Spring has sprung on Mallorca

A recent writing project has left me feeling a bit ‘written-out’. I’ve scribed around 12,000 words in the past few weeks on this one project – in addition to other articles, and posts on http://www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com. No wonder my computer screen has been gazing blankly back at me when I’ve sat down to write about our life in rural Mallorca. It was as tired as I was; my keyboard and I needed a little time apart.

So, as it’s spring, I grabbed my camera and headed into our garden and field, to take a few photos of the mix of cultivated and uncultivated delights that remind me why it pays to get off my writer’s bottom (well spread) and get out into Mallorca’s great outdoors.

I hope that, wherever you are, spring is making itself known to you too.

The view from the roof of our water tank ... not somewhere I venture up to very often!

The view from the roof of our water tank … not somewhere I venture up to very often!

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First ever blossoms on our blackthorn bushes - brought over from the UK by good friends. Sloe gin? Maybe in a few years' time ...

First-ever blossoms on our blackthorn bushes – brought over from the UK by good friends. Sloe gin? Maybe in a few years’ time …

 

 

You know it’s spring on Mallorca when . . .

Getting figgy with it

Getting figgy with it

. . . the first of the fig leaves emerge on the trees. Don’t they look like little green butterflies resting for a while?

. . . your shoulders and back ache from all the weeding you thought wouldn’t be necessary after having laid a special membrane to stop weeds growing.

. . . you have to be careful not to tread on a tortoise when walking in the undergrowth.

. . . your arms look and feel like pincushions after trimming all the agaves and sword-like plants.

. . . the birds start checking out nesting sites in the old almond tree in the field (the one the cats like to climb).

. . . the warm sunshine that bathed the island in the final weeks of winter is replaced by grey skies, cool temperatures and drizzle!

 

Mallorca’s Michelin-starred restaurant Es Fum has a new chef: read more on http://www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com

 

Another DIY project is finished . . .

DIY projects at our finca in rural Mallorca are usually fairly straightforward. The Boss is not one for starting a job and then leaving it halfway through to tackle something else – thank goodness. But our latest project – ‘refurbishing’ our garden path (here’s the previous post about it: https://livinginruralmallorca.com/2013/09/11/trying-to-prevent-weeds-in-the-mallorcan-garden/) – has been a protracted one.

An operation stopped work. The Boss went into the Juaneda Clinic in Palma to have his innards re-arranged, after sustaining a hernia while doing a previous DIY job. Yes, DIY can be hazardous to one’s health.

The patient has made an excellent recovery, partly because he didn’t have to have a full anaesthetic. He was given an epidural, which I must confess I thought was something given only to women in labour.  He still seems reluctant to talk about the experience of being aware of what was happening in the operating theatre. Which is fine by me; I’m not sure I want the gory details!

The Boss had made sufficient progress by this week to get ‘the itch’ to finish the path. Agreeing that he wouldn’t risk straining anything, we set about the task – with me once again wielding the shovel to lay the gravel. So many calories burned . . .

Another project finished. So what's next?

Another project finished. So what’s next?

The path is now finished and we’re very pleased with the new look. We’re not so pleased – nor surprised – to have already had to remove the odd weed popping up through the stones covering the weed-resistant membrane.  Is this a battle that can’t be won?

Trying to prevent weeds in the Mallorcan garden

The Boss deals with the intricate task of cutting the membrane to fit the space.

The Boss deals with the intricate task of cutting the membrane to fit the space.

Weeds are just plants that you didn’t want. I’m not sure who said that, but it has stayed in the recesses of my mind – only to come to the fore again after the recent heavy rains on Mallorca. The plants – those we’d wanted – perked up considerably after a soaking, but there are also early signs of the plants we don’t want, that will blight our garden from autumn through until early next summer. The soil that was baked brown and rock-hard all summer, now has a just-visible green mantle: weeds. Oh joy.

But more annoying than the weeds growing around the plants we do want are the weeds that grow in the gravel path. And this year we’re determined to stop the blighters coming up.

Beach babies

Which is why I’ve been bringing out my inner navvy (who knew?). The Boss and I are in the process of renewing the path that leads down to the powerhouse – and I’m wielding the shovel.

The original gravel we put down was the Mallorcan sandstone known as mares. It was relatively inexpensive and therefore our first choice, given that we had plenty of other bills to pay at the time.

However, being sandstone, in the course of a few years that gravel had turned into . . . a beach! The cats loved it – rolling around contentedly in the stuff. The humans, meanwhile, were repeatedly treading it into the house. Something had to be done.

A material girl

So The Boss and I are in the process of scraping away all the sandstone, removing signs of any weeds-in-waiting, then laying down sheets of green material that I hope will prevent the weeds growing through (whilst allowing water to drain through). Then we’re covering these sheets with new gravel – proper stones this time.

It’s hard work. I’m currently the one wielding the shovel, moving stones from the back of the trailer to the ground. The Boss is on slightly lighter duties; he unfortunately sustained a hernia during a previous DIY exercise and soon goes into hospital to have all his bits pushed back into their correct place. I’m not complaining about the work: all the twisting and turning, wielding a stone-laden shovel can only be good for the waistline, can’t it?

The people in the DIY shop were very confident in the weed-proofing powers of the  material we bought. I didn’t like to tell them that, six months after proper tarmac was laid down on the lane past our finca, weeds were sprouting defiantly through the black stuff . . .

It’s spring again!

It was a long hot summer on Mallorca . . . . and now it’s spring again. And if you’re thinking I’ve been indulging in a little too much of Mallorca’s many excellent wines, I should explain: we’re now in what the locals call ‘winter spring’. And it is literally like a second spring.

During the hottest months of the summer little happens in the garden. Plants appear to go into a comatose state, as they struggle to survive without water, and only perk up again after the first storms of the autumn have given everything a long cool drink and a jolly good wash. After the first autumn storms – mercifully nowhere near as severe as those in southern Spain – everything in the garden looks perky and a brighter green. There’s new growth . . . sadly, most of it in the weed category.

And, today, October 1st, we were greeted by the sight of what I think are autumn crocus – but please correct me if I’m wrong – which were definitely not there a day or two ago.

There’s nothing like that to put a spring in your step on a Monday morning!

Good morning Mallorca