Newsletter 7 dec21/jan 22


It’s been 6 weeks since you’ve heard from me. I have started a newsletter a few times, sometimes even almost finished, but yes, not finished is not finished. In the meantime, time flies by and we have been very busy with the renovation, but more about that later. 
The weather is generally very sunny during the day, but in the evening it gets quite cold and I also had to scratch a few times in the morning at a quarter to seven. Not much, but still. 


#Rotterdam
It was nice to be home again: visited family and friends and again I didn’t get to see everyone. Admired daughters new house and brought things, continued cleaning up and getting things ready to take with us to Spain. Because our daughter no longer lives in our house since December 1, we have emptied her room, cleaned it and prepared it for renting out to a new student. 

Before we left for Spain, John renovated our house: the living room now consists of two parts and two students now live in it. With Luca’s room there, there will soon be 4 students, including our son. The top floor is still ours, so we always have a place in Rotterdam.

We also have a storage/work space, where we also have a lot of materials.

A lot to clean up and organize and every time the weather is a little better arranged. But I find it quite difficult to throw things away and every time I resolve to make short work of it next time. 

After more than three weeks we drove back to Spain on a Sunday. Departed at seven o’clockand at half past eleven in the evening we were at our house in Cabanes. Although I’m glad I don’t have to do it every week, these kinds of rides are also nice to do: beautiful landscapes, listening to a lot of music and podcasts, drinking sandwiches and packets and the Rotterdam newspapers, which my father has kept for me for years. and used to deliver every week and now sent weekly by post. 


The chickens 

The Monday before we left on Thursday, we bought two new chickens. A dark spotted and a white with some dark feathers. The white one was a bit battered in the store and that’s why we took her with us, but the first days she was a bit shaky and she didn’t want to sit on the stick. A few days later we left for the Netherlands. Our neighbor Toni went to see them every other day and brought them fresh vegetables and it went well for three weeks. Every other day we received a photo of the chickens.

But when we came back they were a bit drowsy chickens. 3 weeks with only someone every other day to bring something tasty is something different than getting different things to eat all day long. We pampered them with pieces of sausage and other goodies, but Hans was not very hungry and did not lay eggs for a week. 
We named the new chickens after John’s two oldest sisters: Elly (the white one) and Rita (the dark spotted one).

It is quite a difference to have 4 chickens running loose or 3 locked up in a run. Think all the time that they must be really bored and I know that is a human thought, which does not apply to those animals. It saves a lot of shit in all kinds of places, but otherwise I find it super boring. 


In the meantime, we now let them go when we are bad and I try to keep them close to their place, by luring them with good food every now and then. If they only hear my voice, they’ll come rushing in. Because they are always hungry and it is never enough. This week Hans had laid an extra large egg.

In the meantime Rita also lays an egg every day, after she had started to plow out a few while she was sitting on her stick, two of which were also wind eggs (that’s an egg without a shell, but a membrane).


Before we left for the Netherlands, the floor had been laid the week before and while we were gone, it had time to dry. When we got back, John started cleaning the floor, impregnating it and we started putting the first things in place. 

The windows were placed on the 21st of January and since then we have put a lot of our stuff back. In terms of temperature it is a lot more pleasant than the house above and it is nice to have so much space. 
Upstairs in the house the temperature is very low without heating. During the day it is often much colder than outside, so that also means heating the room with wood. That’s why we sleep, we eat downstairs now. Only the toilet and bathroom are still upstairs. The plan is to build that downstairs as well, but everything in due time and the list of things that still needs to be done is quite long. Like building a shed, painting walls, making separate rooms and spaces. downstairs, rearranging the upper house for guests and perhaps to rent out from time to time. 

The next step after the windows have been placed is to lay a small terrace. Our friend, Juan, is very experienced in that and from a small edge, to a bit further, we will be working on finishing this job in the coming weeks. That also means visiting the construction trade a number of times to load the car with items of gravel and cement. And more is always needed than estimated. 

By the way, what hasn’t worked out well yet… is the cleaning of these windows. I thought to do it with a spray bottle and a clean cloth, but in the meantime I looked up some tips on the internet and I wait for shade, take a bucket with water, alcohol and vinegar, take a puller and possibly. I rub it with newspaper. I will let you know if that worked out in the next newsletter.


The garden

Grapevines

In mid-January there were no green leaves at all on the grape bushes, so the ultimate moment to prune and I did that with all 125 grape bushes that week. With a nice sun and a mild temperature, no wind, great to do. For the past year we have not been able to eat a grape from any of these grape bushes. It is really necessary that I take a good look at what can go wrong and what can be done about it, because those grapes don’t happen by themselves.

Pomegranate 
And now that all the leaves have fallen from the tree, it turned out that there was still a stray pomegranate hanging.

#Oranges

Before we went to the Netherlands I picked a few kilos and we drank juice from it in Rotterdam almost every morning and when we just got back I picked a few kilos again. There is still a lot hanging on the other side of the tree and there are also some oranges and mandarins in two other trees. This year it was a good harvest, which is probably because it has rained regularly, because these trees need more water than, for example, almond trees.

Moringa

In my previous newsletter I had shown how I had separated the moringa plants, protected and wrapped in plastic. That was of course not a good solution at all. So shortly afterwards I provided the pots with chicken wire protection. Also put down a bucket with sand for the cats and grateful use was made of that. I will certainly leave them in this place until April and then I will see if there is something green to be found somewhere. I also want to put a few older plants in the ground along the fence and will try to grow some new seeds soon.

Japanese Loquat

The Japanese loquat (called Nispero here in Spain) already has buds and I expect the fruits to be reaped in February / March. There are two trees, but the fruits of 1 tree were not good and there is something wrong with that tree and I have to delve into solutions a bit more.
 The fruits of this tree are also for sale in shops from February/March and I hope to be able to harvest a lot of fruit. It is a tasty fruit, close to apricots.The seeds are very poisonous, but these seeds have a medicinal effect with minimal use. Research has shown that it works well with kidney problems, but do not try anything yourself with these seeds. The leaves are medicinal, but I will come back to that later.

Almondblossom

January 12 I made the first picture of an almond blossom and in the meantime a lot of trees are blooming. Going for a walk in the area between the fields again soon and enjoy this short-lived beauty. I continue to find it a miracle: that an almond eventually grows from these small flowers and that this whole process takes 8 months. In the right photo you can see a few almonds from last year hanging. They were too high to pick.

Tree Malva

Whether I sown these myself, or whether it came blowing in the air, I have no idea, but in my small herb garden and near the chicken run there are 3 specimens, which have suddenly grown to about a meter high. Even though it is only early February, the flowers on this tree are about to emerge. The leaves can be used to treat sprains. The leaves are soaked in warm water and used as a poultice. It is also an alternative to toilet paper. The seeds are edible and were considered a nutritious animal feed in the 19th century. 
The malva family consists of different species and since these flowers of the tree malva are very similar to the common malva, I more or less assume that these flowers have the same medicinal effect, but I do not know for sure. Hence this question to my readers: can anyone tell me if there is any difference between the tree malva and the common malva?


Restaurants

During these many weeks we went for lunch a few times, but this time I will stick to a low and a high.

The low point was on Monday 17 January. What happens more often is that we have to decipher the whole menu and look up the dishes on the internet, but for the main course we were led by the fact that it was t 5 euros extra per person. Well, then it must be very tasty. I didn’t like the little broth, as an extra beforehand, after two bites. Beforehand we had been smart enough to take two different starters. Sharing together is sometimes better than a whole plate full. And then came the main course. I still liked the first bite, but in the second bite I recognized a taste that I find so horrible that I didn’t eat any further. John was a little less bothered by it, but he didn’t like it either. The smell is so bad that what we had brought with us in a bag, that it went straight into the wash afterwards. 

But two days later, we ate at our favorite restaurant, Pou de Beca, with our friends, Juan and Lut, to celebrate my birthday. Everything freshly prepared, with delicious wines. It was lovely again.<br>This restaurant is located in a valley, where it is so quiet outside. Much quieter than with us, it is often quiet with us, but sometimes you can hear the highway in the distance and there are often sounds from the village, which I really like: the football club, the church bells, a party, dogs (slightly less fun), that often bark, roosters that crow. 
But here at Pou de Beca I never hear anything. I really enjoy that.

The restaurant has a nice terrace, where we had a drink. The weather was fine for further dining outside, but we ate inside. It can often be a bit chilly there in terms of temperature. It is, after all, January. 

Beforehand we got a delicious croquette with some ham.

The salads here are always extensive and super tasty. On the table are different olive oils, tomatoes to spread on bread and garlic. Am able to eat me totally full with that, so I hold back.

The dishes are always told orally and that is always a very good exercise in understanding and even though I know what the ingredients are, sometimes it can still be disappointing. Especially if it turns out to be a soup. These are often those meal soups with all kinds of large ingredients. I don’t like it much, John does, so we usually trade. That was the case this time too and John’s starter was very tasty: fried fried bread with an egg and manderins. a we swapped the main course: I really like the bondigas (meatballs), but the quail looked a bit more appetizing and tasted delicious.The wine we got as a gift was a delicious Cerro las Monjas and the wine that we ordered ourselves was a Rubyat. Also very tasty. Of course I should have written down what I tasted at that moment for this report, because now I have no idea. They were tasty.And if you’re in the area, they also rent out rooms here and it’s about 20 minutes from where we live. 

As a birthday present I received this beautiful pendant, made by Juan and Lut. I already have a few things from their collection, but I’m happy with this one too


In the meantime, we enjoy our new space during the day and in the evening. The walls still have to be painted, there will still be enclosed spaces, but in terms of felt temperature it is a lot more pleasant than upstairs in the small house. Now of course. When I now walk into the empty upper house, the temperature is a bit more pleasant than the week before, so it won’t be long and it’s nice here again. 

And I am also looking for different new seed varieties online. Of course I already have a whole collection from last year, I also brought something interesting from, for example, a sister-in-law from her garden, but there is always something missing in these kinds of collections, so it’s great to browse some websites at my leisure in the evenings. I browsed through and ordered a few things, including some seeds for climbing plants, such as wisteria, immortality herb, hops.

When I was in the Netherlands I placed an order with Berivita, a company that sells many types of special oils and in the coming months I will show a few of them and tell more about them in this newsletter. To be honest, I had planned to do that much earlier, but each time the newsletters got so long that I moved the characters. For example, how I put together a nourishing facial oil for myself with different oils, I promise to tell you next time and why I have been taking a teaspoon of Nigella oil every day for years. 

I also went to yoga for a week or two, but this week I couldn’t go because of a positive test. Also nice, some rest and relaxation and besides that I smell very little, I hardly suffer from anything. 

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