Sunday, March 17, 2013

Give, receive, sew, sow and meet Boneca

I finished the very overdue gift quilt this weekend. Tomorrow it will embark on its journey. I won´t say where because I would like for it to be a surprise.

This week I also took to sowing. Please grow, please grow.
Then I received a package in the mail from a friend with more seeds than I know what to do with. This is a good thing of course. It will encourage me to take my gardening much more seriously this year, and hopefully if our water spring does not dry like it did last summer we will be able to reap the fruits of our labour. I just want for something to grow. In exchange for the seeds João sent me I have to gather seeds that are from our area, older varieties if possible. This is a good exercise for meeting people in town and also for getting tips on how and when to sow and plant the different varieties so that they resist our very temperamental climate. Plant too soon and everything freezes, plant too late and risk drought.

I finally met my neighbor´s donkey. Her name is "Boneca" which means Doll. That is very sweet. Sadly Boneca stays indoors most of the time and I rarely get to see her just catching some sun rays, chilling and eating grass. She could do with a little more food.

This year we have had a lot of rain. This is good. It will hopefully guarantee that we will have water to see us through the summer. All the water on our property comes from the spring I mentioned earlier. If the spring dries it means we have to get water from the town´s fountains and that can be very laborious. And so, rain is very welcome. But when it rains too much the water in the creeks runs with too much force and drags everything with it... all the way to the dam. This year it dragged the watercress and some say that there may be none at all to collect later. I had been meaning to bake a watercress cake for awhile. I never even knew such a cake existed until my friend Sandra told me about it and described its wonderful vibrant color. I went looking for watercress in the creek and came back with little more than the sprig you see in the photo. The watercress for this cake is from the supermarket, unfortunately. It turned out delicious. I shared it with some ladies in town, they looked at it suspiciously, then tried it and loved it. 

On the loom we have a small jacket for a baby. I think I have made it far too small which is a shame.

The lovely bunch of cabbage is from our garden, something we have plenty of right now. Today we had sausages wrapped in cabbage leaves for lunch. Delicious.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

City farm... country farm

I have returned to the farm.
After spending a month in Lisbon, I am back in nature mode. Before returning we visited our friends Olivia and Paulo in Porto. Our stay was way too brief but enough to visit their incredible veggie patch in a most fantastic community garden. The photos speak for themselves. For me their garden is the best of both worlds, inner-city living with the possibility to retreat to a quiet place, to get your hands dirty, to see things grow, a short step to sustainable living. The fantastic views are the cherry on the icing on the cake. We helped them with weeding, planting strawberries, zucchini, marigolds and sowing coriander. I actually didn't really help that much, I was too distracted with the view and the bits of broken pottery we found when digging up the soil, making this garden also a mini archaeological dig.

Now I am working on a quilt which I have almost finished. A long overdue gift for a friend.

The fields are starting to bloom just enough to give us a tiny taste of Spring. My favorite flower right now is small  and vibrant, Lithodora Prostata, "erva das sete sangrias", of the borage family that has a sweet honey flavor, is great to feast on when going for a walk and also perfect to add to salads. There are also in abundance these very delicate yellow flowers. I think they belong to the Narcissus family but I can´t seem to find their name anywhere.

On the farm front we have lots of turnips and their greens, cabbage and plenty of rapini to eat.
Our chickens are young ladies now and the rooster has started to crow, which is a sure way to give away his exact location to the fox that has been hanging around our neighbors farm. Shhhh!