November update

It was only when reviewing my last post (I was in a philosophical mood) that I realised I haven’t been posting updates for a very long time… Now the winter months are upon us, I am writing this in the comfort of a nice house in front of the fireplace, and I can finally reflect on those crazy summer months.

Jabba & the chickens

Jabba & the chickens

As you have probably already read in my blog, we had guests almost all of the summer (happy campers!), and before the last one even left we welcomed our first workaway-volunteers. In the last two and a half months we had help from 7 different people: M. & S. from New Zealand, F. the Dutch Canadian and A. the wandering German, V. & L. from Belgium and M. from the UK. We have learned that works really gets done when there’s people around: 1+1 = more than 2 when it comes to farm work. We had the almond harvest in September (a rather poor one, as expected, but we still got loads of almonds and not sure what we’re doing with them this year); pathways were created, fences destroyed and erected (in that order), we finally finished the entrance to the maset cellar (no more building stuff everywhere), and we harvested a lot of blackberries, figs, acorns, tree strawberries, chickpeas, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, melons,… the only harvest we’re still looking forward to is the olive harvest (probably around the end of November, and probably a poor harvest as well this year after the wet spring).

The beginning of a food forest: 20 fruit & nut trees

The beginning of a food forest: 20 fruit & nut trees

We now officially have a (young) orchard: we planted 20 trees – nectarines, peaches, plums, kakis, white figs, medlars (mispel / nisperos), apples, pears, pomegranate, raspberries, and our newest additions are hazelnuts and pistachios. Those trees will probably take a few years before they start to produce – in the mean time, we’ll make do with our (blue) figs, grapes, quinces, blackberries and trees strawberries.

More help is coming at the end of November; after (or around) the olive harvest, we want to start building the stables and the chicken coop. Now we’ve got loan chickens, we’ve gotten used to our daily supply of fresh eggs – when their owners come back in February, we’ll want to get our own flock.

 

Looks almost finished (but not quite...)

Looks almost finished (but not quite…)

The construction of the house is going very well, as far as we can tell: the roof looks almost finished. Soon, one team should start finishing the outer walls (with local old stones) while another team tackles the electricity and plumbing; after that it will be time for us to start on our part – floors, bathrooms and kitchens. And decoration, of course (so much to do, so little time!).

We’re still working towards an opening party in May – if nothing crazy happens, we’ll be able to welcome the first guests to our casa rural in June 2016, and stay open all summer. Very much looking forward to that!

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