Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New project

We finally had a bonfire to get rid of the accumulated brambles and saplings.  Unfortunately, a lot had been piled up by bulldozer and, besides being wet, we couldn´t unpile it to add to the fire.  Lesson to self - machines faster, not better.  But neither the house, nor the barn, nor the neighborhood was inadvertantly burnt in the process, so we consider it a success.  Permits have been suspended for the near future so the rest will have to wait.

In preparation for the delivery of a few loads of gravel and crushed stone for the drive and patio area, we´re tackling the pile of stone left from the renovation. It´s slow, hot, sweaty, dirty work, but there´s a certain satisfaction in seeing what you get done.  And the stone will be employed all over the property in future projects.

Good for the glutes, hell on the hamstrings.

The Fenosa electrical company people came and scalped the areas under the lines up the road a bit from us.  I understand they need access, but frankly I´m appalled at the damage they´ve done.  The last time they were working, about four years ago as I recall, they cut down a lot of old oaks that had been pollarded for years and left a bunch of scrubby trash.  This time they took it down to bare dirt.

If I were someone downstream of the creek, I´d be furious should there be a sudden storm and it washed into the waterway.  But, being Galicia, they probably figure it will just grow over again eventually.  So sad they don´t appreciate their own beautiful natural environment.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A place for everything

Yippee for places to put things.

We got it from the same second hand place V got his office set-up.  Chestnut, probably Galician.  It had a cracked countertop, but the shop fixed it.  So now my Grandmother´s well-travelled china has a place to sit.

It smells very, very strongly of old furniture, though.  I´m tryng bowls of white vinegar up top and used coffee grounds in the under cabinets.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Passed the first test of a family visit, despite 3 days of rain.  We think everyone had a good time.

We had a guy come and de-bramble the rest of the barn.  Unfortunately, the bulldozer managed to murder the japanese quince, and yet leave the pear stump that is sprouting from the rootstock.  Sigh.

I got the first delivery of wood for next year stacked and undercover before the deluge.

The old pear looks shabbier and shabbier every year.

Had a bit of a wind storm yesterday and a small tree blew over.  I don´t know what it was, the neighbor only said they used to use them to make brooms.  Any thoughts?  Could be firewood, could be some garden structure.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Odds and Ends

More random found stuff.  Lots more single shoes, but the first actual pair.  The large, white fleshed roots are some kind of turnip, maybe?  They were under the rubble of a tile roof for years.  I´m particularly fond of the axe-head.

And, for a second, at first, I thought this was rhubarb.  But that would be silly since probably no one around here knows what rhubarb is. I think it´s Rheum palmatum instead.  Stems are fleshy and solid.  Thoughts?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Meanwhile, on the inside

We stained and varnished the kitchen floors, which were increasingly difficult to keep clean. Lots of hands and knees cleaning and then staining, but we´re happy with it.

You can see the doors we´re still refinishing have been hung.  They helped when the weather was colder to keep the heat where you wanted it, but mostly it´s more convenient to hang them than store them someplace.  Really and truly finishing them is on the list for this summer.

And a visiting BIL helped hang the kitchen light over the sink.  We have 2 more to go in the laundry area and the small bath.  Love how retro it looks.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Rust in Rustic

Stuff found so far in the undergrowth:
Handles for something - a plow?

A rusted out pot, a bicycle seat and a big bunch of knotted up, rusty barbed wire.  
Also many, many AA batteries, not pictured.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Clearing continues.  Uncovered the well, again.  We will need to get someone to inspect it at some point and install some kind of pump.  The tipped over stack has a 1902 date on it.  Don´t know how that all goes together.

Did some more clearing of saplings and suckers.  The majority are wild pear, I think, but some are different and I´d feel better knowing what they were before I cut them.  But they don´t belong in the veggie patch, either.  I´ll need to do some grubbing out of the bramble stems.  We need to get a burn permit for the large brush pile but the Xunta webpage won´t load.

There are several trees that appear dead, or are growing out of inconvenient places like walls, and several stumps that would be good to remove.  No idea how much of a battle that will be.  Does anyone know if young oaks can be transplanted?  I´ve been putting off cutting them down.

The general idea for the garden is raised beds, both to avoid compaction and because I like how neat they look.  But I keep going back and forth on getting someone in to plow initially or just get on with building the frames, digging the beds, filling, and planting, then putting something down on the paths.  Still need to source compost and manure.

The footing is treacherous inside the barn so we´ve made inquiries to see if we can hire someone to cut that part.  Then it will just be maintenance until we can afford to begin renovation.

Cleared a spot for next years firewood storage.  Building a proper shed is on the list, but stacking and covering will have to do this year.  We have a plague of box elder bugs in the house that I think came in with the wood.

We have blackbirds in the gutters.  They make a terrible racket, and sound like they´re eating the beams.  Unfortunately, we don´t have a ladder that will reach.  Must speak with the neighbors.

Next up are drainage and a patio area.  When it starts raining again we´ll be working inside on getting the kitchen floor finished.