Ucrania woman alone harranges Russian soldiers near Crimea -


This brave woman confronts Russian soldiers, addressing them as enemies and telling them in no uncertain terms to leave, pressing upon them sunflower seeds to flower when they are dead.  

Thursday 24 February 2022



February 12 - the end of summer

 This has been a winter like no other.  We have had pretty much 3 months of sunshine and blue skies, (which now obviously is becoming a problem for farmers who rely on winter for growing crops and grass for animals).  But we woke up this morning to cloud - it was so odd, I'd forgotten what an effect dull skies have on a person.  Tomorrow we might even have a small possibility of rain, well let's wait and see.

In the meantime our arum lilies have just started to flower.



"Less is more" and the moon

 This is our first year of managing our vines properly, cutting out excess "twiggage" drastically from previous owners methods, and learning from our previous year's mistakes.  Here is a detail from one of our walkways, culling back to create a basic cordon form but from which we now know huge amount of growth will spring.  You can just see the buds swelling (we are the first week in February) and also the very tiny moon in the middle at the bottom.


fanfare cioc─ârlia - golden days

 You know what it's like when you hear a teeny clip of music that reminds you of something from way back, well I just had one of those moments and after an evening of searching Youtube I finally found it.  Crazy Balkan guys playing frenetic music to make you feel happy.  Try this...

Golden Days


Sunshine bush

 Even on dull days our Bush Daisy aka Euryops pectinatus exudes light.  It's a native of South Aftrica but thrives here - not even our huge population of Lusitanian Pine Vole can undermine its enthusiastic growth.  It starts flowering in November and will carry on without break until June or July.  This autumn/winter has been remarkable for the lack of rain and almost uninterrupted sun for over 3 months - even by Portuguese standards this is unusual.  Admittedly the reservoir is decidely low and it is difficult for people with grazing animals to find enough grass, but for us sun deprived English it is amazing.



Digital images

 I still find it amazing that an image taken in a nanosecond, with barely any thought can produce such clarity - such is the joy of taking photos with a phone.

This is from a garden in Coimbra.


Our best oil so far...

  We inherited 30 or so neglected olive trees, many very ancient ones with huge boles, but they were badly in need of serious pruning, if they aren't pruned they are not viable fruit producers and old wood is a source of disease to the point of tree destruction.  So pruning is not only done with secateurs but also with chain saws.


One of our favourites from2021



Twelfth Night

 Before Christmas we discovered how a few pruned twigs from one of our fig trees, put on top of our wood burner, gave off the most delicious sweet spicy smell that you can normally only come across in the heat of summer.  With this in mind I dreamt up an alternative Christmas tree which we made together in Andrew's workshop.  Here is the result.

Jan. 2022

 Our 2 favourite clementines are just starting to ripen.  Citrus trees are truly miraculous, they are ripening fruit (often in huge quantities) whilst putting out flower for the subsequent season.  And ours will produces fruit over a 4 or 5 month period.