Saturday, July 17, 2021


Tranquilo....   A good, stress-free time to settle into some seasonal activity.  This year we've a huge plum harvest,  by far the biggest so far, part of a steadily increasing annual yield from all the many many fruit and nut trees planted some 10 or 12  years ago.   Of course, I've continued planting trees in all the years since, but this first wave of plantings are now beginning to produce the goods big time. Well, little-big time, at least for now - thinking of 5-years' time is scary!  Here is an hour's picking this morning....

So what are we doing with all these plums, you ask?  And all this flaunting of mother nature's riches.  Ok, jam, drying, but mostly wine. Maybe, too, plum brandy,  Vinegar-making, aswell, is something I fully intend getting into.  Some of this going on already, with much more to come....

Here are 2 photos of the same view from the hill opposite, about 12 years apart.  Time will work for you!  I love this approach. It works especially with trees, but it general, all it involves is working with the power of nature.  It is easier to be friends than enemies -we only need to watch what nature is doing, and help it along, for example, substituting some native trees and bushes for fruit and nut trees suitable to the climate, and we are going with the flow - as I mentioned, harnessing natural power.

... of course, these photos don't show the 400-odd trees of the food forest on the valley-floor, which are coming along nicely, beginning to close in on each other in places.

It's a basic principle, that the farther we separate our actions from the natural order, the more energy has to be put in to maintain that separation. This principle applies to any human activity or set-up, whether it's monoculture, a city, or a vegetable garden.  Nature does diversity, and this gives strength and flexibility.

Pests and diseases? No worries, mate - just keep things diverse and nature does what it does - naturally!  So - we add water if and as needed, mulch a little, add woodchips if you can get them, that kind of thing, and, if you haven't grazing animals to do the job for you, cut the underlayer to rot and feed.  Tranquilo, like I said.

Just how easy the process is depends a lot on where you are.  Here, there is a big positive input that has to be made for quite a few years - working to speed up a rectification process after abandonment, when floods stole the fertile soil, and fires stole the soil's fertility.  But the story remains the same - wise and sympathetic alliance with nature's inherent power. Then, time is our friend, not our enemy.

Friday, 18th June.  Cold and wet and breezy! It's rained 10mm over the last 3 days, and our dry river is running again at the Várzea footbridge   Tourists will be whinging into their cocktails, but to me, and nature, rain in summer (and tourists whinging) is always a source of joy!  Not only for the health of the land, but for all the cut grasses and weeds lying on the ground, dry and flammable, which, with 4 days of damp and drizzle, gets to start rotting and being munched and dragged under by ants, worms and their accomplices.  And the river came back for another 2 weeks, after drying up at the end of May...

....marvelous stuff.

Meanwhile we got going on putting the new palm-frond roof on our tree-house, which took 200 or so fronds, collected from our neighbour.  Here is work in progress with Pavel...

The houses have been painted outside, and look a picture!

A short hop to July...  My brother John has been here for 3 weeks, finally made it through the blah-storm of flight regulations, testing, quarantine, and all the rest of that manure.  It sure was good to have him here and sad to see him go, to face the inhuman side of humanity in full flow.  Here is a family picnic on the cliff-tops last week.

... it has meant a long delay in this blog.

Enjoy the summer and appreciate family and friends.

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