July - Summer in Galicia
No one can deny that it is summer here in beautiful green Galicia – only that the ‘green’ is in short supply at the moment. After almost six weeks without any rain and day time temperatures in the mid-thirties centigrade, the grass is but a memory: its replacement brown, dry straw which blows away with a careless gust of wind!
In the allotment the pesky mice and moles (or topos) seem to be running riot. First my tomatoes started to flop alarmingly: I checked and found large runs all the way under the newly composted bed. That, I feel was my problem – lots of nice fresh worm compost for the moles to go at! Thankfully the tomatoes have survived and are now thriving. I was a bit late sowing them this year but we had the first of the juicy red fruits in a delicious courgette and tomato bake with our home-cured ham yesterday. Then the cabbages started to sink due to the attentions of the same beasts. I rescued those too and they are growing happily. It all makes life in the allotment, or huerta, fun anyway!
Luckily it’s not just the pests which have thrived in the allotment this year. I’ve had more lizards, slowworms and skinks (funny little things with long bodies and tiny legs which they use to push themselves through the undergrowth at an amazing rate) than for many a year. My birds are doing well too. We found a bunch of nests high in the bamboo patch, one when we cut some of the bamboo down. I’m erring on the side of reed buntings but am not sure so if there are any twitchers out there, what might nest in a bamboo patch? The little fellow in the photo is a spotted woodpecker who rather likes knocking on the window to wake us up in the morning. Kind of him!
July is also birthday month for us. Mum had her 89th birthday last week and is looking younger than ever on all this fresh Galician air and healthy Galician food. On Saturday my blue eyed prince turns a bit older. As he has the sweetest tooth known to man I have made a special treat, a double chocolate cheesecake – it’s a secret so don’t tell! But if you would like the recipe email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and head your email ‘recipe please’.
In the meantime it looks like being an excellent year for the onions. I have spent the morning stringing them before hanging them on a couple of wooden poles to dry. I count 157 onions, with some real whoppers. They will be hung in our cool barn below the house from the rafters, beneath upturned tubs to protect them from the mice. We also have mountains of green beans and pea pods (or cometodos) to eat. The beans freeze well but the mangetout are much nicer very lightly cooked or even raw in a salad.
The courgettes are just starting to form but it seems we have no plums at all this year. This is the first time since we arrived here 13 years ago that the plum crop has failed. It seems a strange year for fruit. There are few peaches, the birds got all the cherries and a good number of the redcurrants and this morning S went to check the apple tree only to find every single fruit had gone, disappeared, vanished! Most bizarre.
Which I guess sums up 2020 so far. I do hope you and yours are faring well during this difficult time and that you are managing to keep busy. Reading is of course a wonderful way to keep reality in check. I have just been reading a lovely travel memoir called From Takoradi to the Stars (via Huddersfield) by Jules Brown who also writes for Rough Guides. It is a perfect read for those unable to travel at the moment encompassing the whole world from one’s armchair (or shady spot under a tree).
Finally I have to say a little about Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart my own travelogue memoir. It has been for sale in Amazon stores since July 1st and I am excited with the sales so far and with the lovely comments and reviews I’ve had from around the world. If you have read it already I would really appreciate a short review on Amazon or Goodreads. Links below:
Reviews (especially nice ones) make such a difference to Indie authors. One sentence will do. If you haven’t yet read it, then I sincerely hope you will, and more importantly that you will enjoy it. I’m very happy to receive emails with comments or questions about our life here in beautiful green Galicia.
Have a wonderful, and overall safe, summer wherever you are.