Thursday, 13 March 2014

DUCKLINGS & GOSLINGS ............................

25th February
We had to go shopping today as we didn't have much food in the house; we have masses of work for the next few days (shredding, building shed, covering polytunnel, putting in potatoes and general planting out, weeding etc) so, we don't want to have to stop to go shopping (or even worse not go food shopping and then have something disgusting for dinner!). We went to Fundao for a change, leaving the dogs in the shed - they were very good again.
We are very impressed with Lily, she is a very intelligent dog, she picks thing up very quickly for something so young (3 or 4 months). We can't believe that she's already house trained (she came from a dog rescue centre where they had to go to the toilet in their cages!). When she arrived on Thursday she squeaked all the time, especially when we went out of the room and really badly when we went to bed and left her and Looby in the kitchen, we looked it up on the internet (I love Google!), followed the advice of the 'experts' and now she doesn't squeak any more (it took three days). Brett is teaching her to sit and I want to teach her to walk on her back legs (she does it naturally all the time) then I can dress her up (in a tutu!!!).
I think she would quite like a kennel!

26th February
Although it was lovely and sunny today it was also very windy, so there was no hope of getting the polytunnel cover on.
But we did plant 25kgs of seed potatoes,
The old peasant woman is in the photo for scale!
plus another 10+ kgs of the shepherd's potatoes (they were sprouting) and now I'm absolutely shattered and my back is so stiff I walk like (as Brett kindly puts it) and old crone! It will be worth the pain though, as today's hard work should provide us with a whole year's supply of potatoes.
We have some very pretty wild flowers with yellow bell shaped flowers;
I have identified them as 'False Foxgloves', but that is from the internet so I might be wrong.
Pam & Mark came to dinner and we drank three bottles of our white wine (plus a half bottle of the red), so I'm feeling pretty mellow as I write my blog!
Naughty Lily is in trouble with Brett because she doesn't want the evening walk, she does her toilet and then comes straight home. He made me lock the door when he took them out this evening, then I heard her scratching on the door (I had to let her in), he was cross!

27th February
Hoorah it was raining (well drizzly) this morning, which meant I couldn't garden today - my back said "thank goodness for that!".
Oh dear, we just 'googled' expected yield from Desiree seed potatoes; in good growing conditions you might expect 50lbs from 2lbs planted, i.e. 25 x amount planted ........................... 25 x 35kgs = 875kgs or 35 sacks!!!!! Hmmm, that's an awful lot of potatoes, maybe we won't have good growing conditions!
The puppy has started scratching!!!! Which almost certainly means she has mange, but we will nip it in the bud early this time, fortunately we know what works on them, so we will go to the vet in CB tomorrow to get some Advocat 250.

28th February
Good old Lidls!!!!!! We managed to buy some seed trays, actually a couple of the shops have them in now but they're so expensive - what we bought in Lidls for 5.99 was 14.99 in another shop!
We went to a different vet (we're not going to Penamacor again and Corvilha is just too far), he gave us injections for the dogs; they had to have one each today and another in a fortnight's time - cost 7€ for all four.
My goodness did Lily make a fuss when she had her injection!!!! And she continued to cry loudly for about ten minutes afterwards too - typically Looby had to do exactly the same (she's so competitive!), so we had the pair of them wailing (I'm surprised P&M didn't hear them). Hopefully that will have dealt with any parasites Lily has brought with her.

1st March
Happy St David's Day!!!
It was drizzly, but as we wanted to get parsnips and carrots in so we went over to the vegetable garden this morning; Brett rotorvated while I hoed, it was bloody hard work (the ground is hard so I have to attack it with some force), I'm worried that I won't be able to keep on top of all the weeding (especially as it gets hotter and we get more area planted up).
Debbie and David have booked their flights!!!! They're coming on the 30th June, which means they are more or less guaranteed good weatherï, we're very excited.

2nd March
Two years ago at this time of year we were camping at a barragem near Nisa` and I had an allergic reaction to Mimosa (well that's what I put it down to) and since then I have lost my sense of smell. The Mimosa is flowering again and for a week I've had a tight chest, headache and niggling cough - I'm not happy, I'm feeling rough (I don't get hayfever!).
We want to go to Fundao market tomorrow to buy some goslings, so Brett finished his forth poultry shed today.
I re-sowed the chilli seeds, as none had germinated after nearly four weeks, which is disappointing. I have masses of seeds that still need sowing but there's no room left in the cold frame, so I'll have to wait until the polytunnel is functioning (hopefully we'll get the cover on mid week).

3rd March
We bought four goslings, we think they're Toulouse, and six ducklings, Pato Mudo (mute duck/Muscovy) - they're so sweet, the goslings make little burbling sounds and they aren't particularly scared of humans.


Pam came into Fundao with us and she bought some goslings too - she's called hers Hansel and Greta (as she was told she has a male and female); we haven't named ours. We made them a makeshift enclosure, which they escaped from within five minutes!!! But they are so easy to catch it wasn't a problem, we'll buy some chicken wire later in the week and make some wire panels (they make easy to assemble/dissemble temporary runs).

4th March
The Muscovies are fascinated by the goslings and ducklings! (so is Lily, but we are keeping an eye on her).
Lots of gardening today; planting, sowing and the relentless weeding (the weeds liked the rainy period too) - it's exhausting!! But vegetable seedlings are starting to come through, so it's exciting.
When we came back from gardening this afternoon the female Muscovy was in with the goslings!!! The male was standing on a block looking over the barrier.

5th March
Hot, Hot, Hot!!!!! Bright blue skies and sunshine, THIS is why we live in Portugal.
Sarah, James and Joyce have booked their flights to Portugal (24th April); we can't wait to show them our quinta - we've got so much to look forward to already this year.
Brett was out with the rotovator increasing the size of the vegetable garden - we've half filled the original plot he rotovated
and we haven't even put out beans, courgettes, tomatoes, melons etc so we are going to need far more room.
This will be a bed for permanent plants, like globe artichokes
This bed will be used for animal food, corn and beans etc.
I continued to weed - the Portuguese stinging nettles are vicious little buggers, they're far small than British ones but they sting like buggery!
We came back from the vegetable garden around 4.30, tired but pleased with what we'd achieved, the sun was still warm so .................. we got out the comfy garden chairs, sat admiring the view and drank a couple of beers - actually THIS is why we live in Portugal!!! And it will only get better J.

6th March
Naughty, naughty Lily has chewed the tub chair that's in the kitchen, in front of the stove (next to the dog's bed); Brett is furious with her - unfortunately he didn't catch her doing it so he couldn't tell her off.
Chris and Di gave us a whole load of logs (eucalyptus) from their wood, unfortunately they felled them at the wrong time and a wood boring insect got in so they can't be used as beams in their Hobbit House (it's fine to burn in our stove though) and a whole load of Mimosa poles that I can use in the vegetable garden for supports.
We spent the afternoon prepping the polytunnel (covering all the joints with duct tape so the polythene doesn't get snagged) ready for tomorrow when we hope to get the cover on.
As Chris & Di are coming to help with the polytunnel tomorrow I wanted to make some cakes; Karina (thank you) gave me the recipe for her doughnuts, so I made a batch - but they didn't turn out like hers!!!!! They tasted lovely but I could not make them big or round, I got wavy ribbons (all I can think is that my mixture was too runny).  So we ate them for tea and I made some scones instead!!!

7th March
What a fabulous day, blue skies, sunshine, birds singing - it feels like spring.
This morning we finished prepping the polytunnel; all edges that come into contact with the polythene had a strip of draught excluder attached (to act as hot spot tape, but much cheaper).
The cover went on this afternoon (thanks to Chris & Di for their help), bloody hell it's hot in there!!! We still have to finish the ends and doors, hopefully tomorrow. We went back to the house with Chris and Di and sat outside drinking our white wine and eating scones.

8th March
Hey there Mister Blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Everybody smiles at you .......................
We were invited out for lunch time drinks and nibbles, so we didn't have time to finish
the polytunnel; we tidied up the ends but will wait to do the pleating and doors when we're not so rushed.
The lunch date was at Vince & Lola's, it was a decking warming party; P&M, Josh & Jamie, Keren, Jamie & Gipsy were all there and Jamie's mum. It was a lovely afternoon, great company, beautiful setting, lots to eat and drink - we only left because the dogs had been in the shed for six hours (it is a big shed, with fresh straw on the floor and lots of fresh air) and the goslings and ducklings were out; thankfully everything was fine when we got home.
The only thing that marred today was my constant dry coughing, and puffing when I do anything physical, I might have to go to see a doctor L.

9th March
It was a bit cloudy this morning, I had to wear a jumper (shame!).
Wow, Brett seems to have helped my cough ................... he gave me his asthma inhaler to try; bloody hell does that mean I've developed asthma now? I'm going to take his preventative inhaler for a few days and see if it helps. It was fantastic being able to walk without coughing, puffing and panting! I felt better than I had in weeks (still haven't got much energy). Unfortunately it didn't last for long, but maybe once the preventative one kicks in I'll be better.
I've found a use for all the plastic butter tubs I refuse to throw away (I prefer to buy it in paper but Brett doesn't like it when the weather's warm and it melts all over the place!) - I've cut them up and made plant labels,
they don't look attractive but hey they're only plant labels (and free)!
Brett has made me an absolutely brilliant table for the polytunnel, it's huge, 13' long x 3' wide. So this afternoon I transferred all the potting paraphernalia and the cold frame plus contents across to the polytunnel. It's looking jolly busy in there already.
And now he's making a table for the decking, which is our next big/exciting project.

10th March
We were supposed to go into CB today, but that didn't happen as we had a flat tyre - there was a big bent nail in it.
We let the goslings out to forage for grass, they followed us around making their sweet burbling sounds!
This afternoon I realised I couldn't hear them, went looking, they were halfway down the track - when they saw me they turned around and came running towards me, flapping their stumpy little wings (even though I had Lily with me) - they're so sweet.
We found a couple of brilliant old cupboards next to the skip in the village, one is a 1950's style larder cupboard (lovely proportions), J.
with wire mesh in the bottom doors so it can be used as a meat/cheese safe and the other hasn't got a top
but could be made into a sink unit. They needs a bit of work, they're battle ship grey at the moment and the doors need re-hanging, but they will be great
I spent the afternoon gardening and didn't manage to do half of what I had hoped, but this is the busiest time of the year - sowing, potting on, planting out, weeding, watering .................... etc etc. I love the polytunnel, but, it is very hot in there when the sun is high in the sky, so I think I'm going to try working in there early morning (if I can get up and out by 7.00 I can spend a couple of hours in there before breakfast).
And Brett, with help from the ducklings and goslings, worked on his table.

11th March
Happy Birthday Karen
Flippin' heck I begrudge socialising now as it stops me from working in the polytunnel!
This morning Brett finished his table,
it's a fabulous item, he's made it interesting by putting the top planks on at an angle. I love it (my man is very clever).
I did the housework (I hate it) and cooked (paella and I made lemon mousse yesterday).
We set the table up near the chicken run, with a fantastic view of the Serra de Estrela mountains covered in snow - I forgot to take a photo.
Then our guests arrived and we had a wonderful, sociable afternoon sitting in the sun eating and drinking - our life is far more gregarious when the weather is good.
Looby was in her element as Nicky & Rich brought their two dogs with them and she fell in love with Pete, she followed him everywhere. Lily wasn't so happy as they were big dogs so she stayed close to her humans. The gosling and ducklings weren't in the least afraid of the dogs and tried to come on our walk around the quinta - they follow us everywhere.

12th March
I had my morning coffee at the new table (it works!).
Well we should have gone into CB today (we have a long list) but neither of us wanted to so we've postponed it until tomorrow.
I spent the morning potting on in the polytunnel,
until I ran out of compost (so now I really do need to go to CB!).
Brett started making the benches to go with his table. He also worked out how much wood we need to order from Cesar (timber merchant) for our decking - it's going to cost us about 1000€, but it will add another two 'rooms' to the house.
The gosling and ducklings are getting quite cheeky, they come in our house now;
Can we come in please?

which would be fine except they pooh everywhere!!!!


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