Monday, April 22, 2013

Deer and Massey

Not everything here in the country is soft and mushy. John Deer and Massey Ferguson tractors are just about the best looking farm machines. I have been tractor spotting here in town since I arrived. My favourite is the 265 Massey Ferguson. It is impeccable, always so shiny and clean.

Things are starting to bloom at record speeds and the weather has finally permitted for the land to be worked. The town is in a frenzy preparing potatoes for sowing. Everyone is talking about potatoes, potatoes, potatoes!

I am busy working on that patchwork quilt I can´t show you.

This week I am also going to get the details about a weaving workshop I am hopefully, fingers crossed, going to attend.  The José Freire Blanket factory in Maçainhas, that made the "Papa" blankets on manual looms from wool of the local Churra breed, closed last year. It was the last of its kind in Portugal. The blankets are warm, heavy and very hairy. After woven they are washed, felted and then carded. I can´t wait to learn how to make them. Who knows, maybe we can reopen the factory.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eggs and Edible Weeds.

A nice surprise for Easter, our chickens have finally started laying eggs. At first I thought it was a prank and someone put them there to trick us because I kept on complaining we still had no eggs. But no. They are laying on average two eggs per day, more than we really need. The smaller darker eggs belong to Maria Augusta, our laying hen. The larger lighter colored eggs belong to another chicken that shall remain nameless for practical reasons.

I learned of another edible weed that tastes just like cabbage. Not that we really need more cabbage in our diet, but this is really quite a delicious version. Here we call it ´Couve do Monte`(Hill Cabbage), but I can´t seem to find it mentioned anywhere to give you its ´real´ name in English. It does not cease to amaze me how many edible weeds there are.

The pear trees are in bloom. Pretty.

I am working on a new order for a patchwork quilt. I can´t show you any more than the fabrics chosen because I have been asked to keep the design a surprise. It is coming along nicely and I will show you the finished result, most likely about a month or so from now.

A potholder made from left over fabrics.

And finally some watercress in the creek. Not enough to bake a cake yet, but not to worry. I am sure there will be more watercress than I can poke a stick at soon enough. Surrounding the watercress, you can see submerged another creek delicacy. The name given here to this "creek salad" is ´Meruje´. It is Montia Fontana, from the Portulacaceae family. People go crazy over this stuff, I find it nothing special really, and much prefer its relative the Portulaca Oleracea, also know as Little Hogweeed.

Weeds... weeds, what are weeds really?
Well... I think Ralph Waldo Emerson put it quite nicely when he said that a weed is "A plant whose virtues have not been discovered yet." Of course we also know what Bob Marley would have to say on that subject.