We’re seemingly some way off from picking much from the garden… Hurrumph. The broccoli is done. Over & pulled. I was saving a few plants & letting them go to seed but after reading this wonderful & informative site on saving seeds, I realised I didn’t have enough plants.
The salad rocket & fresh herbs are being picked regularly and we harvested some radish too:
It’s been a frustrating month in the nursery and garden. Everything was romping away in pots & trays so I decided to plant quite a lot of stuff out just in time for the weather to turn really nasty… The raised beds were water-logged, and there were mini waterfalls in most of the flower beds. I fear my tobacco seedlings have been washed away. The perennial flowers are actually flourishing & the strawberries too but everything else seems stunted, shrunken even. I planted up the tyre wall, hoping things would mature enough to put on a little show at least for our visitors from the Mediterranean Garden Society, but it looks a shambles at the moment.
The Stock & a Pansy or 2, still flowering from last year were providing some brightness but the Stock is over now. Borage (self-seeded) and the delicate Violas are providing a splash of blue here & there but overall it’s pretty bare. I keep reminding myself of the transformation that took place last summer & hope for little miracles again but this year I’ve really been caught out by the weather: crazy rain, winds & a real cold snap…
The weather has played havoc with my veg too. I waited patiently until the squashes & curcubits were big, bold specimens – each with at least 5 true leaves. And then planted them out atop deep holes filled with rich compost & goat poo to keep these hungry guys well-fed. Well, they might not have gone hungry but they were probably over-watered. They are mere shadows of their former selves right now. And I lost the only cucumber that had germinated.
Carrots did germinate, albeit somewhat intermittently and onions did sprout:
And broad beans & runner beans are doing ok. But peas are pathetic, lettuce & salad greens puny and most stuff in the seed bed coming along SO slowly. Agonising.
I did plant my tomatoes out & they seem pretty sturdy. And the veg patch in the bo-flo-grove is looking promising, with artichokes finally getting big, garlic sprouting and sorrel & silverbeet transplanted from the main veg garden starting to take off:
The herb garden is happy though. It’s super green & lush (see below) and starting to look pretty now the sage has just (literally, today!) burst into purple flowers.
Baking & Making
Inspired by my buddy Katie and her delicious veggie curries, I dared to cook an entirely vegetarian feast for Jess & Dunc & Nik ( I won’t hear the last of that from Duncs, I’m sure). However I needed a good curry paste and though I have all the spices, I hadn’t really figured out how to put them all together into a paste. I found some great recipes on Jamie Oliver’s website and made a delicious Tikka Masala paste.
I got creative with the Camp Full Monte Scrapbook this month, printing out photos of wild flowers, butterflies & birds found on the campsite and sticking them in with info about the species & when they were spotted. And made some tomato-waterers out of used plastic milk bottles:
These will be pushed into the ground at the base of each plant and direct water to the roots.
I’ve started this book by Edmund de Waal but have barely got into it. It was given to me by a good friend who knows me well and usually gives me stuff I enjoy, so I’m going to keep at it but I just seem turned off reading at the moment, for some reason:
April has been a wash-out on the work front. Apart from gardening and starting to dig out the grey water baths we haven’t really achieved much. Poor weather, friends visiting for Easter and Steve being away for a week whilst he fetched the caravan and got it towed over, all conspired to check our progress.
We have a mountain of things to be done. Our first Japanese wwoofer is due to arrive tomorow and we haven’t even moved up there yet! Today I mowed the grassy areas around the building so that tomorrrow we can move the tables and sofa currently cluttering up the building so we can start the cleaning & unpacking in earnest. And we will be moving into our new home because we did at least manage to get the caravan towed across Europe, thanks to Ben & his meaty Landy:
And get it towed onto site & into position at the back of the building, thanks to Matt & his amazing manoeverable beast:
I had not appreciated how tricky this whole caper would be! Matt did a great job of getting the van positioned well on the drive. There’s not a lot of room on the road for positioning to get the caravan to turn at the right angle:
Once on the driveway, the issue was stopping the caravan from rolling into the workshop whilst we tried to get it to turn down and parallell with the building. We used a board to give the wheels something flat to move on:
There was a scary moment when the caravan slipped off it’s chock and skidded down the concrete towards the workshop on it’s legs. Fortunately, the metal leg stopped it but it might have got a bit bent in the process…
The boys roped the caravan to Matt’s truck whilst turning it onto the board and getting it to trundle down. In this photo Steve’s checking the clearance under the caravan to make sure it doesn’t ground:
I joined Bobo, our local buddy and proprietor at Konoba Izvor, at the back of the van to help push it over the bumps & ridges and pretty soon we were in position, with Matt zipping in and re-hitching for a bit to push the van back a way whilst boards & chocks were prepared for stabilising & levelling:
Steve did a lovely job of levelling it and anchoring it firmly and getting it hooked up to water & power. Now, everytime the generator’s on, the battery is being charged. Next month I’ll post pics of our cosy new home.
Bookings & enquiries are barely dribbling in now. Is the doom & gloom of Economic recession and worldwide unrest cramping people’s holiday style?
The task list ahead looks like this, in no particular order:
- pimp out caravan
- get gazebos set up
- put sofas & tables in position & levelled
- re-model the kitchen
- re-model & re-decorate the basement
- make & affix signs, so people know where they are going when coming off the main road
- strim, mow, weed & garden
- be ready to receive and feed 28 members of the Mediterranean Garden Society in 11 days time
Gulp. And now I have to admit that I forgot there were only 30 days in April and up until a hour or so ago thought that we had one more day before May 1st! Time to get busy…
Jess & Duncan & Islay were in Herce Novi for their extended Easter break & stayed with us for a few nights. As usual, we had a fabulous time with these folk: proper conversations, the odd heated debate, a bit of Bridge-playing, some puzzling over crossword, quite a bit of drinking & eating nice food and lots of laughs throughout.
Islay, apart from looking like a mini Ducan, is adorable! She’s a serious wee girlie, who weighs the situation up and takes every thing in (she’ll give her daddy hell when she’s older) but she’s dead cool.
Our last night together always seems to be the BIG one. It started with Blue Margheritas and ended with whisky. After nearly 20 years of not being able to touch a drop of single malt after having got hammered on it in a really bad way, I found myself somehow being persuaded (Duncan!) to drink some (admittedly, very mellow…) Highland Park. This man, this bottle, that blue stuff in the cocktail glass – this was my undoing:
It was a fun night and we managed to play some awesome Bridge (alledgedly) but *yikes* did we pay for it the next day!!! We had arranged to have lunch at a friend’s house up in the hills before Jess & Dunc headed to the airport. Bad move. Seriously bad move. I spent most of the day trying not to vomit, whilst politely chowing down pea soup and fish curry (I mean can you think of anything more revolting to have to digest on a hangover???). This, on top of clinging onto the car seat for dear life as Duncan careered up a mountain with a sheer drop often too close for comfort and then having to walk what seemd like 100’s of steps up the hillside to get to their house! Who needs friends in remote places at times like that?
Danny’s birthday at the end of April was an excuse for a lost weekend. Me & Mary joined the birthday girl on Friday night for food & wine. We had a lovely leisurely day on Saturday – we sat in the sun on the terrace of Danny’s new apartment drinking coffee, I gave the girls massages and we had a late lunch. More girlies turned up through the afternoon. This fizz got popped, food was prepared and we ate, drank & danced.
Mary had made the most amazing cup cake tower for Danny. The detail on each cupcake was amazing – mini bottles of nail polish, lipsticks and other girlie stuff all preserved in sugar:
Daisy had a fun month too. Her new friend Waldo came to stay.
She got pampered and taken on long walks by Mel & Blanty (who dog sat whilst I had a responsibility-free weekend with Danny) and then got to hang out with Schoona & Blondie up at Kavac, when Laura kindly minded her whilst I drove 5 hours to Split to meet Steve and tow the caravan into Monte.
This month we’ve seen so much great wildlife. Around our house in Topla we’ve seen a Flycatcher (either Pied or Collared, I’m not totally sure which), a Hawfinch, a couple of Hoopoes, a Cirl Bunting as well as countless Blackbirds, Sparrows, Finches and Tits.
On my walks with Daisy on the beach, I’ve seen a Scops Owl, Grey Heron, a variety of Gulls, a bunch of Hoopoes, Yellow Wagtails & White Wagtails, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Blackcaps and Northern Wheatears.
On the way to the campsite Steve saw a Jay catching snake and on a drive round the Bay we saw a Dolphins in the bay just off Risan!
The rain followed by the strong sun, that’s now appeared as if someone flicked a switch and said “Let it be summer”, has made the grass grow green and long and flowers appear everywhere. Yellow Asphodel popped up in our garden from seeds we’d saved whilst on a trip to Croatia:
The white Common Asphodel are everywhere now, as are Honesty and Bearded Iris. Tongue Orchids are popping up on the campsite and when picking Daisy up from Mel’s place on the Lustica peninsula, I saw swathes of wild Snakeshead Fritillaries. Perfection – naturally…