I don´t need to tell you that August has been HOT.
We seem to have spent an enormous amount of time irrigating our crops and making sure that all the animals have cool fresh water and plenty of shade.
The trouble with our chickens is that they seem to have a knack of walking through their water bowls almost as soon as you fill them up, which obviously makes the water muddy and it needs to be changed every couple of hours to keep it fresh.
The pigs, on the other hand, like to tip their water trough over so that they can have a mud bath, despite the fact that we soak an area of their pens every morning. We seriously need to look at some kind of automatic water feed system in time for next summer.
On the animal front we recently bought two Muscovy ducks and they have just started laying. Strangely, Muscovy ducks are mute – so no quacking, which is a shame – but their eggs are big (around 80 grams), and delicious and the birds themselves are beautiful. We have made them a pond from half of a large, car top storage box, and they pretty well just float around in it all day, until feeding time when they join in the twice daily chicken scrum.
An added bonus with the ducks is that our granddaughter, Jessica, is allergic to chicken eggs, but interestingly she can eat duck eggs with no problems, so we will be bringing in a couple of Aylesbury ducks next week to join the flock. We will also be hatching their eggs to provide another source of meat, along with the chickens and the rabbits.
The summer crops have been fantastic and we have not bought any vegetables for over 2 months. We have had amazing amounts of tomatoes, sometimes picking 4 or 5 kilos per. day, together with loads of lettuces, courgettes, peppers , chillies, chard, leeks, radishes, peas, beans, sweet corn, beetroot, leeks, turnips , carrots and cucumbers.
Rosemary has been busy preserving the surplus stocks so we should have plenty for the winter months.
Our potato crop, which if you remember we planted in old car tyres as an experiment, was really disappointing. We harvested around 10 kilos and whilst they were delicious there were just not enough of them to feed the family for more than a couple of meals.
We have worked hard to prepare for our winter planting and have fenced off another large part of our olive field to enable us to grow cabbages, broccoli, beans, peas, cauliflowers, carrots together with three new potato plots. We have gone back to the traditional potato planting method and they are coming up strongly after just weeks – so fingers crossed.
I cannot tell you how pleased we are with our olive trees. They are looking wonderful and the branches are actually drooping under the weight of the olives. We were unsure whether the trees would fruit at all this year because they had been neglected for so long, but the regular irrigation flooding has brought them back to life spectacularly.
You can follow our progress on facebook and we have just set up our own You Tube channel, which contains a number of videos of our animals and the work we have been doing, together with all 3 parts of the ‘No Going Back’ programme that documented our move to Spain 10 years ago.
Find us on You Tube search for Olive Tree Farm
Find us on Face Book …. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Olive-Tree-Farm/192628504275135