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Monday, 23 May 2011

Summer in full swing

I'm happy to report that after last year's disastrous May this year the weather has turned if anything to the opposite.  We have had no significant rain for, ooh I don't know..., at least 6 weeks.  So watering is a daily task (above Susan watering the corn) and we're taking advantage of the long dry spell to spend as much time as possible out on the land repairing the landslide damage from last winter, leaving very little time for blogging or reading blogs.  I'm evidently not the only one though who is too busy elsewhere to blog.

To give you just a small sample of things we are harvesting at the monent, here is some chicory:



We finally found a pea variety that is doing well for us although the name escapes me just now.  We also have some sugar snaps doing well sent to me from a dear Floridanean blogger friend.


We are gourging ourselves on letrtuce such as oakleaf lettuce:

...and Mike's Red Lettuce:


But the main news at the moment is that after a recent appeal to friends and family for some support after last winter's catastrophic damage, we have been very lucky to receive many generous gifts, including some tools, seeds and... a caravan.  Now those of you who have seen our land will be wondering, where on earth are they going to place a caravan on those steep and narrow terraces?

We pondered that same question for a long while, but were to busy with rebuiding beds, so we'd have at least some sort of crop this year.  We had a vague idea that the top terrace near the road would only need a little widening and then all we'd need was for someone to tow the caravan to the top and then someone with a crane who could lift it down a bit from the road.  Then we'd have to dig some steps into the terrace below the caravan so you wouldn't fall 8 feet down as you stepped out of the thing...

So with the continued help of my cousin Bart, we started digging to widen the terrace, and then all of a sudden the answer came to us!  We'll level the a huge bump separating the top terrace from the road, so we could simply push the caravan in and not having to invest into the hire of a crane.  All it needed was shifting some... 30 cubic metres... or so... of earth and... put it... somewhere else...

We soon realised this was causing all sorts of problems.  First we had to support the terrace from below as it all of a sudden it was half metre higher and a ton heavier.  Some earth went above to be put back later, so water wouldn't run down our terraces but along the road in heavy rains.  Then we built a little mini terrace on the side.  Some more earth went on another bit along the road, making sure future floodwaters were diverted from our land.

And finally everything else was just chucked in the corner, where it can do what it likes:


We've been working extremely hard on this for the last few days in searing heat.  We're not quite there yet, but I'll let you see the final result.  There's only about a foot to go.  I bet you can't wait for the result.  A caravan is going to enable us to spend large parts of the summer on the land.  Any future helpXers can stay there.  It would just improve our lives so much.  Another week or so...

18 comments:

bartkreft said...

nothing more 2 say , thanxx barti

Ayak said...

Good grief you have been busy. Good luck with getting the caravan into place...it's going to make life a hell of a lot easier for you xx

Manicure Time said...

Haha, kiek die buuk!

jann said...

That sounds exciting--having a trailer on your land! Room for helpers to live. Glad you're having a less wet spring this year--you've sent all the chill and moisture down to Sicily, boo. But our lettuces are as big as yours, at least.

Mr. H. said...

It's great to see my lettuce flourishing under your care. Glad you are off to a better start this season and I hope that it continues this way for you. Can I borrow Bart for a while this summer...he looks to be an excellent helper.:) So nice to hear from you again.

Heiko said...

Indeed Barti, thank you! Wouldn't have been able to do it without you!

Ayak, can't wait for the caravan myself. It'll be great!

Manicure Time, We noemen hem Boeddha!

Jann, it seems to have been wet from you eastwards. We could do with some rain now.

Mr.H, if you'll pay Bart a ticket he might be persuaded to come to Idaho, but only for the summer, he doesn't like it cold! The lettuce is delicious. Last year I sowed it too late to get a decent crop. This year used up my seeds, so must keep some for next season.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Thanks for finding the time to give us an update, good to hear how you are doing.

Angela said...

Boeddha Barti is a gift from heaven! He is not only eating lettuce, is he?
You are right that nobody seems to have time for blogging and reading and commenting. But it has to do with (mean or stupid) Blogger who eats up comments or won`t even let me read my favourite blogs! I envy you for your early crops - here it is all only starting to grow. At least my strawberries have lots of blossoms! Can`t wait. Cheers von Angela

Heiko said...

LindyLou, things definitely are looking much better than last year at this time.

Angela, Boedha Barti is on a strict diet of lettuce, beer, peas, beer, raddishes, beer, rice, beer and beer...

Angela said...

I bet he likes the lettuce best!

Veggie PAK said...

What exactly is "the caravan"? Why does it have to be recessed in the soil like that? Here in the US it is a minivan made by Chrysler corporation. No rush on the answer as I can see you are incredibly busy. Maybe another follower can answer my questions so I don't steal away your time. You have a full plate!

Heiko said...

VeggiePak, a caravan is what you would call a trailer. We have to shift all that earth to cretae sufficient flat space for it. Our land consists of 18 terraces which average 6 feet wide and 7 feet tall each.

Rowena... said...

I wish we lived closer to you, because my husband and I would gladly help to relieve you of some dirt! Our soil is mainly clay so we've had to amend the soil with the addition of good dirt and compost. We purchase dirt from the local nursery (about a cubic meter) every year because there is always a spot on our property that needs more.

Heiko said...

Rowenna, unfortunately our 'dirt' wouldn't be much good to you either as it's also very clayey. Suffering from the same problem as you.

sunflower said...

With a caravan in place you'll never go home!
I knew the landslides wouldn't keep you down for long, shall we raise a glass to the coming growing season?

Heiko said...

Sunflower, I'll drink to that with the last of our elderflower champagne!

Fern Driscoll said...

Oh yay, Heiko - what a good project. Won't it be fun the first night in the caravan, listening to the night noises, and then later, the morning noises. Birds! Frogs & Toads! I can't wait to see the pics of the caravan in place. The lettuce looks scrumptuous. I'm only just getting gardens planted, we're behind this year. Weather perfect in Liguria...

Heiko said...

Fern, not so much frogs and toads, but mosquitos, crickets, fighting cats and the neighbour's dog. Plenty birds though: cuckoos, owls, bee-eaters. Not to forget the nightly spectacle of fireflies. As sunflower said, we won't want to go home!