This update is long overdue, and I apologise for the delay. As usual we have been very busy, but at last we are now seeing, and enjoying, the fruits of our labours and investments over the last year: the wine we drink is the wine we make!
Our natural style of farming
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When we bought the farm in 2009 it had a small woodland in one corner which had been badly damaged by a fire, and many small trees had been cut down for firewood. Over the last 4 years we restored this area by cleaning out dead wood, by encouraging the native trees to expand and by adding a few specimen trees to add diversification. The woodland is now spreading along the side of an irrigation ditch and it has almost joined up with a newly planted area of acacia trees by our house 125 yards away! In summer, when temperatures are in the late 30’s Continue reading →
For our family and friends, here is a very brief update of what happened since our last blog entry, 13 months ago:
House building reached the stage where the roof was (just) on, when our builder decided to up his fee by 25% of the agreed total price. We declined his offer and gave him 2 days to clear all his tools off site. He was very surprised at our reaction but has, hopefully, learnt a lesson that not all foreigners are rich Americans 😉
Bored a well 30 feet deep for drinking water.
Brought electricity to the farm.
We (doing all the work ourselves) have completed the roof construction, wired up the house, connected it to the public supply, put in all the water pipes, the tank on the roof, the automatic control system for the well pump, plastered inside where needed, put in all the bathroom furniture and tiles and have completed laying all the floor tiles in the living/dining/entrance areas. The kitchen will be our next target as we only have a temporary worktop, sink and cupboards.
Nearly 600 yards of irrigation ditch hand deepened and widened to improve the water supply to the vineyard.
Planted various yearly crops such as sweetcorn, melon, tomatoes, butternut squash, etc.
Created a decent sized organic kitchen garden for our own food supply. Lettuce, radishes, melons, squash, cucumbers, peppers, chilli peppers, carrots, French beans, broad beans, chard, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, peas, onions, strawberries, various herbs and flowers.
Made and ate lots of quince, apricot and lemon jams and marmalades as well as fig preserve.
Planted more quince trees from rooted cuttings taken our existing trees.
Harvested quinces, figs and apricots as well as a small harvest of peaches.
Fenced off 5 hectares (about 13 acres) with cattle fencing so 2 horses can graze. These are not ours, but we get to ride them.
New apricot trees grown from seed from our own trees.
Months of work in the vineyard pruning, tying, killing ants, fertilising and pruning again.
Replaced some fencing on the border with the public road and repaired lots of internal fencing.
Have taken up archery and took part in an archery competition – and we did not come last either!
Made a nice circle of friends both in the town and here in the country.
Moved into our partially completed house in early December 2011 without electricity – which was connected on New Year’s Eve.
Edward and Naomi came to visit us for Christmas and the New Year – and Edward proposed to Naomi whilst walking high up in the Andes near El Sosneado – a wonderfully romantic location.
Adopted a wild cat who is now pregnant and about to give birth to kittens – and now we hope there will be no more holes nibbled by rodents in our melons.
Expanded the area covered by our woodland to create a ‘natural’ corner which is filling up with a wide selection of birds and animals.
Had fun and enjoyed ourselves on the farm not only working hard, but also taking time off to chill out too.
And the latest job completed – getting an antenna up for a wireless internet connection.
We all agree then, sting them for more money?
Digging the well for drinking water
Tiling the bathroom
Deepening the irrigation ditches
Weeding the vineyard
Electricity on the way to the farm
Broad beans and garlic in the organic kitchen garden