Monday, April 9, 2018

Mutant Rhubarb

As I´m setting posts to keep Breo out of the new patch, I have a question.  Is this normal? Rhubarb planted last year.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Building an Ark

Whilst it continues to rain, we´ve at last made progress indoors.  The second set of appliance people finally, after 2 months, came and installed the stove hood and dishwasher!  Woot!

It´s not quite done, though functioning.  They´re supposed to be back to put up the rest of the stainless steel covering for the tubing after the holiday weekend.  We´ll see.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!  Stay dry.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Still vexed

Thanks for nothing, storm system Felix.  Salvaged a few sweet peas, everything else lost.  Two more weeks of rain in the forecast.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Spring update

Took advantage of a week of sunshine (!) to spread some manure, leaves, worm castings and pine mulch.  Moved some roses that were unhappy or too big for their spots, pruned everything that isn´t going to be moved or in a pot.  Moved some Japanese maples who were unhappy and planted some bleeding hearts in the shadier beds.  Also moved some gladiola bulbs because V thinks they look like funeral flowers.  My glutes are talking to me.

And the tractor guy came and re-tilled the veg/flower patch!  It looks fabulous.  And we rediscovered the well, which is currently under water.  I guess it re-charged.

Now, we´re supposed to get snow and then 2 weeks of rain, again.  Spring, how you vex me.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Looks like the old oven didn´t like 3 months of continuous rain, either.

Not looking too bad after V cleaned up.  More stones for the pile.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Valentine´s Day

Spain imported 185,2 million euros worth of cut flowers and plants in 2015, flowers sold mostly on occasions such as Valentine´s Day, Mother´s Day and Todos los Santos.  The majority of these come through Holland and are shipped in, even if they were grown in Spain originally.

Since the 1990´s, cheap imported flowers from South America and Africa have had an enormous impact on domestic production, both in the US and Europe.  Items imported from abroad are not required to meet the same labor and environmental standards as those grown domestically. The flowers in your typical supermarket bouquet, in other words, were likely tended by underpaid laborers exposed to harmful pesticides, preserved with chemicals, and cut days or even weeks earlier.

Needless to say, this is hardly beneficial to local economies or the environment.  And, much like the local food movement, Debra Prenzing and the Slow Flower movement have been working to raise awareness in the States of the impact of domestically produced flowers.  Their manifesto:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:
  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry
 So, should you be of a mind to send someone some lovely flowers for Valentine´s, please consider asking for locally grown, be they American, British or Spanish grown flowers.  Grown not flown.

Some links:

Flowers from the Farm - UK

American Gown Flowers - CAG United States

Floret Flower Directory - US/Canada/Worldwide

Floritismo - Barcelona area Florist/Farm

FlowrswelcomeHome - Madrid area Florist/Farm

Special mention to Georgie Newbery at Common Farm Flowers in Wincanton, Somerset (I really, really want to go to one of her workshops this year).

Meanwhile, this is what it looked like here this morning.  Sigh.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Goals for 2018

New year, new goals (some old).

1.  Find and refurbish the well out back because...

2.  I´m going to try selling some flowers and herbs at the Sunday market.  On a very reduced scale, barely 1/8 of an acre at first, and if there´s any potential, grow from there.  Gallegos are famous for only spending money on what they can eat, hence the herbs, but these days, who wouldn´t want a little joy in a vase on the kitchen table?  And, even if I don´t sell so much as a single stem, all the infrastructure and soil building can be re-directed to veg, and as a bonus we´ll have the prettiest garden in the county.  Original Crazy Idea post from way back in 2012 here.

3.  Refurbish the barn.  I´ll still need a studio and some space for processing the flowers, stow tools, stack firewood, etc.

4.  Finish the laundry room/pantry with a sink and a countertop and some shelving.  As I gear up for more food preservation, I need room to store more stuff.

5.  Get Breo some training.  He´s now healthy and strong and acting up on walks again.  Also, we´re thinking about getting a second dog to give him someone to play with and tire him out a little.  But he´s not a great example of an obedient pet, which is entirely our fault, so some classes and guidance are going to be necessary first before he´s in charge of training a new companion.