It is spring and Madeline is here from Canada. And working with her is a dream. Her pace is calm and focused. Together we are working through various projects on our 15 acres of volcanic soil.
In the morning we visit the hens. We place clean water in their heavy cast iron pot, check the seed dispenser, collect fresh greens from the garden and leave the eggs for Artemisia my eight year old to collect when she comes home from school.
Then we make our way to the greenhouse. We water all the garden beds and plants in pots. We make especially sure that the trays that house seeds that have yet to germinate are completely wet. We discuss the days weather forecast. If the outside temperature is 18C and above then we know that the greenhouse doors will need to be left open for some cross ventilation, as the greenhouse temperature can reach the high 30’s. And if the outdoor temperature is in the mid 20’s then the greenhouse will reach 45C in which case the doors on either end will be kept open all day, and everything will be watered every few hours.
Our greenhouse is also the perfect place for drying clothes and so a load is hung.
The bed closest to the bathroom window is planted with radicchio and onions.
Tomatoes on the top shelf are watered and the water cascades down to the next shelf and then down again into the garden bed below. The overflow is plumbed to the rhubarb bed to the north of the greenhouse.
The new stone wall built by Ralf my partner, provides a protected space for frost sensitive seedlings to grow and an outdoor seat for sun loving humans.
Along its length sunflower seedlings are doing well so far. I am trying to grow lots of sunflowers this year and harvest the protein rich seeds for my flock of hens.
In the kitchen we are drying flowers to use for tea, and soap and salads. They are placed on open weaved baskets and the baskets are placed off the bench on racks to allow ventilation above and below. At room temperature the varied flowers dry. When completely dry they are packed in jars. It is essential to ensure that they are crispy dry as the slightest bit of moisture will allow mould to grow.
Some of the garlic seeds planted in winter were spaced too closely. I have learned that no matter how experienced my wonderful helpers are, I must always supervise and ensure that the activity is done to suit this place. How one vegetable is grown in one country can differ from how it is grown here. These garlics were submerged in brine (water and a little salt) and are now fermenting in the larder.
On a different note. Last weekend we hosted a pasta making workshop and made orecchiette and pasta alla chitarra. With music and lunch and good, wonderful, people.