Thursday, 13 July 2017

SUMMERTIME, but the living's not easy .......

2nd July
We spent all morning in the vegetable garden - weeding, watering, harvesting (beans, onions, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, aubergine .........). For their first time ever we have managed to grow melons, the only problem is we don't know when to pick them!
Wow, my UK phone costs 40p/minute to ring anywhere in Europe (it used to cost 4p before roaming charges were dropped) and my Portuguese phone costs me 50c/minute to ring UK - I need to find a better deal.
This afternoon was spent making cheese (Halloumi). This self sufficiency lark is very time consuming!
Look a
Flippin' heck, I caught Brett sneaking out of the house with apple cider vinegar (bought, therefore expensive, as I have run out of homemade); he was going to use it to clean the car's windows!!!!! I 'squawked', rescued the ACV and gave him white vinegar from my studio (he refused to try my homemade red wine vinegar!).
And then he went to give the beetroot leaves, which I had washing in a bucket of water, to the pigs - they were earmarked for the curry!

3rd July
Wendy & Kevin gave us some plums, I made jam ....
Wildfire between our village and the next this evening (21 fire engines, 5 planes, 64 people); out now (phew!).

4th July
Every other day our mornings are full ......
Get up
Animals out and fed
Milk goats (3L today)
Weeding, watering and harvesting
Feeding goats, sheep and pigs with the weeds
Back to the house (for a well earned drink) ....... it's 12.30!!!!!
Vegetarian lunch, mostly from the quinta: carrot dip, crisps (bought), pickled cabbage/sauerkraut, goat cheese; actually Brett's wasn't veggie, he had sausage rolls (our pork).
Vegetarian dinner, ALL from the quinta: Saganaki cheese (well our version - fried Mozzarella), beetroot salad, carrot salad, beer (bought!).
Need to eat more beans .......
Made clementine cake for tomorrow afternoon.

5th July
Up at 6.30! Don't know why, I was awake ........
Another 3L from the goat's, need to make cheese but we have guests coming this afternoon (Nicky, she and her husband bought P&M's place, and Taliss, her daughter). Nicky wants me to teach her how to sew.
Ew, I saw the young Billy pee on his face!!!! He seemed to be able to control his penis, so he was peeing forwards, then he turned his head so it caught the flow. He's in with our milking females and he thinks the smell makes him attractive to them! He's only in with them because he jumped out of the sheep field .......
Nicky is hosting a beginner's fermentation workshop - I gave her my Kombucha Scoby 'hotel' (about a year's worth of spare Scobys).

6th July
Cheese making today as I had 11.5L of milk in the fridge. 7.5L made into Mozzarella
and 4L is clabbering, so I can make some Chevre ....... and that was most of my day gone! Until I discovered the whey from the Mozzarella had split - so I had to make Ricotta!

7th July
Happy Birthday Lesley xxx
So our bank (Norwich & Peterborough), in it's wisdom, has decided to close it's current accounts section. We chose it because it had no oversea fees for purchases or cash withdrawl (it did have it's limitations - €250/day cash limit). So looked around for a better deal (Money Saving Expert) and Halifax Clarity Credit card came out top (as long as you pay off the balance each month). Great, I have a Halifax current account (my money gets transferred from there into N&P each month) so this should be easy - wrong!!!! We have a Portuguese address (we have a UK one too, but we're not there obviously) and therefore not eligible for the card (EVEN THOUGH I BANK WITH THEM ALREADY) how absolutely ridiculous. And that goes for all UK banks and credit cards. My Halifax card charges 2.75% plus £1.50 per cash withdrawl (ATMs here have a 200€ limit per transaction) if anyone has got any good ideas?????

8th July
Happy Birthday Lauren xxx
A typical smallholding start to the day, as in you never know when something unexpected is going to happen! Whilst letting out and feeding the geese I could hear plaintive bleating, so went to investigate.
The young Billy (the one who jumped out of the field to be with the milking females) had jumped back into the field overnight with the rest of the flock. He had managed to get his foot through the stock fence as he went over, twisting the second strand down over the top strand, thus snaring his lower leg. He was well and truly stuck; three feet on the ground and a back leg caught at the top of the fence. We needed wire cutters to release him (he can't put his foot to the ground atm) - of course the fence is ruined!!!
The billys and rams are in full-on rutting mode; it's mayhem in the field, they're fighting and molesting the females, egged on by Jelisa and Lucy who are flirting from the other side of the fence - they'll get their comeuppance tomorrow as they're being put in the field with the rest of the flock!.

9th July
Happy Birthday Rebecca xxx
As Brett is working next week we took today off and went to Meimao barragem.
As soon as I start wearing sandals I have problems with dry cracking feet (always have, they're fine if I wear socks). I have a pathetic, (12v) battery operated, machine that sands off the dry skin, but it's not very powerful or effective. So Brett has loaned me his mini orbital sander (180 Watts, I can only use it when the generator is on) - it's scary, but it does the job! I wonder if chiropodists use them? Ok, looked it up; Chiropodists use razor blades - I wouldn't try that myself!

10th July
Brett was up at 6.00 ....
I tried out a different Mozzarella recipe, it is a much longer method than the one I usually use (it's titled 'traditional'), fingers crossed I get the salad Mozzarella this time.
6 hours later - I didn't! It didn't stretch, it tastes and sounds (squeaky) like Halloumi, so I'll try making Saganaki cheese with it.

11th July
Brett was off before 7.00 again.
37C .......
I did all the animal chores and the washing - boring but necessary jobs.
Tomorrow we're off to CB (we have a long shopping list on our way back we're calling in on Amelia (Mark's friend) who is going to introduce us to Bill - a prospective stained glass window customer!

12th July
40+ ......
We had a successful shopping trip - I even managed to buy some sandals!
Bill wants a transom (a glass panel above his front door) but ...... he doesn't have a preference for colors or design, "You're the artist, you decide. Whatever is easiest for you", was his input! His budget? "As cheap as possible" - do I really want this commission?????
After dinner, it was so hot, we stripped off and spent an hour in the pool; it was lovely just bobbing around and putting the world to rights. Then we came in, looked at camper vans and drank beer. We're both in a good place at the moment.

13th July
It's going to be a hot one; it's 10.00 and already 34.5C (in the shade) ............
3.00 44.5C: that is hot, and even hotter if you go out of the shade. All our tubs of water were too hot to put your hand in!
We harvested a load of vegetables and went down to introduce ourselves to our new neighbour (Eloise) - Chris & Sasha were there working, they looked hot and tired.
We bobbed around in the pool again this evening, it really cools your core temperature. Then we came in and drank beer - it's the most thirst quenching drink!

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