Come to our party!
This week: The motto of the wise is; Many hands; Sowing seeds; Come to our party;
Summer in Dol is always hot and this year is no exception.
Being on the side of a hill and close to the trees means that it is not quite as hot as the Stari Grad Plain, but once the temperature is over 35ºC, how much over it is is immaterial. In winter it is not as cold either.
This week the daytime temperature has “only” averaged 32ºC, ten degrees less that the western Mediterranean.
From being five or more degrees above the average at the end of June, we are now about on the average temperature for this time of year.
Everything around Dol is extremely dry. Our last significant rainfall was 33 mm on the 2nd April. In total we had 76 mm in April, 11 mm in May, 18 mm in June and just 1.5 mm so far in July.
At this point in the summer I would have expected to have had about 95 mm / 95 litre per M², whereas the actual amount is 31 mm, so less than a third of the average, hence the need for daily irrigation.
There is no rain on the weather horizon into August.
I have finished the first part of the rockery wall in the Top Orchard. I needed to cut a few sharp corners with a masons chisel to make everything fit perfectly.
The next job will be with the rotary riddle to separate soil from stone. However because of the dryness, the dust created using the riddle is just too much, so the job is on my “pending” list.
The motto of the wise is…
On Wednesday evening I saw the unmistakable smoke trail across the western sky at sunset.
Smoke from a forest fire tends to be in a band across the sky, is translucent and the colour of nicotine. A check on line at the Copernicus Emergency Management Portal and I saw the fire was close to Šibenik, some 96 kilometres to the north west.
There are numerous large fires burning all across Europe, from Portugal in the East to Greece in the west and here in the Balkans to Germany and Poland in the north.
On Thursday morning the fire was still burning and overnight I had smelled smoke in the bedroom – at this time of year all the windows and doors are open.
The Vatrogasci had problems in Šibenik because land mines, left over from the 1990 Balkan war, kept exploding. This meant that only aircraft could effectively fight the fire as it was unsafe for firefighters on foot.
The fire was contained and declared extinguished on Friday, but not before 20 houses had been burned to the ground.
The closeness of the Maquis to my home is a worry because it is unmaintained and has dozens of different owners. Each of these parcels is owned by one, but often several people and most have been fallow for years, allowing the Maquis to encroach and grow.
Where there are olives, the owners cut the tall grass down in the spring. By this week the stems are like dry straw and need just one spark to ignite.
The actual Maquis is an impenetrable jungle of undergrowth. It is typical Mediterranean vegetation, with a high oil content and easily burnt.
My neighbour was outside on Thursday with his chain saw, trying to clear an area of his land, but when the trees are just 25 meters away from my gate, and most plots are completely neglected, the risk is huge.
The motto of the wise is, be prepared for surprises, so I have hosepipes fully charged at all times, in various places, just in case.
But inevitably we will have a fire at some point and the risk grows, along with the vegetation, every year.
My neighbours from Köln are here for the summer and said that if I wanted help with anything, they would be happy to offer their services.
Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I realised that this was an offer made just at the right moment.
I am hoping to continue work in the Konoba in September, once building work starts again. There is a staircase to build and other jobs, which Cvjetko will help me with.
I should rephrase that. He will do the building work and I’ll help him where I can!
However the Konoba has been used as a furniture store after the family heirlooms came in the van from the UK last October. There is a huge oak sideboard, a Welsh dresser, 18th century oak chest, my Grandfather’s Grandfather Clock etc.
These will all go into the lounge, once it has been built that is. But for that event I’m not holding my breath.
Meanwhile in my other store, I have furniture and fittings which will go into the Konoba, once it is finished. So this was an opportunity to swop things around.
Most things are still boxed from when they came from Abu Dhabi, which makes relocation straightforward.
I started by emptying most of the store, to get at furniture at the back, then with the help of Carsten and family, we did a swop round moving the big and heavy items into the small store, and furniture for the Konoba into where it will eventually reside.
Most of what remains in the Konoba can easily be relocated when building work takes place, which was not something I could have done with the family furniture.
So all in all a good job done, with thanks to my neighbours.
I collect seeds all year round, as they become ready and ripe. At this time of year, there are several plants which have died back.
In the spring my Honesty plants, Lunaria annua looked lovely in a damp corner near the wood store.
The deep cerise flowers brighten a dark and otherwise uninteresting corner.
Now they have finished flowering and completely died back, so I have cut the dead stems and harvested a large envelope of seeds.
In addition I have sown a number of the seeds in the same place. This plant is a biannual, occasionally an annual.
I will keep the area damp and try and encourage the seeds to germinate this summer and establish, so I have a big display next spring.
We’re celebrating, come to our party!
Its our birthday today and we are 2, (that’s 24 in human years), so we’re having a party this afternoon and everyone is invited! Please come….
We have Whiskas, Felix, Kibble and Friskies, even Felix Party Mix and there is fresh fish and ice-cold goats milk, because that’s good for felines and it is sooo hot outside.
So there is something for everyone.
It doesn’t seem long since we were really tiny and now we are young adults.
We are a little bit sad though because our Mum, Isabijela disappeared a year ago and we also lost a brother when he was a few days old, and our little sister who was killed by a hunting dog.
This morning we were out early as always, helping to water the olives and then racing through the trees, all before the sun was up and it got hot.
So now we have to go because its Party time…..
You are welcome 😉
Hi Norman, we have been thinking of you with all the fires being reported across Europe. Hope your precautions are not needed. We are bracing ourselves for some hot weather, which, if the forecast is to be believed, will be followed by a little rain.
I noted that you have harvested all your Honesty, which seems a shame because you are missing all the lovely white oval ‘screens’ from the centre of the seed pods. If you leave some to just go to seed for themselves you will have the joy of discovering the plants in all sorts of unlikely places – if they are somewhere you don’t want you can just pull up or dig up and move. In the meantime you have the second attraction later in the year. It is easy to recognise the seedlings from the heart shaped leaves. Just a thought. 😊
Stay safe and well. Best wishes from a slightly cooler East Yorkshire.
Norman, Another lovely blog. The weather is very crazy these days. I hear daily of the fires across Europe and the Mediterranean. As you said, all we can do is prepare.
The babies are 2 and looking healthy as ever. So big. Loved seeing all of them. Happy Birthday to the kids.
The walkway is really looking good. Lots of backbreaking labor is paying off. Your property is just expanding and looking so fine.
Thanks again for sharing with me. Stay safe and be well. Marcy
Have been missing your reports, Norman! Glad to be back in the loop. BTW, I published my fourth book of nonfiction titled “Bush Pilot!” There are many such titles on Amazon, but only one by yours truly. There are 29 color illustrations in this one by the renowned Canadian artist Chris Rohrmoser, making for a collectible bundle of aviation-oriented tales. Check it out on Amazon.com!