Sunday, 24 May 2009

Bananas and Tripe

Last orders at The Toon Saloon

I won't let Newcastle United's inability to kick their way out of a wet paper back get in the way of a brilliant week end away. Shearer now apparently runs a chip shop with Elvis and Princess Diana somewhere near Albufeira. Like my blog, good things come to those who wait, but man why couldn't I have been born in Manchester or Delhi so I could see some silverware....

As a man who tries not to fly, every time I look up, the sky is criss crossed with slashes of vapour trails. Do you remember when air hostesses used to be five feet ten, stunning and have to have a university degree AND were told off if they didn't give enough gin out? Now we get Tracy from Essex pouring 200cc of warm beer in your lap and charging 35 quid for the priviledge. Third runway at Heathrow? One is enough - level all the flight prices and forget so called hubs and global trade ( or lack of it if there isn't enough runway space) Eat local, trade local, die local.

Calvin's greenhouse and 20,000 tomatoes ripe in three weeks..

New bar and kitchen area at Tipi Algarve

We have just returned from a week end around Monchique. Friday night was at Tipi Algarve, Calvin and Nadines on the way up to Monchique. And

a) Wow... seven tipis and a yurt and a fabulous bar \ communal area, the place looks great
b) Sorry I got so drunk
c) Sorry to the Woofers who I woke up at 3 am mowing the lawn naked withh Garth Brookes on at full blast*
d) After haking around my banana to fix a tube it has started flowering  -turns out I left too many babies around the mother ship - one or two max.
e) Tripe is my woffling blog - such a good week end, thanks all!

My own vapour trail

Saturday night we stayed in the middle of nowhere, without a street light to be seen unfortunately the clouds and rain moved in to stop any view of the stars, but allowed us to safetly BBQ a few chilli beans., using charcoal hewn from a seven year old forest fire. What a spot - 7km North of Monchique. Within two minutes of driving a km off the road, a local arrived, shook my hand, smiled and said "Ar Pura" (fresh air) and gave me a bunch of flowers. Fearing a scene from the film Deliverance, I took the flowers which turned out to be a stress reliving tea. It worked, he didn't return in the middle of the night with a pick up, large mates and guns.

The view from the bedroom window, middle of nowhere

Tea, deliverance style

Thanks to Jonathan of Rainbow, I installed an Apple Struddle inverter and had full internet access, dodgy DVD show and a shave really in the middle of nowhere. We will return on a clear night and view the stars like I used to when Portugal didn't have street lights anywhere - this is more sky pollution.

Owl and The Indiana Jones Look

On Sunday we caught up with Lesley Martins, Permaculture teacher and really fantastic lady, and swopped addresses, contacts and thoughts. Unless you get out, meet similar minded people (via the Net) you cannot progress in this life. I am often guilty of hiding in my cave, and it doesn't work. Random networking doesn't work either. Neither does naked mowing...

Still need a volunteer or two if you want to pass this blog onto anyone bored??

* Apparently it wasn't me, although I remember fixing the mower and have a bad cut on my hand where I lost my mobile phone through a hedge**

** Found it, as owl adds, it is now 1 - 1 on the lost and found mobile phone subject, although I found both phones

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Putting My Garden To Bed

Compost toilet and the solar bedroom - all for that unique experience

The morning sun floods into the solar house

Morning campers (that was the rainbow you know!)
A day of 30 plus celcius reminded me that hot days and dry gardens loom ahead. In the last three days, the neighbours fields have started to brown off, the remaining favas have dried on the stalks (next years seeds) and I have reinstalled my outside bathroom. Strong winds have moved from the cold Northerly via a couple of Easterlys to the summer South westerly.

And Nigella is back on TV, which really is the best bit. Still no sign of old satchel head, her absent hubby so the coast is also clear for me. I have written her a poem, so if any of you are calling in for a cup of rich hot sensual cocoa in the next day or two, could you pass it on.

" Nigella, Nigella, I watch you galore.
I really are my fvorite carni...vore
I watch you wearing my boxing gloves
To stop my straying one handed love.

More gratitude than gratin,
More tit than tarte tartin,
At night in the pantry with your black dressing gown,
I love you I love you, leave saatchi now!"

Raised beds, filled and planted with automatic irrigation

After the winters tree planting, we have finished building some simple raised beds using builders planks and filled with matured horse manure. On the uprights of our glorriette (pergola with a roof to go on it) we have planted struck cuttings of the strong white Algarvean native climbing Rose, this will give us summer shade and hopefully save us water next summer. Peppers, Tomatoes, Courgettes, Aubergines, late Potatoes, Pumpkins, Butternuts and lots of onions will fill out the beds and hopefully cope with the hot summer sun.
With the remaining manure, we have remulched all the side beds, fruit trees and all the vines. It definately cuts down on the watering and adds much needed food to my poor soil, although I will still have to add some organic feed to a few yellowing courgettes.
All the irrigation has been repaired and buried, although I must admit it is 50 - 50 between the dogs and my mini digger on who destroys most.

Peas, carrots and Nasturtians abound!

Work is busy for once, and we have just renovated an old meadow. Yesterday we removed a big lawn that will be turned into an orchard and cactus garden. Slowly, people are coming to reason that high water bills and maintenance are not the future.
A mock dry river bed divides this simple meadow garden

The Sevillean Rose thrives on little water and vast quantities of beer from the Perdiz gardener...


There are occasional vacancies for volunteers at Quinta Stuart. Currently we need help to finish the eco bathroom and putting the tipi up.


Thanks to Linda for joining our blog - she runs, a very relevant blog based in Arizona. Thanks to Wildside Holidays for lots of referals re renting the Owl House. Thanks to all my members and readers - without yo, slander would never travel so fast. Thanks to Jacqui Smith for changing her mobile number and finally thanks to Nigella for the whipped cream.....