What I’ve been up to these days of ‘Stay at home!’…

Hello again to all of you. I hope this blog finds you well — and hopeful too (we must always strive to stay hopeful, especially in these worrying times)…

Anyway, I haven’t been out much, save for the permitted one hour of exercise which has to be performed during 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., or in the evening between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., (although the timetable has become freer from last Monday as we leave Phase 0 and enter Phase 1). I have been at home a lot, painting, tending (unprofessionally) to my garden and vegetable patch — as the photos below will show. In the last few days I have also been out walking along the foothills of the local Sierrezuela that form part of the vast Natural Park of Hornachuelos (see my blogs: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/anenglishladyincordova.home.blog/484; https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/anenglishladyincordova.home.blog/548; and https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/anenglishladyincordova.home.blog/605 for photos and a brief history of this area).

It was really an excuse to take my 22-year-old daughter out a bit, as she is missing her usual student life in Córdoba, her friends and also more importantly, her lovely boyfriend. Although Córdoba is just a bus and train ride away and it is permitted to travel (clad in masks and observing the safety rules), we think it is a bit premature to go rushing headlong into things — better to be patient, go slowly but to get there safely, rather than being impatient and perhaps undoing what has been achieved over these weeks of confinement.

Anyway, enough of the waffle for now, and here are those promised photos…

As you can see my vegetable patch is very ecological — no herbicides nor pesticides, just pure elbow grease and some lovely weeds growing complementary to the veg. Here you can see peppers on the right, then potatoes and courgettes working leftways. The potatoes are flowering — wonder when I should pull them out…
The first plum tomatoes are making their appearance… Many of these plants I rescued as seedlings that were growing up from last year’s compost heap (that is, what remains of it after the wild boars have had their fill!)
The first green pepper… Italian I think — great for peperonata! (Do look at my future blogs which will include unprofessional and natural photos of some of my homely recipes…)
You can’t quite appreciate the size of these white courgettes, but they are growing rather monstruous! I made a courgette bake with a cheesey bechemel/souffle topping yesterday in my new oven — great for my son who’s a vegetarian. My maternal grandmother who was from north Italy (Alessandria province in the Piedmont region) used to stuff the yellow flowers, then roll them in egg and breadcrumbs before frying them. (No, I won’t be showing you any photos of me attempting this!)
Here they are again. Although the soil quality has a tendency to be poor (we are on top of a hill so all the topsoil has washed down, leaving the schisty rock exposed), I have heaped on loads of horse manure that one of our friends kindly gave us. (There’s nothing like manure, or seeds or cuttings or paintbrushes or oil paints or canvas that makes an ideal present for me!)
The potatoes are flowering. I’m waiting for the growing potatoes to start showing above the earth before I can then heap up more earth over them, just as I have seen in a gardening programme on television. I hope the slugs won’t get them, but I am collectiong egg shells to crush and scatter around the plants. The yuccas at the back will hopefully make a hedge, deterring any invasion from wild boars or the neighbours straying cows, who did trample down the wire fence last year and ate all the vegetables from every single plant except for the chilli peppers!
And here’s a Spanish cucumber (short variety). I am training them up and along the wire fence so that they won’t trail on the ground. They’re delicious — I didn’t realise until recently just how good cucumbers are for you: not just hydrating (and we need it, today is already 33 degrees celsius, going up to 38 on Friday, that is 100.4 F!) — but also packed full of minerals. (I am in Posadas, Cordova, inland Andalusia. Hot!)
My faithful helper. I have five cats and seven kittens (no problem with rats or mice, but I do feel sorry for the lizards and geckoes though! However, they’re not too partial to the dreaded amber-coloured scorpions or millipedes, but they do have fun with the snakes…).
And there’s Stawberry, another of my helpers walking between the rows of courgette and aubergine plants.

Apart from gardening and using the fruits of my labour in the kitchen, I have also been painting. (Oil on canvas. This painting and my others are for sale by the way: some are advertised on this link, as so is my humorous, fully-illustrated book An English Lady in Cordova — the Alternative Guide. https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/GillysWork?ref=search_shop_redirect Well, here are a few self-explanatory photos:

I hope you enjoyed this blog — thank you for visiting and look forward to writing again soon. Take good care of yourselves. Bye for now!

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