Category Archives: Sustainable Living

It’s a Nutty World

September was mainly about nuts. I picked them one by one, off the ground and trees. It was a slow process but not unpleasant as the ground around the trees was mainly clear. As Cláudia A. mentioned on Facebook, picking nuts is a form of meditation. I may try using nets next year. These are a extra work to move around and can get damaged especially on your own.

Almonds, AmẼndoas, Belmonte,Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal, organically grown almonds
Almonds / AmẼdoas

I managed to collect 130 kg of almonds this year. Many of the self seeded almond trees have begun producing. I sold about a third and will be using the rest. Definitely making some almond toffee and chopped almonds in breakfast cereal 🙂 . It’s a slow business cracking the almonds nut by nut with a small hand operated machine but far better than using a hammer.

Olives. My olive trees are resting this year. I managed to harvest about 13 kg. I dressed and pickled 3 kg. Could have done with double this amount of unblemished ones to preserve.

Olives for pickling / azeitonas para conserva, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Olives for pickling / azeitonas para conserva

I had a go at trying to make olive oil. I started with about 9 kg of olives. I first mashed them. I found this step to be unnecessary and a waste of my energy.

Home made olive oil attempt / tento fazer azeite caseiro,  Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Home made olive oil attempt / tento fazer azeite caseiro

I them blended them for 6 seconds with a bit of water. Two bursts of six seconds for each lot. You have to be careful as the seed (stones) can damage your blades.

blended the olives, olives in a blender, home made oil oil, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
blended the olives

An old T-shirt was used to strain the blend. The stones remained mainly whole.

strained blend and residue, home made olive oil, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
strained blend and residue

I poured the stain liquid into a plastic bottle to settle. I the squeezed the residue and poured the stained liquid into another bottle.

oil olive settling and seperating into layers , home made olive oil , Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
oil olive settling and seperating into layers

After 3 weeks I can see about 1 cm of clear olive oil in the 5 litre bottle which is about 0.16 litres. In conclusion the juice is definitely not worth the squeeze and I won’t be doing this again without a press and better filtration.

I harvested all the sweet corn. Pleased with the result considering there were less than a dozen plants. I have collected some seed for next year.

sweet corn / milho , Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
sweet corn / milho

Had some pomegranates. The variety ‘Asyria’ seems to give better pomegranates. These have a yellowish outer skin and the seeds are pink but still sweet. Pomegranates like the olives, carobs and almonds are drought resistant trees and do well here with minimal irrigation.

Pomegranates / Romas fruit, drought resistant, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Pomegranates / Romas

Had some apples! I have two varieties one is yellowish mild, sweet and non acidic. These here are okay. Their skin has unpleasant flavour – mildly like kerosene (paraffin). I have stewed two kg for winter. It tastes like baby food 🙂 .

apples / maça ,  Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
apples / maça

Despite a lot of fruit drop, I was surprised that I still got a decent amount of persimmon. They are a delicious fruit. I regret my father did not have a chace to see and try them. I have been getting a stream of about 4 fruit a day for over a month. Going to plant some seeds. Apparently they grow true amd take about 5 years before you get a fruiting tree.

persimmon / diospiro,  Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
persimmon / diospiro

That’s all for now. The olives grow slowly. I have some to sell for €3 a plant. If you know someone please put them in touch. dev1@bright-work.co.uk

small olive tree / oliveira pequena , oliveiras para vender, olive trees for sale, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
small olive tree /oliveira pequena

Towards the end of Summer 2022

It’s a lot cooler which is nice. The average being about 26ºC . We had some unexpected rain yesterday which posed a threat to my almond harvest. I am picking these slowly off the trees by hand. I could use a net but I feel it is more work than the task merits. The harvest seems mixed. Some of almonds which were a very good size last year are miniscule this year. While others are fine. Could be due to the drought conditions and extreme heat. The almond trees are not irrigated.

almonds, amendoas, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Almonds / amêndoas

While on the subject of extreme heat, my persimmon (diospiro) trees have dropped their fruit. I don’t think it’s due to lack of water as the leaves are green and growing. Surprisingly, the apples are doing okay. I really expected them to drop all the fruit during the heat wave.

apples / maça, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
apples / maça

I have a decent amount of grapes to keep me going at the moment . ‘Italia’ came good despite the vine collapsing due to neglect on my part. The Donna Maria Branca’ are slowly ripening. They are definitely less bunches of this variety this year.

grapes, uvas, Donna Maria Branca variety, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Donna Maria Branca variety

I still have a few plums on one tree. I managed to gain something useful from the black plums (ameixa preta) which were heavily infected with worms. I harvested them early and made some good jam and a lot of compote. Some of the compote borders on jam quality. I used 25% in weight of sugar to the plums. I use the compote in my cooking. In sweet and sour pork, pasta and even rice. I also use it to make a super dip for chips 🙂 .

Super dip – chopped onion and chilli, a bit of chopped basil. I use the manjaricão which grows like a weed. To this I add 2-3 tablespoons of plum compote, a squirt of tomato ketchup and a pinch of black pepper. Sometimes I add a dash of cider vinegar.

I harvested and sold the bulk of my carobs. I had to take them down a couple of sacks at a time, 14 km round trip. It was okay but I hope to find a paid for transportation service for next year.

Pepe Benelli, 50cc two stroke, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Pepe working hard

The maize is still growing well. Fingers crossed!

Maize /milho, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Maize /milho

It’s too late for the melons. The plants are growing and flowering but it will soon be autumn. The olives are growing slowly.. . 🙂 No olives for olive this year as the trees are resting.

melon plants and young olive trees, melão plantas e oliveiras, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
melon plants and young olive trees

Bonji says it'd been a very hot this summer!

dog, cão, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Bonji

August 2022

Ria Formosa, Luz de Tavira
Terrible two 🙂

Not much of a change from July. It has cooled down considerably.

Manage to take the terrible two for a dip in the Ria Formosa a couple of times. Still not made it to any of the beaches which are temptingly near. Lack of time is my excuse as I have to split myself between land management, retraining and looking for online work.

carobs, alfaroba, abundance of nature. Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
carobs/alfaroba

Been picking my carobs slowly. Still haven’t found any suitable transportation to take them to Madeira e Madeira Lda in Monscarapacho to sell them. Looks like I will have to take them down sack at a time. Hey ho.

almonds, amendoas, abundancia da natureza
Almonds/Amendoas

The almonds are ready to be pecked too. Carobs, almonds and olives are the only true abundance of nature here in the Algarve, Portugal. The rest require irrigation as a minimum.

fig tree, figueira lampa preta, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira
Figueira 'Lampa Preta'

The fig tree of ‘lampa preta’ variety has grown and is giving me a decent amount of figs. The figs are very good. I must propagate it! figos lampa preta, figs

I have some other fig trees growing . No idea what variety and they have yet to produce some figs.

orange tree 'Valencia', larangeira 'Valemcia', Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
orange tree 'Valencia'

One orange tree of the dozen I planted in 2015 survived and is growing well this year. I have another two but I think they have a virus. The leaves have always been misshapen with bubble like structures. Still no oranges.. ._. .

Strawberry tree,Medroneira, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Strawberry tree/Medroneira

Two of the four strawberry trees planted back in 2018 that survived are also growing well this year.

Nashi pera, Nashi pear, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Nashi pera

Took off the nashi pears early to avoid spoilage by insects. They are ripening slowly indoors in a box. They are a firm type of pear.

grapes 'Italia', uvas Italia, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
grapes 'Italia'

Neglected to tend my only ‘Italia’ variety vine but it is still giving me a decent amount of grapes. I think it was too hot for the green variety ‘Dona Maria’ branca’. These usually ripen in early September. They have already ripened this year and a a greater quantity of the bunches have petered out. The heat has been a problem for the persimmon/kaki trees too. Most of the fruit having dropped off. The leaves are fine so I don’t think it is shortage of water.

Milho,Sweet corn, maize, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Milho/Sweet corn

The corn is still growing well. Fingers crossed. I am pleasantly surprised as the soil is relatively poor. I just irrigate every two days with the hose pipe.

dark green curly leaf lettuce/ alface rizzo mais escuro., Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
dark green curly leaf lettuce/ alface rizzo mais escuro.

That's all for now. The olives still grow slowly.. 🙂

July 2022

t’s been a sweltering hot ,hot July. And very dry. Have been mainly here on the homestead. Irrigation has been the main field activity. The olives grow slowly.

Olives growing in the field, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve
Olives growing in the field

Bonji and I have been having lunch under the carob tree. Yes, unfortunately I have to keep ehr tied up now. Summer anthems have been lacking but I liked listening to bits of the International Music Festival at Sines transmitted by RTP3 radio. Limon and her girlfriends! 😀 . No beach as yet due to lack of time and logistical capability. I still have not found a Man and Van to transport my carobs. Not as easy to do as back in the UK if you require paperwork here.

Bonji, carob trees, alfarobeira, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Bonji under the carob tree

So I have had some decent tomatoes. Could have been a better crop if I had looked after them better. Especially the giant variety ones.I am growing corn/maize for the first time! It’s going well. There were just twelve seeds in the pack. I got the growing tips from the BBC’s Gardeners World website. They also show you how to grow potatoes too. 🙂 Unfortunately I don’t have prepared soil for this. I planted some sweet potato but it’s not growing strongly.

Corn, maize, milho, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Not quite a corn field but my first attempt 🙂

Plums. I had some good early red plums. And then some very good yellow plums. But after these it has gone wrong. The Santa Rosa (red skin/yellow flesh) and the black plums are heavily infested. Looks like the same small white fly whose larvae eats the leaves. The plums get bitten and then spoil.

Yellow Plum/Ameixa amarelo, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Yellow Plum/Ameixa amarelo
Santa Rosa plums/ ameixa Santa Rosa, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Santa Rosa plums/ ameixa Santa Rosa

I have a pest problem with the peaches as well. They weren’t many to start off with. And then the insects. The yellow peaches were/are full of worms. I got a single good one from two trees after spraying 5 times. The paraguiaya (rosy coloured flattened ones) have the same problem. I will take them off early and salvage what I can.

Yellow Peach/Pessago Amerelo, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Yellow Peach/Pessago Amerelo

The pear trees have a problem too. Looks like a fungal or mite infestation. I am not sure which as yet. I will try soapy water. The pears have already mostly dropped off. They are tiny but good. Been using them in porridge. Oh I finally have figs from 1 good fig tree. It grew slowly. I planted it in 2016. Lampa preta variety! They are very sweet.

Pear tree infestation, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Pear tree infestation

The battery of guava trees is nice and green. That’s all for now. Have a good summer!

Guava trees/goiba árvores, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Guava trees/goiba árvores

Clear for the summer

The month of May was taken up by constant clearing of the brush and and weedy grass. Together with a little pruning and digging up unwanted stumps. I have been relying on the 900W Bosch electric strimmer and the little 150cc Einhell mower. With the assistance of these two little machines I have managed a decent job of ground clearance. I am able to run the Bosch AFS 27-37 on the Solar P.V/Wind turbine system during sunny days, which helps keep the electricity bill down. My motto - a little at a time but regularly. It is all turning brown and dry but we had an unexpected spot of rain yesterday. Hopefully the weeds won’t spring back up.

Bosch 900 Watt electric strimmer, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira , Algarve

I had a decent harvest of favas (broadbeans) this year. I managed to retain 1.6 kg surplus as seed for next season. They are good nitrogen fixers. This year I used the leaves of the plants, after pulling them up and the empty bean pods to make liquid compost. I am planting a few during the summer under some shade. I will do the same with a few peas. I had a poor harvest of peas. They didn’t grow well in the mainly clay soil. favas image

I have a single raised growing bed. The leeks and lettuce did very well in it. Something has been eating the leeks. Whatever it is, it shears them off at the base at the rate of about one a day. It could be either a rabbit or a mole. From past experience it is most likely a mole. I planted some turnips back in March but they simply disappeared.

This year looks to be good for almonds. The intermittent showers during spring and early summer have helped. Spring is an excellent time to see and

appreciate wild flowers in the Algarve. wild flowers, Algarve

almond tree
Almond tree

I got apricots at the moment. I didn’t spray them so about a third have worms. The plums should start to ripen towards the end of June.

Apricots

My main olive producing trees are having a rest this year. I may get some olives from the others. With prices escalating , I have an incentive to collect and press what olives appear this year. Olive trees for sale, Luz de Tavira

Best foot forward 🙂

field, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve

My 2021 Olive production.

Extra Virgin Olive oil - Azeite - Good enough to eat on it's own

It’s been all change with the olives. I didn’t attempt to combine with anyone this time round.

green olives in a sack, azeitonas, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira
Azeitonas verde - green olives

So the only olives I harvested were my own. I picked these mid October.

The four main olive trees that I have, produced a very good bi-annual harvest as expected. They were the main contributors to the 157 kg that I collected to have pressed for olive oil. These produce green olives. I still have no idea as to their variety. I have young olive trees and a few not pruned large olive trees. These contributed about 15 kgs to this total. The 15kgs were a mixture of black and green olives. One of the varieties is the ‘cornicabra’.

green olive tree, azeitonas verde, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Portugal
Oliveira grande - one of the big olive trees

I picked my olives mid October and essentially picked them by hand. I found this works better for me and is more conducive to a state of zen. When I got tired of the silence I tuned in on the portable radio 🙂 I had to bash the olives which were higher up with a long cane. It went well. Because of limited time I have ended up leaving about 25% in the field. This is fine. I am happy my work efficiency and finished in a week. For my efforts I got 17 litres of olive oil. extra virgin olive oil, Azeite virgem This will keep me in oil for a year, so I am pleased. I was reluctant to collect more this year due to difficulties in arranging transportation.

I got my olives pressed at Lagar Santa Catarina, Afra & Rocha Limitada. My olives got thrown into the mix with other mainly small holdings growers. The Lagar gives you your olive afterwards. I am not sure how much of the oil the Lagar retain for their work input. I didn’t ask this time round. I think it is 25%. The oil produced by the lagar is of Extra Virgin quality and is, as always, very good.Lagar Santa Catarina

Pepe Bewnelli, 50cc, 2 stroke engine, two wheel transport, olives on a bike,  Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
O Pepe com as azeitonas - O Pepe being used as a work horse.

Pickled olives are nice to eat. Which you are waiting for your other dishes to cook. So about 3 weeks before the main harvest I picked some for pickling.

azeitonas consevada, pickled olives, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Pickled olives - azeitonas conservada.

That about wraps up my olive productivity for the year. I will for the rest of the year carry on with pruning and transplanting what the olive trees I have. I do have 100-150 young olive trees for sale if anyone wants some. Of the mainly Cobrançosa variety. A bargain at three euros a tree. Strictly by appointment 🙂 Thank you.

September 2021- autumn underway

Bougainvillea,Win turbine, Renewable Energy, Algarve, Portugal
Bougainvillea and Wind Power -my renewable energy dreams are still very valid .

Night time temperatures have begun to fall, definitely a sign of the onset of autumn.

Still haven’t fired up the stove as it’s still above eighteen indoors during the night.

I haven’t been doing much outside the past month and a half. Been busy doing a PHP certification course as well as learning javascript and such. Needs must etc.

Gathered and sold my own carobs and those of a friend. I don’t mind picking carobs, carobs, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarveit’s easy enough to do. Almonds are another matter. A mixed blessing as this year’s almond harvest is looking to be poor. Almonds are great chopped up and added to your oatmeal porridge. I also throw in some chopped or grated seasonal fruit I have to hand. Like apples, plums, peaches, pears etc. The dogs love this too.

Picking almonds

My own carob harvest was poor this year. About half but what I had last year but I really didn’t mind. Transportation for me is a still an issue. Something I haven't managed to resolve.

figs, Tavira, algarve, Portugak, Lampa Preta varidade
Lampa Preta variety of figs

I have had a decent amount of fruit this season. The plums were very good. Early June right upto mid September. I think I picked the last of the Santa Rosa variety today. I have had some decent peaches , a good number of nashi pears and a few melons.

At the moment I got some Persimmon (kaki) trickling through. They are delicious when properly ripe. I also had my first figs. Lampa preta (black lantern) . I had planted this way back in 2016. It finally managed to grow and is a properly established tree now.

melão, melon, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Zephyr Rodrigues, Sustainable Living, Renewable Energy
Melons

I have snd have had , a fair amount of grapes for the table. I have 4 fruits vines at the moment. 1 red (Italia) and three white (Dona Maria Branca).

My first grow bed is working very well.I have lettuce, beetroot and sweet potato growing in it. As well as the edible weed purslane.

Uvas, Grapes, Dona Maria Branca, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Ria Formosa, Algarve.
Grapes, Dona Maria Branca

I have not been cockling much. The new inflatable was cleverly punctured. There are some very dodgy foreigners about. It was busy where I had to make land and they were waiting for me to come in. They came with their dogs too. Poor Bonji was kept occupied. I left craft and Bonji unattended for less than a 5 minutes. I will be more careful next time.

Well that’s all for now! It pruning and the olive harvest next.

Early Summer 2021

Has been rather busy. I have been kept occupied with land management, prep-ping for a programming certification and the three dogs.

Land management is mainly irrigation now. Everything is turning dry. I am doing a bit of pruning here and there as well as cutting the grass as it pops up. It’s mainly clear so I don’t have to bust a gut. My motorised scythe has broken down again. The Bosch electric strimmer on the other hand works fantastic. The handle parted at the weld joint. I don’t know any welder here so I think I will have to try some nuts and bolts.

Plums, Algarve, Portugal

Been trying to grow a few vegetables. Bought a dozen salad tomato seedlings – 9 have survived the attention of the dogs and snails. I have this year a few melon plants grown from seed. They are of the tennis ball size variety.

The two new canine additions, Chubbs and Conan are a handful but adorable. They are water dogs and love splashing about in the Ria Formosa. It’s a bit more difficult to take them to a nice beachy area as my kayak was stolen. Some people here obviously didn’t want me having fun on the sandbar catching cockles. I got an inflatable kayak to serve in it’s stead. It’s a cheap and cheerful Intex Explorer K2.

Intex Explorer K2 kayak - great value for money!

It is however very difficult to row. And unsuitable for boisterous young dogs with sharp claws. Their mother,Bonji on the other hand is fine in it. I am working on a plan to fit an electric trawling motor. Another option I am toying with is poling along the shallows. But it hasn’t got a solid floor that would support one standing. I have wrapped a tarpaulin around it so that I can drag it over ground - for just a little way 🙂

I had a good amount of apricots but lost about 70% of them to worms. I currently have a decent about of plums. I have – by luck - varieties that ripen at different times. So it’s been plum juice, plum cake and plum compote. The trees were ,and still are ,infected by a tiny white fly whose larvae eat up the leaves. and I think, the fly damages the fruit. I sprayed them thrice this year with some pesticide which saved the leaves and ensured a decent crop of plums. No ideal but necessary. Speaking of cakes,if you are in the supermarkets around here you must try the cake Folar de Erva Doce. It's not much to look at but melts in your mouth. It's sort of a sponge cake. 400g at under €3, It's goes down very well with the afternoon cup of tea.

Folar de Erva Doce

.

My Almond toffee. Made this afternoon 30/06/2021. And very good it is too 🙂

I have built my first grow bed. 🙂 I have just sown spinach and put in some sweet potato cuttings.

My solar power dreams are still alive and well. Besides running the 1000W Bosch strimmer I can also boil hot water in a 800W 0.5 litre electric kettle – during the day. Not at night as it would quickly run down my small battery bank. My solar array is quite small 720W at 24V. It is adequate for my current needs and works well. I am not sure if the law has changed. Back in 2014 you were permitted a solar array of a maximum of 1500W output for self consumption.

Ufesa 800W electric kettle

That’s all for tonight 🙂

Picked Olives, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal, small holding, defender of - my meu girrasol creed :)

January

Is all but over. Weatherwise we have had a couple of cold weeks where you had frost and frozen pipes. But is has warmed up this week and some of the almonds have bloomed. It been a mixture of sunshine together with cloud cover and light rain.

almond trees, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve

LE300 wind turbine from Leading Edge, AlgarveThe little LE300 wind turbine has been helping keep the lights on during periods of poor insolation. I have been pruning my own trees around the property. I have been taking my time with this. It’s going well and I am not going anywhere. I had my first avocado thus year. Of the Hass' variety. Organic avocados, Hass variety, Algarve, Portugal

.fico em casa , over here , Algarve, Portugal oruned olive trees, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal

I have been experimenting with making cookies. The almond and lemon ones turned out decent. There weren’t many olives to be had last year but I managed to pick a few for pickling from the Belgian neighbours’ trees. Picked Olives, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal, small holding, defender of - my meu girrasol creed :)

I currently have 5 dogs in the house. True four are still only puppies but they are driving me insane. 🙂 I really hope I can find good owners for them and soon.

organic farming, sweet potato, Algarve, Portugal, real transition lifestyle
Another first for me. 1 kg of sweet potato. Grown in a large pot. The ones in the ground didn't do well in the heavy clay soil.

Text to Speech

Cold January days so more time for reading, Due to my particular situation I can’t read books. As you can see I can read and write quite well well on the computer using standard ‘Accessibility’ tools and by improvising using different font/illumination settings.

Google-text-to-speech engine and a good read, the war on horror

I recently discovered Google Play books on my Android smartphone. It can use the Google text to speech engine which surprising works offline and works rather well. I ‘read’ “The War on Horror” which I found to be quite a good read. This is a free ebook. Brits would feel equally at home with the various themes explicitly presented or alluded to in this book. It brought back to the fore of my mind how we usually manage to achieve just mediocrity when aiming for excellence. If we started out aiming for just mediocrity the results are guaranteed to be dire.

Evie ebook Reader and Google Play Books on Android smartphones

I discovered an excellent ebook reader on the Android Download store, Google Play. The name of the application is Evie. It is a really good ebook reader! It has style and elegance and superb functionality. I am not sure who the creators/developers are but well done to them!

Evie, ebook reader for Android devices
Screenshot of Evie on my smartphone

Evie can use various text-to-speech engines including Google’s text-to-speech engine which surprisingly works offline. The voice of Brian (British english) is rather good. I use it to read .pdf books from my former degree courses, and technical manuals amongst other ebooks. You can change the engine. Amazon has gone the 100% cloud way. Their text-to-speech engine, Amazon Poly works only when you are connected to the internet. There are other text-to-speech engines that work offline. You can download and use these with Evie. Most of these require to be purchased but many offer a try-before-you-buy option.

Bonji and her Pups

Dogs, puppies, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira

We had Petit Gervais who was killed by poisoning in October. But there is a silver lining to this cloud. Bonji, my other bitch has had a litter of four pups. It was my fault I confess. I let her have a bit too much fun - with the boys. I had meant to sterilise her but the vet whom I use, - Sarah at NovaVet - in Tavira was off on maternity leave. She has had twins! Congratulations to you and the twins, Sarah :).

Bonji had the pups on the 5th of November so they are under a month old. Their fathers are various. I know not who. I only saw her couple with one – and he was a strange looking chap.

The pups have started a eating a bit of dog food but depend mainly on Bonji to keep them fed. Bonji finds this difficult. They are hungry little things. Their mother eats almost double her pre-pup diet but still finds it hard to feed them sometimes. And now they have some teeth so I imagine it must be even more uncomfortable.

Bonji was orphaned when she was a pup. She used to scream a lot and was a very angry pup. Her mother Roxy was also killed by poisoning along with a few other dogs of some of the neighbours . These puppies are very calm and happy and sleep a lot of the time. So we have peace and quiet. I dread when they will be able to clamber out of their makeshift enclosure of plastic pots. This occupies the living room floor. Bonji has the sofa.

She does a sterling job of keeping them clean. They are developing their own characters :). There is 1 girl and three chaps. I have named them Chubbs, Topman, BlackBoy and Conan. I hope to find good homes for them. I will keep one and am sending one to my niece.

Thanks for reading . This is it for now.