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Samstag, 29. Dezember 2012

Frost and Fire - Rime and Rhyme

Yesterday morning it was really cold, when I went for my morning walk and there was frozen dew - I had to look up the word: rime - on the ground.

A very poetic word, I find, that matches the delicacy of this ice.

In the evening we had the fire going and a line from a poem sprang to mind:

Ah, distinctly I remember 
it was in the bleak December, 
And each separate dying ember 
wrought its ghost upon the floor.....

Dear readers, this time I won´t tell you where it is from, I think you all know, or? tell me... 

And here is a proof of our cosy evenings - and the first time, that the two cat-enemies are quietly together in one room!

Mittwoch, 26. Dezember 2012

A normal day

Meanwhile we have established a routine, so I can tell you about my days here.
(I have my watch still on Spanish time, which is one hour ahead of Portuguese time)
  • 8:50 wake up - don´t stir or make noises, unless you are really awake and willing to get up. Otherwise there will be a very excited dog hopping up and down and barking, trying to climb into bed, which invariably rises the other dog downstairs - more barking.
  • leave the door to the bathroom open, don´t be shy to have Pancho watching you; it´s better than having him scratch at the door.
  • 9:00 go downstairs, fall over the other dog Sinsa, which is very pleased to see you, and wants to have a cuddle, while you are trying to get your boots on.
  • Fluffy, the cat, comes and asks for food. Put her little dish on the bench next to you and take care, that Pancho doesn´t get his nose into it. It is easier to leave the dish on the table.

  • With Pancho dancing all around you, fasten the lead to his collar and out the door. Sinsa runs ahead, barking, Pancho tries to follow and nearly strangles himself in the intent. 
  • (Yesterday morning I found Spots, the salamander with the few yellow spots, in the dog dish, unable to get out. No idea why he wanted to get in there in the first place.)
  • The little morning round goes down the driveway, up the slope, out the gate, over the stone wall and on the walking track back home. I am relieved to see the reason for the walk being fulfilled and equally happy, that I don´t have to carry plastic bags with me to collect the deposits. Afterwards Pancho usually leaps a few steps further and then starts scratching vigorously; earth flies in all directions (like in my face), but hardly ever hits the heap.
  • 9:30 back home; Walter has prepared the breakfast. And I even get freshly squeezed orange juice!
  • Mimi, the little tiger-cat comes and asks for food. I put her dish on the stairs in the other corner of the house, since the two cats don´t like each other.
  • 10:00 time to feed the horse and donkeys. Remember to bring the goodies, that I saved for them: I am dividing the bio-garbage into things for the compost and things for the animals. This morning they got potato peels from making the potato salad yesterday. Golosa is very careful to pick up food from my hand, but Burra, the old donkey, does not notice the difference between food and fingers. My left index finger is still swollen and blue...
  • Walter helps me filling the buckets with straw and carrying them to the paddock. I have already posted some photos a few days ago.
  • 11:00 free time for blogging or writing for my tile book - Walter does the washing up
  • 13:30 depending on what we are having, start preparing lunch. If we have left-overs from the day before ( I usually cook a two-day meal), I can start half an hour later. Today is easy too: fried salmon with potato salad, which is already prepared.
  • 15:00 Walter has siesta; I go with the dogs again. This time in the other direction, over the jumping stones and up this walking track. Bring the camera, make photos of trees, lichens, mosses, mushrooms etc.

  • 16:00 back home. Walter has prepared tea - and there is the good Christmas cake, that Eva gave us! More free time until
  • 17:30, when its time to feed the horse and donkeys. Eva told me, where they could be in their paddocks, but they are always standing at the gate/ creek, waiting for me.
  • 18:30 short round with the dogs again.
  • 19:00 dog feeding time. They get dry food with some liquid - gravy or flavoured water. Yesterday I even gave them some chicken bones! Well, it was Christmas!
  • Walter gets the fire in the living room going. He is switching around in the TV, I bring a book. There are so many books, that I would like to read - you can see my actual choice in the bars on the right-hand side. At the moment it is: Eric Newby:  The Last Grain Race. The author sailed in 1938 on the 4-mast barque Moshulu around the world.
  • Quiet evening with Fluffy on the lap, Pancho on the sofa, Sinsa at our feet. 
  • 0:00 tiptoe upstairs, try not to disturb the dogs, but in vain. Sinsa wakes up and takes her duty as watch-dog seriously, so starts barking. Pancho follows upstairs.

Montag, 24. Dezember 2012

Instead of Christmas illumination...

.... the Portuguese Fire Salamander! :-))

in latin: Salamandra salamandra gallaica - this subspecies is recognizable by the red blotches in the yellow spots; see this article.
Doesn´t especially the one below look really poisonous? I certainly would not want to have a bite...

As you can see, every one of them has a different pattern; so I could start naming them :-)
I found them under a wet blanket in a shed; they had gotten in by falling over the threshold and then could not get out again. Now I built them a "bridge" with a piece of wood...

Samstag, 22. Dezember 2012

animal-sitting in Portugal again

Over the X-mas holidays we are taking care of the house and animals in Portugal, where I was in summer. Without Kasimir *sniff* we could leave both and have a relaxing time.

It started with a stay in Sevilla; I saw an interesting exhibition of old photographs; in the evening we went to the cinema and watched Life of Pi. I had read the book in German (Schiffbruch mit Tiger) and just had to see the film. This cinema always brings films in version original, and whatever you see there, is good. Also this film is very recommendable!
Afterwards we made a tour round Triana to find out, whether all the pubs, that we remembered, still existed - not so recommendable ;-)

The next day we took the bus to Badajoz - three hours on winding roads, with stops in lots of little village, all with long romantic names like: Sta. Olalla del Cala, Fregenal de la Sierra, Jerez de los Caballeros, Valle de Matamoros etc. 
Eva picked us up from the bus station, then it was another hour to their place.

We are caring for two dogs, two cats, a horse and two donkeys.
The cats are the easiest: they only come to tell you, that the dish is empty or that they want a cuddle. Other than that, they are self reliant.
Not so the dogs, especially Pancho, who has to be kept on the lead and needs at least two walks per day.

Early morning sun on the village of Marvão

Sinsa, a calf-sized dog, can run without a lead and barks our way free - at least so it seems.
Then there is a horse and two donkeys to care for. The pony, that I knew from my first stay, had died. Last time there was only one donkey, which stayed with the neighbours. They have to be fed in the morning and evening.

The donkey´s paddock is at the other side of a creek - and since they don´t want to cross it...

... I have to do it:

Finally: Feierabend! - we call it a day

Dienstag, 18. Dezember 2012


Im Moment hört und liest man ja viel vom bevorstehenden Weltuntergang....
Für mich ist das allerdings vor allem ein linguistisches Problem.

Wenn ein Schiff untergeht, sinkt es auf den Grund des Meeres
(im Bild der Bug der Titanic, aus wikipedia)

Und wenn die Welt untergeht - wo geht sie dann hin?
Auf den Grund des Universums? Hat das Universum einen Grund?? Ein Oben und Unten?
Fragen über Fragen....

Mittwoch, 5. Dezember 2012

PARIS Aufarbeitung

Nun ist sie endlich fertig: die PARIS-Tasche!!
Ich hatte euch ja schon hier und hier davon erzählt... nun kann ich euch also das ganze Werk zeigen:

Und zwar von allen Seiten!
Dies war der erste Einkaufstest! Wie gut, dass ich mal eine ganze Rolle Mülltüten von diesem hellblau-grün gekauft habe, denn die Paris-Tüten sind nur das dunkelgrün - die damit auch komplett aufgebraucht sind. Das Zuziehband ist gestricklieselt und wie immer bei mir, habe ich die Muster nur so π mal Daumen entworfen (Eiffelturm-Grafik und PARIS-Schrift ausgedruckt und beim Häkeln drangehalten). Wie immer also ein (nicht ganz perfektes) Unikat!