WHY CAN'T SPANISH DOGS LEARN ENGLISH?

WHY CAN'T SPANISH DOGS LEARN ENGLISH?

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.




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..