Newsletter number 2 – week 44/2021

Dear reader, 


This is the second issue and although I’ve send the first issue to just a few people, I’m surprised and pleased with the response. Also nice to get some corrections.I have two publications: one in English and one in Dutch and I will see if that works for me and for the reader in the near future. The clumsy part for me is mainly in correcting. I find it quite difficult to keep both versions identical. Didn’t quite work with the first version.


The last week it has become a lot colder and this week I still have a few evenings outside on the terrace by the wood stove, but the last evenings it was really too cold. Especially getting out of bed at 6.45 in the morning and out on the way to yoga class, felt very Dutch. The last night we also have a log smoldering in the stove at night, so that it is not too cold in the morning.


Where is it? 


I often get that question and I show it here on the ma 
Via google or via the apple map


As you can see on one of the maps, our site is near the village of Cabanes. All around us is wild greenery and there are a few houses a few hundred meters away from us. (My estimate). The village is 3 minutes away by car and the beach about 25 minutes through a  winding road through the mountains. We also have a house/office in the town of Castellón, which is a 25 minute drive on a very quiet highway. I have told you a little more about our site on this page.

I really like living so close to a village, we still live quietly and freely, but we still hear a lot of sounds from the village, such as cheering at a goal on the football field, the many church bells and when there is a party, then we enjoy it too-


The renovation 


On Monday the workman came for another day to plaster. The work is not finished yet, but there is still plenty of time for that and we can also finish it ourselves. The windows have been measured and should be ready to be installed by the end of November. Hopefully the floor has been poured before that time, both in the downstairs area and where a shed will be built for tools and other storage. 


Our terrain

We were able to borrow a device from the man, who has been maintaining the grounds from the start we’ve been here, to mow the (I think beautiful) greenery. On the left John at work and on the right, two images of what it was like.


The chickens 


Last week I wrote that the two white chickens stopped laying eggs at all. But that wasn’t the case at all. The week before we had insulated the coop and installed a new perch and since then there have been no white eggs. Just somewhere in the run, near where I often stand, 11 eggs lay under a plant. 

Figs 
Two trees are still full and every now and then I pick a few, but this week I haven’t got around to making anything with them. Our friend, Lut, picked a few and turned them into fig chutney. Very tasty with cheese.


Since we discovered that, they have started looking for a new place, despite extra straw, wood litter and some lavender. So they had found it in our workshop, which is now being renovated. First behind a door on some dried fig branches and later in the middle of a large table full of rubbish.

During the day they are often somewhere on the property or hidden somewhere under a bush. Of course they go to the roost very early now, it gets dark around 6.15 pm and then there is some hassle with finding a good spot on the roost and John has to come over to get them in a good spot. We keep the door open so that they can get out of the pen early in the morning, but the run is closed, so that no wild animals can get to them


The cats 


The cat family has been with us on the terrace almost every evening this week, but the last few days we don’t see the little ones anymore. They could reappear at any time or not. We wait and see. I already had those little ones that I could touch them if I fed them sausages. 


I have been looking for information about stray cats on the internet. I came across that they are between 2 and 5 years old and I can well imagine that. Also here around our site are a lot of threats to cats, such as hunting dogs, wild boars and birds. 

These little ones must be around 7 months by now and I think it’s very long time that mother and children are still together, but I can’t find much online information about that. It may be that when the mother cat goes into heat again, she sends the little ones away.


Plants from the garden 


Kaki 

I have tried to make jam with oranges from Kaki’s, but it was a lot of work and the final result is not very tasty either. For now I eat the persimmons, when one is very soft again, then they are quite tasty. If a number of them are immediately soft again, I think about making another attempt and then adjusting my working method a bit.


Figs 
Two trees are still full and every now and then I pick a few, but this week I haven’t got around to making anything with them. Our friend, Lut, picked a few and turned them into fig chutney. Very tasty with cheese.


Fruits strawberry tree, medlars and almonds

 Some medlars were still hard, so I put them back in the freezer and I must of course not forget now, to make something with and the fruits of the strawberry tree, there were also not enough ripe to do anything with to make.

A few weeks ago and also for a few weeks we cracked the previously picked almonds and in the meantime I have at least 5 kilos of almonds in the freezer. In September I also picked a few and put them in a pot, but I was able to throw them away a few weeks later, because they were mouldy. There are still a few hanging in some trees, but very high. It is the intention that they will be pruned, so I can immediately remove the almonds.



Olives

Unfortunately we will not be harvesting the olives this year. The reason is that we still have a lot of olive oil from the previous two years. I think it’s a shame, because it’s a lot of work, but it’s great fun to harvest the olives, drive the next day to the presser, which is a village further away and pick up the oil a few days later.

Last year we had 1000 kg and I thought 180 liters of olive oil. If you live near Hoorn, the oil is for sale at CleversConceptstore.

In Rotterdam, the oil can be picked up at our home on the Brede Hilledijk. Just send me a message and I’ll make sure someone is home. This is often the case with residents who study at home. And if I am in Rotterdam again soon (I hope in 5,6 weeks) I will let you know in this newsletter and you are most welcome in our studio to pick up the oil. 

And what do I want to do with the olives that are still hanging on the tree? I think it’s at least 150 kg. Maybe I’ll pick some and try again to get them edible. They are not like that from the tree, but by putting them in a pot with, for example, seawater, they should become edible. 


I also tried it last year and I have to say that I haven’t tasted it yet. I should do that sometime. Who knows. I looked this week at the apple cider vinegar, which I made a month or two ago and to my surprise it smelled like vinegar and looked good. I have yet to taste that one too.


Vegetable garden 

Next year we would like to fence off part of the site to make a larger vegetable garden, but this year John built 4 containers for me to try out a few things. This spawning is necessary to keep out the many rabbits and also to prevent the chickens from reaching them. I put all sorts of things in those containers, such as  
– aubergines and tomatoes, received from our neighbor. 
– pointed and red cabbages, from the AH vegetable gardens,  
– many different basil, thyme, chives, arugula,  
– strawberry plants: it took months before a flower came and the strawberries that became ripe were again so few, that I just ate them off the plant, because it was always 1 or 2 
– believe 8 green beans once, 
– but now 3 melons, which still feel very hard, so we’ll wait a while before opening 
– and a kind of pumpkin, while I didn’t know I had planted it there.

 If you like, I made a video in which I show something of my vegetable garden. Sorry for the shaking images. I’ll have to film a little more slowly.


Paella at Juan and Lut 


Every so often we are invited to visit our friends, Juan and Lut, for a Paella made by Juan.

There seems to be some discussion about what is ‘allowed’ to be called Paella, but the Paella, made by Juan, is let’s say ’the original one’, always with the same ingredients. I have found a link where you can find the recipe and the ingredients, but they give a choice between pork and rabbit, but Juan always makes it with rabbit. I always get a plate without rabbit, because I am not so fund of eating rabbit.

Last Sunday (Paella is usually eaten on Sundays) Juan went to make a paella again, due to the fact that family van Lut, from Belgium, was visiting.

Juan also makes the paella at our house on a special burner, but at home he usually makes it on fire. I understand that it must be a certain type of wood, or a combination of them, and since I don’t quite know right now, I’ll check again soon.


Cycling 

A few weeks ago we bought two electric bicycles and we use them mainly to cycle somewhere in the city of Castellon or to make a nice trip somewhere. We are not big tour cyclists. A nice trip of about 15/20 km is more than enough. A few weeks ago we made two special trips near Tortosa: a part on the Via Verde, a 120 km cycle path through the Spanish countryside of which we cycled the first 12 km

and a trip along the water on the beach at the Delta de Ebro. I hope to have time soon to write an additional blog post about this.

This week we drove it to the center of Castellon. Until a year or two ago, the city was not convenient for cycling, but now there are streets, where the cyclist has priority, many new cycle paths. Which also cost us a lot of possible parking spaces, but well, now we are enjoying it. I don’t have many cycling photos by the way, because it is not possible to photograph and cycle, so I am thinking about buying a small camera for my cycling helmet.


Yoga 

Went to a yoga class at 7 again 3 times this week. Funny thing is, even though I’ve only been living there for the most part for 14 months, there are still some of the women I know through many people. I drink coffee at Bar Toni after class with the yoga teacher and sometimes with one of the fellow students. 

By the way, it was 4 degrees in the car this week, but it’s only 5 minutes in the car. From the moment I arrive at the central square and walk to the yoga studio, I made a movie. If you like to watch it.

I find it especially funny that it is so very different from Rotjeknor.


Website 

This week only two more stories on the website and they are about things that I come across in stores. 

A series with mainly photos of special food, not that I’m going to buy it right away, but you never know. 

The other series is about fake green. 
They like fake here. At least that’s what the stores are trying to sell and apparently it’s being bought. Quite easy. Always blooms or is always green, you don’t need to care for it and it almost looks real. Only, it’s so boring…….Not for me, but it’s incredible how much there is to find. I already have a whole collection from small to larger of all kinds of plastic plants. For those who like it.

I have a whole series about the Brico, which is a professional DIY store and a series with what is sold in Chinese stores. A story apart. Those will follow.


Finally 

When the sun shines during the day, I may put on my shirt and short skirt again, but it’s time to have several layers nearby, because it can be quite chilly that way. 

What I really enjoy are the colors of the flowers in the area, which are different every month. Sitting on the terrace in the evening is suddenly very fresh and it is dark very early. So outside living, it all stands out much more. 
In any case, next week I will tell about the second spontaneous birth of a lamb, which I experienced yesterday and I will be further surprised what will happen this week. 

I wish you an inspiring week, 

greetings, Lieke 

There was so much more I didn’t mention, but if you have read till the end, thank you for that, it was quite a lot. But if you like to see some more, here some extra pictures:

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