It was cooler today and it rained from 11 am onwards. By 5 pm, it was truly lashing it down. I decided to make a Cottage Pie (think Shepherd's Pie... but instead of ground lamb and corn, it's with ground beef, carrots and onions... and mash potatoes, of course). I added some curry paste and made some red-wine gravy. It was pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself. We both had two helpings and polished it off. Such gluttons, but it was just the comfort food we were both craving. I think I'll add it to the menu during the rainy season.
Well, I don't say this very often, but it's been a proper cool, drizzly English day. We even had fog for the full effect. When I say 'cool', I mean 20°C/68°F, but there was a definite dampness in the air. The school kids are on a 2-week vacation (kind of like the Christmas break for the kids in the northern hemisphere). July is called 'little summer' because it usually stops raining for the month. Perhaps today was the 'storm' before the 'calm'. Although 'drizzly' can hardly be called a storm, now can it? Kevin continued building the stone wall beside the house and I put on my black rubber boots and finished adding lime and compost to all the citrus trees to give them a boost of nutrients. Kevin had pruned them last month and many new flowers are blooming so I'm hoping we'll be getting a nice new crop of lemons, limes and sour oranges. And Kevin will be planting the three sweet orange trees we bought a few weeks ago. We just have to find the right place for them... I know, really? 35-acres of land and we're struggling to find the right spot for three measly trees? Sad, but true. We want to plant them in a sunny area, good soil drainage, convenient for picking, etc. One must be strategic.
I did some laundry, cleaned the house and made a tasty salad for lunch (I really enjoy cold, crispy salad fixings topped with a warm bit). Today, I fried bread crumbs in butter and garlic in a pan. Then in another pan, I fried leeks, almonds, cranberries, goat cheese and smoked trout in butter with salt and pepper (that was the warm bit). Then I added that to the cold, crispy romaine/arugula/tomato/red pepper/avocado/cucumber tossed in a light olive oil and balsamic and honey vinaigrette. I sprinkled the bread crumbs over of all that. I know it sounds like an awful lot of flavours going on, but it was delicious. Kevin is not a lover of salads, but he ate it all up. And it's so healthy, too. So, the day was not completely unproductive. I even did some writing. We now have logs burning in the fireplace and we're feeling nice and cozy. Maybe I'll pour myself a Grand Marnier... a perfect nightcap to quite a lovely day. It is our winter, after all.
The Spanish teacher, Elizabeth, from our little one-room school had asked Kevin if he would be able to hang a white new board in her classroom. He had told it wouldn't be a problem and would go sometime this week. Today was the day. We had to remove the big, black chalk board first. When we took it down, there was mold all over the wall and the back of the board. Terrible... I was wondering what that musty smell was... well, I got my answer. I went home and got some bleach and a lime. I washed the wall down to make sure there wasn't any more mold. Then Kevin installed the handmade brackets he created. And then we hung the white board up. We did the same in the kitchen. The English school teacher uses the kitchen as a classroom a lot of the time, so having a white board will be helpful. And while we were there, Kevin installed the new extractor hood over the stove. It's been sitting on the counter for the last two months, we're told. Had we known, Kevin would have gone over sooner. Oh well, it's done now. Everyone seems very happy. Kevin is definitely earning the reputation of being Rio Blanco's handyman. He's got the tools and the know-how. He's a good man to have around, that's for sure!
Did you know that you should never prune a tree when the moon is waxing (on its way up to a full moon) only when it's waning (on its way down to a new moon). We've done both and decidedly it's definitely more beneficial to follow this farmer's rule. The trees we've pruned during the waxing period have died. The ones we've pruned during the waning period have all flourished beautifully. No lie. The things you learn when you come from suburbia and transplant yourself into a farmer's life. Also, we've learned to only pick fruit off a tree in the early morning or late afternoon... never, ever at midday. It saps all the energy out of the tree and makes the fruit bitter. Who knew? Well, we do now... and so do you! Happy to be of help :)
I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night... 9:45 pm... so early, actually. I slept like a baby and I woke up feeling tired and weary. I've had no energy all day. I decided to take a bath because that usually makes me feel good. I feel like I'm suffering from the physical effects of depression without the depression. Just so drained, and there's absolutely no reason for it. Kevin felt like this last week and I thought he might be coming down with something, but he kept insisting he felt fine, just drained. I told him to drink more water, that maybe he was dehydrated. So this morning, I thought I was dehydrated. I drank lots of water with lime, from our lime tree. So fresh, so good. Then I forced myself to get one chore done today.
I cleaned the bottom of one of our avocado trees. I weeded, added some lime and compost. Good job done, but man, it took every ounce of energy to get it done. While Kevin was working on the side of the house, making the stone wall and making cement, I rested in a chair in the sun. I feel asleep. An hour or so later, Kevin and I went to the pasture to collect some of Paloma's golden nuggets to add to the compost. Once that was done, I made some lunch. I'm glad I got something done today because it sure wasn't looking all that promising earlier this morning. I guess the good news is there's nothing that has to be done right this minute. If I feel the need to have a lazy day, at least I'm lucky enough to have that opportunity. If only I can let go of the guilt. Tomorrow, we'll add the Diatomite. Looking forward to seeing the results.
Kevin's just made me a cup o' tea... what a lovely man. It looks like a little more relaxing is in order! Ha. Tomorrow will be more productive, I'm sure of it.
We stopped by at Cindy and Larry's today. It's been a little while since we've seen them, before their trip back to the U.S. last month. We went over to pick up some Diatomite (an organic insecticides in a powder form). The microscopically fine, sharp edges desiccate the insects' skeleton upon contact and the pests dehydrate and die within hours. The insects also die when they eat the dust. It will not hurt earthworms or beneficial soil microorganisms. Diatomite is one of the few natural pesticides in the world classified as non-toxic. Worth a try! Larry and Cindy, and our other friends, Roger and Annika, swear by it. Larry was buying some for his garden so we asked him if he could pick some up for us. We want to try it on our avocado trees. especially, but it might come in handy on the tomatoes and potatoes, too. So far the tomatoes are doing amazingly well. I monitor for white fly regularly. It appears the Marigold nearby is doing its job of keeping the white fly away. All good.
If this Diatomite works, it will be so much easier to stay organic. Pests can destroy crops very quickly. We'll be spreading the word in our community if this stuff works! Let's hope.
This morning, we found Paloma, Martin's horse, on our side of the pasture. Paloma is a beautiful, calm horse, but without a harness, so retrieving her and leading her to where she belongs is a bit tricky. I went up with some rope and a carrot. I stood still, offered her the carrot and waited. She eventually came forward, a little apprehensively. She started to move closer, then would change her mind. This went on for a while. Then, she managed to reach me and the carrot... she nibbled on the carrot at first, then crunched down. Then quickly reversed. She was too quick or more accurately, I was too slow and couldn't lasso her in time. Finally, after some rig-a-ma-roll, Kevin came over and got her in the pasture. Yay, Kevin!
Then, later, when I drove my friend, Catalina home from the Rio Blanco school, we saw these little creatures. One of them was crossing the road and then, as we looked to the left of us, we saw another seven more running up the hill. These are called White-Nose Coati. Kind of like raccoons.
I borrowed this picture from the internet. I never seem to have my camera during these spontaneous moments.
Kevin and I were sitting in the living room with the door wide open, as we so often do, and a Violet Sabrewing (hummingbird) came in, flew directly in front of us, hovered for several seconds and flew back out. It didn't look lost, confused or frightened... it felt like he came in with the purpose to say 'Hello'. Amazing! His whole body was fluorescent purple. He had a long black tail with a white tip. Absolutely beautiful. Kevin and I continue to be wowed by all the encounters we get to experience. Surreal at times.
(picture borrowed from the internet... all credit given where it's due)
this picture was borrowed from the internet... Kevin did come to get the camera but they had flown away by the time he got back up there.
Well, this is becoming a regular occurrence (that's not a complaint)... Kevin saw a pair of Quetzals just up near the hatchery, where we saw them the other day. I missed the sighting this time, but I still get giddy just knowing they're frequent visitors.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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