July 30/35

The weather still wasn’t great even in July, but a few spells of summer weather started to appear. Dave took two trips to the UK and I spent time on the house, in the garden and doing some local hiking.

One day’s walk was particularly gorgeous. I headed up to the viewpoint 30 minutes hike above us to have my breakfast and saw that the cloud was started to build in the valley, collecting above the river and spilling in through the gorge towards the coast. The cloud inversion is my favourite spectacle here. It seemed a shame to go back down into the cloud when it was such a glorious morning up there, so instead of heading down, I just kept going up until I got all the way to the pass then came back down very hungry for late lunch. The hike and the views were perfection. It really is amazing to have all this on our doorstep – we just have to manage to make time away from everything else to get out occasionally!

Whilst Dave was away on one of his trips, I finished pointing one side of the front of the house with Omar. And I pulled up all my tomato plants, which had been badly affected by blight after all the mist coming in the open-sided greenhouse. I replaced them with lots of extra peppers which I bought as small plants.

But really I didn’t do that much in July. The weather was really getting me down when we were half way through what should have been the summer and it was still misty and awful. So my mood definitely hampered success until the sun finally started coming out.

Towards the end of July, I had my 30th birthday and Dave had his 35th. It was a glorious sunny day on my birthday! We went to the beach and had a wonderful relaxing day swimming in the sea, wandering along the beautiful coast and eating delicious food. The paragliding we had booked got postponed because of the wind, but we ended up doing it a month later and it was great fun.

For Dave’s birthday, we happened to be travelling to the UK so we met up with his family the evening we arrived. Then we headed to Scotland to see my family too. Then a wedding, meeting friends and so on. Dave was away 10 days but I spent 3 weeks in the UK, which meant that I was very glad to get back home at the end of the long trip.

I returned mid August with renewed enthusiasm for working on the house. Meanwhile Dave had been offered six weeks of full time office work from home, so he’s slogging his way through that whilst I’m plodding on with projects at the house.

First of all I had to tend to the garden. The three weeks we’d been away had been a mixture of sunshine and rain and the garden was a jungle! The brambles were raining down on everything and as well as weeding, I was behind on harvesting and seed saving.

On the weekends, Dave and I have been carrying on with the window between his working weeks – the top and sides are finally finished now! There’s nothing left to do now until the floor has been lowered and we know what height to make the counter tops and windowsill.

The window project from beginning to now…

Finally completed…

My current project is building a table for the outdoor sink so that I can knock down the concrete monstrosity currently housing the sink and I can repoint the other side of the wall at the front of the house. I’d used bits of old wood to cut neat timbers to make the frame. Then I bought cheap chestnut planks to sand down for the shelf and countertop.

We had two volunteers for 5 days. Sarah and Ewan took very naturally to sawing, sanding, planing and drilling and were a great help. We got the table mostly assembled and the concrete corner demolished before they headed off. Then yesterday I finished off the table. I’m pretty pleased with it actually – it’s sturdy, functional and it looks pretty nice.

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Finished sink unit

The farmers finally started bringing in the hay in July. I went to help Omar and his family one day, raking behind the baler, hauling the little square bales into piles to get them all stacked and covered up before the threat of nighttime rain. It was a crazy hard day out in the sun – and they do it almost every day for three months!

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Helping the neighbours get in the hay

I’m so happy summer has finally arrived, albeit at least two months late. The garden is an explosion of life after all that water and now sunshine. The herb garden has filled out nicely and my nursery is looking healthy. The baby trees have been potted on into bigger pots after I realised what was going wrong – I’d used too much fertiliser in the potting mix and having never used synthetic fertiliser before, I didn’t realise that was a possibility! Synthetic fertiliser is salt based, which means if you use too much, the plants get poisoned. So I made a new fertiliser-free mix and it seems to be working wonderfully.

It was already September when I realised how short the days are getting. But at the moment the weather is nice, the house is getting worked on and Dave is earning money. All is well for the time being.

-Anna

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