23 March 2013

Madeira photos

Here's the album link to the photos from my recent trip ( 8th to 18th March). Try viewing them in Slideshow mode as Google+ has improved and now includes any captions at the bottom.

Funchal old town
I spent the first few nights in Funchal , using the buses to get to the start and back from the finish of through walks in the mountains.Some of the routes in the central mountains have only reopened fairly recently ,after the 2010 floods and forest fires ,so it was good to get out and do them.

On the path east from Encumeada
 After this I stayed in Ponta Delgada on the north coast which has fewer overnight visitors than the south. Found a really good reasonably priced studio apartment at Casa da Capelinha,with hardly anyone else staying there. The Rodoeste bus service is quite good on this stretch of coast between Sao Vincente and Boaventura and a great help to the start/finish point of local walks.

Coastal mountains from old path back from Boaventura to Ponta Delgada



 After walking back over to the south coast from Encumeada I spent the last few nights in Ponta do Sol, although there was not much sol, so levada walks were a better bet than mountains as even in the mist there's always something to see at close hand and the vegetable growing and flowers are always fascinating.



























22 March 2013

Early potato planting on hold

The answer to my last blog post is "Winter". I've just come back from a couple of weeks on Madeira (photos and blog post to follow) with the intention of planting my first early potatoes on the allotment but the cold weather and late snow have put this on hold.

Back garden looks Christmassy .Spring bulbs are somewhere under the snow



Over Kellet "dub" on my walk to the allotment

Snowy plots
While I've been away Mike,the village lengthsman, has been layering the long hedge bounding the field track.This should open up the bottom section of our plots to more sun ,which might help dry out the soil a bit more as it tends to get waterlogged.



There's been some stirling work by the other plot holders moving and burning the resulting brash.

Still lots to burn
As part of our spring clear up ,I did manage to get rid of one of last year's spoil heaps yesterday with the help of my enxada/azada , and the area can now be used as a parking space.No photo today though as it just looks like a flat area covered in snow!

6 March 2013

Is it late Winter or early Spring?

Not long back from a short ski trip to Entreves near Courmayeur, just beyond the Italian end of the Monte Bianco Tunnel.


Good to see some of the hellebores in full flower when I came back.


On the allotment this week I've made good use of the warm spell ,clearing out the spent cavolo nero plants, forking/hoeing most of the plot, and planting shallot sets (Golden Gourmet) and garlic bulbs (Arno and French Pink).
Garlic and shallots protected against birds and probable lowering temperatures!It's all cyclical,the stones that I dug up and threw into the hedge are now being retrieved to use to hold down the fleece covering.

PSB is just about the only thing left cropping

The plan is that the large gap between the raspberry rows will become a strawberry mound.
Various mints repotted

A view across the plots.Lots of clearing and digging in progress.