Monday, 2 April 2018


28th February
Well my butter making didn't work! First of all I tried using my (virgin) manual butter churn - by the time my arms had given up nothing had happened. So I thought I'd use my moulinex mixer - the cream frothed up to about four times it's original volume but no hint of butter! I think perhaps my cream was tainted with milk? I need a cream separator.

9th March
The wells are more or less full, the land is saturated, our track is getting squelchy (soon it'll be undrivable) and still it rains.
Apparently totally annual rainfall for our area averages at about 1000mm (that's a meter in one whole year), we've had 600mm in the last 12 days!!!!! Elise and Yurk (two separate neighboring quintas) are both flooded.
Our vegetable garden is under water, so it's a chore to pick the brassica (the sprouting brocolli is still going strong and more cabbages are ready to harvest).
Yesterday our Fermentalists meeting was at Mount of Oaks (MOO, a local community). I was super excited because I wanted a tour of their place - it was too wet! I made an orange (ours) and red pepper salsa - looks interesting and tasty, I think it will end up quite runny like a sweet and sour chili sauce.
19 people attended the meeting (plus Taliss and Leonie), the group is getting rather big. Me, Nicky, Lola and Jo came from our area (it was an hour's drive to MOO).
I have a Mother's day card and present from Hen (& Indi) - I won't open it until Sunday.
Update on mother's day present: Hen contacted me to see if it had arrived. I said 'yes' but I hadn't opened it; he said I could if I wanted too ...... wow, it's fabulous, a garland made from recycled metal, in the shape of leaves - when the rain stops I'm going to put it up on the decking - thank you Henry & Indi Xxx.
Tonight we had another storm (thunder & lightening) and tomorrow storm Felix arrives (Red warnings) .........

10th March
Today we pulled two vans out of the mud (Pete & Alan's), last week it was Sophie's people carrier and last month Hatti's van - our 4 wheel drive truck is in demand with all this wet weather.
I put my mother's day present up .......
It 'tinkles' in the wind ......
We're getting a little bit bored now!!!!! I played in the studio this afternoon - I'm thinking of making some cards to sell at the carboot.

11th March
Happy Birthday Karen. Xxx
Ooooh goody, it's raining! It's getting a bit boring now ......
We took a walk down to the river; it was raging. But it had obviously been nearly 2m higher on Friday (we could tell by the debris trapped in the branches of the trees).
This afternoon I carried on with my card printing .......

The marbled paper I made years ago when we lived in Wales.
The tomatillo seeds I sowed have germinated in the hundreds rather than tens! So I'm going to pot some seedlings up and try selling them at the carboot. I spent the evening making paper pots (from supermarket flyers) so I don't have to get rid of my pots (I felt very smallholderish!).

12th March
Last week I decided that as I was milking Lucy once a day I might as well milk first thing and milk Jelisa too (with views of cheese making). Day (1) I had 2.5L, day (2) Lucy's kids had found her left udder and she didn't need milking. However today Jelisa came out bursting - I took 2L off her and 1L off Lucy (so perhaps cheese making is back on, I only need 5L per batch for soft cheese).
No rain today so we did some outside jobs (potting on (me) and mucking out (Brett)).

13th March
Another 3L milked this morning. I don't have enough for cheese as we're using it in our tea/coffee etc.
After six months of a persistent dry cough (I haven't had a full night's sleep in months) the doctor tells me it's the pills I'm taking!!!! She's given me a new prescription, fingers crossed.
After years of buying crappy meat slicers and slicing ham or bacon as thinly as possible by hand we might have access to a proper meat slicer. Lola has a Portuguese friend who wants to sell one (50€), it sounds very promising as it weighs 20kgs - we're going to view it tomorrow.
Erd came round this afternoon to help Brett service our truck (he has ramps). It's purring now, job well done!
I continued making paper pots .........

14th March
No milk this morning!!!!
What a bargain!!!! The meat slicer is a proper heavy duty one. It might be old but the blade is still sharp (scarily so), it sliced our bacon thinly, no trouble at all - very happy, it's a quality piece of kit.
Proper bacon ...

17th March
Happy St Patrick's Day!
I didn't go to the carboot. The weather has been inclement all week and rain was forecast; it actually didn't rain while the carboot was on but it was bitterly cold - only three stallholders turned up.
Sara & Greg turned up at lunchtime with my Amazon parcel (Kilner jars), the courier had dropped them off at Bar do Clube.

18th March
Brett off on a bike ride ..........

2nd April
Happy Easter!!!
Well my blog writing has gone to pot! I don't know why, I used to write it religiously, every evening after dinner (maybe it's because we're eating and therefore sitting down later?).
So what has happened in the last 2 weeks?
We have 'processed' two large rams and our big boar. We are experimenting and making Macon and Mam (mutton bacon and ham) as well as making bacon and ham (we're going to build a smoker) - you can tell we're still very happy with our meat slicer!
Macon ...
Vince and Lola are housing our big freezer in their shed (we can't run two off the solar) which is brilliant.
On Thursday Brett and Vince are going to look at my generator (fingers crossed they can fix it in time for Helen's visit, 13th April).
Today we went to CB and met Mark for lunch. Hopefully he's back in Portugal for a while. A while back I was moaning (on the blog) about not being able to get cotton easily - Mark's mum sent me a box of thread (thank you Mark's mum xxx), I'm really chuffed.
The weather had improved last week (it's been raining all over Easter). We went to Fundao market and bought a couple of lemon trees and a lime tree (our third attempt at growing these). These ones will be kept in pots on the decking until they have matured a bit. We're always very enthusiastic about our garden in the spring.
Brett has pruned all the olive trees in the vegetable garden. It is looking very well kept ..... and still the brasiccas are giving us vegetables (red/green/white cabbages, calabrese, brocolli, kale and chard (I know chard isn't a brassica!).
Nicky & Tallis came round last Sunday (whilst Brett and Erd were on a bike ride). We picked wild greens from the quinta - chickweed, hen bit, dead nettle, yellow wood sorrel, salad burnet plus a few herbs, to make into a wild herb omelette - delicious. The left over herbage was made into pesto.
Poor old Lobby is on heat, it makes her so restless. She's lying outside in the dark ...