Monday, March 5, 2012

The rain came


After an absence of 3 months the rain returned last weekend.  Most of the country is in drought and a significant percentage in ‘severe drought’ despite the brief rainfall at the weekend it looks like we’ll be having a summer with water shortages and high fire risk.   Today we’ve returned to cerulean blue sky, really I should not complain too hard!   What is it about the weather, we all end up like Goldilocks, it’s always ‘too hot, too cold’ and never ‘just right’.

But, Spring has certainly sprung.  From the mimosa in full bloom in the woods, causing people with allergies to cough and splutter to the killer caterpillars..(processional pine caterpillars) and the butterflies dancing around the garden.   Lord has already cut his face searching for lizards in the bushes, a sure sign that things are waking up in the garden!

  

Spring means we wake up the garden, the plants are starting to grow again and Peter’s been digging in our home made compost (where the mice have been nesting over winter).   The veg patch is starting to look good with the promise of veg to come.  The Jersey Royals are sprouting, the broad beans are thriving.





The frosts have claimed a few victims, our bounty of south African daisies has been hit hard, with a hard prune back we have come from a glorious display to twigs sticking out of the earth.

From this

 














To this















The home made greenhouse has come into its own, even if we’ve killed a couple of things off because it’s been too hot in there


 
 


























I’m already wondering if I should mow the lawn. 

The lack of water is a big issue, the short sharp rainfall of the weekend will not stop the massive problem Portugal will face if more rain does not fall.   It’s not only the lack of water and the promise of water cuts and communal taps, the real worry is fire.  Without the land having its annual soaking the fire risk increases, the tinder of the bracken and leave debris gets dryer and dryer, it only takes one idiot with a discarded cigarette to start a fire.  Having experienced a fire close at hand last year, I dread the thought of it happening again.  

Rights to the community water, which flows through the ‘lavadar’ system will once again be disputed this year if there is a water shortage.   Many streams and underground streams flow through this area and villages have tapped into this abundance of water by building a system which collects the water and transports it down into the village.  We have a pool in our village where the ‘lavadar’ pipes bring the water. Rights to this water are hotly contested, only a handful of houses have a system in place to transport the water to their gardens (we are one of the lucky ones), but other people think it is communal village water and everyone is entitled to it.   I can see that a water shortage will only increase the risk of these disagreements to the water rights.  It is not helped that our pool is cracked and water escapes quickly from the holding tank.  The local council have told us there is no money to fix the problem, despite the fact that three more round-a-bouts are getting a makeover at the moment with gangs of people working on the ground planting plants and creating sculptures to ‘brighten up’ the roadway!  



Peter continues to believe that my Portuguese lessons are a waste of money.  While I go to a lesson every week, do my homework (sometimes) and practise what I’ve learned that week with neighbours and shopkeepers.  He disappears off to the social club for hours, drinks wine and beer and chatters away to the old men at the bar.   He sometimes gets more than he bargains for though and last night he came hope a little bit squiffy and three just shot ducks in a carrier bag!   So this morning he’s been plucking them and very grossly squeezing their chests to emit a quacking sound!   Queue Donald and Daffy Duck gags here...