Our cat Loki wanders the hills screeching a mating call to non-present tomcats. For the first time in our lives we’ve heard the song of a cuckoo that wasn’t wooden and stuffed in a tall clock. And we have switched to eating our big meal in the middle of the day when it’s too hot to work. Yes, spring has come.
We are now a registered WWOOF farm (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and have just had our first volunteers, a young Israeli couple that stayed for a week. To prepare for them we spent a couple of weeks building a new room in the cottage. Our toilet is, at last, indoors! It is now possible to make compost in peace without fear of molestation by cats though, alas, the view and fresh breeze are gone. In the rudimentary toilet room we plan to earth plaster the walls and build a shower. For now, however, our guests used this charming chilling shower.
Our volunteers helped us really begin to turn the garden plan into a garden. Bramble beasts have been dealt a severe blow. Although we had planned to start simply with only a few basic vegetables this year once we began poring over seed catalogues of heritage varieties all restraints blew away in a spring breeze.
There is much more work to be done but now we have spinach, col rizada, carrots, parsnips, lettuces, cabbage (summer and winter), leeks (hardy and autumn), onions (three types), garlic, broccoli (quick heading and green heading), purple cauliflower and oca (five varieties) in the ground. Now we’re preparing for all of the summer vegatables. Our yurt bedroom has turned into a plant nursery full of milk cartons cut in half with seedlings and soil to excitedly check every morning.
Times are dry. Galicia has been in drought for over eighteen months now. Locals talk of climate change and how the annual climate used to be as regular as a well wound cuckoo clock. Now it’s dry and unpredictable. Our springs hold out well though and, now that we have fixed the irrigation tank, we will be able to soak our garden crops as necessary. Times are hard for Galicia and Spain. The government is pushing through a new law that will remove many of the labour rights the spanish have earned; the law will make it very easy to fire workers with little warning or compensation. In resistance a massive general strike stopped the country for a day. Marches in the large cities of Galicia reached over 100,000 per city, an enormous show of strength for this small country in a country. We attended a founding meeting of a new political movement in Galicia that has come out of the Indignados movement. The Indignados were the young, angry and defiant that occupied city squares up and down Spain. Unemployment amongst the young is well over 50% and the economy slides into deeper recession in spite of Spain’s following all of the economic rules that were set up for it by the European Union and the IMF. Spain shows that even when following the rules the capitalists setup, the people still lose. Out of this resistance an eco-socialist ‘political space’ is being setup to organise a response from below. Our participation in the Eco-galeguista project has highlighted to us that, just as we were beginning to communicate reasonably well in castellano (spanish) we have to begin learning gallego (the local language). May rain and change come.
Dafna and Itamar cooked a few traditional Israeli dishes for us, taught us a bit about pruning trees and gave us a traditional Hebrew worker/farmer’s blessing over the food on Friday night. Our garden excites us endlessly. We have just begun digging the first of the high beds now and are experimenting with a few green manures: sun flowers and lupines. A few interesting tree and shrub plants loom if we can get them to germinate in our yurt. Just as the work intensifies, fortunately, so do the visitors. We are very much excited by all the friends, family and volunteers headed here in the coming months; a busy and fulfilling time at Xardín do Cernunnos.