Late again and grabbing moments in between the madness that August has brought us already! Gone are the fancy narratives now… the pictures must mostly speak for themselves…
(Noting what’s fresh & local to know what I can grow & when and a record of fresh pickings from our garden to improve future planting plans, manage gluts better etc)
From the store:
- Watermelons in abundance! Since a HUGE one costs just a few cents, we are overdosing on ljubenica
From the garden:
- Lots of green leaves – pak choi, swiss chard, silverbeet, beet root leaves, wild rocket
- Cucumbers (funny looking pale yello round thing in the shot below – but sweet as…)
- Tomatoes – kilos of them, including the green grape variety (see below – the less red ones!) which are super sweet
- Onions – hurrah! Finally picking one of our staples on site now!!!
Pumpkins came so early but the plants are re-grouping and still flowering so we’re hoping for later crops too. Courgettes & marrows just keep coming… YUM.
- Herbs – chives, basil, parsley, mint & tarragon
Beans have flowered abundantly but no pods forming apart from the few randoms in early June. Apparently fruitless beans are a big & common problem – who knew?? (Could be roots weren’t damp enough or that bees were over-enthusiastic and damaged the fruit production, or so I’ve read… any other ideas???) So I’m trying to re-frame the situation telling myself I’ve been lucky so far (rather than unlucky this year) and we enjoy the pretty flowers and the beautiful tendrils reaching for the sky…
Sowing corn direct seemed to have given us shorter, less vigorous crops, but WOW are they sweet!
And in the bo-flow-grove, the petunias turned out to be lavateria after all. Nicotiana are drawing the blue-black Carpenter bees to their trumpets and filling the air with a delicate scent. Bourganvillea has joined the ranks when my birthday brought me living goodies from dear friend Danny.
And here’s the tyre wall – maturing nicely and truly a living wall of colour, (and a mini nature reserve to boot – alive with butterflies, bees, shield bugs, lizards & frogs)
Sowing & Planting
(Building a record of what I need to prepare for next in the garden)
Sowed beetroot, silverbeet, spinach, rocket, lettuce & more herbs – especially coriander & dill which bolted too quickly in the heat.
Baking & Making
(A chance to reflect on the culinary success & failures of the month & share crafty moments)
The prizes for creative prowess go to Steve this month, most notably for his seamstress skills in transforming a few old sheets into a gazebo cover to be proud of:
And the finished article, on the frame:
He also, patiently, coached the Doyle kids through the making ’shakers’ out of bits of old wood (which they sanded and then decorated with felt tip pens) and bottle tops loosely nailed on. Don’t tell the health & safety mob, but here’s Alex banging holes in the bottle tops with a hammer & nail:
Apart from endless cooking duties, the only thing I’ve done is conduct the final stage in the making of the St John’s Wort potion – squeezing the rich red oil through muslin (aka cut up Tesco woven dish cloth!) into a jar. Pics to follow!
(Love sharing the books I’m into)
Audrey Niffenegger’s “Her Fearful Symmetry” was a jolly good read with good dollops of all the right stuff. It was intriguing, strange (but not unbelievable), funny (in a dead pan way), full of interesting characters (I loved Martin, especially) and love-lorn, sexy & sad all at once quite a lot. The description of Robert loving & missing Elspeth after her death was touching and wonderful. I loved the inclusion of all the ordinary stuff that is often glossed over and nothing is left out when describing, for example, Robert’s pain on loss of a loved one & Martin’s OCD.
It deals with ephemeral stuff, like ghosts, really brilliantly and has a nice twist at the end. I haven’t read “The Time Traveller’s Wife” or see the film but I will seek it out if it’s of this ilk.
Michael Cunningham’s “The Hours” is a beautifully written book.
Another recommendation from Fiona, I was actually uncertain about reading it. I had watched the film some years ago and didn’t remember much other than it had Nicole Kidman in it. If it was an unforgettable film, was it really worth a read? OMG – yes! The writing is exquisite. Rich without being overly flowery it conjures up wonderful, impactful images – that sometimes startle, sometimes sadden, sometimes amuse but always impress… I had also completely forgotten how the stories come together at the end. It was over too fast. I loved it and cherish the imprint that lingers still.
What’s the vibe?
(This month’s gut reaction)
July felt a little more ‘normal’. Volunteers came and contributed but as the heat intensified (pushing 40 degrees at times) it was clear we weren’t going to move mountains with these guys in quite the same way. Reality kicked in as a busy June faded into a sparse July and we realised that feeding hungry souls unconditionally just wasn’t on. We made volunteering in July provisional on a contribution to food costs and thankfully we didn’t put too many folk off, but it had a different vibe.
I marked another year off on my play card of life and found 41 was peculiarly underwhelming. There was a party but not a raucous one rather one where a bunch of people (some random, some cherished, some who’d never visited before) turned up and enjoyed good food (but this year I was not exempt from making salads!) and a very pleasant soiree in the cool campsite air.
The sun has scorched the land – brown grass doesn’t look as inviting as green and wilting, under-performing plants aren’t so attractive. There’s a lot of maintenance and “Forth Bridge” moments. And there’s bugger-all time to ourselves, to be a couple. We’re living with and a round people 24/7 and it takes its toll. Despite the shine wearing off a little, this life is still sparklier than the one we left behind and we enjoy much more than we endure.
(Trying to listen to some new tunes every month)
The Rundek Cargo Band. Live on a beach in Herceg Novi.
Darko Rundek is a huge musical hero (figaratively – literally he’s an ordinary bloke who resembles a leathery-skinned fisherman you’d find beside the Boka). It was only when our Serbian volunteer Djura described the gig as like going to see Elvis, that I appreciated the scale of the adoration. He was accompanied by a percussionist-cum-keyboard player and a stunning female violinist, Isabelle. That 60 year old woman in a red leather basque took our breath away. It was an AMAZING gig.
My school friend Becky, whom I’ve known for 27 years, finally made it to Monte with her family. They had a great time (though it was not without its dramas with her youngest falling over & splitting his lip so badly he needed 2 stitches) and the kids loved the Nature at & around the campsite. They stayed a night in a tent and here are the kids having breakfast with Steve in the morning:
Here they all are with their musical ’shakers’:
(Bizarre & extraordinary happenings? This is Montenegro)
The Prijevor village sign which may or may not include Eko Kamp Ful Monte, depending if we can ever get our money’s worth and make ourselves understood. Long story – will tell it if/ when we know an end!
One Green Thing
(One more step along our green journey)
Tents abandoned at a festival in the UK were gathered up by a really good mate and shipped to Monte via another really good mate’s kayak transporter. With much sewing, patching and mending of poles and guys and rubber bands we now have 6 new tents – 3 Snugs and 3 Lodges. Here’s one…
(Charting the weather for us and our garden)
Still HOT. Daisy doesn’t like it much.
But we have had rain towards the end of the month – enough to make the grass grow again and be let off tedious and time-consuming watering duties for a couple of days.