WHY CAN'T SPANISH DOGS LEARN ENGLISH?

WHY CAN'T SPANISH DOGS LEARN ENGLISH?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO ANIMALS - WHY DO WE DO IT?

So this week has been rather stressful for us, as a family, here.  As you may, or may not, have read my previous post, you will have seen our lovely, new family member - Pink.  We'd had her for just over two weeks and the friend of mine, that gave her to us, called me with a dilemma of strange irony.

A couple had driven up to her house asking about a little black dog!  It turns out Pink had another family, in fact she quite possibly had a couple of families, including the librarian in the village, who used to feed her regularly, thinking she was a stray.  The couple were devastated to hear that my friend (who actually owned the dog) had given her to us.  This couple, it turned out, was my friend's next door neighbours, neither of them knew each other, and my friend had had no idea that Pink was going there regularly.

To cut a very long story short (there is a lot more to it), I battled with my thoughts for a few days and in the end decided to do what would be best for Pink, not for the couple or for us.  Pink had been with this other family for about 4 years, she'd only been with us for 2 weeks.  She also knew the village she was from very well, and the people in it, she didn't know our area very much at all.  And there were quite a few other factors involved.

Yesterday I met the couple at the veterinary surgery so we could change over the paperwork.  I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, and I didn't expect to feel so upset after just 2 weeks.  My son J is devastated also, I don't think I'd seen him so upset for a long time.  I didn't stay to chat to these people as I couldn't really speak and needed to get home quickly.  My friend appeared at the vet's and helped out with the process of transfer.

Why do we get so attached to our animals so quickly! We get broken hearted, bereaved etc and then we do it all over again! Are we (by 'we' I mean people in general) gluttons for punishment?   

So Pink is now back with who she should be with and although I am happy that she will be happy there, it has been a rather devastating blow! We will certainly be getting another like her (or a little smaller) when we can.

Onward to other things...

Yet another little kitten has died.  It didn't grow and thrive so it must have had a problem inside!

The figs are growing and the grapes are coming along beautifully - I need to put paper bags over them to stop the birds and insects from destroying the crop.

The pool is lovely and clean and great to jump into when the weather is too hot to move!

No photos today and my blog won't be written for the next 10 days or so as we have a very busy time ahead.  

See you all in July.




Saturday, June 21, 2014

CATS, KITTENS, DOGS AND HENS

We have had a crazy time of it recently with various animals appearing, disappearing and joining the family.

Firstly, our four mother cats all had kittens.  In total I think there were 12 kittens.  Sadly 4 died because of sickness etc.  The others seem to be doing OK.

We have had another two new additions to the family also. 

Puss our new indoor/outdoor cat, as you know from the previous post.  Pink has joined us, she is a lovely little dog, her breed is Ratero (possibly mix), she came to us from friends who are about to move to the UK and various people who said they would have her, changed their mind!! My friend's only option was a dog home - or us.  Of course we would have her.  She has been great, but as she has a habit of escaping and disappearing for a week or more at a time, we are keeping a close eye on her.


PINK GOING ON A CAR RIDE TO THE BEACH.
She is quite nervy but terribly sweet and I hope she'll be with us for some time.

A HOT DAY ON THE BEACH. 

PINK MAKING FRIENDS WITH THE KITTENS

AS DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE BEACH, WE WALK ALONG THE ADJACENT STREETS AND PEER AT THE SEA THROUGH THE OCCASIONAL CLUMP OF TREES.
The hens seem happy for now.  We have no veggies growing so they are running about the veggie plot and pecking about quite happily.  We have a broody hen, who I need to do something about still.  But she is feeding and drinking in this warm weather.  About 31 degrees today.

More to follow very soon.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DREARY BUT NEEDED RAIN TODAY

Today is very overcast and it's been raining.  Not really a bad thing, the ground needs it as it's been so dry and dusty recently.  

Many people here are suffering with allergies it seems - including me!  Bring on the anti-histamine!

Our broody hen continues to be broody.  I am trying different ways to keep her off the nest and get her to change her mind set, but so far - no good!  If anyone has any solutions, let me know.  She fluffs herself up when I approach her on the nest, and clucks angrily at me.  She also pecks my hands, but luckily it doesn't hurt.  We will see how she goes over the next few days.

So the gardening is on hold for today.  Yesterday I began clipping back the overgrown bougainvillea.  The fig trees are in leaf and the olive trees are looking better after a good pruning earlier in the year.

We have a new addition to the family! A friend had a problem keeping her cat so I said I would take him as he'd lived on a finca before and was more suited to country life than apartment life.  His name is Puss (as in Pusscat).  He is very sweet and playful and will stay in the house for a few days before I introduce him to the other cats outside.  He has already met Ruffa and was far from impressed.  Infact I heard growling that I thought Ruffa was making, it turned out to be the cat!!



That's about it for today, I will be back with more soon.
Thank you for reading.

Friday, May 16, 2014

WHERE DID THOSE MONTHS GO?

It has been nearly 7 months since I wrote anything here and so much seems to have happened.

We are still here in Mallorca, for the time being at least.  Life just seems to have taken over and left me no time to concentrate on the blog, but I am hoping to take it up again and leave as many posts as I can.

Animal update: We still have two dogs here, Rex and Ruffa.  We now only have 1 of our original hens but we have another 3 girls as well, the cockerell, as you will know if you have read the blog, has gone - thankfully.  However, we now have a broody hen who will sit on the nest for hours incubating eggs that won't hatch!  I have to lift her off constantly.  Not sure what to do about her yet.  

Cat update: some have gone, some are still very much here, and there are many new additions.  Samuel Sprat comes and goes, and he turned up tonight with loud meows and is currently asleep on one of the kitchen chairs.  He'd been gone for about two weeks and I did miss him.  The lovely Jess has had babies (3) and Pipla, her daughter, has had two, one of which is not right (just like her last ones), we will have to wait and see what happens to that one.  Another girl has had 4 kittens and is keeping them nestled under the log pile in a small nook.  Her name is Mittens, but she is not very trusting of humans and quite feral.  Total number of cats (including kittens) around here at the moment is about 16.  The good thing is that I haven't seen any rats or mice for ages!

The vegetable plot is suffering.  It is full of weeds, which we are tackling next week, and there is nothing growing in it at the moment.  We are going to deal with it and put some chicken manure down, dig it in and plant again.

The pool is still covered because although the sun is warm during the day, the nights and mornings are quite chilly still.  The weather should start hotting up pretty soon.  We had a very mild winter, I didn't even put the rugs down this year, which was probably due to laziness, tiles are so much easier to clean!

Well, I hope I can keep this up again, feel free to nudge me if I don't.

Here are a few pictures of the past 5 months!!

AN OSTRICH AT NATURA PARC - ZOOLOGICAL PARK.

EARLY MORNING SUNRISE

MASSIVE RAIN STORM.  ONE OF THE HENS IS STANDING OUT IN IT - CAN YOU SPOT HER?

JESS WITH HER BRAND NEW KITS

PIPLA IN THE FOOD BOWL, SOAKING UP THE SUN AND HAVING A SNOOZE

POSSIBLY THE WORLDS SMALLEST MANDARIN, GROWN ON OUR TREE.

STREET BONFIRE BUILT AND READY TO BURN.  SANT ANTONI JAN 2014


THE STORM IS COMING.  (AND IT WAS A HUGE ONE).

SA POBLA WINDMILL

SANT ANTONI MAYHEM, ALL THE CHILDREN CHASE THE DEVILS AROUND THE TOWN, THE DEVILS GO INTO EVERY BAR!
And finally.....

OUR 4 GIRLS, PECKING HAPPILY IN THE 'NO VEGGIES, VEGGIE PLOT'.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

AUTUMN AND HALLOWEEN

The vegetable plot is now rotovated and lying fallow whilst we decide what we will plant next.  We had a reasonable harvest this summer, although I could have watered a little more frequently which would have yielded far more.

Halloween is almost upon us and last weekend we spent a little family time making jam jar candle holders to put in the trees. 





The oranges are growing well again and will be ready for Christmas and the olives are coming along nicely also.  We have no turkeys this year due to space constraints but perhaps we will again one day.

Although it is nearly the end of October, the weather is unusually warm and two days ago we went to the beach to see how many tourists were still about.  Quite a few actually and although the water was a bit bracing to get into, once you were in it was wonderfully refreshing.  There were a few large jellyfish about so we didn't stay in very long! We are still getting temperatures of 26 - 28 or more during the day which is wonderful, but not for the farmers!

Lettuce planting has begun again in one of the next door fields, in another field there are potatoes (that are not doing so great) and artichokes.  One of the farmers I know has offered us some radishes.  They are Mallorquin radishes and can be about a foot long and very mild to taste, very different from the hotter more peppery variety we get in the UK.

Sadly we lost both the little kittens eventually, but a strange thing happened afterwards.  We found two more grown up kittens at the next door farm and they seemed to be very hungry.  They were fed at our place and they stayed for a few days, then the disappeared.  I think they belong to a family along the lane here.  However, 3 tiny kittens have appeared and I found them all snuggled up in my utility room the other day.  They are very frightened of humans - probably a good thing.  I have no idea where the mother is/was but they seem to be feeding and drinking ok.  I will try to get some pictures, but they run away and hide very quickly.

We seem to have a lot of, what my son calls, Tiger Spiders.  I have yet to look them up but apparently they can give a nasty nip!  We've had a summer of stick insects and praying mantis also, which have fascinated many.

Here is a picture of a so-called Tiger spider. Sorry the picture is on it's side, but you get the general idea! AARRGGHHH.  Very Halloweeeeeeeeny!



Saturday, October 12, 2013

OLD CATS, NEW CATS AND OTHERS

It has been sometime since my last post, due in part to the craziness of life and also living here in Mallorca.

There are so many things to write about and catch up on that I am sure I won't remember them all, but here we go..

Our cat population increased to 11 in total.  Adolf, if you remember him from previous posts, has managed to see-off Samuel Sprat, which I am very sad about, Samuel was a very loving pusscat and he'll be missed around here, especially in the vegetable plot where he took up refuge, but perhaps he'll come back one day and challenge the moustache off Adolf.  Our lovely old Abuela (grandmother) cat has also been seen-off by the same culprit.  Again, another one that will be missed.  Where she has gone, I have no idea, there is no sign of her.  The two tiny kittens that never seemed to grow stayed very tiny and never really flourished.  They were constantly skinny and bony and even though they ate and drank without any problem it seems there was an underlying fault in their biology.  The little brown and white one passed away the other day and the black and white is wrapped in a blanket in the kitchen as we speak, I don't think he'll make the night.  All really sad, but you kind of get used to living with the ferals' and dealing with life and death as it gets thrown at you.

This week, we had two new additions to the cat clan, both kittens, probably about 5-6 months old, they were bothering a local farmer, so we bought them home.  However, they seemed quite happy for a few days and even fitted in well with the rest of the cat clan, but suddenly they disappeared yesterday.  They may return, unless they belong to someone nearby.

We managed to get two more hens to keep our solo one company.  They are all doing well and laying abundantly.  Don't ask me their names as I can never remember, something like Bertha, Dorothy and Gloria - who knows.  But they are happy and enjoy corn and mixed greens as treats.

The vegetable plot is now ready for rotovating, once done I will lay a layer of compost or dung over the top and leave it to settle for about 15 days, then it will get churned in and then I can begin planting again.

The weather has definitely changed.  We now awake feeling cold, time to get the duvets and heated blankets out of hiding.

The dogs are both great, the pool is now covered, the trees have produced an abundance of figs/pears and oranges this year, amazing.  Next fruits are the olives, which are already growing.  I also need to prune back the vines and the various overgrown fruit trees, but that will wait till its a little colder.

So just to say that we managed to grow tomatoes, aubergines, corn, chillies and other peppers and swiss chard.  All did fairly well considering I didn't water them all as much as I should have! I know for next time.


Pebre Bord - Tap de corti peppers.  These, when they turn red, are picked and hung in the sun to dry, when dried they are ground into a paprika powder and used in the making of sobresada sausage.

The two new girls.

Protected grapes.  The birds didn't get them this year.


Corn




Resting wherever they like! (Mittens)

Some harvest, including a 5 litre bottle of great olive oil from a local farmer.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE...

Today has been extremely hot.  37 degrees C in the shade and about 40+ in the sun.  The dogs have managed to survive it, just about, the cats did what they do best and slept all day but I am sad that one of my hens didn't cope!  We now only have one hen, so I need to get some more quickly.  I am certain it was the heat that killed her and nothing else.  The other girl was ok, although panting a little.  I am going to have to keep a close eye on her tomorrow as it will be another scorcher!  I have decided that I might plant a tree in the coop, so that next year they have extra shade!  I am going to spend a bit of time tonight researching 'things to do for hot hens'!

The only girl left! I am sure she will be lonely till we pick up some more!

I have given the plants an extra watering tonight also.  Even though I was told by a local farmer only to do it every other day, but all the plants looked very dry and thirsty.

The corn is coming along, and in the afternoons now gives some extra shade in the coop for our remaining hen.  


THE CORN  - AS HIGH AS THE CHICKEN COOP NOW!
Well, that's it for now really.  We have a busy week coming up as we have guests arriving, but I expect I will put them to work in the vegetable plot at some point.  At least our pool is functioning well this year!

Keep cool and carry on..

Sunday, July 21, 2013

HEAT, HUMIDITY AND GROWING VEGGIES

Well, a brief catch up.  The last few days have been very warm indeed.  It reached 35 degrees C here at our finca today, and with the high humidity it is a little stifling to say the least!  Numerous cool showers were the order of the day, after I spent most of yesterday feeling ill and overwhelmed from the heat - I forgot to drink enough and with cleaning someone else's finca for them I became overheated! easily done - I suppose.

So, the animals seem to be doing well, the dogs are keeping cool by lying under the orange trees in the dusty earth or in the cooler earth, where the sprinklers from next doors fields have left cool, damp ground.

The hens (what's left of them) are keeping cool under the hen house. I have been sprinkling cool water on the earth for them to bath in.  I am thinking of getting them a mini pool and putting a little water in for them, just to see what they do!  I don't think hens can swim, so it needs to be shallow!  I will get back to you all on how we do with that one!  The feathers are finally beginning to grow back on one of the girls, her back was virtually bare after the cockerel had been at her, but now she is beginning to recover.  The girls are also laying really well, I believe it must have been 'him' that was eating the eggs occasionally!

The cats, all lie about sleepily for most of the day, somewhere shady.  In the bamboo, under trees, amongst a pile of leaves etc.  All the kittens seem to be doing well.

Tomatoes are growing nicely, although they are exhibiting strange markings.  It is either a tomato illness or under/over watering.  I have to research that tomorrow.

All the other vegetables seem to be doing quite well, since we've been watering correctly!  I can't wait to get some new plants in, so I can really see things grow at their proper rate, instead of being water starved!

More updates to come.  Stay tuned. Over 'n' out from a very hot Sa Pobla.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CATCH UP!

It's been months since the last post.  This is mainly due to 'LIFE' and not having any time to sit down and blog.  I hope I haven't lost you all!  

Anyway, where to begin? I have no idea, so I will start with things that have happened and it will be in no particular order.

The Corsican (our cockerel) is no longer with us.  It came to a point where I felt too scared to go into the coop, so a friend from Buger (next village along) helped me dispatch him.  He was a beautiful fellow to look at (the cockerel, not my friend) but not nice and it meant J could not go into the coop to collect eggs etc.


The Corsican and his two dames


So, sadly we also a hen down.  C found her dead in the corner of the coop one morning in June.  I had found her struggling and lethargic on day and it turned out that she had a 'jelly egg' that was stuck in her bottom, so I had to remove it.  I guess she became egg-bound and died from not being able to push the eggs out - quite a common thing in hens apparently.  She was a good looking girl and one of the bravest hens, so I was sad about that.

We have had kittens galore!  After Jess had her four, Pipla a pretty white puss-cat had her first babies.  She only had two thankfully.  All are thriving well and living outside again.  They were living in a box in my room but I had terrible allergies so they had to go out.

Over the last couple of weeks, a local farmer we know came round to take a look at how our veggies were coming along.  He threw his hands in the air and said something in Mallorquin, claiming, no wonder our plants were dying and not thriving, we were watering them completely wrongly!

Oh!

He then whizzed off and came back with a special triangular tool (have no idea what they are called) and began digging trenches beside all the peppers, sweetcorn, tomatoes etc etc.  He dug up all the cauliflowers and cabbages as they were no good.  He said another couple of days and we would have lost the lot!

So now we are watering differently and the growth in just the last week and a bit is amazing.  Now we know for next time!!  Also irrigating the crops this way means you only need to water every two days (unless its really hot and dry).


Irrigation troughs

Irrigating tomatoes (the plants on the right have gone - they were no good)

Maize, it has grown at least another foot or more since last week! incredible plant

Irrigating the peppers, they are coming along better now, they were suffering a bit in this photo.

Samuel Sprat, the black cat, watching the water trickle away.
I am now very excited at the prospect of growing better vegetables in the future.  Everything is looking so much better for the moment.

So cat news..apart from kittens all over the place, Samuel Sprat (as seen in the photo above) is one of my favourite cats.  He always wants lots of love and affection, cuddles and back strokes, a bit tricky when you are trying to garden and not tread on him under your feet!  Anyway, he has been ousted from the back garden area.  All the cats seem to be living in the back garden most of the time, Adolf has ousted Samuel but still seems to be ok with him being in the territory.  So, Samuel is living in the vegetable plot, and sneaks round to get food and water when he can! Also, Old Abuela (grandma cat) is in hiding from Adolf.  For some reason they don't get along and he keeps trying to get her to move on, although she did win a fight the other day. Perhaps its a cats way of moving rivals and oldies out of the pack to make way for the younger generations! Who knows, I'm not an expert, but the balance of power is ever changing.

Our pool is slowly up and running.  It's almost ready.  It had a leak and so we had to work out 'where?'.  Once found our landlord came and patched it up.  He has also fixed the filter, so I am hoping we will have a lovely pool to plunge into for the rest of this summer.  

Much more to write about but that is it for today.  Need to get on with errands.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, May 1, 2013

AND MAY BEGINS..

All has been rather hectic of late, with the arrival of new kittens came some rather horrid weather and more illness and creaky backs!  So all gardening was put on hold and concentrating on getting well again became the order of the last couple of weeks.

The kittens are doing great.  They are twice the size they were, at least, and are now showing distinct patterned markings, lovely.  They all have their eyes open and are crawling about all over the place.  As the weather warms they will all be moved outside and hopefully this time they will thrive better.

The cockerel is still in the coop! He is still enjoying attacking us as we go in and so his days are definitely numbered.  We have no more animals at the moment apart from the two dogs.

So the veggies are all coming along well now that the rains have stopped for a moment.  We covered all the young plants with 5 litre plastic water bottles (we don't have a greenhouse here) and they have fared better than the last lot.  I have also managed to find, after enormous searching, some special pepper plants native to Mallorca called Tap de Corti.  Here is a link with a little info on them:

Slow Food Foundation - Tap de Corti Pebre bord.


I bought half a tray of about 50 plants and C planted them in this morning.


51 Tap de Corti pepper plants now in
So May brings us to a lush green garden.  The fig trees are in leaf again as are all the trees and bushes.  The winter jasmine is dying back  and the blossoms have dropped off the citrus trees.  The bougainvillea is in bloom with bright magenta flowers and the fruits are beginning to grow.  The Mallorquin Apricots are coming along as well as the nispera.  I am hoping the pear trees will fruit ok, as I did prune them hard during the winter, they were such a mess!

Of course, with the wonderful green lushness around the island, everyone is battling with weeds. Many people spray them but we do it all by hand if we can! It's a mammoth task but we prefer not to use chemicals if we can help it.

The vines are in leaf now also but I need to do a little research on how to keep the fruit from being destroyed by wasps/flies and other horrid nasties, someone mentioned paper bags!! Must look into that.

The number of cyclists on the island has increased a gazzillion-fold! and the IronMan 70.3 is on the 11th May in Alcudia, so everyone is in training for that - except me!


Pink blossoms April 2013 Sa Pobla, near the Albufera

Mallorcan Apricots

THE FIG TREE IN FULL LEAF AGAIN..

TOO MANY WEEDS - ARRRGGHHH!

GRAPE VINE IN LEAF AND ALREADY PRODUCING SMALL NUBS OF GRAPES.

SHOCKING MAGENTA BOUGAINVILLEA

TWO VARIETIES OF TOMATOES FOR THE SUMMER, YUMMY.

CABBAGES, CAULIFLOWERS, SWISS CHARD AND AUBERGINES (OUT OF THE PIC)

ANYONE WANT TO SWAP HIM FOR A MORE DOCILE CHARACTER?? THE ATTACKER TRYING TO LOOK SUBMISSIVE! DON'T BE FOOLED.

THE ROSE BUSHES ARE IN BLOOM - WONDERFUL.