Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Adding to Christmas fare

My last  walk around the pool area before sunset last night.   I noticed that I had flowers on my little 'Madronho' tree.   A friend gave it to me over nearly 2 years ago.   I was delighted. for at one time, I thought i might just take it up.  
 Its been raining on and off, and I really didn't take much notice of it, Its blossomed with this weird weather.     They take a long time to grow.  Its still about the same size as when it was given to me.  I was delighted to see that the fruit is growing.

                                   I think it such an exotic tree.  Even the flower and the fruit are exotic looking.  I rushed back into the house ..Got  my camera and took these photos.



                                         The fruit  on a larger tree .It looks like a leechi !! (courtesey)
There are a couple of species of the Madrono tree..  But all grow in warmer climates.. Mediterranean, Western Europe -North America, where its warmer areas.  
The fruit is edible.. but not really nice .
Once distilled it becomes a sweet fruity liquer .


I am sure that most have you have seen or know about the Madrona tree.... In Portugal its 'Madronho' .
The hills of the Monchique area of The Algarve, is where most  of the production  is distilled.  Some people distill the madronho from the fruit of their own trees.   A very old tradition.

This is what my friend did ..  2 bottles of home made Modronho was produced..
Its been a long time since i had a shot of this potent drink..  This last weekend.  My eldest son and family together with me... we all had a toast to Mr. M.   We could see him laughing at us all.  We had all had a little shot of Madronha and an extra for M.




 Christmas is closing in, and after I took the photos of my little tree.      Thoughts of what drinks my family like at christmas came to mind..
  Drinks with christmas lunch , a starter drink and then afters!! Christmas Eve, Boxing day.

I think everyone does it their own way.
We all drink mainly red wine so I am stocked up with that.   Some like now and again a white.. I have that too.
 I get a warm feeling, when we all make a toast around the christmas table.. The fire burning bright, and the laughter of my grandchildren.  Can't wait.



                                                                                                                Whisky on the rocks.. so i must get ice cubes ready.

                                                      Tea, coffee or hot chocolate, for the T T.!!!   A few varieties .. for before or after..                    
                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                             
       

My favorite-

Baileys.. sometimes with coffee.. sometimes with chocolate.. or just on the rocks.   Sounds like I am an alcoholic!!!  but not so.     When together with the family we all enjoy our wine.  
After all its Christmas.   
Christmas -opening presents.. with a nice hot home made mince pie..!
I am pretty much prepared for next week.  Can't believe that 2014 has gone so fast.  (for me anyway).!

   Our free range enormous Turkey will arrive wed morning.. I will then prepare it for the oven, for christmas lunch.    A very large bowl with water ,  mix in the spices and let the turkey  rest  in it  all day and night.
 - Traditional English stuffing- (I make my own ) no packet made.  i have all the herbs needed.  Fresh rosemary, from my garden, thyme and parsley from a friends veggie garden in village.
This year, Filipe has asked to be with me, while I prepare the stuffing and get the turkey ready.   Its his first year, that he wants to be in the kitchen with me.  Looking forward to that.. with a little tipple to get us in the mood. );-


This year , as some of my daughter in law's family will be with me.. we have delegated some of the desserts.

My sprouts are blanched and in the freezer.. carrots tomorrow, and the rest on Thursday.
When i was at my apartment last month .. I was able to take a visit to the english shop.  I bought lots of goodies.

I have never rushed at christmas time.   Living in the country is perfect.  Life goes at a different pace than the city.  I get my fresh produce that is grown locally .. fresh fish on a wed at the little market..
Its a relaxing way to get prepared for christmas.



          Christmas Eve.    We always have the traditional Midnight  meal.   Bacalhau. (dried codfish)
A Portuguese tradition for centuries.   Christmas Eve  is all  Portuguese goodies.. good cheer and toasts all around.
                                                                Traditional sweet potato cakes..
But most of all dear friends.  Its not the Tree- or the food- or the drinks- Its being together with family and remembering what Christmas is all about.

Wishing you all a happy week.

Val





Monday, 8 December 2014

The sun is out

The heavy low grey clouds , wind and rainy wet  weather of November has gone. 
 For the last few days, we have had bright blue skies.. and the sun giving some warmth during the midday hours.    The birds are happy, twittering and flying around. 
 When the horses hear my whistle, they run with sturdy gait to where i feed them.  I know they too are enjoying the warm sun on their backs.
                                                           The quietness of the fields- enjoying the sun
                                                Jasmine blooming early... getting mixed messages .. its truly springlike today.
                              With this strange climate-  the flowers are growing like mad.  I even have new shoots on my roses.


 Last week was a busy week for me.   Invitations to birthday party and dinners.  It takes me a couple of days to get back to normal, an extra glass or two.!! After all, its the Christmas season.


                                                           Keep your Advent candle bright.
  Val


Monday, 1 December 2014

after the rain -comes the sun

I was out at around 7.30 last night and took these images of the night sky in all its glory.  The last night of November.  As I was looking up and watching the clouds.   I felt happy, seemed that the clouds were saying  good night sleep tight.  Its December tomorrow.! 

                                          This image is from the other side of the garden... No, its not a fire..its the sun still going down.  It was glorious . As quick as I saw it, it went down.
                  Yesterday afternoon I took these photos.    I  really thought that my little green frog would have disappeared with the heavy rains we have had.  I was wrong, there he was cuddled up on another leaf. his eyes caught mine again.  I was pleased to see him.
                                    The Blue azure magpie- eating some of the horses rations..I caught them really enjoying themselves through my side widow.
                            Hay arrived . I just have to get some more plastic to cover it all.. But so happy that the horses now have more food.  They are perky and happy too.
                                                                  One of my last November roses.

I have not been blogging as much these days.  Our weather has been so bad , I have not felt inspiration to post.
Thank you to all my dear friends who left comments on my last post.  I do try to reply.
There is a time difference between USA.. so comments will be later.   To my American blogging friends.. I hope that you all had a peaceful Thanksgiving.-

Today the sun is shining bright.   I am a sun person, its so great to be able to be outside a little.

I hope to catch up on all your blogs.

Wishing you a happy 1st of December.

Val.

Friday, 21 November 2014

something different

No.. its not a blank photo.  Its our blue blue sky this morning.  After over 8 days or so of heavy rainfall and everything so muddy.. The sun is out and drying up some of our soggy ground. 
I took my camera and walked around the garden. Filipe has been trying to teach me (macro) techniques and close ups.  I just started looking for odd things.  I started with some flowers  .  Then walked to the other side of the pool to the garden side there .






             This is what i spied.  It was so so tiny, my eyes nearly missed it.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I found it the most fascinating frog specie... long back legs.. and you can see the black stripe that goes up to his eyes.  
                                        He has a white under belly and his eyes were watching me. I moved very stealthily hoping he would hop away.


Isn't he just so beautiful.  I think its my photo of the year.

Experimenting with a different and better camera.  That i put up on my my book shelf for a while.. I am pleased with my progress.

Thanking all my dear blogging friends who left comments on my last blog.

looks like we are in for a sunny day.    Wishing you all a happy weekend.

Val.

If anyone knows the name of this frog.. I would love to know.   Off to google it now.