Happy anniversary

Happy anniversary

A typical September which saw us pottering about plus a short jaunt across the border for an over indulgence in seafood. However, the big day was September 11th, the day we landed in sunny Portugal 10 years ago. We celebrated with a family photo and some of Richard’s home made beer, of course. They do say never to work with children or animals, this was our fourth attempt… Jussi really did not want to look at the camera despite a dog biscuit perched on top.

September is typically one of the harvest months and we enjoyed, for the first time, not exactly a bumper crop but really a fair number of almonds from the tree we planted. This is just a few of them that Richard spent an afternoon shelling.

We certainly do have a huge crop of prickly pears. I shall have another attempt at making some syrup from them, otherwise the birds are in luck again.

The dyeing pots and pans have been out again. First up, the blackthorn berries which, despite being shrivelled up, made a marvellous green:

Plus, more excitingly, I had a go at using the woad plants I had sown back in the spring. It’s a rather long and complicated process but seeing the yarn turning blue as it oxidizes once taken out of the pot is amazing. I shall, I keep saying, write up all these experiments one day…

We always knew, with a cockerel and 7 different hens, we would collect a colourful clutch of eggs most days (although Skittle has nothing to do with the egg making) but sometimes that is just too many… These are to be given away. Oh, and more soap-making done this month too.

We have been appalled at the reduction in insects every year. This moth was rescued from the deckchair and placed far more appropriately on some lichen. The camouflage was so good you couldn’t see it in the photo. Compassion now for the giant grasshoppers and locusts, they are left to munch on the leaves of the bay tree rather than getting flicked off and eaten by Jussi.

Finally, the garden is crisp and dry. The rain we have had was welcomed, and there’s more to come. The summer may be over but the new seedlings that have all shot up are already giving everything a green sheen, and a fresh, springlike look. Yesterday, we had all three meals outside; I suspect that’s the last time. It does seem strange that the autumn mists and fallen figs are here when only last month we said summer had arrived at last.

Please tell us if you want some eggs!

10 thoughts on “Happy anniversary

  1. Love your blog. You have accomplished a lot in 10 years. Love Portugal, have been there twice..My father come from Valenca de Minho,northern part of Portugal near Spain. Keep up the good work,wish I was there. Eva Da Rocha Desrosiers

  2. Hi Eva, nice to hear from you. What a coincidence: we have just come back from Spain and stopped for a few days in the Minho area. We loved it! Vila Nova de Cerveira, Valenca, Monção, Melgaco… we shall return – and so must you.

  3. Good to see the natural dyeing, I’ve bought woad and weld seeds to sow, some going in now, with the hope they’ll be ready for harvesting in the spring, I’d love to be able to grow blackthorn, (for the sloes as well as dye) but our previous attempts have failed. Now to spin my own yarn…..🙄

  4. Hi Jackie, Happy Anniversary!

    Your posts are great and as I live not too far from you it’s always interesting to compare your fruit crop with ours. It’s amazing how a few kms can make a difference.

    We are in Almoster and sadly have a new neighbour too, the Asian hornet. Keep an eye out as it could be coming your way too 🙁

    I’m looking forward to your next 10 years.


  5. Thank you, Jeanette! We shall keep a beady eye out for the Asian hornet, we have the usual ones but not those yet. We are just now enjoying the raspberry jam, my favourite fruit crop by far. (Richard has just plonked a whole bag of figs on the kitchen table so that’s this afternoon taken care of..!)

  6. Nice to hear from you. If you have woad and weld then you can also have a go at making Lincoln green! Perhaps you already have weld growing in the wild near you, there’s stacks here and you only need a little to get an amazing yellow. I think the woad should only be harvested in the late summer / early autumn as it needs a lot of sun to get the blue in the leaves. Sow some seeds in March too. I gave a cutting of a blackthorn bush to a friend and that seems to have worked. And I was just thinking, seeing all the old berries on the ground, if they would make a dye too – interesting. I shall check out your blog 🙂

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