A palace on wheels

Fourth summer starting in the mill and things are moving faster than ever, but also failures/problems keep the feet on the ground, a good thing.
So the low points.. bad garlic harvest, due to little winter/spring rain but also mice that seem not to mind the spice.

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Mice this year are turning out to be a real menace for our efforts… after eating much of freshly planted seedlings, both in the food forest and garden, they now ravish the unripe tomatoes !!! Turns out a mild winter helps them grow in huge numbers… We tried some home made non-chem bait, based on flour, but I m not sure we are getting anywhere with that..

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having said that, the garden is resilient and gives already a lot of food, mainly cucumbers at the moment as it s still early for the rest. Earlier in the month we finished the last plantings and now it s all about the harvest and preservation.

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So now for the big news ! A big step forward that was taken last month was getting our first chicken. Maro and her 8 pitsonia (local dialect for chicks) became part of the family in late May. First they stayed a few days in the workshop,

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then moved in temporarily in a favela coop next to Loop s place

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and finally after 10 days of creative ideas and good handy work

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Maro and the babies got their palace on wheels, with royal courts for their daytime entertainment.

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At the same time but not finished yet there s another big project going on, reshaping the back of the house to provide support to the canal, make a passage from nurseries to workshop, but also… make landing space for a climbing wall to be mounted on the wall of the house. More on this next month!

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we made a new herb garden,

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baked enough dry bread for the rest of the summer

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added another good set of logs for further building

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and build a new improved and good to last this time ping pong table!

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Until next month, a couple of sites we don’t get to see that often like an aloe vera flower and ginger and curcuma plants !

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dry landscape… but wait… the sea !!!

the signs of the hot and rain-less winter are showing, even more after no rain for 40 days…. (25 march-5 may). garlic and onions are again not going to be enough, since the attempt to install irrigation was too late…
also it is the first time ever we start the olive grove irrigation from the start of April, almost two months before the usual date !! so yes, things are not so green in the house… irrigating every day, and fearing serious water issues later on this summer.
Apart from this sad note that is affecting all gardening and farming, things are good in the house which again is full of great people that do what they can to help in all fronts.

Gardening is full on at this moment with late nurseries, frames for climbing plants and transplanting and planting every week in the garden which already has small green tomatoes and peppers :-).

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A very nice surprise this year have been the artichokes that have provided quite a few meals already

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the harvesting season for fruits and herbs is upon us and we have started with loquats, kritamo, capers, chamomile and saint john s wort

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in the food forest we have been building up the fence by planting some 100+ agave plants and in between some aloe vera too

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The biggest news of the last 2 months !!! the terrace with the sea view (aka mojito terrace) is done!!! well at least for this year as next year we might have a small extension. Thanks to all that helped with this heavy and long project !

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from this moment most of the photos of the last section are going to be taken from this terrace which has the best view in the farm ! till next month make sure you dance for some rain !

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doctor gardener and mister mason

march was much colder than february and thankfully much more wet too. Now spring is really upon us and the majority of the work involves gardening, but not only ! there is a small surprise which hopefully will be ready for the relaxing months of the summer.

a day or two after the last post we completed the strawberry hill project, by planting 60 of them on the newly created mini-swales
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tree work kept us busy well in March too this year. Using our very own humanure for fertilizing (plus some help from the goats),
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light pruning for the apple trees and heavy mulching in general
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The garden is now the main activity in a daily basis. After having a second hit in the nurseries, thus losing all the february seedlings this time from mice eating the seeds, I decided to fence the cold-frame with a very fine inox mesh, and finally got on with the seedlings for this summer s garden
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After deserting the garden for around 6 months we found this jungle
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and after a couple of days of weeding, fertilizing and mulching it started again looking like a garden
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and finally managing to plant the first seedlings early, even though the slug and mice incidents, thanks to the good weather.
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and now, a project many paliomylos visitors have been dreaming about, after a long hard day of work … the mojito terrace is finally on it s way !
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started by cleaning the canal
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leveling the first terrace
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and preparing the space for the flat stones of the floor, soon to come ! mojito4
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It ll take at least another month to have the first comfortable space for relaxing at the end of the day, but it has already started taking good form 😉

and that s all for this month, till next time some more photos (a good camera really makes a difference, thanks mariana for the artistic shots)
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anybody seen the winter ? we lost him… again…

yes, the early summer got me all dazed and I forgot to put up a post last month ! everything is flowering, not only the almonds

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this is the first time in my life I see a February like that…  I m showering outdoors everyday, no fire in the night is needed… and as I said all the trees if not flowering they are all budding at least… on one hand is nice to see the spring already but on the other hand.. some cold is necessary for the plants, let s just hope we get a lot of rain in spring cause otherwise we ll need some desert permaculture experts coming here soon…

anyhoo, this “winter” finds paliomylos very quite. I spent a month alone here, for the first time a long period, but unlike what I was expecting it was a really beautiful period and experience. I got to feel in tune with the place and find my own good rhythm.

so the biggest project of the last two months was the retention wall and terracing of the hill behind the canal. Terracing was a bad idea as we were losing really good topsoil by digging down for the cut and at the same time it would have been a major intervention to the previous landscape, so after the first terrace I changed the plan to making on-contour swales instead.

The wall was one of the toughest projects so far in paliomylos especially as the majority was carried out by Bastien and myself only,

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and then by myself alone with the cats n loop supervising the project.

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the end result is really good as the 200+ tires are solid.. 120 to 250 kilos each I hope they ll keep the soil and the canal from eroding for the next 50 years at least ! then the swales are already planted with a few hazelnuts, raspberries and lupins, mulched and with drip irrigation and we are waiting this week to transform this place to a strawberry hill with some 50+ new plants.

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in rest days there was a lot  of planting happening ! yes, around 40 new trees and bushes have been planted in the food forest. The irrigation was redesigned and improved based on mistakes of the past, trying to prevent the little ones from drying out this very hot summer ahead. On the same note loads of cuttings (mainly vine) and root shouts were taken, some potted, some in the ground, making a nice collection for next year ‘s plantings.

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the early summer nurseries were devastated by hungry little slimy visitors of the cold-frame. The slugs ate all tomato seedlings that were planted early in February and many of the cucumber ones.. so I got them drunk with some beer and I hope next patch will not be affected !

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some more smaller tasks of the last two months…

the solar powered light took the compost toilet on another level !

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getting amazing building logs from two dead cypresses (for the next mezzanine..)

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enough for this long long post with no people and too many plants and animals. till next time !

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the cider was fantastic… next year more !

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heavy jobs to keep warm, nice !

so there s not much completed from what s been happening since the olive picking finished but there s ongoing hard jobs and projects running right now and I have a feeling the place will look a lot different this coming spring !

the unexpected visit of great friends

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gave us the last push to finish the olive picking 😉

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the main garden is resting this winter, we only planted broad beans and mustard greens

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the olive grove gardens on the other side are ever growing with a new patch added recently for growing all the garlic for a year

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we picked all the logs and branches that were left over in the olive grove after the picking. the logs are going to be used for construction and the branches for fencing and protection of garden and young trees

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after last year s falling rocks from the canal, we decided to do some maintenance on it, something that will continue till spring

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together with the rocks there was also some soil that fell last year, so now the plan is to terrace the hillside beside the workshop. Big job but exciting, more on it on the following posts.

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soon the result of the work that is going on right now will be more obvious, for now some more photos of cats and the rest

happy new year 🙂

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moving forward !

big steps in the self-sufficiency front (at least in my head). It took a while (just like this blog post) but this last month we managed to get rid of the electric boiler replacing it with a wood stove one ! there s only two photos but this project was a headache for a while ! finally working, being much more efficient than I was expecting, hot water in 30 minutes with very little wood !

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Another step forward was getting rid of the toilet and bidet from the bathroom ! no more black water from the house means we can now recycle all the grey water waste from the house. So now the compost toilet is the only toilet in Paliomylos and it has a newly added urinal for the ladies, giving at the same time urine for fertiliser.

 

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last step… easy, but we did not have the will to do it so far, get rid of the fridge 😉

 

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so back to the normal news.. olives olives and again olives. This time they are Kalamata black olives. There s a couple weeks left in the season, finishing the kalamata and olive oil olives so no… you ll not get any more olive news for this year :-p

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the garden has a second flourishing these days since it s been quit summery lately, this time I ll skip tomato and cucumber photos, for some more interesting crops like sesame,

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colourful chillies

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Jerusalem artichokes,

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and gogi berries

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and some more garden photos..

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wine is ready, strong and tasty and the cider is on it s second fermentation

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the mushrooms were going wild before the mid autumn summer spell, and we took advantage of it, both in the mountain and in the olive grove

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another small construction took place in the rainy days of late October, to protect the fire wood and the outdoors seating area

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that s it for the last month and a half, till next time some more photos from the autumn in paliomylos 😉

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the harvest

September, the month of plenty and non stop harvest. First and foremost the garden, as always productive and keeps going into october 😉

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and for the first time sesame and jerusalem artichoke are coming soon !

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It is not a very good year for green olives, but still we already have been picking for a month and going well into october… we started 10 then 6, 4, 2 and now one is still picking, rough times in the olive grove.

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The wine Doctor, Filippos from Chalkida, came early in September to help out with our first try on wine !

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The apples this year have been the largest and tastiest of the last 3 years, probably because of the the heavy mulching we did early back in spring. So with such sweet apples we could only think of apple cider and so this time we took special care, using the right yeast and containers and so we hope for the best, something that we ll know in 3 months more or less.

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Besides the above, this generous month we picked a lot of figs, walnuts, peaches and now pomegranates.

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the help with the olives this year came along with a lot of energy for games and delicious food

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so that s all for now, see you in about a month again

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