Monday, 2 March 2015

work around the quinta.

                               Its a very miserable day today.   Raindrops are falling very lightly. The sky is dull and grey.   I dont like this weather.    However, it seems that towards mid week, we will be getting some real sunshine and warmer climate.  Hope the weather man is right.!!
                             A couple of years ago, I decided to plant my Hyacinth into the ground of one of my rose patches.  It didnt do too well, last year.  This year its blossoms are so lovely and scented.  Its really nice to see them still blooming at the beginning of March.  I will definitely be planting more into the ground for next year.
           New leaves and buds on some of my geranium plants . Spring is upon us.
                                   I had every intention of moving my Narcissus into pots closer to the cottage. But with all the work thats going on, just didnt get around to it.  There is always so much to do around a garden, small or large.
                     I  have pruned all my rose bushes now.  New leaves are growing step fertilizer.
                       Some of you may remember that I had a green awning on rose cottage.  It was over 4 years old and was getting worn thin by the hot sun and the rain.    I decided to put a permanent pergola structure onto the front of the cottage . The structure is of wood, in keeping with the cottage.
   Pedro has started working on the structure, and its coming along. I do believe, it will look so much better.  Less rain falling directly in front of the cottage patio.   As Pedro cant come every day.  We will get there.  The windows and the doors are ready for the studio.  Still a couple of months work.
                                        The under boards of the beams, will be painted pink, like studio.

Its been mainly building work around the quinta.. plus getting all the trees and bushes pruned.   At the moment it looks very sad.   Hoping within the next few weeks things will be looking better.

Great to have Nina and Filipe with me this last weekend.  No cooking.  We went out for our meals.
The new week starts again.

Hoping you have all been enjoying life!

Next weekend, I am off to Lisbon for a Gatsby wedding.  Been sorting out my outfit.
Had a rehearsal for Nina yesterday.   Got the thumbs up.  Feathers and all that jazz.

Looking forward to catching up with you all.

Wishing you a happy week. Val

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

over the weekend

Valentines weekend was special this year .
 Filipe, surprised me, and  arrived with Diana on Friday last.
  He  took over the kitchen, and  it  was like old times again.
Exotic smells from his cooking in the kitchen.  He had been to buy some English goodies at the Brit shop in Lisbon, for a good old English breakfast on saturday morning.
Filipe is an excellent cook and it was great to sit together at the table and enjoy it all..

Its  cold and very windy outside, but the cold is not as acute as previous weeks.  Its the wind that hits you, when you go outside.    

Little Athena is coming on so well.  Horses dont like wind.  They huddle up together .  The weather is slowly changing.. the grass is growing a little quicker , due to the early morning dew and the midday sun that we get now and again.. so besides their hay and  feed..they are very spoilt.

                                                                     This box looks big.. but its very very slim inside is one of the most expensive condements .. Saffron .. Miguel brought it back from Iran on his last trip to lecture there.
Both  Filipe and myself, couldn't wait to open it ,we used but a little into the boiling water and added the rice..  The taste is so so fantastic .. very different taste from the bought saffron in the packets at the supermarket.

                              Valentines dinner -  banana and apple with mango chutney.. Iranian Saffron rice
                  Curried pawns with red and green peppers.
                               Praws  with garlic and olive oil..
                                 Chicken and veggi wraps.. with just a pinch of curry

 A delightful weekend.    Filipe and Diana left on Monday.   Off they went to her parents for her 21st Birthday.  

My first rose.. it is indeed amongst thorns.. the bush is still to be pruned.  I was delighted to see it.
a sign that spring is coming.

Wishing you all a great week.

Thanks for all your comments on my last post.


Sunday, 8 February 2015


                                          I can't keep the secret from you any longer dear friends.
The so called "store room" - that i have been giving progress reports on..
Is going to be my art room.    It was my intention from the very beginning , but just incase it didnt come out as i was planning, i called it the store room.  
I am so pleased with the progress.    Pedro resumed work on it last week.  
                              We just tried out some slabs that i had over.  These will be laid, leading of the larger patio.
                There are two rooms in the studio.. Opening up the wall to the old store room, i decided to put an old railway beam rather than just leave it bare.  cleaned and varnished up.. i think it will look really nice... The ceiling has come out good.. very happy progress so far.
                                                          A large big window looking onto the back garden.. window should be soon.
                                Maybe i should call myself- the project woman.   I always have some plan or other that i would like to do around the cottages and garden.  This space is for a smaller window that will come from the main cottage, where another project is on paper , waiting to start.
               Good pieces of wood and shelving.   some sanding and painting to be done there.
              I bought these ready made fence squares.. 1m x1m... this part is finished.. its next to the cottage and the studio.. There will be a gate on the end, so I can go to the front of the house .. easier for the dogs too.

The door is ready also.   So my next post on my new 'Studio' hopefully will have more to show you.
Its exciting.    Ideal weather for Pedro.  We have had no rain.  Just early morning thick coatings of ice across the fields.. then warming during the day.  A cold wind blows here and there.
A glimmer of spring with the little white and yellow daisies starting to pop their heads up in the fields.

Happy Sunday to you all.    Thank you for your comments on my last blog.

I am recovered and feel as though I could work in the garden all day.  


Friday, 6 February 2015

Not all rosey.

Hibernation ! At this point during these cold winter days , is just what I seem to be doing.  Its been so so cold.   My wood burner going night and day.
The hibernating animals must be so happy to wake up to sunnier warmer days. I can't wait.

Winter brings colder mornings and evenings here in the Alentejo.  Our temperature has fallen.
Letting the dogs out this morning,  this is what greeted me. The  fields covered with thick ice.
                            Now 1ºc ....real feel -3ºc  - wind chill -2ºc

                               Can't do much around the garden.  Its a waiting game , deciding on new plants and getting the pots looking good , once the spring is with us.
                                   The moon was still high in the sky. 7.30 am
                          The front side of the cottages , the sun was rising brightly. Such a lovely sight to see. Hoping that it will bring a relief to the frosty morning.

The only trouble with this kind of weather, is that we get two extremes.  a low of 1, 2, 3 c  morning and evening and during the night.     When the day's sun appears .  By 12.30 we have lovely days.  Not so warm, but brings a feeling that spring is just around the corner.

This kind of weather  also has a downside.   It seems that just about the whole village has some sort of flu or other.
 After a head cold, along came the dreaded bronchitis that I suffer with .   Antibiotics, cough syrups , hot drinks and staying cosy in bed, is all i could do , and I think the best thing too.    I had a bad couple of days .  Hibernating under the duvet, watching films , reading my books , but mainly sleeping.
Today I am feeling much better.  
Cabin fever is setting in.   I haven't been out since tuesday..when i took a quick visit to the dr.

My garden really is looking so forlorn .  The pool cover is covered in ice.
not really ideal gardening weather.

Hope that you are all keeping warm if you are in the colder parts of the world.
And to friends in the sun.. please blow some over the seas.

Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post.

Wishing you all a happy Friday.