good 2018 of course you could try this yourselves.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  – Author

Read Full Post »

Our Home Made Olive Oil

The How and The Why of It

So about the oil why do we do it?. Well  up here our trees are so old that the olives are ready before the commercial presses are.  We were getting a little depressed seeing all the olives on the floor that two years ago we decided to make our own.   But being pensioners we did not have any spare cash and the machines that we would need were very very expensive.  So being an engineer I had a good think, ran some ideas by my wife and the result was what follows:-

     

 

First thing was the crusher (or Wesley as my wife named it):  We had an old cement mixer that was just lying around which my wife was going to convert into a flower container, but we decided that with a bit of tweaking it could be converted into the crusher by removing the beaters inside and filling the holes to make it leak proof.   A day later and job done, now I needed some large stones these were easy to find cleaned up and along with some old petanca balls I had the perfect crushing machine.

 

        

Second Item was the press:  Now this was a little more difficult as we don’t have a donkey or two very large stones so we opted for a small grape press cheapest we could find and we were all set.

 

  

​Filtering Department:  ​This is done on the kitchen counter and works well.   We save empty water bottles and large containers  plus Pepsi bottles and small olive oil ones, once cleaned they stand ready to be filled. Then we place the funnels with the filter paper in the bottle neck and scoop oil into the first one. Once this is full we repeat the process into the final bottle and the result is clear virgin olive oil.  The large container you can see is a 6ltr water container which the top has been cut off. This goes under the press to catch the oil and is then brought into the kitchen to have the oil skimmed off and filtered.

How we do it: 

​After picking the olives we empty the buckets into the crusher turn on the small generator and away it goes.  We wait until the olives are pulped into a ‘mash’ then I empty them into a bowl a bit at a time and take them to the press.

Here I line the press with an old pillowcase or other clean material making a hole in the bottom so that it will fit over the screw.  Once this is in place I put a layer of pulped olives in then cover this layer with some very fine netting and so on until all the olive pulp is in the press. I then add any oil that was in Wesley crusher fold down the pillowcase over the top layer then place the  wooden top of the press then come the blocks and finally the heavy metal screw.  By now gravity is working and the oil is flowing and I haven’t even turned the screw yet.

  

Once the flow stops I start turning the screw and pressing for real.   When the container is half full it is taken to the filtering department (wifes job). Here two bottles at a time are filled with the un filtered oil by placing a funnel lined with good quality kitchen paper as the filter.  Next the oil is scooped off the top of the ‘sludge’ and poured into the filters where it drips through as clear golden olive oil.

The ‘sludge’ that is left is mainly water and residue  so the water gets siphoned off and any oil that’s left is added to the filtering system. The resulting sludge is then taken to the garden and emptied.

So that’s how we do it up here Bosc style:

​Back to the picking

We have picked the tree next to the house but I am afraid one of the trunks will have to be cut as you can see it is leaning over and although its been like this for years it does not look like it can last much longer… so cutting back part of the trunk will stop it from eventually coming down.

  

        

Now these photos show the tree at the top of the drive which has not been touched for years as you can see. We picked it yes but Carol would not allow me up there with a chainsaw (wonder why???) So whilst she was out the other day I got ladders and hand saw and began. Didnt stop me being told off for not waiting till she got back (it’s a long drop to the next terrace) but I was fine so whilst she picked the lopped branches (guess who’s chair this is!!) I tackled the other side of the tree. With the result that only those branches you can see are left but until the wind drops off (as fronts go through it gets windy here) they can wait. We have 2ltrs of oil so far from these two trees with another pressing in progress and we are starting on the field today – yes ladders, saws and stuff will be used. We tend to prune as we go for obvious reasons and it works for us.

Now it may not seem very productive (lots of oil) but we normally get at least 6 months oil, this year we are hoping for a bit more plus it keeps us fit and the end result is our own oil made with our own hands and a little Heath Robinson thrown in.  Oh and as you can see from this picture oil does freeze, yep it gets that cold up here. But I siphoned the water which was underneath this and the oil was nice and clean so there was not much waste after the two filtering.  We ended up with 5.5 ltrs enough table oil for the year.

So from two happy old pickers its good by till next year.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  – Author

 

Read Full Post »

In The Beginning

 

This is what we fell in love with all those years ago (I installed the water header tank).

Well I think by now most people who follow my blogs know that one of my favourite topic is rain (or the lack of to be precise), but that’s what you get when looking for your perfect location to live and write then find it in the middle of nowhere in a forest halfway up a small valley in the mountains, fall in love with it and buy it…

                  

       

These are photos of the track to give you an idea of how steep it is where it looks flat it’s not your still climbing.

These photos of the farm looking back towards the masa show how close the forest is and we own most of what you can see.

Now when you think of a forest you probably think of leafy glades, flat forest floor and pathways or tracks that are level and when it rains get a little muddy, no?? well that’s what my wife thought of when I brought her here, didn’t last long though.  On the drive up here she was very silent and holding onto the handle of the car door.  We had a 4×4 then and it looked wider than the track, however, once she saw our ‘home’ she was smitten but even quieter on the drive to the hotel.  If you don’t like it we can go somewhere else I said,  No I love it came the reply but I really need to know we can get a small lorry up there for building materials or we have a problem, but we found we could and the rest as they say is history.  Once the bungalow was built and I had – with the help of my (wife) builders mate – sorted out the water, electrics (solar), gas (bottled) and sewage (tank) we were all set. So now to the water – or lack there of.

Water!!

   

This is how we had our house water delivered when we only had the small cisterna (water tank) Manell is a friend and our ‘go to’ person when we need something done.  He gives advice and help, and is always smiling. Every so often we would buy 5,000 ltrs  of potable (drinking) water to keep us going if it didn’t rain. I soon realised that although the original cisterna was just big enough for the house, in times of drought it was not enough. So we built, with the help of Manell and his digger, a new cisterna which would ensure that we had enough house water and, please god we never have to use it like this, water to fight a fire because if a forest fire came through here we would have to climb inside one of them to survive that’s how far we are into the forest.

As for the garden well I bought some cubes placed one by the bathroom wall and the other at the side of the Fly Free Zone (FFZ) these work very well taking the run off from the roof as long as we get some rain.

This is how we used to collect river water for the cubes before getting things sorted.

So back to the garden water.  The two cubes are sufficient as the garden is either set out with bulbs, cacti, drought loving plants (lavenders etc.,) or tubs.  Watering them every two days helps, and the very few plants we have that are normal are planted in places where I know there is moisture in the ground most of the year (ie., near the concrete of the patios).  So when it does rain we get all excited like Christmas, but a thunderstorm during the daytime is a little bit scary I watch the skies for smoke but I can tell you from experience that you hear the fire before you see it. This time of year has Carol making a plastic bag for ‘important’ things which she can quickly fill.

But that apart we are content. I knew what we were getting into when I bought the farm and neither of us would change it.  We have adventurous spirits like the challenge of solving things and love nature.  The things we have seen since we have been here and the adventures we have had are what we love about our home.  We were here before they made it a Park Natural because of the Golden Eagles, and often see them flying over the masa. The birds, animals and others make this a perfect place to write, live and relax.  Waking to the song of Boris blackbird, listening to the thrushes, lark and others during the early morning or late evening, all of this is our life.  Yes the piggy wigs are naughty sometimes and make my wife cry when they dig her bulbs up but we would not have it any other way.  As I write we have another mysterious creature up here.  We think it’s a bird wife says an owl me am not sure but we have been woken by what sounded like a female voice in the early morning twice now but neither seen nor heard anything human.  Nothing on the cameras (cards back in) so we don’t know, but will keep you posted.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  (author)

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: