It is green here but cold. On some days I keep the home fire burning all day. No quite sub zero but we have had morning frosts and it's predicted to get colder next week. I often wonder how people back in the UK are getting on. My gut feeling is that many struggle to keep warm. I don‚Äôt think electrical heating is an affordable option anymore in Portugal. Trying not to be political here, but it appears to me that some governments are committed to imposing higher energy and food prices on the people so that they can keep the war going in Ukraine.
Even with the exorbitant prices of electricity it‚Äôs worth investing in an electric blanket. The parents of my Portuguese friend, Jorge, understood that I would not survive in my badly insulated cottage. Very kindly they gave me one. It served me well for years but conked out last winter. I got a Russell Hobbs 90W double electric blanket from amazon.co.uk which really helps me through the cold nights.
Besides the small amount of wood I bought, I am managing to get by with wood collected from pruning my trees. The problem is that I now have mainly green wood to burn. This means low caloric value , not to mention being trickier to get the fire going in the first place.
Sowed my favas (broadbeans). We need some rain now. The LE 300 wind turbine is doing it‚Äôs bit to keep the lights on.
Managed to burn the first lot of my piles of brush. You have to schedule it via the ICNF online system now.
The burnings made some hedgehogs homeless. I have built them a dedicated brush pile to serve as their home. There seem to be quite a few hedgehogs at my place. Conan and Chubbs find them on our night walks and I give them a tickle. I probably will give them a snack of dog food like Cla√ļdia Afonso does up in the north.
Still pruning the old almond tree slowly. I don‚Äôt think I will cut it right down as I have seen an owl nesting in it. The 12‚ÄĚ , 36V Wesco 8303 battery powered chainsaw is doing an outstanding job. It cuts through 6 inch almond trunks without any quibble. I put a little extra oil on the chain before I start on dry wood and larger pieces to prolong the life of the chain and bar.
Almond is a pretty wood. I cut a couple of thin sections to act as coasters. I think the orangy colour will fade as they dry.
Still breaking my almonds slowly with the hand tool by Dali Nut. It is very good. I try to put in 30 minutes a day of this. I make small batches of almond toffee which is excellent. I first made some back in 2015 for meu girrasol, J√©ssica. :).
Made an orange cake after a long time. I cheated and used lemony lime juice instead of orange juice as I ate the oranges. Algarve oranges are quite sublime if you get hold of good ones and not those force grown. I used candied orange peel in the mix. You can‚Äôt taste the lime at all which is perfect. It is a bit crumbly as I didn‚Äôt use any eggs, just a bit of olive oil. I am trying to find an alternative binder. Still no oranges of my own but I am hopeful.
Until the next blog. ūüôā