Tent life

It’s been a month and a half since we moved, which is barely believable. We still haven’t started on the house yet, so don’t get too excited, but we have done a few things to make life outdoors a little more civilised…

Following a trip to Ikea and at least 40 minutes in the car park trying to cram everything into the boot, we are excited to have a comfy mattress, new duvet and real towels! We also have light in the tent and the wood burning stove set up, which is a lovely development and we can now enjoy sitting by the fire reading a book on a chilly night.

I moved the mountain of bramble cuttings that had been accumulating in the garden, then we dug out a little pond (where apparently there used to be one) and it’s now home to pond skaters, a toad and lots and lots of mosquito larvae. And the passing dogs like to play in it, destroying our lovely reed bed in the process.

We knocked down half of the ugly concrete water storage tank outside the house and Dave turned the rest of it into a sink – brilliant! No more on-the-grass washing up with the hosepipe.

Dave worked through snow, wind, hail and sun to put up an outdoor shower in advance of his siblings visiting, then we screened it with bamboo. So no more hope-nobody-is-coming washes with the hosepipe either. There’s a wonderful view from the new shower to distract you from the cold water! It does actually get quite hot when the sun is shining on the black hose, but we’ve had our share of cloudy and chilly days of late!

The garden continues to expand and fill with food. We’ve been eating lettuce, rocket, rapini, radishes, carrots, coriander, chives and mint from the garden. My nursery is doing alright, although I had several set-backs including mouse-eaten seeds! Already dreaming of a nice greenhouse, but I think it will have to wait.

We all spent a day building a hot compost heap! If you don’t have a garden, maybe you don’t get as excited by compost as gardeners do, so you’ll just have to take it from me that compost is exciting. The idea with hot compost is that you pile up alternating layers of ‘green’ like freshly cut grass and weeds and ‘brown’ like straw or dry leaves. Then it gets up to 55 degrees, then you turn it, then it heats up, then you turn it, etc. And after 18 days, you have a huge pile of perfect soil for the garden and all the weed seeds have been killed by the heat. Except ours got too hot and killed all the good bacteria! We’ve managed to get it going now but it is not as quick as it should be.

We have been to check out the local climbing wall with Tarje and Signe – there are loads of great routes, the views are wonderful and when you’re not climbing you can hang out in the shade of the trees, so it seems ideal! Just need to wrench myself away from the garden some time to go back.

We enjoyed a four-day visit from Dave’s siblings and nephew, which was lovely. We went to the beach, walked up to the hermitage, visited the 1000-yr old yew tree, had a typical ‘menu del dia’ lunch that filled us up until bedtime and sat outside the house drinking beer. And they seemed to be happy enough with the guest sleeping arrangements – at least we have mattresses, duvets, pillows and towels now.

Our new washing machine arrived! It’s sooooo good. When the sun is shining, it doesn’t even use power from the batteries. Dave has also taken to doing his fair share of laundry now that it doesn’t have to be done by hand.

 

Dave has been keeping busy with more carpentry projects – improving the shower with a lovely door, making more steps up to the house and digging a flat area for a new poo pit! We were told that a 1m x 1m x 1m humanure compost area would take a year to fill up, and although ours was only about half that, we seem to have filled it in less than two months! The next one will be bigger.

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We have started thinking about the house. We’ve got our first quote for materials for the roof and we’ve started the process of making contact with someone who can advise us as to what to do about our bulging back wall. So hopefully next month we’ll at least know what we plan to do, even if we haven’t started yet!

In the meantime, here’s a few pictures of the place…

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The Iberian emerald lizard – endemic to the Iberian peninsula

We had some snow and quite a good frost. Luckily the only things out in the garden were hardy enough to cope and we already had the fire set up and our new duvet.

We’ve seen all kinds of weather here now! I definitely felt a need to crack on with the house after that frost, but otherwise we’ve still really been enjoying life outdoors.

Anna

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