Monday, 11 December 2017

Happy Christmas!

Our Christmas card this year is from a painting by Mary Fedden, I love nearly all her paintings which reflect her country life in several different locations, always full of flowers, food, wine and animals. Here is an interesting description of her life and work from the obituary in the Guardian, she died at 96 in 2012.  

Friday, 24 November 2017

Walk to choza at the top of Finca al-manzil

We had a misty rain yesterday which left everything refreshed and a bit greener. Went for hike up to the high olive grove and the big choza which is apparently the site of an iron age hill fort, certainly has amazing views. The woods smell wonderful, centuries of damp humus under foot, wild honeysuckle, unidentified fungi appearing, wild asparagus spears pushing up, griffon vultures flying around the peaks, maybe something adding to the decaying layers.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Excursion to Sierra de Aracena from Finca al-manzil

The Sierra de Aracena, north of Sevilla in Andalucia is a complete change of scenery and atmosphere only 2 hours away.
On the way we visited  Fregenal de la Sierra, a charming small town in the very south of the Badajoz province of Extremadura. 
The very special feature of Fregenal is the castle which was built by the order of the Knights Templars after the town was given to them in reward for their part in the re-conquest in 1283. Within the walls of the castle is a perfectly preserved 18th century bullring.  Also within the walls is the renovated market place, still bustling with stall holders selling the freshest produce straight from their own huertas.

After an interesting wander around Fregenal we continued on the winding route south to our favourite village in the Sierra de Aracena, Almonaster la Real, a great place for lunch and just passing time in the village with a climb up the hill to visit the unique mesquita. It was the site of a Roman temple, Visigoth basilica, Moorish mosque and now Christian ermita.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Chutney in the herb garden

Herbs are doing well despite the long dry summer. Time to make chutney again with some gorgeous tomatoes from the market, just the right green and red mix. This time I am making a proper Indian chutney with a recipe brought back from Kerala so it's extra piquant with the chiles from the garden, they are just turning from pale green to dark before becoming vibrantly red, at this stage they are extra hot. The chutney also has mint, sage and basil, ginger and lots of garlic.
Now have to be  patient and wait at least a month to taste it, as with all chutneys it needs this time to
continue the vinegar/sugar chemistry in the jars.    


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

August thunderstorms....delicious!

Cumulonimbus clouds gathered on Sunday, not only spectacular thunder and lightening but hail can this be? Ice from the sky when the temperatures were up to 38.  
After some lovely moody blue skies, more heavy rain and some sparkling sunshine the land looks gorgeous, refreshed and fertile. The high temperatures are over, so looking forward to September and October, time to walk in the sierra again.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Horse round up

Time to move the horses and donkey from one pasture to another, Manfred uses a crackly bag full of dried bread to lure them along the camino, quite a hullabaloo to get them trotting along with no dillydallying on the way and before dusk decends.

End of the longest day, a particularly lurid sunset.


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