Goofy and pongo had a very enjoyable two weeks at the end of April when Wendy's mother came to visit. She gave them tidbits and food scraps when she thought we weren't looking and they all became good friends!
One major landscaping job has been completed, at last. The large pile of rocks to the front of the windmill has been getting steadily smaller as I have built walls and put in path edgings. But the problem was what to do with the area once the stones were removed. I decided to build another parking area as we already had enough plants in the garden and more visitor parking would be useful. This meant using up the stones by building a low dry-stone wall. Aston gave me a hand and we took down a section of the existing wall alongside the driveway to form the entrance to the new area, and then started by setting out the new wall using the largest rocks to form the base. There is Aston over there on the left, I think he is looking rather dejected at the scale of the project facing us.
In fact we needed a lot more flat rocks and Aston spent most of the next couple of days searching for suitable material. I, meanwhile, struck up a power pose for the camera and then got on with the job.
Once the wall was built I had to get rid of the remaining rocks, and so it was time to call in tthe JCB. I had used Antonio before when we did the initial clear up four years ago. He is also a policeman. Whether part time police man or part time JCB driver I don't know. Perhaps both. Whatever, he has a healthy disregard for personal protective equipment. No hard hat, no high-viz vest and definitely no steel toe-capped boots. In fact he insists on wearing flip flops. I dread to think of the agony if he dropped a large rock on his foot.
He did a great job scooping up the rocks and putting them around the edge of our land outside the front gate. Then Julius the tipper truck man brought in a couple of loads of gravel to tidy it all up.
There were other jobs waiting for the JCB. In the finca were some more piles of rocks which needed removing. Holes to be dug for a few more plants. Topsoil for the new round planter. And there was also the old water reservoir which could be turned into a swimming pool. However, I suspected there might be a lot of rubbish hidden in there, and I was right. We filled a large skip with old washing machines, building waste, plastic, tyres, and old plant pots. There was quite a bit of soil too which we used to make a neat bund (gavia) between the Aloes and the Christmas trees.
This job was not pleasant. It was windy, and the dust was being kicked up by the JCB. Antonio was fine sitting in his cab, but I was clinging to the side of the machine pointing out to him where to go, and half the soil being picked up in the bucket seemed to end up being blown onto me.
I managed to get Rosa to fill the round planter with topsoil (or I should say - topdust). It may sound a bit harsh for a woman to do be given this kind of job but we now live in an egalitarian society, and she is built like an ox. We mixed in some of our home made compost, planted a Canary Island Date Palm in the centre with a few odd plants that had been kicking around in the greenhouse. Added a garden light and the irrigation. Job done.
This year the weather has been strange to say the least. This morning (3rd June) there were spots of rain in the air. In fact we have had rain fairly regularly all year so far, with the weather coming from the north and west bringing a cold wind. This was the view just a couple of weeks ago.
The cold wind has held the plants back, and the vegetable garden has been a disaster. But there are now signs of summer and just in the last few days the north-east trade wind seems to be getting established. The plants in this sheltered spot have been doing well. The pink Hippeastrum is romping away.
We have only four weeks to go and we leave for the summer. We are going to visit Tristan in Oz. A very nice Dutch lady (Arvid) will look after the finca and the boys. Just a few jobs to get done before then. There are some holes dug by Antonio which still need planting, reconnect some garden lights pulled up by the JCB, and finish off the rest of the path edges......