July has been a cracking month and we’ve been busy as bees hence the late posting… I’ll hardly do justice to the whos & whats of this sizzling month but it’s better than nowt….
As if it wasn’t hot enough this month, we’ve had a bumper crop of chillies and most meals contain these spicy beauties:
- We’re still picking rocket but just the wild stuff – the salad rocket has mostly flowered itself off the menu
- We’ve picked a little silverbeet & pak choi but the plants are few & scorched. Here’s some we picked early in the month:
- We picked the last of the lettuce for a while – I’m trying to germinate more but think we might have to wait until the late August/ September sowing
- Fresh herbs: chives (garlic & ordinary), parsley, tarragon, rosemary, fennel sage & basil.
- Tomatoes have been great this month – we pick daily & have tomatoes with everything… chopped up with garlic & herbs on toasted bread as homemade bruschetta for lunch; with basil & seasoning or onion & cucmbers as a salad dish; or skinned & ’sauced’. And I’m delighted to report that a couple of Green Grape Tomato plants were amongst those self sowers that I allowed to pop up from compost & flourish – I have saved seed so I will be able to deliberately grow them next year…. But as was the case last year, just as we start to enjoy them, so do the Edible Doormice! See the photo below of the end of July’s harvest and note the nibbled fruit!
- Peppers are coming thick & fast now & a decent size
- We’ve picked a couple of pumpkins so far & more to come
- Marrow & courgette are still growing away though not as prolifically as last month
- Onions – kilos of them!
- Aubergines, Stripey & Black Beauty, have popped up in many meals this month. The shot below shows off my nice new scales (a birthday present to myself)
We have one beautiful Butternut Squash ripening nicely. The plants on the compost heap suffered miserably (too dry) so we’ve moved them into the main garden. I think one plant has died altogether but the other 3 are pushing our new growth.
Runner beans are flowering but not setting fruit. We suspect its just too hot and look forward to the cooler months in the autumn when the beans may actually form & swell.
The orchard was looking a bit bare – sunflowers are over now – but the zinnia are flowering brightly now & the tobacco plants are finally getting going. Confrey is romping away too & the 2nd bucket of Comfrey Stew is on the bubble!
The tyre wall and stream-side flower beds are looking great – drifts of colour, buzzing with bees and awash with butterflies… And here’s a new garden area I made by planting up random bidets and sinks we had dotted around the place:
Baking & Making
Getting creative with a posh compost pot (so guests know what’s in & what’s not)…
I put together a folder for volunteers to help them get up to speed with how we do things around here and finally got around to putting the photo album together of the early days & the build of the campsite…
Still reading “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles”. It’s a strange book – compelling in parts and at times almost too odd to follow but I am nearly finished and am intrigued to see where this tale will end and wonder if & how all the frayed threads will come together…
The list of jobs done this month is so long it’s hard to recall! This is mainly due to having so many willing hands this month. Todd & Cat from the US joined us early in July and Yvette from Dublin arrived towards the end of the month. Kate, from Canada, was with us for a week at the end of July. Here’s a rough run down of stuff that Team Full Monte achieved:
- Compost chambers and compost tea tank scraped of all peeling limewash & re-painted
- Strimming & tidying of grounds
- Rock collection
- Stone walling
- Bead curtain re-strung
- Toilet door frames sanded & re-painted
- 1000 litre water tank patched up with epoxy & put into position at the end of the orchard, near to the veg garden to be the compost tea dilution tank
- Big metal gate fixed so it runs smoothly now & can be opened & closed (even by a girl)
- Stream-side gate hinge re-welded
- All metal worked on & welded by Todd was then painted with primer & finished with metal paint by Cat
- Plugs put in place for charging devices on our 12v system (battery is kept chraged by our PV panel) and a nice shelf erected
- Signs made (but sadly one of them has already been ‘removed’)
Guest-wise, July has been a phenomenal month. People have been amazing; guests are staying longer and a couple have popped back so regularly this summer we’re thinking of awarding them ‘Bare Miles’. We’ve had folk from the UK, from Holland, from Slovenia, Hungary, France, Australia, America, Italy, Canada, Portugal, Sweden & Poland and lots of Germans! Just as we were thinking that we needed to find a way to attract the German market, the buggers started arriving in droves!
Compared to last July we must be 100 – 200% up on numbers. Incredible! No time to catch our breath though – people just keep on coming…
Jen turned 40 at the end of June but a select few joined her for a special birthday meal at a lovely restaurant in Rose a week later. Here’s the lovely lass herself…
And here we all are in the beautiful setting, enjoying good food & wine…
Steve & I got the best ride home – a speed along the Bay in our friend Alan’s new toy…
I celebrated my birthday with a morning on the beach and then a chilled afternoon on the campsite with lovely guests, Ian, who made lemonade (which went down great with Vodka!) and Alix, who made me a cake. Cat baked cookies and Steve cooked a great BBQ. Friday night we left the campsite in Todd & Cat’s capable hands and escaped. We had a chilled evening on our own at the house and the next day kayaked out to join our friends Fi & Dave who were getting ready to sail off for a couple of months and were moored off near Herceg Novi. We were privileged to join them on their first sail for 3 years as they put the Altair through its paces. It was a very special, very memorable day. Then we raced back to the house, got changed & sped off round the bay to Tivat for a nice meal with mates. This is what 42 looks like…
I had thought not many people would be able to join us but we were quite a crowd – over 25 of us in the end! Great fun & we got to stay with our mate David in his lovely Muo house for the night. The bonus was waking up in a house with a pool and shaking off the fogginess with a refreshing swim!
Though July has been mostly scorching hot, we did get a bit of rain too. which was very welcome! A few cloudy days and a chance to cool down again gave us some respite in the middle of the month.
The campsite has been alive with insects but not so many birds this year. Fly catchers are scarce – but the plus side of that is that there are much fewer flies!
The green lizards are still about though:
And the Stag Beetles have freaked a few volunteers out this month!