15 Jul 2014

Hot summer days

 During these very hot summer days, lethargic is not the word.  Not only are we getting hotter days, but also hotter nights.  I have my aircon and fans going all day and into the early hours, thats when there is a little breeze that filters in through the open windows.  Sheer bliss.

I am out in the early morning to water the garden. Which I must say is sadly being affected by the heat.
My poor roses are wilting.

Our temperature here for this week goes from 21º in the mornings to 33 ºc.   Up until yesterday it was over 35º..

The dogs prefer to be inside, where its cooler.  Even in the shade its hot.
I do enjoy summer.   I always have.  Its holiday time, family time and fun time with friends.   I am not complaining.. however over 35º is just a little too much to handle.!

I don't have as much enthusiasm to blog during these days.

It's time for.

                                   Shady areas..
                                              Keeping as many flowers happy as I can.
                                                                See the haze in the distance.
                             Sun glasses, sun hat, long cool drinks, fruit , lots of water.. poolside towards late afternoon or early morning.

And lots of smiling.. keeps the heart beating and is food for the soul.

Taking a little break.  

Thank you to all my dear blogging friends for all your kind comments..  It makes blogging all the more worth while.

Happy summer days

Val



10 Jul 2014

Art and garden

A belated Birthday card arrived for me yesterday, from S.A  -Sent by a dear friend of mine for more than 40 years. We last saw each other on my 60th Birthday.  She never forgets my Birthday.  We phone each other, once a week.  I get to catch up on old friends.  And we exchange chats about our respective families.  
 Its so super to receive a card in the mail these days.    I don't know about you dear friends.!   I stopped sending cards years ago.  I do it all over the internet these days  !
This is the card I recieved-   Jack Vettriano .   
   I love his contemporary way of painting.  
                         His vision is amazing- The way he paints his figures .    Each having its own story to tell  . He uses great  choices of color - subtle , with a splash of color here or there.
Jack Vettriano - born  Jack Hogan .  Is a Scottish painter  and still exhibits today.  His last exhibit was of March this year.
 He received no formal training, and first submitted works to The Royal Scottish Academy in 1988- Both pieces were accepted and sold.
He writes, books, has calendars, and cards.
I find his art intrigues me.  Its risque , serious, dancing, beach scenes, w.w ll period.   I feel an energy from his paintings.   Passionate, happy go lucky and suave.  Something for everyone.
                                                  He paints for all kinds of tastes.    His use of light and dark is ever prominent in his works.

                                              This is his very famous painting that he painted  in the 1950's.
                                                                          ' The Dancing Butler '.. the painting tells it all.

                               .......................................................................................................................                           ........................................................................
               Photos taken this morning - My roses are blooming profusely- I have beautiful buds and blooms of white, dark red, red, pink, orange and yellow.  The orange rose here also has a mixture of pink.
                                                                      Simply beautiful white
                                            One of my larger yellow roses- caught the bee taking the pollen .. I thought it a strange kind of bee!!  To me it looks like a wasp..!!!
                                                     I think its a bee
           Sending sweet smelling roses to you all.     Thank you for all your lovely comments.
                                                                Happy summer days
                                                                         VAL    

8 Jul 2014

Summer days & garden

How does the song go " Summer days  -Aah those summer days."
Alentejo , in July and August becomes really hot.  During the mid afternoon, many people take their siestas. Its too hot to be outside. The workers in the fields, will be out before sunset to water and feed the animals.. In the afternoon, will be out later at around 7.  You might catch sight of a shepherd sleeping under a shady olive tree.     Today is one of those days. 
A true hot summer day. 
The sky is clear, the late afternoon breeze arrives around 6.30pm. Its a time for family. 
                                                                           yes ,  its me. ):-

Last week, I wrote that I was off to Lisbon.   My destination-  One of the central Marina's on the Tejo river front.   Maria my grandaughter, also came with me.  Daddy was waiting for us.  Maria had a dentist appointment in the afternoon.
When I arrived at this  dockside.. where I hadn't been for a long time.   I had to stop to get my bearings. While looking around for the road to take to the Marina.  There right in front of us, was moored one of the largest ships in the world.  M/V  Independence of the seas--
                                                            (courtesy)   This is her leaving or arriving at a port.  At first , it looked like a new building.  Upon looking closer .  I said to Maria.. "its a ship"-  I have been on a few ocean liners during my life.  Never one so big.  I don't think that I would like too either.!  
It takes 4.370 passengers.  We counted about 9 decks.   Imagine with the crews quarters and engine rooms , kitchen and more.  One wonders, how it can float!!!

We arrived at the Marina.  F was there to greet us and we walked to our jetty where  Ilustrious 6 is moored.  F  is now the skipper, after the passing of M.. and a fine skipper he is.  He was taken on board our beloved yacht "Scally" when he was just 2 weeks old.  Life at sea comes second hand to him . 
I am very proud of him.  2 months ago. He passed his exams for "Skipper Coastal".. come winter, he will be sitting for Skipper - Ocean. Following in dad's footsteps. 

                                             Maria   up front.   My cabin below.   We spent a few days on board and had a great family time.  Miguel and Sasha joined us for a wonderful pasta dinner, that F prepared for us. With a  couple of good bottles of red wine.  Merry and happy, we talked about and discussed  our sail accross the oceans on "Scally".  Another magical time to remember.
The last time I was on board was over two years ago with M.  We all raised our glasses in memory of an excellent first class mariner.. and dad.
There are two double side cabins and a nice big forepeak cabin.

Walking to the boat.. really super jetties.
               My next stop on Friday last, was our local nursery.. I just loved this little sunflower man..
I have had my eye on this beautiful sculptured turtle for some time.  Its all hand carved out of stone.  I would love to have it next to my pool.   Isn't it beautiful. Some artisans are so gifted.

                                                               See the two little frogs on the lilly pads.. they were making such a racket.  Golden carp were swimming around.  
The owners , told me that the nursery was up for sale.  They are going to retire.  Hope it doesn't close, as the next one is far away from me.

                                                            Some of the geraniums that I bought.
                                              I would love to have these orchids in my house, but i am not so good with indoor plants.  These were a lovely soft yellow.
Maria , took this photo when we were crossing the 25th April bridge, on our way home.
The statue of "Christ our Savior" - I have never been up to the top.  You can walk in the arms. I dont like heights that much.
 Thank you all for your super comments on my last post, about the Mongoose.
We do have many around here.  The one I showed you was the first I had ever seen.

They are not agressive  to man.  In fact, some people keep them as pets.  As the the Egyptians do.

Its been work in the garden since Saturday last.  Planting all the flowers and pruning roses . General things that gardens need.

Hope to catch up with all your posts.   On these wonderful summer days.  One just wants to be outside all the time.  I know I do.

Hope that you are all enjoying summer here in the Northern Hemesphere!!!

val


2 Jul 2014

Herpestes Ichneumon- strange animal.

Should I call him " Rikki Tikki Tavi" !!!
 Rudyard did!!!!  And he was a very clever Mongoose indeed.


  There are 14 genera and 33 species of Mongoose -"Sacarabos"- Mangusto, Manguço ou escalavado.
 Africa, Asia, Japan. -

After seeing the strange elongated animal in front of me this last Monday.   I just had to find out  what type of animal  it was.
I thought it was a Ferret.. but its not- They are not related.


Here in our region, they are called "Saca Rabos"  -    Herpestes Ichneumon -  Egyptian Mongoose.
Saco Rabos , were probably introduced into the Iberian peninsula by the Arabs.

Its know to be a great snake "cobra" killer .. They tend to stay in groups .
It is a carnivor-browny-grey in color.
It's body 48-60cm long, and tail 33-54cm.  It weighs 1.7-4kilos.

The Egyptian Mongoose, can be found in-Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Israel and most sub-Saharan Africa.
Democratic Republic of Congo- Western south Africa and Namibia.
It has been introduced to Madagascar and Italy.

 In Egyptian mythology, Ra would metamorphose into a giant Ichneumon   - ("over 24 meteres") to fight the evil god snake Apopis.
Ichneumon worship has been attested in several cities:- Heliopolis, Buto,Sais, Athribis , and some others.
                                                                       STANDING HERPESTES.
                                    Ichneumon, with uraeus and solar disc.    Bronze, Ptolemaic era..(egyptian representation).....

Mongoose are immune to snake venom.


The Egyptian mongoose "saca rabos" - has a slender body, pointed snout and small ears. It has 35 to 40 teeth, with highly developed carnassials used for shearing meat.

Their tails have black tips and hind feet and small areas around eyes are furless.
It prefers to live in forests , savanna, or scrub, but never far from water.

(plenty of small dams around here)-  I myself have one at the bottom of the land.
I know now why the dogs , sometimes go mad and run off into the long grass sniffing away. could be a saco rabo.
We do have a few wild animals that come out at night.. others during the day.



                                           The above map shows  where the Egyptian Mongoose live.  Taken to Iberia(the red on the map)  when the Moors invaded  the Iberian peninsula.

In some rural areas of Egypt , such as upper Egypt, it is bred as a house hold pet. They keep rodents away.
                                                   ...............................................................

               
 The 14 genera live in the areas filled in with blue.  
                                                   
    .........................................................................

I do hope that you enjoyed my post!    Many of you gave me names that I knew.  Thank you for all your comments.
    I some how knew that it wasn't a ferret- but had to find out.

On my way driving back from Lisbon this morning.  My Grandaughter Maria.. told me their name.

(All the information that I have written, is with courtesey of Wikipedia.)

Reading about these animals has been fascinating.

I remember the Mongoose we had around us in the bush in S.A.. They have black stripes on their back.

           VAL

1 Jul 2014

July

Wishing you all a good entry into July.  Half a year , has passed already.
We have all had some interesting times.
Let's hope that the next 6 months will be as interesting.!




Yesterday morning.. an animal similar to this European ferret , stopped in the middle of the road  . I slowed down to watch it slip into the midst of the brush and trees .  Not far from my house.

Its the first time, I have ever seen a ferret. It really was amazing.
I know they come at night . Especially if one has chickens.   We used to rear chickens many moons ago. We lost a few..and sometimes they leave the poor chickens half eaten.
I don't know much about them.   It's something that i must do.  Seeing that they live here around us.

Arriving home after my shopping.  Always seems more hastle to put things into the pantry and freezer, than it does to put them in the trolley when buying.

I then spent the afternoon playing with my ipad.   I am so happy with it. Downloaded BBC i player.. Oh , so good.  Can't wait to play around more with it.

I am off to Lisbon tomorrow.   Its some time since I was there.

Thank you all for leaving such kind comments on my birthday post.. you are all dear friends.







Wishing you all a very Happy Tuesday..

 I would love to know if any of you know about the European ferret.  !

                                                                                      VAL