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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Busy times

Good Lord, it's been a busy old time. Hardly have time to draw a breath, getting behind on the gardening work and have loads of catching up to do on the blog. So here it comes, a big one today.

First of all this week turned out to be a bloggy friends visitors week. Monday our blogger friend Stefani and her husband Eric came all the way from California to see us (hey I think I might have finally worked out how to do a link!). Of course they didn't come all that way just to see us, but they took a day out to come down from Genoa, where Eric attended a conference.

We picked them up from La Spezia and gave them the guided tour of our land and our village and fed them some of our food, broad beans, as well as a mallow soup and some cherries and strawberries.

Stefani and I had a great time exchanging gardening tips and discussing the pros and cons of a small intensively used garden in contrast to 18 sprawling steep terraces.

On Wednesday our blogger friends Babette and Paul turned up. Babette was amongst the first followers of my blog, apart from friends and family. They are semi-professional pilgrims, if there is such a thing. After taking early retirement they followed the St. James' Way to Santiago di Compostela on horseback. Looking for a new challenge they took their horses down the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome on horseback. This much less travelled route goes straight through our village and hence the connection.

Having found on their first trip, that signposting was not always good and facilities for would-be pilgrims were rudimentary along some stretches of this route, they decided to do it again, this time on bicycles and write a guide book about it. They now have written and published a number of books on their travels.

Their latest venture is finding a connection route between these two routes, whilst at the same time raising money for a charity that is building a school in Burkina Faso. So please do look up their blog and donate if you can! 2 months ago they set off from their home in Arles in Southern France, on foot this time, but accompanied by their trusty pack horse Nelly and their little dog Flea (Eddies new best friend!). We met them 15 km before our village on the other side of the mountains and walked back with them.

They've been having a few rest days with us here, before heading off back home on Sunday.

As this is meant to be a gardening blog, here a few impressions of the current state of our plot:


Lentil in flower

Ripe cherries (Hurray the fruit season has started!)

Winter squash.

Max the pumpkin


In other news, Eddie the puppy is growing fast. Here he is lounging on a deckchair on our land.

...and here he is chasing a pine cone (we'll try him on rabbits next).

Furthermore, I had to go back to Franco the bicycle man saying he no longer needed to keep the bike aside for me, I found one on a rubbish tip. All thet was wrong with it was that it had a bent front wheel. I didn't even need to change the height of the saddle or pump up the rear tyre. I replaced the front wheel with one from my old bike (one of the few bits that were still ok on it) and hey presto: a virtually brand new bike!

Here's the kittens trying it out: Pelé steering...

...and Georgie trying to pedal.

Incidentally we have found a home for the third of the trio, so one down two to go. Sure you wouldn't want one? They are very sweet!


Stefaneener said...

Now, those are the kinds of visitors you want! Long-distance walkers. The lentils are going to be such an interesting crop. You are keeping busy on the social whirl!

chaiselongue said...

The bike is a great find - hope the kittens let you ride it too! And it's fun to meet other bloggers. We enjoyed it very much when Kate from Vegetable Vagabond stayed with us a couple of years ago and when we went to see her and Ian at Kitchen Garden in France last autumn.

Your vegetables look good too!

Laura said...

Awwwww...Eddie is too cute!
I would love to grow lentils when I get a bit more space - how much space to you have dedicated to them and how much does that yield, if you don't mind me asking?

Mr. H. said...

You live a very full and interesting life my friend. I know I would like to see you terraced gardens someday. Did those litchi tomatoes ever germinate for you?

Jan said...

Wow, lucky you finding the bike, and I love Eddie!

Ayak said...

How lovely to have visits from blogger friends.
Your crops are coming along nicely.
And Eddie is just adorable. Can't offer to have a kitten but if you get fed up with Eddie, just parcel him up and send him to me :-)

Heiko said...

Our social whirrl is set to go on with more visitors having announced themselves for next week. That's the trouble about living in such a beautiful spot.

The lentils only have about 2 sq metres for some 17 plants. They don't seem to be demanding. I don't know yet how much I'll yield though, it's a first time experiment for me too and the seeds where taken out of an ordinary packet of lentils from the supermarket.

The bike was indeed a lucky find. Amazing what people throw away.

Ayak, I think you'd find Eddie complaining if he was posted to Turkey!

Heiko said...

Mr. H. neither the litchi Tomatoes nor the tomatillos have germinated. I blame the low temperature in my cold frame during this unusually cold May. You are going to have to come over and show me how to grow them! :)

Mr. H. said...

You know, the tomatillo seeds that fall by the wayside in our garden start to germinate on there own right around mid June or whenever the ground warms a bit...perhaps they will still come up. I hope that I can stop by for a visit one day and get some excercise in your terraced gardens.

Laura said...

Ok, thanks for letting me know! I hope the experiment turns out well :) and please keep me posted on the yield when you do find out - cheers!

Ruralrose said...

Wow what a blog entry - e-friends, puppy, ripe cherries, who has time for weed? peace

Heiko said...

Hi Ruralrose, Yep I'm getting well behind on that one! They are making a concerted effort to re-claim my garden. And I'm not just talking grass: bamboo, oak trees, brambles...

Angela said...

Is Kohlrabi the English word, too? Your pictures all look so tempting! What about starlings who eat up all our cherries? (not ripe yet here, but as soon as...)And our slugs have re-appeared too, waiting for the strawberries. In the meantime they eat my Radieschen! Bleah! Lovely Eddie, and the kittens, too! Cheers from here. Don`t work too hard!

Heiko said...

Angela, kohlrabi has only relatively recently become known to the Anglo-Saxons, so they don't have a name for it. I'm luckily not plagued with large bird populations. They do get some cherries, but there are enough to share. And with this constant flow of visitors I'm more likely not to work hard enough!