vals alentejo

WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

heat wave

Its 7.30pm GMT here..   Today, has been the strangest of days.   We are having a heat wave .  For the last week, its been over 35º.. rising to 42º over the weekend.   I do love summer and enjoy the heat and the warm days, and balmy evenings.  Now however, its becoming unbearable.  

                                                              The horses, are drinking twice a day.. I fill their trough early morning and late evening. They find their shade under the olive trees and move around with the clock.
                                  My poor Vouga.. he is a very big dog.. and is feeling the heat just as we are.
The little dogs, can rest on the cool of the  cottage floor.

        Its not all rosey..!!!     My roses are being really hit with this immense heat.  I cannot keep up the watering .  I have three automatic water points.. and i alternate.  At this rate, I will have no water left in the well.    Its not rained since beginning of May..
The sky is heavy and very low.. an eerie dull grey.   I'm wondering , if we are in for a rain storm.. its not been predicted , but how nice that would be.

Its always the same weather patterns here in the Alentejo..  but these last two years, I have noticed a rice in temperature ... and its here to stay.. Global warming is approaching fast it seems.

Our dams have less water.. farmers are farming less, due to water shortage.. unless they are in a water catchment area.   Changes are happening while we watch... its a little scary.

     To compensate for these hot days and our weather.. here is where i spend my days.. beside the pool.
When i am outside..the dogs lie under the pergola.. and in the late afternoons, there is sometimes a little breeze.

Wishing you all a happy week..

Thank you for your kind comments and taking time to pass by..

Val xxx

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A new addition /Garden

Christmas 2015.. one of my gifts was this beautiful Orchid.  It flowered for a couple of months, then started to die off. I was sad the day the last petal fell off.  
 When clearing up after the festivities.. I put the Orchid on the widow sill outside the cottage door.  I left it there .  Winter arrived, and I forgot all about it.!
A little loath to throw it away.  I just let it be.   
 I  haven't a clue about Orchids.  Never having had any.  And so the Orchid was left alone.   One day, I noticed that the stems were going black. --  This is the end of the Orchid, I said to myself.!!!  I decided just to cut the dead black storks off, and again left it alone.  
To my sheer delight, at the beginning of June , there I saw some life in the poor plant.   I gave it some water , and spoke to it every day.  (yes dear friends, I speak to my flowers).. and so the Orchid started to come alive..and produced first one, then two perfect blooms.. there are still more to open. Sheer delight.  Now I know, why some people go crazy for Orchids.   
I brought it inside for the first time today.  Its looking lovely , and I am so proud of myself, for not throwing it away.  I learnt something about these lovely flowers. 
A new acquired hobby... Orchids.
 As early as 700 BC  written records show that Orchids originated in China and Japan.  Being brought to the west by English missionaries in the 1700's, while in Asia.  They were used for medicinal purposes.  (info web)
They are perennial.. so now I know a little more about them.   There are over 28.000 current accepted species in the world.
I am looking forward to buying my next one, and reading up more about them.

  What color is it !!!  I call it 'My golden Orchid'- if you look close you can see that it has some pink too.
Petunias- Oleander and Roses.

 Its over 35º most days here .. very typical of Alentejo weather..  These past three days, its been 40º - bit of a heatwave..
The garden is looking good.. am pleased that I put in the automatic watering system.. it helps. I still have to water some of the pots, but thats something I like to do.
Its 2.30pm GMT time ... The birds are all sleeping in the Oleander trees keeping cool.. The horses are down the bottom of the land, under the shade of the olive trees.

Its taken me some years, to get the garden looking as it does.. Gardening is so rewarding.. I dont think I will be slowing down too soon..
I have pink,white and deep magenta colors of Oleanders.
                                                                                  Golden Orchid.
  My roses, are suffering with this intense heat.  I keep them as watered as possible.. alternating the Rose bush areas every evening. I'm still able to cut fresh blooms more or less every 3 days.
I counted last week.. I have 36 rose bushes.  They continue to give me so much pleasure too.

                                                  Peace and Love to you all , dear blogger frinds.
Thank you for your kind comments on my last post..  It was so nice to see you all again.


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Fes - Morocco

Our roadtrip Safari, from Beja  to Fes. Morocco.  
  We set off on our way at 6.30am. A good time to start.   Traveling through the border of  Beja Portugal to Spain.  We stopped for lunch at a great restaurant my son often goes to when here at the farm. He meets up with old school friends there.. its an event they do every 3 years.   Amazing, how within a couple of hours, habits and customs change. Its always great to say hello to our hospitable neighbors and savor their lovely food.
After lunch , we were on our way.  Destination Gibraltar.  We arrived on the rock and in our Hotel at 7.30pm.. A lovely drive.. We watched a couple of films on the way, so that Max, wouldn't get too bored.
                                          Gibraltar.   The Rock.. so very different now, than when I was there over 30 years ago. (photo from web)
                            on the ferry.. we dick roll a little.. but i took this through the ferry window.. of the straits.. with Morocco in the distance.
                            Tangiers.  (photo web)- We were last in Tangiers in 1994.. Sailed there on our yacht. "Scally".. from  Cascais Portugal to Tangiers.. Such a change also in Tangiers.. Ultra modern buildings, international brand shops.. I do like Tangiers.

Entrance hall of our Riad.. within the Medina walls of Fes.  Like a page out of  a fairy tale book. 

The collages are in no particular order.   Mixed with our gorgeous Hotel.. to the alleyways nearly 1000 of them . It would take years to get to know them all.
Moroccan architecture at its best.  The Kings Palace.. one of the entrances to the Medina.. the other to the Market place.  Our Riad.. Donkey's carrying stones for floor coverings..   Mosaic craftsmanship second to none.  Berber arches and design.  
 We walked the Medina, till our legs were dropping.   Coming upon little workshops , where craftsmen are sitting daily, producing the most ornate woodwork pieces.. of furniture ... We drank  Na Na tea that quenched our thirst.  As the late afternoon drew close, we returned to the hotel.  The next day to set out on a private guided tour.. just myself ,my DIL and my grandaughter..  We visited the most amazing pottery factory.
If any of you know Portugal, you will know, that we produce the most beautiful pottery.. This trade, was brought here during the Moors occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.    I could relate to many of their designs.

Fes...  The history of Fes is so  very interesting. Its a Berber city.. one of the first tribes there were the Miknasa tribe.. they lived in caves, absolutely fascinating.  I was reading up about them, well into the night.
During the Iberian Inquisition.. many Jews settled in Fes.  Also many arrived there in the early 1930's just before the war.. They have the finest of jewelry shops one could ever see.. living peaceful lives as Moroccan Jews.

  No high rise buildings whatsoever.   Its still the same as it was thousands of years ago... (that is.. within the Medina) . One had to walk sideways in the alleys to let the other people pass.  The people are friendly warm and welcoming.
We were delighted to also see, that there is no child labor .. the children must attend school.. that was so good to know and see.   Many women, work in the tile factories and the hotels.  
The university of Fes.. Al Quaraouryine-  was founded in 859.. the oldest University in the world, and still functioning.
Fes, is the second oldest city in Afica and the oldest city of Morocco... two reasons why we wanted to visit.. and my son wanted to see the University.. many foreign students there too.

We ate the most delicious food.. I myself think Moroccan cusine .. the tastiest I have ever eaten.
The food was so excellent in our Hotel, we didnt have to go out.. it was first class.

I hope you enjoy just reading a little of our trip to Fes.. Morocco Is a very fast moving African country that is a pleasure to visit.

Wishing you all a very happy weekend.


Friday, 1 July 2016

Summer days

Hello dear friends.  Its been some months since I posted.   I have missed you all !  
 Here at the 'Quinta' , life goes on as usual..  Winter were heavy months, we had lots of rain, hence my garden grew out of all control.  Flowers and blossoms blooming all over the inner garden.  My darling roses, have given me fresh flowers for inside and I'm loving them.  
Most of you who follow me,know too well, that here in the Alentejo our summers are extremely hot. I'm loving it too.   This last week temp up in the high 30o's..
  Its summertime .. families are taking their holidays and setting off to the beach and the country.  Happy times for all.     Today, there is a lovely light breeze brushing through the olive trees. The horses are shaded by the overhanging branches.  The dogs, laze around on the patios.  I have been listening to my music and catching up on reading.  Just enjoying these lazy hazy days of summer.
June, was a good month.  Another birthday gone.. My amazing children spent this last weekend with me.  How lucky I am to see them grow and be part of their lives too.  Lots of laughter and good cheer as always.
In May, my eldest son and family took me with them on a 'Safari drive ' to Morocco .. It was so very exciting.  Destination Fez.. Second oldest city in Africa.  It was over 20 years ago , that i was last in Tangiers. The people are friendly.  The food amazing.  So much to enjoy and savour of their ancient culture.    We stopped overnight in Gibraltar.. changed so much since I was last there.
Then through the country roads to Fez.   Our Riad, was at the doors of the Medina, with over 900 alleyways to explore.. think that would require some months or years.  A total maze.

So, I send you all very best wishes for the 1st of July.   Wherever you are, I hope that its a good one for you.

Many of you will know, that I am on Instagram, and enjoying it too.  Some bloggers are on there too.

Thank you all for last comments.    Looking forward to catching up.

Happy Friday...*****Val.