Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Thursday, 31 May 2012

TV and computer unit.

For a while i have had my TV on top of a huge coffee table that due to it's size across the corner of the lounge looked out of place. I had to do something so i decided to build a purpose made corner unit to fit the TV, routers, phone, speaker and external hard drive, keyboard and computer.

The problem i had was not being able to speak Portuguese. I made a drawing of what i wanted complete with quantity and sizes. I went to a local timber supplier with my drawings and he could see what i wanted. We walked around until we found just the type of wood i wanted, something like Mahogany. He studied the drawings and first cut the two pieces i wanted at that would fit under the top shelf. After cutting and planing he then formed the round bit on one edge. Great one part of the job done. It only took a few minuets and he found a plank to cut the shelf from and form the angles to fit it into the corner. He took his time to make sure that he cut the angle at each end correct and then molded the facing edge with a half round profile.

All this was one while i waited, after it was all done he went away into his office and came out a few minuets later this was it how much. He wrote down the price 12.5€ i was shocked as in the UK hard wood like a Mahogany is very expensive but 12.5€ and cut and molded while i waited what a bargain.

I came home and put up my new TV shelf and i was so proud of what i had done. The only down side was having my routers, phone, speaker and external hard drive, keyboard and computer all on show.

To make the job even better i went back to the same timber guy for the same order again but i also wanted a piece that would fit at either side between the two shelves. I left my drawing with the timber man and called back later to find everything done as i required. This time with the extra piece that was a meter long and 100mm wide the total cost was 15€. Boy i just love this timber guy.

This does look good well i think so anyway. The next part will be doors on the front between the shelves.

After the top half has been finished it will be doors on the bottom half and then it will all be done and complete. I tried a little wax on the top left hand side to see how it would look and i think that the wax finish may just finish of the job. I will wait till all is done and then start to put the finishing touches in place.

Maybe a light behind the TV i don't know but next week i will carry on with the doors. I may have what is called By fold, two doors on each side with a centre hinge but lets wait till next week.

When i left school i started work as a butcher and sadly never got a trade apart from my years as a butcher. I am so proud of what i have done i had to take a picture to show just how accurate a job i have done.

Spot on straight with the bubble in the middle. How proud am i.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Update to getting the car Matriculated

Today i received a letter from the IMTT the car registration department. As my Gas GPL conversion a not fitted at the time the car was made there is a fee to have the registration completed. Fee 120€. This is cheaper than having to get the conversion taken of and have a Portuguese registered system fitted but still a blow. 120€ ouch

Monday, 21 May 2012

Well things are growing and the sooner the better.

It's taken a while from starting to get some veg growing and now i have some results even the fruit trees are starting to grow.

 Look at these Cherries.
Cherries to feed my Cherry Adiction. Mmmmm
Question how do you stop Birds from eating Cherries? i don't yet have an answer but i will try try to find an answer.

One thing i will do is to make some Cherry Vodka. Also i will be making two types of Cherry Brandy. One will be made with Remy Martin and that won't be for sharing. I will get a cheap brandy just to try it before i use some Remy Martin. 
 Oranges on there way, at least they are in flower but maybe a while before the fruit will be ready to be picked.
 Potato's. well something my Dad was good growing while i was a kid. Now time for me to have a go.
 It took a while before the Lime started to show it was not asleep but now it's starting to show signs of life.
 This may be my favourite it's my Lemon tree. Favourite because i use Lemons in cooking.
 Curly Lettuce now these won't take long and i can start to pick them, maybe a salad for lunch.
 I have a number of Tomato plants of various types. Red ones, Cherry ones and even Black ones.
More tomato's what type who knows but they will be good.

Chickens but look how they have come on.

I have just been looking back at some of the pictures of my Chickens and decided to take some more and update the Blog.

So today i am proud to show just how they have came on in the last few weeks since i first got my Chickens and the pleasure they have given me.

This is where it all began, i was someone who had never kept Chickens before but knew i could get help and advice if i needed it.

All credit to Greg and Andrea who are the breeders. I saw just how much they care for there Chickens and i am glad i got to know them.

Here you can see No6. Why No6 well it goes back to the late 1960's and a program i was a fan of. No6 was a prisoner just like my No6 but this No6 gets a good life.

You can see the difference with this one, this is No1 or Chelsee or Babara. My son calls this one Barbara " private joke " My Grandaugher calls this one Chelsee.

I did try to get pictures of the others but getting them to stay still is impossible. One of the other three can be seen in the picture with No6. They have space to play plenty of food. The normal Chicken food but also plenty of green leaves cabbage etc also boiled rice. To make rice easy i have a rice cooker and make enough for four portions at a time. Enough to put into a container and freeze it for later. They get rice every other day as i try to give a varied diet.

They are now about 16 weeks of age and another 4/6 weeks before they start to lay eggs. Now i need to build egg boxes so they can have there own place to lay eggs.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Car boot sales are new and to small to be of any good

Today i wet to what i was told was a new car boot sale in a place called Olivia De Hospital. The venue was great and as it was raining it was held in a furniture store. The store owner also was the person in charge of the car boot sale.

In the UK there is a car boot sale in almost ever every town and city big and small. Here in Portugal the car boot market is small although there are a few that have kept going. What i found was that every stall bar one was English people and that they like me where selling things they no longer needed or wanted. 

The downside of this is that the only buyers where in fact the sellers and not a great deal of buyers. The biggest thing i found was that everybody had loads of Videos and Dvd's also Books. I was happy with what i sold and i priced things to get rid of them. A number of items when i was if i had another price instead of the asking price i just put the price UP not down. I got a few laughs but i was serious money would be nice but i wasn't going to get rid of things at a silly price so i stood my ground.

When i moved over last year i new i wouldn't have a TV system via Satellite straight away so i got every Video and DVD we owned and boxed them up to keep me going until i got a Satellite dish installed. Sadly the only place i could put a dish of the size needed to get UK TV i didn't have line of sight of the Satellite so that idea was ditch and i sold the Dish. It is so easy to just download anything that you could want to watch so that's what i now do.

There was an Portuguese buyer who offered me half for one item, with this i just picked it up and took it of sale and put it in a box. Another buyer for a large item for 45€ ask for contact details so he could get back to me as didn't have enough money with him.

The one Portuguese seller had a load of crockery he had got from Contenente that was going cheap. Well at lease he had a go maybe if i find a better place i will have a go again but for now i will just watch and wait. There are markets at Miranda do Corvo and at Penacova that are worth looking at.

I at least came a away with my money intact as i didn't buy anything that was on offer mainly because i had gone with the intention of getting rid of stuff not replacing what i have with something else.  

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The sun is out and look what happens

The difference that a few days of sunshine make. I did some washing yesterday evening and hung it in the loft , it was so warm up there that it's ready for ironing after only a few hours. Why the loft you may ask, i don't want my neighbors looking at my smalls put out to dry.

I went up to feed the Chickens during the day only to find then lying down on the floor enjoying the warmth of the sun. When they saw me with Cabbage leaves, Cooked rice and there usual Chicken food they went mad. They where jumping up so much i had to empty some Cooked rice into there place so i could get in to give them the rest of there food.


Plums Plums Oh no Cherries YES

I have already written before of my Addiction to Cherries. Cherry jam, Cherry ice cream in fact cherry anything well  have a surprise. In the beginning of August last year i found on my Estate all 124 sqm of it. I had some fruit tree that looked like Damsons and had the taste of Plums. Would have been better if they had been Cherries.

The trees are now covered in fruit and today i found on the floor by the chicken house what looked like a cherry. I do have a Cherry tree at the bottom of the lane but how was this Cherry on my land 50ft a way? I had a look at my Plum trees only to see fruit changing from Green as they had been a few days ago. Now they are a yellowish colour and with parts that are changing to red.

I have what looks like Cherries in fact four Cherry trees. I now have more Cherries than i can use. Who am i kidding, Cherry jam, Cherry Vodka, Cherry Brandy and anything else i can do with them. Cherry Crumble may be the first thing to do.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Windows open and no Flies

I found what looked like a good offer in a local Lidl. They had Fly screens for sale at 19.99€ and all you have to do is cut it to size and assemble all the  parts  together and fit to the window.

Last night after opening the package and deciding to wait till this morning i instead went over to a friends house for a cuppa. While there i told him about my new Flyscreen and that i would put it up today. Well while the kettle boiled he took me into his utility room and there he had a huge roll of Fly screen material. Guess what's going back to Lidl a 19.99€ Fly screen.
I was kindly given the roll of Fly screen and told to use what i want, so i made two for the windows in my lounge. The difference it makes having both windows in the lounge open and no flies.

Tomorrow after going to Lisbon airport in the early hours of the morning i will call into Leyroy Merlin and get some edging to finish the job off. As each room is complete then i will fit a Fly screen to the new double glazed windows that will be fitted. Flies your days are numbered.

My Dad

Fifteen years ago i was coming home from work on what was my weeding anniversary. As i turned into the road where i lived my then wife was running up the road to met me. My Dad had passed away. We went over to the house where as you could imagine everybody was there, well local family. It would be difficult for those who lived a distance to be there at the time of night it was.

One thing i like to remember of that night was that as the Funeral Directors where about to take Dad away they asked Ken to sign to release him to them. Ken suggested that i sign and that's the last thing i did for my Dad. I gave him into the care of others.

During the time that Lee was in Afghanistan i would often ask Dad to look down on Lee and watch over him. Well  Lee has now retired from the Royal Marines and i think during that time Dad did as i asked. Lee always came back safe and sound.

As i wait for my tomato plants to grow i remember when Dad always pinched out the side shoots. Dad i am waiting and i will do as you did all that time ago.

Dad we all need you even though you can't be with use.

Dad Rest in peace

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Well without water nothing will grow. Well we have water more than we need

Without water nothing will grow but the amount of water we have had is enough to make anything grow. I had dug over a piece of ground at the side of the road in front of where the veranda is going to be. It was only that we have had lots of rain or the ground would not have bee able to be dug at all. I had been given a few potato plants and i had the place for them so in they went.

For the last week or so i have been watching and waiting to see if the potato's would start to come up. Today i noticed that five of the potato's had started to come up. What a result.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Can you guess what you see in the photo before reading the text

Most people get fed up with rain but not me . My estate all 124sqm is under normal circumstances rock hard as it sits facing the sun all day. It's only that we have had a lot of rain that now i can do something with the ground. To get something done for my next project i needed a steel wrecking bar. This is a 5ft long steel bar that i used to break up the ground, even though we have had more than our share of rain the ground under the surface is still hard to work.

 I needed to get some posts into the ground to build what you can see in the photo. I know what it looks like but it's not a badly made fence. Yes it may be badly made but it's not even a fence for horse jumping. I need to put another 4 length's of wood. The wood is that dam Eucalyptus and i have been given all i need to build 3 of what you see and enough to build most of my Veranda apart from the floor boards. At the front of the photo will be another one and at the front of my estate i will have the last one. I have a lot of trimmings from pruning my Olive trees and along with leaves etc also horse manure and all covered with wood shavings to go behind the wall as i will call it and on top will be soil. Soil is not quite the right word, the amount of stones in the soil will be a bit interesting. I will do my best to remove the stones and find a use for them or put them on Ebay as rare Portuguese stone.

Well the walls will be twice the height you can see in the photo and when finished i will have some level and fertile land to use for planting on and in it.

At the front will be where the Mushrooms will grow, and at one end will be Blue Oyster and the other end will be White cap Mushrooms. All surplus mushrooms  and my surplus eggs once the girls start laying will be sold.

For family in the background you can see a ladder. That is the ladder that my Dad gave me and it is such a help when pruning my Olive orchard OK a couple of Olive trees but orchard sounds better.

The last two days have been very hot and with a cloudless sky.  Carrying tree trunks up a steep slope was back breaking in this heat but i finished the first terrace and completed one end. This will give me a level working area so no bending down doing work with whatever i plant on the top.

Now you can see what i have done today. Terrace number two is half made but due to the weight of the tree trunks and the step slope progress today was slow.
If you can imagine Jesus dragging his cross around, well that's how i felt. These tree trunks may not seem much but in this heat and there weight. With luck tomorrow it won't be that hot that it makes work difficult. I would hope to complete the second terrace. The next step will be a complete new post and the rest of the story.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

My car a job well done

Well here we are my car is now legal here in Portugal. It's the end of a journey that many say is a difficult thing to do. Care is the only thing that needs to be taken. Although all the documents are in Portuguese as you would expect it really is easy. That really is the end to this par of my life here at peace with the world. 

Once i start on my next challenge then i will let you all know and maybe it won't be long before i start. The Blog has been created ready to be made into a website so for now enjoy me standing at the rear of my car.

The end of a build and on budget

At the top of the village i live in is an old ruin that a lady from Germany found and had the vision to have it renovated into a beautiful home. I have been watching it for a long time now and it's nearing completion.

The outside of the new part of the building is now being covered in a kind of stone building technique called Xisto. The outside of the new walls was covered in an insulation and now the stone is being applied.

I may not be the best taking photos but you can see just what is being created here.

The lady whose name is Magdalena is lucky that she has a builder who i am told has completed  this build on budget and only the outside now to finish.

It is expected that this work will be completed by Friday of this week. When it's complete i will take some more photos of the finished house.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Could the worst of the rain be over?

I can remember rain in the UK, and when it rained you knew that it would at least stop at some point. We have had rain now for about a month, with an odd couple of days without rain or hardly any to speak of.

Yesterday i had a call from Geoff and sitting looking out of the window the rain was very heavy. In the distance i could see a little but sky and during the call i could see that the sky was getting bluer and before long it was a nice sunny day. Well for about an hour maybe and then the cloud came back.

Today it is cloudy but dry  so i have been doing a bit of gardening. I have planted my green bean yes one green bean because it was the only one to come up. I was given some Tomato plants and Chili and Pepper plants along with my Green bean.

I was given some water bottles by Pete and Allison and they cut the bottle around three side so as to have a top on to give a bit of protection to the young plants so i did the same.

You can see here some of the Chili plants and one Tomato plant behind the water bottles.

Next we have a variety of Green bean, Tomato, Chili, Pepper and green and red Curly Lettuce.

As you can see i a not proud Buckets, cut down bottles, bowls, pots and even pots that my fruit trees can in.  I have even made use of my Eco Friendly washing machine, i am using this as i don't have a manual to explain how to work an Eco friendly device like this so it's got plants in it. There are Tomato, red and green Lettuce a pepper and a couple of herbs.

Top left is green curly lettuce next down is red curly lettuce and at the front on the left is my Green Bean. Now my Green Bean has a pot that had my Lime tree in so i hope he does well as i like green beans.

Well that's all today from Gardening the Rural way.