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Posts Tagged ‘gardens’

My Books

              

This year has seen my Young Persons books  Clearing in the Forest and Peaceful Land published.  These are the adventures of three orphaned (seems you are not allowed to say bastard these days. But in the Middle Ages where the story is set it was a common word used to define the ‘out of wedlock’ offspring of Kings and Nobles of the times.  The reason they were called bastards was so they could not make claim to the Kings/Nobles titles or lands although as history has proven it did not stop this).

Writing about history has brought me another string to my knowledge bow.  I have had the pleasure of meeting people who enjoy history as much as I do and in this particular area – the Middle Ages – they are a knowledgeable lot.  I had the first book given as a prize in a competition which I thought was very kind seeing as the story is a historical fantasy.  Witches, demons, spells, good v evil are all these as is the really evil Odo, demon master to the King of France.  The story is et at the end of King Johns reign and follows the adventures of John, Geoff and Ela as they fight to survive. I have been genuinely surprised at how many adults like the books so it was both a nice feeling and surprise when out shopping a lady came up to me (recognised me from my photo) and said how much she liked Clearing in the Forest and was going to buy Peaceful Land.  Now I have written many adult books and a Historical Naval adventure – A Plymouth Story – but never before has anybody actually recognised me and enthused about a book.  My wife said I fairly floated out of the store.

The Finca

                           

I dont know if you remember the high winds we had when this happened, but needless to say I have fixed things now. We still get the high winds from time to time and we sit and listen to the supports of the panels flexing when the wind really gets up but so far so good.  Everything is repaired now still a bit of rendering to be done but that’s on the inside. I’d like to say its a wet day job but we are in the middle of a horrendous drought and rain is very little and far between, but it will get done   one day….

The Animals (Wild Boar)

    

Well 2017 saw my wife almost go shooting.  The wild boar made the mistake of first digging up her saffron bed (to the right of the last step) and eating most of the bulbs then destroying her ‘tyre’ garden. So I moved one of the cameras as I was not sure whether it was the goats or wild boar, I should have known. These were the result a sort of caught in the act animal version.  But somehow she decided that hunting them was not for her.  So she salvaged what bulbs she could and replanted them.  Then turned her attention to the tyre, here they had eaten the tulip bulbs so she tidied them up and planted iris and lily bulbs, but no tulips.  You know when she saw what they had done to the little tyre garden that was the first time I had seen the animals make her cry.  But as she said this is a garden in a forest and unless we wall ourselves in this will happen and we are not wall people.

The Goats

Then came the day I could hear banging noises like a rock being hit by a large hammer. Then I looked at the masa and saw these.

The Eagles

 

These are the big ‘quackers’ we hear in the forest now and then.  The old adage if it looks like an eagle, flies like an eagle and quacks like a duck then….its an EAGLE!!

Well that’s a few of my 2017 memories, things that stay in my mind because they are, to me, wonderful.  The animals and birds are part of our life and some things seem like yesterday. So from Puddytat, the Boys and ourselves here’s hoping you have a happy, safe and gentle 2018.

rgds  Michael

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Have The Years Gone

                          

The Prolog
These photographs say a lot. When we first put the FFZ (fly free zone) up we planted a walnut tree, I do like walnuts, along with a vine our friends gave us.  Now as we cannot have a permanent construction with out planning permission we built as you can see 4 pillars then I added some support beams (cut when making a fire break) added a wooden roof then covered the whole thing with very large olive nest.  I then constructed a metal door and frame attached these to the house and covered like the rest of the ffz,  making the complete ffz you can see here.
As you can see it did not take long for either to grow but there were consequences.  The vine grew like billio and the tree just tore away upwards.  So I had to curtail that and keep it at a reasonable height.  But it was the vine that went mad.  It clambered up and over the roof and around the netting (second pic) but in doing so it became heavy and began to destroy the netting (we realised this when we found a snake in the ffz).  So what to do? well I simply trimmed and moved the vine to in front of the little house so it can climb over the frame of the gazebo.  Then I looked at the roof and decided that it was necessary to replace it which I did with corrugated effect roofing, that was a laugh putting that up believe me a broom comes in very handy at those times.  Then I bought some new netting which my wife duly put up and also sealed any gaps she found whilst doing so.  I then sealed the edges where the roof butted up against the walls and using the old roofing covered the entrance in front of the door now we could sit out without being bitten and in the shade whilst enjoying the heat.  Then we got the boys……
The Gardens – Sam’s Garden
                   
 Now my wife loves her flowers and when she decided that the olive tree by the house stayed she decided to make a garden out of it well I should have known.  After filling in the centre and planting bulbs, She then built  a semicircle garden in front of it.  Into this went more bulbs (about the only thing that can survive the hot summers remembering we have very little water up here) the result being that I laid a small patio down so we could sit out and enjoy this garden. As you can see when in flower it’s rather attractive, the bulbs have multiplied over the years and every now and then my wife digs them up and plants the young bulbs in other parts of the garden. After the pigs attack on her saffron I think it’s a good idea.
Meet Bobbin Robbin and his  main man Boris Blackbird
 
Yes his name is spelt like that he told me so after introducing Boris. Now a robin talking to me? I should have known (this will be my theme statement). We were sat having coffee one morning when this little chappy turned up. Not content with getting up close and personal with the wife he had demands.  He hopped under the table and pecked her foot then said you’ve got a drink what about us?  and there you have it I was sent off to find an old dish whilst they sat discussing (yes she can and does talk to the birds and they tweet back) how to set up what was to become known as ‘The Water Bar’ (you can find it on https://asoldierswind.wordpress.com). The fact that my wife could understand what he and the others say makes me wonder…….
So there it is life on the finca past part 1.  Nothing really changes, the redstarts are still with us, but its been a long long dry summer and the garden has taken a bashing. So there really is a lot of work to do, where we start depends on my wife but I have a feeling the beds will be first followed by the pots and tubs then the rest of the garden and something done about that Saffron bed and the birds are returning they sit in the now  – of course I could be wrong……..
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – author

 

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In the Beginning

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As you can see from this photograph this was how the back-garden looked a few years ago.  We were just getting sorted out and when it rained the earth would wash up against the wall making it damp. So we laid a path and patio and stood the water cubes there to catch the rain water.  It worked well for a while but when the drought set in and the forest nearly caught fire I decided that we needed a larger cisterna.  Now we couldn’t go up so we went down to bedrock and started from there.  The poles you see here determined the construction as one windy day the whole lot blew down falling on Carol’s roses and taking the ‘false apple’ vine with it.  So after tidying things up and replanting the roses – unfortunately we lost one or two – I got busy.

Got a digger to dig out the hole then had steel delivered along with gravel/sand and cement and off we went. I laid the floor first then started on the sides.  I did the mixing and the wife was down the hole building up the walls.  It took us a few weeks to do as we had to go slow but eventually we were at the top and ready for the beagers and pots.  Once delivered and in place a last few mixes of concrete and job done.  To get someone to do exactly the same thing would have been around 10,000 Euros.

Washing Line and Garden

 

When I started this blog it was into winter and neither of us were fit enough to finish it. HOWEVER, it’s now March sun’s out forest and garden are looking good and we are feeling very get up and go up here.  So after looking at the damage the winter had done to certain plants Carol went plant shopping.  We now have two new lavenders and the lavender patch is beginning to look as it should.  The weeds took over during the winter when we could not get out, so the past few days have been weeding and tidying up days.  The feel of the sun on our backs is doing us the world of good.  I have taken some photographs of before and after, not all the beds have been finished but we are in no rush.

This is the side walled garden before and after. It was full of weeds and dead plants that the frost had damaged, so Carol weeded then planted some violets at this end where the dead plant was, but before that she covered and dug in some of the olive mush and ash mixture to give the ground some goodness.

The next one was end bed in front of the shed facing the house. As you can see it was really bad but after some diligent weeding and another good dose of the mix the red-hot pokers and lavender now have space to grow.

 

This small walled bed forms the other wall of the rose garden and is just waiting for its ‘mix’ to be added.  This is the first year the Hyacinth’ s have been in their own bed although small they all flowered and for a few days the perfume was wonderful. This is the sight I look at from my desk, and the washing line of course.

 

Next was the small patio in front of the bedroom  as you can see it was a bit of a mess but after a good sweep and re positioning of the stones replacing some gravel all is back to normal  –  except that the wind blew just as this photo was being taken  can’t tell you what a certain lady said…..

So this is  just a few photos of where we are with the garden.  However Carol has told me about your photos this spring and how it is difficult to explain the variety of wild ones we have so in ‘Part Two’ of this blog I am posting just photos of them.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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Then It Rained!!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Introducing the Boys

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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.

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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

 

 

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The Usual Stuff

 

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These past weeks have seen some spectacular skies what with the moon turning red and the end of the world predicted.  We even had a partial rainbow but, of course, no rain. So these spectacular skies, the moon (and no we didn’t stay up) and the rainbow are our only reward. Then I discovered my camera wont work so now I can’t use it so have to rely on my phone and the tablet not good….

Olive Oil…

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Right as you will have gathered by now we own a small olive farm and over the years we have not had the time to tend it properly.  Most of the trees here are 100’s of years old some – so we are told – being  1000 years old, which I can believe as the trunks are like small oak trees. To get the trees to produce fruit they need to be pruned which means taking all the branches that are growing up right out leaving the centre clear with plenty of light, removing all the dead wood, which encourages new growth which in turn produces the fruit.  However, because over the years we have had to travel to back and forth to Michael’s doctor it became a bit difficult.  So this year after little rain we expected to be pruning but not pressing the olives  WRONG!!!! On inspection I discovered the trees were covered in fruit, not much rain at all here so yes Sods Law is alive and kicking…..

Normally picking olives and taking them to the commercial press is done sometime in the first two weeks of November with pruning in early spring.  However this year everything seems to be early and if we left them till then the olives would all have fallen and been no good,  so it was off to visit Keka (think that’s how his name is spelt) to purchase a small press.  Now we could get going.  We started on the first tree of the left side of the fields then moved to the small ones on the first level. Lots of pruning and picking later we had our first pressing, so Michael got his trusty pulper going and before long the first batch was ready for the press.

Because of his hand I won’t let him use a chain saw up and down ladders with that in hand is not good, so until his hand’s sorted out it’s literally hand pruning. There is a lot of dead wood up there so we find it easier to using the hand saw. It is rather nice working away in the early morning suns just getting warm, birds are shouting and hollering at our two, conversation is good and when he’s cut enough branches we sit go and pick the olive together. We are obviously not the only ones who work like this, when we were out yesterday we passed another couple doing exactly the same.

Sitting in our kitchen/diner is the first container of oil which is resting to allow the water to settle on the bottom. Once this happens I will syphon it off then leave it to settle again before straining it several times into clean fresh containers.

Autumn Hunters

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October brings a new sound to the forest, the sound of dogs, bells and guns, the hunters are back.  The season is from October to March and only on two days a week last year it was Thursday and Sunday, not sure which days this year. I have to say that until the guns go off we don’t always know they are here and they do not hunt near the house.  Hunting is a subject that is full of holes, sometimes it is necessary to cull the wild boar because this is farming country and they do do a fair bit of damage to crops. However, being a National Park they have to get permission to hunt and the wild boar have not suffered, in fact they are beginning to thrive again.

New Additions

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This is Bluebottle. We were out shopping in the market last week and as always stopped to look at the birds.  Michael was particularly taken with a parakeet very pretty with a blue bum, so he’s called Bluebottle.  Twice he went back to look at him then I said “if you really like him get him and a cage” .  Next thing I knew bird in cage in front of car me sitting in back and sir having a conversation with a passenger who didn’t talk back…..  Well he seemed a little lonely so today we went back and bought another one a Grey this time named Eccles what else…..  Now I am not casting nasturtiums (I know what I wrote) but it has to be a male.  The chap put the bird in a box with air-holes and we started for home, calling into the supermarket on the way.  We opened the boot and loaded the shopping opened doors and got in. Drove along then all of a sudden Eccles was flying around in the car – good job the aircon was on –  Eccles had chewed his way out of the bird box so we stopped the car and when he landed on Michaels knee he caught him, replaced him in the box and with me holding the lid on and covering the hole Eccles had made drove home.  Once home Michael took him into the livingroom  opened the cage door placed the box against it and waited… and waited…. and oh you get the idea.  The result was that he had to up-end the box to get him into the cage.

Job sorted you might think but oh no!  They spent the next hour shouting at one another and every time Eccles went to feed Bluebottle chased him away. Same thing with the swing to the point where Bluebottle dislodged his swing then tried to commandeer Eccles, so Michael went out got some wire and sorted this out. Then I had to lay the law down to the pair of them.  Know what? it worked!  I re-hung the swing they had knocked down then we watched as they both sat on it, no squabbling no noise and when Eccles went to eat Bluebottle sat and watched.  Michael has made a hanging place for them in the fly free zone where they can sit and shout at the ‘gang’ who come sit in the olive tree and tweet, shout and screech back at them.  Believe it or not they are now under their cover cuddled up and QUIET!!!!!

Petanca Birthday Party

Last Saturday we had a really lovely day.  Now this weekend here it’s a bank holiday so we wont be petancing and next weekend is a competition so last weekend was the only one free. We bought the wine and our friends did the rest we played a small competition Michael won Beer and Olives and I won wine and crisps.   Then we went and sat down to  pernil, pan tomate, olives, crisps, several different meats with wine, beer, small alcohol wine (4%) Pepsi, lemonade and water.  This was followed by melon, then sweet cakes served with the coffee and either brandy or whisky.  I didn’t drink so drove home Michael just had a really relaxing good time.

Michael also had some good news about his operation on his hand.  He has a cyst growing on the tendon of his hand and it became infected so his doctor sent him to see a specialist who said they would operate but there is a two month waiting list so in December along with his scan it will be sorted. And no he can’t type very well at the moment.

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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It’s 11.40 on a Sunday morning sun’s shining and for the past few hours Michael has been sitting in the fly free zone working on a new book whilst listening to the song of a thrush. As for me I have been busy in the garden putting finishing touches to the walled bed. Now you may be wondering why I am posting on Michael’s blog, well its like this. I have joined a garden blog on FB and normally I would just post on there or  Michael would write a blog about what I have been up to. This morning however he was up early and is now busy writing. But he did have a look round on here first and as soon as he had finished I grabbed my chance hehe.

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It is a strange thing but gradually over the years I have been putting the garden in place but only in my mind. But last year Michael made me steps up to the cacti garden and things just took off from there. I edged the steps with stones and made small bulb terraces, then if you look to the right of this picture that is where I built a small wall and re-planted my Saffron crocus.

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The next thing was to have a small olive tree removed as it was too close to the house and replanted in the south field. It was whilst this was being dug up that the large rocks were discovered so I decided to make a small walled garden for some of my roses.  Then Michael suggested that I make another garden behind the wall incorporating the stones so this is the result – it’s now finished – and I have planted two of my hostas – Bill & Ben – in it along with one or two other plants, covered the soil with gravel so it prevents the sun drying it out too quickly and I now have a classic little garden.

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The problem here is that we don’t get much water during the summer which normally runs from June till mid September so we have to collect water for the garden from the river. We store it in cubes of 1,000 ltrs which is strictly for the garden. But there is a little trick I learnt from ‘The Witches Garden’, and that is to get a lemonade bottle cut off the bottom say about half way up and insert the capped end into the soil and fill with water. Next get an empty 6 ltr water bottle cut the top off that and fit it over the  bottle in the ground, this will then produce a self watering unit and keep the plants moist. I have done it before and it does actually work although I have to place a stone on the top to keep the larger bottle from being blown away.

So today I have made three of these water units and placed them next to the roses in the new garden. I then made a ring of stones which when it gets cooler tonight I shall cement in place thus making a ‘waddy’ which when I pour the  water in will make sure it soaks into the ground for that rose and does not run over the ground. I now have three more to make plus one for the lavender. So busy, busy ,busy.

Right I have to go need to get dinner I hope you like this I shall continue with another update later. I will post this tonight but if not then tomorrow when I have finished.

© C.A.Bosc

(Wife and Poetess)

 

 

 

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My garden in the forest is so different from my garden in England. For a start England has a fairly – not including the past year – steady rain fall and sunny days. Where as here we have heat and very little rain so everything I grow has to be drought tolerant.  I will explain a few things so you can understand what I am talking about. This is the track that runs from the river Ebro through the forest across our land and on up to the ridge. As you can see it is dry and dusty nothing like the forests in the UK which are green and cool. Our olive farm is off to either side of part of it surrounded by forest where in summer the ground dries to rock hard and is very very stony. But in the winter from October to May our growing season means we get the rains and the ground is workable. However we do not grow much of our own veg because of the water situation, but we have set up a system which allows me to grow butternuts and tomatoes.   So I have found that bulbs, roses and lavender along with a few others grow here quite well.

 

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We do not have agricol water here as we are too far from a) the river and b) the pumping station so we keep the garden water in cubes and go to the river to fill them up.  These pictures are not recent as I have been gradually changing the garden they have now been moved to the next level which makes both filling and watering the garden a lot easier.

However what can be found here is worth every hour spent weeding and a walk along the track will produce plants and flowers you can only wonder how they get there.   There are actually wild Iris here which grow without a lot of water, then very small Daffodils which have every type of trumpet you can get the large ones in. Add to these wild Grape Hyacinths which grow in the most stupid places such as paths, Honeysuckle and Jasmine, and these are only the start.  To give you an idea of what I mean will post pictures of the wild flowers as well as my garden ones,  and will start with these oddities.

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The first time I saw them I thought I was looking at small fir cones and went to pick them up only to find they were firmly attached to the ground and plants.  They produce feather like seeds from their tops eventually opening up to release them like dandelions.  I am not sure what they are called so if anyone knows I would be grateful.

 

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This is a plant I call the ‘Carrot Plant’ on account of its leaves being like the tops of carrots, and like most of the unusual plants it is everywhere.  There are more like these which makes the forest very interesting.

 

© C.A.Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well what a strange night and day we are having/had. I blame the wife myself.  Yesterday she was out in the garden in the sunshine 15dgs watering and looking at some rather dubious clouds that were skirting the valley whilst mumbling  we need some rain get over here……

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Later on the drumming of a good rain storm could be heard she had got her way BUT when I got up this morning SNOW! SNOW!  The forest looked really wintry with its light dusting of snow maybe not a lot, but there it was. A bleary eyed bod got out of bed saying your daft “where’s the snow” wandered to the front door opened it looked outside closed it came back to bed snuggled down saying “yep that’s snow”! Not the normal response and no dash for the camera, but still it was around 4am…..

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True to form she who watches the weather – did not see this coming – was out before brekky getting the logs and starting wood in – thinks saws, axes and me don’t go well together – wonder why? any way words of “we will not be cold”  were heard and she was enjoying herself so I made the tea and got brekky.  We are having a curry for dinner the pan is on the fire and we are cosy and warm  not bad.  Just going to see what the weather is going to do tomorrow then a glass dinner and Rugby.  Ohhh  dont like the look of this  more snow could be on way guess who’s off to the wood pile, girl scout or what…..

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It may not look like much to you but believe me this is an event.  Usually when it snows no matter how deep its gone by midday so to us its something.

Keep warm and safe everyone,  “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”  Keep warm peeps

 

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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I was discussing gardening with a friend and realised that gardening here is rather different from the UK.  For a start the growing season is from October – when it gets cooler and is supposed to rain – through to end April after that it begins to get far too hot.  My wife likes to grow things such as tomatoes, peppers and her herbs so we have been on a learning curve for some while.

Innovation comes to mind when water is not readily available, as in previous posts I have explained that Manel brings the house water up when needed 5000 lts to fill the cisterna.

Then we have three 1000 ltr cubes for the garden which we fill from rain water or get topped up plus a 8ltr tank for the ‘Water Bar’ which is so vital to wildlife up here.  So when thinking of planting this is how it goes.  First what do we eat a lot of, what takes the least amount of water and can it be grown in pots, tubs etc.? Then of course what tubs etc do we have what can re-recycle?

To answer these questions and explain why my wife grows them I shall start with the simples.  Over here it is not impossible to buy fruit and veg cheaply.  Most gardens grow their own food resulting in surplus which they take to a little shop on a share basis ie, they sell the goods and share the profit.  But most of the women here grow their own herbs or walk the country roads picking wild herbs for the kitchen, whilst keeping an eye open for the wild asparagus which will be available in spring or for the snails.  This is typical country people’s fare and they know where to look and find it.

The women make preserves and tomato fritto which doubles as a sauce, soup and additive to dishes, and my wife makes chutney and relish. So she grows her produce in various containers to keep the bugs at bay.  Here it is said when buying plants or sowing seeds one for the bugs one for us..

So my wife trawled through the various gardening magazines – surprising how many have perfectly good ideas but refuse to sell to Europe they really are short sighted – and then looked round for things to adapt.

The first was an old toilet which after it had been cleaned and the waste pipe end blocked,  I set up under the tree cemented it in place and filled the bottom  with stones for drainage then topped it with compost and we planted strawberries in it.  To assist with the watering I installed a self watering drip feed and the strawbs are now over hanging the loo and the fruit are large and sweet. Using things like old sinks & loo’s earns 5 *****.

For the tomatoes we tried two ways of planting.  One was in the garden against the wall of the generator house the other was in growbags. The result was that we had lots of big beef toms and a toad took up residence at the end so the role of growbags gets 4 ****’s.

Next came a very ingenious idea the use of unwanted guttering and drain pipes.  The guttering is simple and can either be set on a wall with brackets or on a  x—–x horse the ends caped off then filled with compost then planted with salad.  The drain pipe can be cut to short length and used to bring on celery.

Well that’s how far my wife has got this year, but next year I expect she will be better prepared. I have seen the cement and stones out but what is going on I am not sure…..  I can say however that off of the single butternut plant we have had several tasty fruit.

Nothing is un-usable you can find a use for most objects in the garden just make sure they have drainage holes and the rest is imagination, ingenuity and fun  but the results are fresh food wonderful.

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