summer

not that i want to wish my life away, but it looks like summer is nearly over……thank god……

looking back over my photos, i don’t seem to have done very much, other than a very stressful trip back to the UK and then 2 weeks recovering not a lot has happened…but here’s a little snippetaubergine bee building cake carrots cherries flower1 flower2 flower3 kiwis snooks swimming tart toms woody

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dis boot and das boot

It feels like an age has passed and I haven’t written a  thing, not even thought about writing a thing. Sometimes it’s like that, we wait for inspiration, we forget that we are waiting, we get on with our lives. There is a huge amount of nothingness here in the mountains, well some would call it nothingness, there’s plenty, if you know where to look, we have to take our inspiration from tiny things, from the inane, from the “doing-ness” of our lives.

November has had a lot of ups and downs, we’ve had the most bizarre weather

hailand not enough rain and then loads all at once. It’s been too hot, then really cold. We had no olives and what we did have ended up on the floor after gusty winds.

I’ve made some splendid cakes

cakeand cookies

cookies

I’ve sown some stuff

purseshotties1
Meanwhile,  in the garden

september lightthings are slowing down, I’m still harvesting parsnips, carrots and Kale, herbs and flowers. The dahlias have been dug up and put to bed, the citrus have been covered again. the asparagus has been cut down.

A few years ago, I let some garlic go to seed
garlic headaside from the fact that they look beautiful, I wanted to collect the seed and grow my own garlic.

It can take years for the garlic to be a useable size and you just keep harvesting and keeping for next years seed, until it is big enough, which seems like a faff (it is) but possibly worth it in the end (or not)

When I’m super stressed (which is most of the time, it seems), I count, I count everything, how many steps I’m walking, how many things I am picking, how many times I have turned the spade over etc. etc.

Last week I planted 457 cloves of garlic………I dressed the soil with ash from the bread oven and some blood, fish and bone, raked it all in and am keeping fingers crossed that that will be enough to get them going…….
garlic

 and just to round off, a little light-heartedness about boots…..
Rick’s boots, have been the source of much entertainment over the last 6 years, mostly in the sort of laughing one does when one is a little bit desperate and trying to see the funny side of things when actually they couldn’t be sadder………I’ve lost count of how many pairs of boots he’s been through on this build, aside from how much money they cost, it’s the logistics of buying them that cause the most amount of angst because he is too big for Portugal (clothes wise)……they have to come from the other world….the world were men have feet that are bigger than women’s feet!!!

boots

which brings me to the end of this entry and little ditty about dogs, life, the universe and everything……

Woody caught a boot,

woodyboot

a lonesome, soleless, cowboy boot…….god knows where it came from, how old it is or who it belonged to, given that there are not many cowboys around these parts (although I did see one recently in the agri store, sporting a fantastic moustache and wearing spurs….), it’s been up and down the road several times, being picked up daily by one of the dogs…..

blossombootthe dogs and how they are, are a constant reminder that often the very thing that you want/need the most is often right under your nose, if only you could just stop for a moment and use your senses to find it or see it……….

the princess and the pee

No it’s not a typo and it’s not really a post about fairy tales either, more puppy dogs tails…….

we have a bed wetter and a chewer which has meant that not only does dog bedding have to be washed regularly but also mended and often just thrown away. Blossom has always had spayed bitch incontinence, it’s been a manageable problem until recently, age and illness has meant that her issues have got worse……

Woody is a serial chewer

chew

thankfully it’s been mostly things that don’t really matter, like pine cones, stones any old bit of wood but mostly his favourite chew toy is his bedding………

chewing

So, I got given two old duvets, which I cut in half, giving me 4 dog beds, i then salvaged some old fabric from the dump and an old duvet cover, sewed everything on to everything a million times and viola, i now have lots of dog beds that can go in the wash and dry really quickly above the fire or in the sun……..

bedding

hopefully the woodster will stop chewing as soon as his last canine has finished growing (it’s been a slow one) and well the bed wetting is what it is……

spring has sprung…..

…..and then it sort of went away again. It did peak a bit early with temperatures in the mid twenties, which is a bit odd given that it was only February and it went from 6 to 26 in less than two days. Needless to say I was quite ready for it, as it seems to do this every year and the last thing I want to be doing in the garden is panic digging!!! aside from the fact that panic digging is no good for your body, I prefer to give the soil a chance to warm up and digging can help it do this, so by the time the temperatures rose I was ready to sow, which i did, I put in rows and rows of parsnips and carrots

parsnips

turnips, kale and peas various other bits and pieces. All of which have germinated now (thanks to the heat).

I generally fleece all these first sowings

parsnips fleeceas this aides their germination and then they are also protected from any foul weather we may have. I have known it to hail in May here, so the fleece stays on until then and gets raised up with hoops made from willow.

hoops 2

hoops

I will continue to sow for a few more weeks and then that’s it for sowing direct.

The blossoms and wild flowers are peaking,the display this year is spectacular, especially the plum blossom

bloss 8so hopefully this will mean we will have a bumper crop if, of course the frosts don’t come and ruin everything.

bloss 1

woody woodsWe had a nasty experience with our giant puppy Woody, despite our best efforts at keeping him safe from the processionary caterpillars he went and stuck his entire face in a nest and had an anaphylactic reaction, passing out half way down the farm, leaving me to try and carry him back up to the truck covered in poo and weighing 33 kilos, luckily a friend passed by and helped me finish the job. Woody is OK but we are having to walk him away from the pines, which is not easy being as we live in a pine forest, he goes on the schist trail every morning and the afternoons we go to the local national park

wood pile

primroses1needless to say he has rather alot of energy and our nights are not quiet or sleep filled…….

spot the dog
I’m secretly hoping that the foul weather will continue as it will kill off the last of the caterpillars and then life can go back to normal and Woody can gallumph around on the farm again……

bless you dear cat

sadly a few weeks ago, I had to have my darling Lulu put down, she’d been off and on poorly for a while,  living outside had not agreed with her (long story) but she was nearly 16 and I’d say thats pretty good going, she’d used up all her lives with various accidents and poisonings, not to mention being mauled (practically to death) by 4 puppies
what a fantastic cat
Blossom and Lulu on the schist trail
 Stanley and lulu, the best of friends
Fred and Lulu chilling on the stairs
 and just when she thought life would be a bit quieter in her very old age, along came Woody

Fredwood

sometimes things happen and you can’t fathom out why? often, on an intellectual level, you can understand the cause and effect, or the sequence of events that led to the thing occurring. but, when its something that matters to you emotionally, sometimes then, despite all your best efforts to make sense of it, especially at the time it occurs, it fails to make any sense what-so-ever, and leaves you in a void of emptiness, and loss, sometimes even a loss of faith.


this is the situation we found ourselves in. earlier this year when we lost our dog fred. he died of kidney failure as a result of Leischmania, a viral infection carried by a sand fly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leischmania). when we arrived here, a few years ago we first heard of the disease, but at that point only a strain of it that affected the skin and eyes of dogs, which if left untreated resulted in death. subsequently we have found there are other strains of the disease that affect dogs, and also humans. 


none of it made any sense. i can’t begin to explain the sense of trauma and loss we felt at the time. for 2 weeks we ferried fred back and forth to the vets, in the vain hope that he might pull thru. we thought he deserved every chance. he was an incredibly fit dog, who never showed any fear or pain or suffering, possibly to his detriment, as he only showed symptoms of the disease right before he passed away from it.

a week before, he was leaping up sheer rock faces fox hunting, that’s the kind of dog he was. we never imagined he would go like that, what seemed more likely, was that he would be gored by the wild boar he was always hunting and chasing. 

if i had felt my bond strong with stanley, my first dog, who died of the kind of complications that set in in old age, only shortly after we got here, then it was hard to describe the bond i shared with fred. it was stronger, he was so very much my dog. he was the dog i dreamed of,  almost like i had dreamed him into existence, or that he and i had dreamed our relationship into being. we were devoted to each other.


he was so very alive. i have never seen another dog like him. i guess we knew he wouldn’t live long, nothing that shines that brightly can. he filled our lives in a way that nothing else did, and the subsequent vacuum his departure caused was nothing other than immense. like being stranded in deep space, unable to breathe, drfting. it has taken me since june to come to terms with it enough that i can bring myself to write something.

not that it was in any way like falling off a bicycle, but the desire to get another dog was very strong. it felt, at the time, like the only way, the only thing to do, that might in some way bring some resolution to our pain. some might say that’s a funny reason to get a dog, but it was only perhaps the motivating reason. we had been talking about it, as we always do about other dogs.

there were some criteria for another dog, we wanted another hunt point retrieve dog, one that might afford us the opportunity of working with him. and thats how we found woody. in spain, in a little village not far from the astonishing castle of penafiel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penafiel_Castle), and the wine caverns of aranda de duero (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aranda_de_Duero)


woody is a deutsch drahthaar  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsch_Drahthaar) and he’s very funny. he is also very (or wery) wuffly. 

i guess the point i’m trying to make is, you can’t have everything, everything has its time, and sometimes just to astonish you, something amazing can show up just when you really need it to.