The nights are starting to draw in a little. It’s dark at 8.30pm and first thing in the morning there is a nip in the air. We’re still basking in 25-30 degree sunshine most of the day, and it’s much more comfortable now than the temperatures of a weeks ago.
So as it starts to cool down a little, the number of jobs that need doing start to rev up! We’ve harvested the almonds (Luna’s favourites!), started to prune the almond trees and done the apricot tree. We’re much more confident this year with pruning, although I did watch a reminder on how to prune the apricot as they can be the trickiest of all to get right! The orange trees are pruned as and when we see dead wood, crossing branches and water shoots, although after the harvest next spring they are going to need a big prune to thin them out – this is a job that needs doing every few years, not annually thank goodness!
The weeds are starting to grow again – they tend not to go mad everywhere in the summer as it’s so hot, but we know that we’ll have the first rain since May in the next few weeks and everything will go absolutely bonkers again – we’re going to try and get a head start by clearing what we can now do they don’t seed when it does rain.
We’ve stripped back the vegetable garden. Over the last 18 months we’ve been trying different methods – we now know that raised beds simply don’t work here, so we’ve removed those – we made them ourselves out of bits around the finca, as we wanted to try this method before we spent any money on them and thank goodness we did it that way! We have decided to lose some of the smaller orange trees from the veg garden to give us more room to grow food, so there are 3 or 4 trees to cut down, and then we can rotavate that whole end. The plan then is to set up a series of long poles to create a framework with trenches to irrigate heavily – we’ve been learning from Pepe down the lane! This will be a mammoth task so I will do a separate blog dedicated to this when we get to that job!
Then the rest of the finca will need rotavating! And in between all of this, our firewood for the winter needs chopping. The pine trees were cut down earlier this year and we left them out in the sun to dry off, so a chainsaw and axe combo should do the trick! And in October it’s time to insecticide again!
In the heat of the summer between the middle of June until now, you only get a few hours in the morning when you can work, so you sit waiting for the temperature to cool to be able to crack on!
It’s amazing just how much work there is just for day to day living here – things you take for granted back home when you have washing machines, abundant safe water, unlimited electricity etc – when you do things manually it does take longer, but it’s a very satisfying way of life.
Over the summer Roger has been making lots of improvements to the outside of the house – he has become an expert at rendering! The little roof terrace above the bodega was just very uneven concrete before, and was really ugly with uneven concrete edges. Now it not only looks lovely, but it reflects the heat so it keeps the bodega cooler – which was the first and foremost reason for doing this work! He has also rigged up a solar fan inside the bodega which has made a massive difference to the temperature in there – really essential as it’s where we store our food! I’ve lost count of the number of bags of render we’ve bought over the last couple of months, but it is transforming the place, giving it a finished look! Thankfully it’s really cheap!
Roger also rendered at the bottom of the drive, and we bought the Spanish tiles to do our house name – it’s these little things that are really making it into our little sanctuary …
He’s built a little decking area at the side of the house and we fitted a sunshade the other week that we can wind back in when it’s windy – it gives us somewhere we can sit outside when it’s really hot but with some shade. The decking was made with bits of wood we found around the finca so cost nothing to make other than the cost of the wood screws and some time!
There have been lots of adjustments made to the irrigation too – I’ll be doing a blog on this soon as it will be useful even if you just have a normal sized garden – I wish I had known more about drip irrigation back in the uk as I would definitely have set this up for my garden. Obviously though, having 100 trees here it’s a bigger task, and different trees need different amounts of water, so we’ve been zoning different areas.
But for now, it’s digging, climbing trees and chopping wood that takes priority over making stuff look pretty!