Walking into the courtyard the heat hits you and there’s no relief to be found under our shelter – it’s reading 35C in the shade. The hens have disappeared deep into the brambles (you can just hear the occasional moaning cluck), the roasties are inside their hut with their beaks permanently resting in their drinking water (which has been put inside for the mo) and the dogs are not even bothering me for a run; they have collapsed on the tiled floor, legs akimbo and slightly snoring. Our bees like drinking from the pond’s edge (careful where you stand while looking for the frog!) and there are now bricks in the dogs’ outside bowl as mice and shrew keep drowning in it overnight. The wild birds are also grateful for the pond and start their morning with a splash.
And the pigs? Well, they love their mid-afternoon bathing session:
Meanwhile the raspberries are giving us a bumper harvest, a perfect afternoon for making ice cream!
End of May, beginning of June is the most colourful time of year at Casa Azul. The flowers are having a last hurrah before the heat of the summer kills everything. Strangely enough roses are really popular round these parts and everyone seems to have at least one in their garden. We are no different and they look great at the moment.
We have also been cultivating some wonderful bright yellow flowers – I believe they are called dandelions. Here they are in all their glory before they were strimmed to death.
The long hot summer is great for lavender though and we have plenty of it. We had a bit of a worry with piggy number one recently – she had a nasty abscess on her neck. When it burst it was even worse. I’ll spare you the details. I had to rub in some cream and attempt to keep it relatively clean which wasn’t the easiest of things to do but it seems to have healed remarkably quickly. Apparently they are quite common but I don’t fancy nursing the pigs through any more.
On the roastie front, the last lot have met their maker and we’ve already had the first for supper. Needless to say it was really delicious. I look forward to the rest of them. We don’t hang about though. No sooner had one lot been dispatched than we got another lot. They’ll be ready in a couple of months.
Two big events recently. We’ve finally got the pigs and it’s started raining (and still not stopped!). Pigs first. The bloke from the pig farm came round in his truck and said take your pick:
Between him, Luis our next door neighbour, and us, we decided on two little red heads. Or to be more technical, two Durocs. The pig farmer reckoned they would be the best as they are good for keeping outdoors and are delicious! Wikipedia wrongly stated that they are originally from USA – they are actually from Spain/Portugal and we hope that wikipedia also got it wrong when it said they tend to be one of the most aggressive of all the swine breeds!
Here they are settled into their new home. Received wisdom says it is better to restrict their movement to their hut first and then let them out into the bigger field in a few days.
And the rain has finally come. After almost two weeks of continuous drizzle, it is starting to get a bit tiresome (that’s why we don’t live in the British Isles) however we are fortified by the knowledge that we really need it (and a lot more) for our plants now and into the summer. And we can see the benefits already. The fruit is plumping up nicely. Last year we hardly had any peaches but this year promises to be a bumper crop judging by the progress of these little beauties. Maybe even the apples will be big enough to eat!
Here are some birds who love the rain and are still pumping out a regular four-a-day!
The dogs, however, have decided they prefer it indoors and now there isn’t even room for me on the sofa. Just as well Jackie is in Madrid for the weekend.