Sunday, 25 February 2007

Digging for gold

Ouch! I spent yesterday afternoon digging part of our new potato patch and am suffering for it today. It's the first proper lot of digging I've done this year and doesn't my body know it. I had steeled myself for more today but it's just started raining so I have a brief reprieve.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working in the garden and growing your own veg is full of its own rewards, it's just the annual getting going after the snow that does for me every year. Still, I'm looking forward to our own potatoes this year. There's nothing so tasty, and I love the excitement of digging them up. It's like digging for gold - you expectantly, but carefully, plunge your fork into the ground and the more golden tubers your lift from each plant the more exciting it gets. The eating, of course, is the best part. Supermarket tatties have nothing on home grown ones. You can't beat freshly-dug new potatoes, lightly boiled then mixed with a knob of butter and sprinkled with with some black pepper and a pinch of salt. Simple but, well, perfect.

It'll be our first proper crop since we've been here. We didn't have much room for them in the first year as we arrived in January and were short of time to prepare. Last year we were supposed to dig the bed and then disaster stuck: our sewerage pipe broke/blocked completely, flooding the bathroom in the process. To make matters much worse, as we have our own water supply we're also responsible for our drainage. Matt had a couple of friends visiting at the time and it turned into a busman's holiday for them - they haven't been back since. Matt had to dig up the terrace and then dig a 15 metre trench down the garden for the new pipes. We were stuck without a proper toilet for a considerable amount of time. Not pleasant. So in brief, you don't really want more details, that was why we didn't dig the potato patch last year, although on the plus side I did learn the Spanish for 'manhole cover'. Given the circumstances in which it was learnt I don't think I'm ever likely to forget it.

On a more fragrant note, this is where we were planning on going today, had it not been raining. We're incredibly lucky to have this huge expanse of land only half an hour's walk away above our house. There are spectacular views - you can just about see the 30 or so kilometres to Gijon on the coast on a clear day and there are mountains in the other directions. It's normally so peaceful up there, we quite often take a picnic and just sit and stare at the view. You can walk for hours, and we still haven't explored fully. It's often where we go on a hot summer's day as it's much cooler up there with a fresh breeze. This year we discovered large amounts of mushrooms and toadstools all over the place - so many different colourful and strangely-shaped varieties. We picked the field mushrooms, some almost as large a dinner plates, but left the rest as we weren't sure if they were edible or not. Our picked ones went into a risotto with some butter, garlic, onion, white wine and Greek yoghurt. It was my first experience at 'pick your own' shrooms but one I'll be repeating, mmm.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Introducing the band

After two years of living here we've finally been blessed with broadband. So now I get to write my blog and to keep everyone up to date with what's going on up our mountain.

And this is where we live - it's the view from our garden - certainly better than my backyard in Cardiff.

For those of you who haven't met all of my household in person here they are:

Matt, on the terrace, enjoying the sun on 25th December - please note the effort we went to with the mango and the cocktail stick, it doesn't quite scream tropical, but we tried!

This is Mahou, first name, 'Queen', or so she'd like to believe. The oldest and most definitely the boss.

Elbi, the cheekist and the clumsiest, also fondly known as Elbus Bumblepaws.

And Beeps, the smallest cat with the loudest purr and very velvety fur.

Our cats will most probably be featuring quite a lot here, but I will attempt to try and write about other occurences too.