Newsletter number 4 – week 46/2021


  • Chicken Koos
  • our house in Castellon
  • Yerba Maté
  • Paella
  • The Garden: – Medlars, – oranges, – melon, – pruning
  • Rebuilding: -watertanks
  • Small Chapels in and around Cabanes
  • Mushrooms
  • Restaurants
  • a very small plant
  • and something completely different

Kip Koos – with us from 11/6/21 to 21/11/21

And then one morning you come back to the terrain and only 2 chickens come running towards us. That happens often, because if they are far out on land, they can’t hear us coming either. But now it took a very long time. Somewhere in the middle of the land among the olive trees I saw it: a few white feathers and looking even closer, something that looks like a hen’s entrails. Was it a bird of prey, a hunting dog, a wild cat or a fox? 

Almost 90% of the property is fenced, but there are still holes in it, through which the hunting dogs come through and roam the property almost daily. We have been assured that they really don’t take chickens, they are looking for rabbits.  John was right that we should lock them up in their run when we are not there. I am against: rather live a free life and make the most of it, with the chance that a chicken will die earlier, or locked up and live a very long time. This discussion looks familiar……..   For the time being they continue to roam free….. A little later John finds an article on the internet that for safety it is better to let them roam free, so that they can seek protection in an emergency. 

But sometimes danger suddenly comes from above, while you, being a chicken, are pecking, focused on the ground and you are suddenly grabbed by a large bird of prey. We think that’s what happened. 

Our other house in Castellon
As wonderful as it is to live in nature, it is also nice to be in a comfortable house every now and then. We spend most of our time in our house in our terrain, especially since we have chickens and I now often go to yoga class in the morning, but in this house we sleep two to three nights a week. 

Here we can take a longer shower, there is a washing machine and it is pleasantly warm in the winter and cool in the summer everywhere. In the longer term, the plan is to live completely in our house in Cabanes, but for now we are sticking to both. It’s about half an hour’s drive on a mostly quiet, easy straight road, so no problem driving back and forth every now and then. 

This house is located on the outskirts of Castellon, situated at a busy intersection, but because there are a large number of trees in front of our view, we hardly notice them. Several large supermarkets nearby and also smaller shops and restaurants within walking distance. In addition, the city center is about fifteen minutes by bike. 

I’ll tell you more about Castellon another time.

Yerba Mate

Although of course I have an abundance of different plants in my area from which I can make a beneficial tea, I like to drink Yerba Mate.

It is the most consumed drink in a large number of countries in South America. Yerba Maté are leaves of the plant  ‘Ilex Paraguariensis’ and has  many health benefits, but what has stayed with me most is the story that long ago missionaries went into the jungle and drank mainly yerba mate and could live on it for several months, with little food and many hardships. It has relaxing and strengthening properties and if you want to read more about it, check out this website.

Anyway, I couldn’t find it in Spain for a whole year and wanted to order it in the Netherlands when I came across it in Lidl. I never expected it there and after that I saw it in more stores. So plenty to get here and I don’t have to run out. Quite a few South Americans live here, so they will be happy to buy it. The taste is a bit strange and not what I normally like, but I like to drink it. It is drinkable both hot and cold.

It does require a different way of preparing and can be drunk in different ways. In the traditional Calebas with a special straw (and especially NOT stirring) or in a cafetiere, which I bought here in Spain as a teapot. I like to change it myself.


This week we ate paella again at Juan and Lut’s and I was able to ask again what kind of wood is used for it. The type does not matter, but the size does and during the entire cooking process a softer fire is sometimes desired and at a certain point you really have to set the fire on fire. 

The paella was delicious as usual and it was also a nice time with Juan’s sister and brother-in-law. 

Yield from the field


This week I tried to make medlar jam. My friend José gave me a delicious recipe and I set to work in good spirits. It’s strange that my medlars have no seeds at all and in the recipe they do and although they had been in the freezer overnight and they were soft, I couldn’t get it mixed smoothly. I did eventually put it in a jar, but the result has become more of an almost hard syrup with pieces


How wonderful to have those large melons in that small vegetable garden. We had 3 of them, but when are they ripe? This week we opened one, but it was really more cucumber than melon, so let’s leave the rest for a while


We have about 5 orange trees and they are also different types. But no idea which one yet. One of them looks more like tangerines and they are slowly turning orange now. Last year we also found it so difficult to determine when we can pick them. We finally did that in February. I am also quite happy with the amount of oranges. A lot more than last year. 


also find it difficult to determine when pomegranates are ripe. When do I take them off the tree and when do I cut them open? I picked them all up last week. It wasn’t that much, but much more than the years before. A number of them had already broken open and I left them hanging for the insects. 

We have two trees: one in the field, which now had the most fruit, and one behind the house, where we now had 3 pomegranates for the first time. This tree is behind the house, mostly in the shade, so probably not such a good place. 
Last Sunday I opened them all, collected the pulp and put it through the juicer. The yield was 1.2 liters of delicious juice, which we are drinking this week.


Last year I didn’t really dare to prune a tree, afraid of doing it wrong. This year I look at it differently and I think it’s a really great job, except that there are still so many trees to prune. Nice to cut off the high branches with the secateurs, collect the material and put it somewhere to dry, so that in a few months we will have small wood to make a fire. Of course we can’t have enough of that. 


We have not progressed any further with the renovation, but of course there were a number of jobs again this week. 

Such as the water tanks, which had come loose, had to be moved and reconnected. Now we have connected 2 tanks on the side of our house at the back, where water comes in, which falls on the roof and at the front we have a tank, which collects the water from the terrace. Use this water we for watering the plants.

I was a bit shocked by the way, when I almost got one of those tanks on my toe. Damn hurt, but not so bad, except my nail bed hurts. Moments later, something against my lip, is also not so bad. It’s important to just keep an eye out. We usually do too.

The chapels in and around Cabanes

 I find every expression and expression of something that has to do with history and religion interesting and so I had already noticed the small chapels around the village and had already photographed them.

But I was wondering from whom they are…

This week I received an explanation from Maica, my yoga teacher. The chapels are on the route, which is traveled once a year from the Ermita Les Santes to the Ermita del Calvario. The first Saturday of May, the statue of the saint patroness of Cabanes is collected there and taken to Ermita del Calvario. The chapels are owned by a number of families and every year before the tour starts, 1 family ensures that the chapel is cleaned and cared for. They are build after the civil war as a dedication for the soldiers who fell. 

By the way, the place where the statue is taken is only used once a year and that is that one Saturday. How long does the image stay there? I’m going to ask. 
By the way, after yoga class today, spoke to my fellow yoga participant, Anna, and said that if I would like to see those two buildings, she can provide the keys. Well, of course I do.

An overview of all the chapels I have found in and around Cabanes


I regularly watch youtube videos about it, we eat more different species and in a few months I want to start growing a few species: mushrooms. This week we bought the Seta de Cardo at Lidl and baked it with garlic and white wine. Seta de Cardo has different names in english, for instance its called King Trumpet Mushroom or French horn mushroom.

Meanwhile, I now notice all the different mushrooms. 


Something I didn’t do very often in the Netherlands, but here I do twice a week and of course we hope it can stay that way, is going out for dinner. This week we ate twice in the village. On Monday we ate at la Tarreta for 10 euros a simple tasty lunch. The owner and cook of the restaurant is also a fellow yoga student/participant and there I had coffee at Bar Toni the morning after class. By the way, looking at the website, I see that they have a nice menu a la carte, so maybe we should give that a try as well.

The other day we had dinner at Bar-Restaurante l’Hostal, where we sat near the wood stove. This oven and place is very old. Pleasantly busy and here too a simple lunch, of which especially the starter is often already a whole dish and for us normally the whole meal. We always take the leftovers with us for the chickens and cats, so our plate is always empty. 

Just before starting this newsletter, I had just trimmed, dried and cleaned up my entire crop of Cannabis. I’m still figuring out what to use it for, but I may use it to make a cream or butter. 

But I wanted to do an experiment. For example, I had read somewhere that cannabis plants, the ‘automatic’ could be grown all year round. Couldn’t believe it and had advised against it to someone last year, but thought I’d give it a try. Now look how cute the result is. The plant did not know how quickly it could produce a flower.

In the meantime, it’s nice to stay here in Spain. One minute it’s so nice and warm that I’m putting on my summer clothes and the next it’s really cool again, so I now have many different layers ready to put on and take off. In the evening by the stove it is now too cool to sit outside, so I spend a lot of time inside by the stove and the rain and thunderstorms have not yet stopped. It is often predicted and rarely happens. There is still a lot of hunting around us, the rabbits dart away in great numbers in the morning in the light of my car, the two little cats are always around, but still terrified, except when I hand out sausage, then sit them on top of my chest. 

And so it turned out to be quite a long newsletter. Hello dear reader, I wish you a nice and sunny week,

see you  next week.

PS. If you have Spotify, this week’s list of what I’ve played this week. Very diverse, very different how young or old and maybe you don’t like everything or some don’t, but I think it is a very perfect list. Listen here and who knows, next week another list, remembered again

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