What about the orchards? To sow or not to sow? Should we plant the spuds and use sprinklers?
This year we have imported rare heritage potato breeds from Caroll's in Northumberland; Shetland Black, Highland Burgundy Red, Pink Fir Apple, Salad Blue and the wonderfully floury British Queen, which we had only seen before for sale by the road in West Cork, Ireland. We remember it's fluffiness when baked, and slathered in butter. Mmmmm. Not very Andalusian, but we can look forward to having our varieties for sale in the local burgeoning farmer's market this autumn.
Holy week was mostly a washout, although some of the processions could go out, noteably La Madrugada, the solemn night-and-dawn procession through Aracena, which starts around 5 am. We took our clients, and it was a cold, starry night. We punctuated our street-side wanderings with visits to bars for carajillos (coffee and coñac to warm the blood), and as dawn came up and the first birds were singing we brought home Aracena's unique potato churros, to serve to our guests with our fresh farm eggs for breakfast. (Our Violet Andalucians are beginning to lay well)
Now at last we are going through a period of April showers and sunshine, and things are beginning to grow. Soon the Spanish chestnuts will be in leaf. The goats are producing a lot of milk and I am making yoghourt, hard cheese and flavoured cream cheeses. These are delicious with our own sourdough breads.
We start ploughing on the top of the far hill next week, to clear the flatter ground of cistus ladanifera and pink heather and to try to re establish some pasture under the oaks. (The wild shrubs, though beautiful, are a fire hazard and can grow 1.6 metres in height over a period of 3 or 4 years.)
Kind neighbours have lent us their ram for a week and he is covering the ewes....doing his duty, so we hope to have some lambs in the autumn, in time for the winter pasture.
On June 9th, the village Hermandad de la Virgen de Gracia, is coming to Finca Buenvino to cut down a poplar tree. The men of the village then carry it back on their shoulders, stopping every 20 metres or so to refresh themselves from a barrel of punch. Later the tree will be erected in the village plaza, with much heave-hohing,the Spanish flag fluttering from its tip. This is an annual springtime rite and we're honoured to have the tree selected from our farm this year.
Los Marines' Romeria is on the last Sunday of the month of May, Sunday 27th. We still have room for two couples if anyone is interested in coming for the weekend.
Our new solar heating panels and saltwater installation are being fitted to the swimming pool even now, so we will soon have lovely chlorine-free water, and an extended swimming season!
On the 18th June we are running a 6 night cookery course. The total cost, for tuition, meet and greet and drop-off in Sevilla, excursions to Jerez wineries, restaurant outings and all food and drink and lodging is €1200 per person+8%VAT. We only have a few vacancies (max cooks 8 if sharing rooms, or 4 if all want singles) Single supplement €50 per night.
If anyone is interested, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org