WHY CAN'T SPANISH DOGS LEARN ENGLISH?

WHY CAN'T SPANISH DOGS LEARN ENGLISH?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

INTO 2015 WITH A BANG!

Well, another year, HAPPY 2015 EVERYONE.  
It has been a bit of time since writing.  

This winter has been particularly cold (unlike last year).  We haven't had any snow down on the ground in Sa Pobla, although I know there has been some in other parts of the island.  The mountains had LOADS of snow dumped on them, and the chill winds blow freezing air off them down to our town! brrrrrrrrrrr!!

PUIG DE MASANELLA (Mallorca's second highest mountain)

Puig de Masanella (Puig means 'hill' in Catalan - although technically this is a mountain!)

Puig de Masanella
These photos were taken from near our finca in Sa Pobla.  A beautiful sight on a cold but glorious sunny day.  

On to the animals... The hens are all grown up and laying well.  Our cockerel is growing enormous but luckily is still friendly.  I haven't heard him crow very well yet, but I have heard him trying, which seems to be a strange mix of a gurgle/strangling sound and a yodle!  The dogs are fine except Ruffa Roo seems rather sick today - no food for him tonight and we will see how he is in the morning.

We still have no vegetables growing, we will see what the next few weeks brings.
  
Hope to post again very soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

GOOD RIDDANCE TO DECEMBER 2014 - BRING ON THE NEW YEAR 2015.

December 2014 was a particularly AWFUL month.  After C being away from us for 10 months he arrived home just before J's birthday at the end of November.  C was very thin!  During December we had to cope with my aunt having a heart attack and surgery (which she is recovering well from - a positive thing), then C was diagnosed with cancer - such a shock!  To top off the month a close farming friend died (only 40 years old), he will be very sadly missed by us all.

The medical profession jumped into gear very quickly here and C has now completed the first chemo cycle! extremely nasty stuff.  Second round - 9th of January - HAPPY NEW YEAR!  We are fighting it and hope to bash the hell out of it, we are raising funds to keep us going day to day and medically - isn't life bizarre!

So, to the finca.   Finally the cold has come and the trees have lost their leaves, some of the vines and fig trees (and I dare say other plants) began growing new bright green leaves as November was particularly warm!  Snow covered the peak of Puig Major (the tallest mountain in Mallorca, standing at 1,445m in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range) for the last couple of days but Sa Pobla hasn't had any so far.  It isn't usual for us to get any, we lie in the Pla (plains) which are flat and the damp often hangs upon us like a soggy blanket in the winter! it's heaven when the sun comes out, like today - bright, sunny and cold, but crisp not damp.


Sunrise over the fields

The hens are doing great.  We now have 7 whizzing about the coop with a young cockerel who is enormous already.  His wing feathers sick out at angles! I need to check them and make sure they aren't deformed! He has only one long tail feather, I am hoping he will grow more.  So far, he is a lot more tame than our last one!! Long may that last.  Eggs are plentiful, even in the colder weather which is wonderful.

The dogs are great, Rex is getting much older and seems rather like an old bloke, but then suddenly bursts into a run across the yard barking warnings to the cats to get out of the way of the car.  Ruffa (our boxer) always looks to Rex for guidance and often doesn't bark until he sees one of us or Rex says it's ok to do so. 

We still have no veggies in the vegetable plot.  It is more than ready to receive but unfortunately there is no time for the moment.  I would love some broccoli/carrots etc etc in there.  We will just have to wait.

All the cats that live outside seem to be fairing well.  Several of them have had colds, but have got over them quite quickly.  Puss (who lives indoors - much to the horror of C) also now has a cold, but he is snuggled up near the fire at the moment, so he'll probably recover quite quickly.  We have had to put him back on kitten food as his stomach is so sensitive, adult cat food seems to upset him horribly!! No details required!

Well, as soon as I have any recent pictures to post I will put them up.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.  FELIZ AÑO NUEVO

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NOVEMBER ALREADY, BUT STILL BEACH WEATHER

It is now November.  The clocks have gone back, Halloween has just passed us and the nights are drawing in making me ready for hibernation!

We currently have a small, prickly visitor to our cat food bowl out the back, I had to remove him as the cats were hungry the other night.



MR OR MRS HEDGEHOG.
After removing him/her from the bowl, it scurried off so fast, I missed where it went! 

The new hens and chicks are doing really well.  One of the new hens is laying now.  Very small white eggs, with each one she lays they are getting slightly bigger.


The one on the left is from one of our older hens.  The white one is the first one our new white hen laid.
I need to get out and try to do a little weeding if I can this weekend.  With such warm weather and the odd storm, the weeds are springing up all over the place.  

The nights have a definite autumnal feel about them now and the house feels very chilly so it could be about time to start lighting the fire for the evenings.  Cosy.

Having said that, during the day it is wonderful on the beach if it isn't too windy.  People are still going into the sea, although I'm not brave enough now - bit chilly for me without a wetsuit.

I leave you with a few extra photos of the past week.


The chicks up on their balcony.  I have a big tarpaulin over part of their pen now, in case of rain!!

Saying hello to the chicks

Chicks investigating their new temporary home (when they are bigger they will go in with the other hens)

The new tarpaulin on the roof of the hen house.  I am amazed the house is still standing actually!

The bougainvillea is still looking good - it will be cut back this winter. 

The chicks enjoying their run.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

NEW BIRDS IN THE FLOCK

Today we added to our dwindling flock of hens.  We went to Sa Pobla market, where there is always a chap named Rafael who sells hens, pigeons, cage birds, guinea fowl, turkeys, guinea pigs and rabbits.  His farm is in Ariany which is about a 20 minute drive from us here in Sa Pobla, but I usually wait till market day to buy from him.  I was only going to buy one hen today, as I was expecting them to be quite expensive (it's been a while since I bought any new ones).  It turned out they were much cheaper than I thought, so I bought two hens at point-of-lay and 3 pullets, 2 female and one male.  I'm not really sure how you tell whether they are male or female at such a young age but Rafael seemed to know.

So I quickly put the makeshift pen together for the pullets as they are still a bit small for the bigger hens - they could be damaged by pecking hierarchy! I call the makeshift pen our 'patchwork coop'!  I just used what I could find around our small farm.

Here are a few photos.


The new hens & pullets

Checking out the hen house!

Admiring her new surroundings!
The crazy, make-shift mini coop

Jess making sure I tidy up!
As I am writing this, even though during the day it is still like summer with temperatures topping 29 - 31 degrees C, I can see, looking out of my window, that the sun is already disappearing and it is only 18:10 in the afternoon/evening.  So Autumn is here, but you wouldn't guess it during the main part of the day - which is wonderful as it means extra beach days.  I will just leave you all with that thought.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

RAIN AND STORMS

Yesterday afternoon, brought a huge downpour which almost flooded us! Luckily it stopped before I had to bail, and I had no idea where my Wellington boots were!

Before the storm hit us, I took a group of photos as the clouds were amazing.  I tried to get a shot of the lightening but missed it each time - darn it!







Even the big rotten palm tree bowed what is left of it's trunk!
Today the sun is out again, for now.

Monday, September 29, 2014

AUTUMN IS ARRIVING

Another long gap since I wrote anything.  Life has been somewhat hectic of late and the uncharacteristic weather from this summer has contributed, along with work constraints and visits to the UK, to the craziness of life.  

I am sad to say that our final original hen has passed away.  I found her stiff as a board in the hen house on Friday afternoon. I've no idea what she died of, she was not showing any signs of obvious disease. Now I am left with 3 hens who only lay when they feel like it! so rather a shortage of eggs at the moment.  I will probably need to buy a few more hens to get the egg supply going again.  I loathe buying them from the supermarket.

A whole day of rain yesterday - which was good for the land, but dark and dismal for me - means that the earth is soft for planting.  However, I am not sure I have the time on my hands to plant anything this week - we shall see.  I could do with cauliflowers, broccoli and cabbage.

The pool turned emerald green the other week and I couldn't get it back to its wonderful blue colour, so we've emptied it and we'll start again.  

Puss-cat is sleeping in a little more, especially over the last couple of days, he isn't keen on rain!

Puss, having a snooze and chilling out
 As the Autumn is upon us, when it isn't overcast and grey, we are having chilly evening sunsets, some of them are beautiful but I haven't caught a great one yet.

When the skies aren't overcast we are having wonderful Autumn sunsets


 J and I went snorkelling up at La Victoria - there is always lots to see there.  Sea urchins, octopus, lots of different fish, crabs etc.  I don't think we'll be going again this year unless we have another hot spell, but that's doubtful.

A dead sea urchin collected on our final snorkelling trip of the season at La Victoria near Alcudia.
 The farmers are harvesting their corn at the moment and I watched as they gathered it up in the next door field.  Their corn is used for animal fodder.  After the harvest, the field lies bare with only the short stems remaining and we can see over to the poligono (industrial estate) across the fields.
Jess, keeping me company as I watch the harvesting of the corn next door.

Harvest time - this corn is used for animal fodder.

Ruffa Roo waiting for the huge combine to reap the corn

The cloud builds, on a walk with Ruffa in Sa Pobla

Friday, August 8, 2014

WHAT A HOTTIE!

A very hot and humid day today, but this evening was wonderful and the humidity seemed to drift away, a little, as a cooler breeze blew in from the North.  

A quick dip in the pool cooled us down - with a few shandy's thrown in!

Not a lot happening at the moment.  More figs are ripening - may try to do more jam.  The grapes are almost ready for picking, but don't taste as sweet as usual!

Will post soon on the fruit situation.

It's Friday again - yippeee.

VIEW OF PORT IN PALMA DE MALLORCA

Friday, August 1, 2014

VERDICT ON THE JAM - GREAT!

I am happy to report that the jam tasting went down a storm yesterday afternoon.  Not too sweet with hints of spices - and it actually set - hooray.  Perhaps I will try to make jam again but this time without burning myself!

It's a hot day today here in Sa Pobla but with a breeze blowing through.  This year's summer weather has been rather strange.  Normally here in July we get very little cloud with usual blue sky days, but this year we've had a lot of cloud and even a little rain (although negligible) on the odd occasion. The hours between 3am and 6am are usually the coolest here, especially when the farmer next door puts on the watering system (mangueras), which makes a racket splashing against the tall maize stems & leaves.  However, we are now used to this noise and generally sleep through it.

Happy Friday everyone.  Enjoy the weekend.

ONE OF THE KITTENS SLEEPING OFF THE DAY IN A FOOD BOWL!


FIG JAM

Incredibly, for the first time EVER, I made some jam last night.



Firstly I'd like to say that I had no idea how painful it is to burn yourself with boiling jam! OUCH, but with super-lightening reaction I managed to save a blistered finger - lucky.


The green figs on the tree are ripening and I picked about two kilos of them yesterday late afternoon.
I looked at the pile of figs and, as I don't like them, decided to try my hand at some jam making.  I think it worked well, although, my chief taster hasn't tried it yet.  I shall deliver fresh figs and a pot of jam later today - the jury is still out!  I added some ginger so I hope that gives it a kick, I will definitely try it later.

The figs and grapes are really coming along.  Only some of the grapes have been covered so I hope that the rest don't get eaten by the insects, only time will tell. 




The olives are growing ready for the olive season! I can never remember when that is, we have two olive tress that fruit at different times so it gets a little confusing.


The prickly pears are abundant but won't be ready till they are a lovely pinky colour - again I'm not keen on these fruits, but I know many that are.

PRICKLY PEAR FRUITS - HAVE TO BE PICKED IN A SPECIAL WAY AS THEY ARE VERY, VERY PRICKLY - AS THE NAME IMPLIES!

BEAUTIFUL YELLOW FLOWERS OF THE PRICKLY PEAR PLANT.

We have pears growing by the pool which will be ready very soon and the veggie plot is about to have its soil turned over ready for (finally) some veggies to grow in.

The kittens are growing (what's left of them).  We lost so many this year due to a terrible cold virus they all caught.  Puss cat is doing well and enjoying trying to make friends with the cat family.  He is in quite a bit during the day, but goes off into the fields at night.  So far no sign of him fighting - I hope he behaves himself.

PUSS HELPING ME UNPACK THE SHOPPING!

The hens are fine and the broody one seems to have broken her broodiness, thankfully.  However, I found it strange that I couldn't find any eggs at one point and searched everywhere.  They have been allowed out of their pen and roamed free around the veggie plot and pool area.  In the undergrowth near the pool I discovered a hen snuggled down (looking broody), when I put my hand under her and lifted her off - there were 15 eggs!!! I had to test them all before eating them.  You do this by placing them in a deep bowl (or basin) of water.  If they sink they are good.  If they float - bin them!

THE HIDDEN PILE OF 15 EGGS!!

Add caption

THE POSSIBLE CULPRIT UNLESS ALL 4 HENS BANDED TOGETHER!!

That's it for now.  Back with the verdict on the jam.

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.