Thursday, 12 October 2017

SOMETIMES I JUST WANT TO STOP DOING THIS ......

12th September
It's still HOT! (30+).
For over two weeks I haven't eaten gluten (bread, pasta, pastry, cereal etc, in fact I've cut out all starchy carbs) and has it made any difference to my aches and pains? Has it hell! I can't sleep at night because my joints are so achy. Oh yeah, and I haven't lost any weight either!!!!
Ow, ow, ow ....... whilst watering the vegetable garden I got stung (by a wasp?) right at the top of my leg, it really throbs!
Brett still working on the bathroom.

13th September
It's still in the 30's, this is supposed to be autumn! At least it's cool enough to weed the veg garden.
My sting is hot, swollen and painful .........

14th September
So, whilst weeding the veg garden yesterday, I decided that I would be more comfortable sitting than standing and bending; I upturned a bucket, after a while it collapsed(!), I landed on my back. It didn't really hurt, I just carried on weeding - today I can hardly move my head, my neck is so stiff and painful (whiplash?).
On a good note my sting has gone down and is no longer throbbing, just itching.
Our fridge is so full of cheese; I check it often for moisture, mold, ripeness etc. Today I found a four week old Chevre (that I'm ageing), it looked and smelt like Camembert;
we tried it at lunchtime - the flavor is good but it needs to be more gooey, another week should do it.
Today Brett put the glass blocks in the shower area - they look fab.
The area will be tiled (haven't chosen any yet).

15th September
Hoorah, a bit cooler today - so I made (more) cheese, Cheddar.
My beans are already coming through ......
Soddin' goats; everytime we (Brett) leave one of the gates, to the decking, open they sneak in to steal onions!!!!. We've never known goats to like onions before - we have weird goats.
My neck is still giving me gyp; Brett says I'm walking like a zombie!

16th September
Happy Birthday Laura. Xxx
Pete's Car Boot Sale was on today; at a new venue, the sport's field in Aldeia do Bispo - lots more stalls than normal and quite a few customers, we will probably do a stall next month. Met a few 'new' people - it was a rather social gathering.
Took the Cheddar out of the press, it now needs to air dry before I band it.
My neck isn't getting much better yet - I've even resorted to Ibuprofen!

17th September
Happy Birthday Lily. Xxx
How many ways, and how much, cheese can I use in one day? Well let's see what I did today.......
(1) Foudjou (uses soft Chevre and Cheddar) a French potted cheese, recipe from Diana Henry.
(2) Onion fritatta (older/firmer Chevre) for lunch.
(3) Tomato salad (Mozzarella), for lunch.
Actually I thought I'd used more!
Our aubergines are fruiting well so I char griddled some and jarred them in olive oil (Diana Henry again) - nice accompaniment to lunch.
Aubergines (left), Foudjou (right)
I picked a load of apples off the tree so that I can store them for the winter.
Brett is volunteering, again this week, to clear burnt woodland at one of the decimated quintas, so I made chocolate fridge cake (my contribution).
Haha I managed another 'cheese' use; dinner was garlic marinated, sliced, chicken breast fried with (4) Mozzarella(!!!!) and tomato salsa, lemon glazed carrots (bought!), French beans - the cheese worked well.

18th September
The night's are cooler; we even used a cover last night, so we're sleeping better.
Brett's volunteering day has been cancelled - so we have a large chocolate fridge cake to eat, fortunately Taliss is coming on Wednesday (sewing day)!
So I organised all my paper, to individually wrap the apples, and ...... everyone of them had an insect hole in them - so I spent the day prepping and cooking sliced apples to freeze! I'm half way through and, so f I've found one unblemished apple!

19th September
We had guests for lunch, Lola and Katherine (her lodger for the month); of course I had to make 'everything from the quinta' - chicken waldorf salad, tomato salad (with Mozzarella), cabbage and apple salad (with feta), marinated aubergines and various ferments, then junket for pudding.

20th September
And today it was the turn of Nicky & Taliss - we had the leftovers from yesterday, plus chocolate fridge cake. Taliss's dress needs at least one more session (because I kept unpicking it!).

21st September
Happy Birthday Helen! Xxx
Alfie (Chris & Di's dog) is missing!
I made apple jelly.

22nd September
So I spent the day in the kitchen making cheddar and chicken liver pate - and doing all the associated washing up!
Exciting times, the bathroom is nearly ready for the roof. Brett has to cut out the holes for the beams and I have to paint them (the beams) - we're using the blue/grey paint we originally bought for the field gates (waste not, want not!).
Really excited, it's a pity the 'end of the world' is due tomorrow!!!!

23rd September
Ok we're still here!!!!!!!
Our bed clothes needed washing; so I spent the morning doing the washing only to have it pointed out, just as I was finishing, that I'd forgotten to strip the bed!!!! Fortunately I hadn't drained all the water away.
Brett had a frustrating day; he cut all the slots for the roof beams in the bathroom, only to find that all the beams were banana shaped and twisted!!!! However, after having had a good old moan, he worked out how to still fit them so that the roof can be attached.
4.00 Bar do Club ....... Us, Andrew, Greg & Sarah, Chris & Di, Baptiste, Paul & Martine. It's election time and the Socialists came round - we were given - pens, hats and (Greg got a teashirt!).

24th September
Painted the bathroom (banana) beams. Tomorrow we go to CB to buy the roofing.

25th September
CB to buy roofing, shower and lights for our new bathroom!
An exhausting day with lots of compromising going on (could only get 30mm chapas, wanted 40mm, the lights we saw a couple of months ago were no longer in the shop so we got some that were ok, green rather than blue, we bought new mugs, but they were 1/2 the size of our old ones etc.), we were pleased to get home.

26th September
OUR WORST SMALLHOLDING DAY (probably) EVER:
We went to do our morning check on our sheep and goats (just after breakfast); they had been attacked overnight!!! THREE of our pregnant ewes were dead; of the rest of the flock, many have multiple bites and puncture wounds. We had to borrow T&D's captive bolt gun, as Decibel was so badly injured she needed putting out of her misery. We have no idea what attacked them but we're thinking it must have been a pack of big dogs, (1) from the amount of damage caused, and (2) for them to have been able to get into our quinta - they must have been able to jump the metre high stock fences - most of our quinta is fully fenced (all the animal's areas are) so our dogs and animals can't get off the quinta unless we open gates (the gates were all shut last night).
So we had a horrible day; attending our injured flock, disposing of carcasses (compost bins, liberally doused in bleach) and finding them all a safe place to sleep this evening - the injured lambs are in the small shed (the milking goats are outside in the corral, where they usually sleep) and the rest of the flock are in the old pig run (close to the house). Our windows will be open and we'll try leaving the dogs on the decking, but probably bring them in as Lily will happily bark all night!

27th September
A quiet night (even Lily was quiet); this morning the sheep all seem relaxed and their wounds are no worse - except poor little Clyde who's extra injury, we noticed today, is a shredded scrotum!!!!! He now has blue balls - the colour of the antiseptic spray.
Well that's a turn up ....... I phoned Paypal today, re our milking machine, and (even though we paid by debit card not through Paypal) we appear to be covered, they're going to freeze our payment to our seller and he had 10 days to contact them, if he doesn't get in touch on day 11 we get our money back!!!!!
For dinner I cooked winter squash - using a squash we harvested August 2016! They have kept really well.
Animal bedtime and one of the Muscovy females is missing; we finally locate her, under the decking, sitting on a nest - no way we can reach her tonight, so fingers crossed nothing else finds her (Lily will let us know if any predators get close).

28th September
Another quiet night ....
I can't believe it is still so hot (30s), we haven't had rain for months.
It's our least favourite time of the year - fly season. Swarms (well that's what it feels like) get into the house - we spend all day with fly swats in our hands.
The bathroom roof went on today!!!!!!!
It might not look much, but it will greatly improve our lives ...

29th September
35C!!!!!!
We're invited to dinner with Katherine (Lola's tenant) so I made honeycomb.
I also made Mozzarella.

30th September
Katherine gave us fish & chips! It was a nice evening but we couldn't relax as we were away from the sheep.
The village was packed as we drove out/in to the village - something to do with the election and it looked like free food and drink!
My mission is to shell the chickpeas, so far I've managed 1/2 a sweetjar - it's very time consuming (and boring!).

1st October
Of course we went to the bar last night - it was shut! New owners have taken over and they're getting it ready. So we went to Pimenta's bar (warm beer!) and then relocated to Café Central (better) - we left, to do our animals, just as they were ordering port ......
The sheep are healing well, bless them.
Milk production is declining rapidly; only 2L this morning, Jelisa is down by about 75% (probably because she is pregnant) - typical that I've been waiting for the weather to cool, so I could make certain cheeses, and now I won't have the milk to make it with!
I had a VERY frustrating morning, on the phone to Paypal; our seller is saying he has sent the correct documentation and that the machine has been delivered to us!!!!
Still shelling chickpeas .........
And the garden still keeps giving; I picked a bowl of strawberries, French beans, capsicums, aubergines and tomatoes, harvested the last of the onions and we started harvesting winter squash and sweet potatoes.

2nd October
I was woken by Brett at 3.00 a.m. our neighbour's chickens were making a hell of a racket, we're really worried that they were being attacked by something. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do; although these neighbours border our quinta we can't physically get onto their land from ours as we are separated by a winter riverbed, the banks (either side) are dense with willow, quince and bamboo (animals can get through but not humans) and on his side a stock fence too. To get to this quinta we need to drive about two kilometres (they're accessed by a different track to us) but even then we couldn't get in, as the neighbours live in the village and their gates are kept locked. Brett let our dogs out - they ran off in the other direction! He shone a torch (but could see nothing); we felt terribly inadequate.
I didn't sleep until daybreak, in case the preditor came our (our sheep's) way.
OMG I made us an avocado and prawn salad for lunch ....... I think the prawns were raw!!!!!! They were frozen, but they were also pink (so I stupidly assumed they were cooked), so now we're expecting to be ill!
One wheelbarrow of chickpeas down = more than an old fashioned sweet jar full of peas.
Brett started on the electrics for the bathroom (well he's making gaps for the cable runs).
So far so good (re raw prawns) ......

3rd October
IT'S OCTOBER and we're still getting temperatures of 35C!!!!! And no rain is forecast for at least 10 days.
I podded another half wheelbarrowful of chickpeas (took me most of the day!).
A day and a half since I 'poisoned' us, so far so good (although I have been feeling queasy - but I know that I am high suggestable!!!).

4th October
Still no ill effects .........
Still bloody hot ..........
Still shelling chickpeas ...........
Piglet is growing .........

5th October
We went to Spain this morning. Everyone talks about a shop, 'Gamma', where you can purchase tiles - it was bloody expensive (one of those shops where they don't put on prices!), so we came home with nothing - well I bought some material from the market for 2€ which should make two or three dresses.
Tomorrow we will go to Alcains to look at the tiles there.
FINISHED podding the chickpeas (6.2 kilos),
we also weighed the blackened beans (5 kilos) that we podded last month. I'm going to grind some of the chickpeas to make gram flour. We have enough pulses now to keep us through the winter (hummus, pork & beans, baked beans, falafel, dhal, flatbreads, soups, refried beans, salads .......).

6th October
Well the Alcain's tile shop has change considerably (and not for the better!), so we came away from there empty handed. But we found some tiles we like, amazingly, in Bricomache. Not overly cheap, so we're going to make a feature of them behind the wash stand.
We saw Amelia and her husband as we were going back to the car - apparently Mark has broken a rib (maybe he'll come out here to recuperate?).

7th October
I did a job I have been dreading (in case I broke it) making a hole in old bowl (we've had it for twenty odd years and it was old when we bought it) that we're going to use as a wash basin, in the new bathroom. I used my sandblaster and then the dremel - it worked!!!! And it goes really well with the tiles. It has a matching jug, unfortunately this has a big chunk of the lip missing - I'm wondering if I could mend it (with Fimo?) ........
There was a dragonfly trapped in my studio, it was trying to get out through the glass blocks, so I kindly picked it up, to release it out through the doors - it bloody well bit me!!!!! No blood was drawn, but it was quite a painful nip (I said "ouch" and dropped it!); I captured it in a box, instead of my hands, and let it out - it then spent the rest of the morning trying to get back in!
Meantime, Brett made the house really, really dusty -  channeling out the blocks for the electric cables.
C&D are in the UK; so it was just us, Andrew and Sara & Greg at the bar this evening - we came home sober, but both agreed that it was a very enjoyable evening (smaller groups make conversation easier).

8th October
Just before 6.00 a.m. we were woken by a dog bark, coming from the sheep enclosure, closely followed by our dogs barking and growling, Brett falling out of bed in his haste, and running naked and shoeless into the dark. I struggled into a dress (went out with my arm through the neck hole). But it, whatever it was, was well gone; Brett heard the fence 'ping' as it jumped over into Gary's old place. The flock was unscathed; we were very thankful that we had them close to the house (we had been starting to think that we didn't need to continue putting them in there overnight).
Today I decided to make a dress, with the material I bought on Thursday; I like the dress I copied from Pam, I put it on to the check the fit - Brett informed me that it reminded him of jodpers saying "have you seen it from the back?". He doesn't like baggy dresses (pity I've got a baggy body!), so now I don't know what to do!
I compromised; I made it tighter than I would normally, but not as tight as Brett would have liked! It actually looks rather posh (for me!).
The wildfires have started again, we've been seeing plumes of dark smoke for a couple of days.

9th October
We went to Fundao to buy vegetable plugs (mainly onions) and came back with two big bags of plugs (white onions, red onions, broccoli, Dutch cabbage, pointy cabbage, kale (I hope) and cauliflower) and turkey poults (3 for us, 2 for T&D).
This afternoon we had to prepare channels for the veg and this evening we had to plant them - instant garden!
Tomorrow we've been invited for lunch at Nicky & Erd's, so I made some peanut butter fudge to take.

10th October
We had a fabulous time at N&E's and lunch was a feast - meatballs, roast aubergines, salad, rice, yoghurt dressing and pomegranate sprinkles - all very colourful.
On our way home we stopped to speak to Mr Louis; he told us that several of the shepherds around us have lost sheep to dogs recently - he suggested we shoot the dogs (easier said than done, we have to see them first - oh yeah and get a gun!). But we are now even more worried about another attack.
We have decided that we are (Brett is!) going to build a 20' x 20', dog proof, sheep pen for the flock to be housed in overnight.

11th October
I didn't sleep well; I was listening for dogs all night ........
Lola came for coffee and gossip - always great fun!!!
Then I sorted out stuff to sell at the carboot in a week's time. The boxes have been stored in the big shed for five years, mice had made their homes in some of my boxes of material - all now chucked! It was horribly dirty work.

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