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Graded grains make finer flour

This week: Foggy bottoms; Graded grains make finer flours; Designing with stone;

Morning fog
Morning fog

We’ve not had the best of starts to the week.

Bearing in mind that my Dol house is almost the last house on a narrow rural lane, one of the kittens managed to get hit by a car, belonging to my neighbours at the very end house.

First thing on Monday we were at my local vets. Fortunately nothing is broken, but Pongo is badly bruised and shaken.

We have Meloxoral, an oral painkiller and some antibiotic. He has spent the week tucked up in bed, with a hot water bottle.

I’ve told him that he has used one of his lives and now only has 8 left so he must be more careful!

He is still very wobbly today and has spent the day sunbathing – I mean who wouldn’t – but obviously he has had a nasty knock.

Feeling sorry
Pongo Feeling sorry for himself

I must pay tribute to Doctor’s Prosper and Fabian for the standard of care that they provide at their Lota veterinarska ambulanta clinic.

On Thursday morning, the neighbourhood Tom cats were paying unwelcome attention to Pongo’s sister Bljsac.

Although the kittens are only just seven months old and Bljsac is small, weighing just over 2 kilograms, she has obviously come into season for the first time.

I called the Vets and they asked if I could bring her in at 11am for spaying. We were there a little before 11 and I left her for the surgery.

Picking her up at 2pm, she was still sleeping soundly, but the operation was successful. By Friday morning, she was back to normal and bouncing everywhere.

Very neat scar
Bljsac’s very neat scar

There are very few veterinary practices where you can get a same day service like this and their standard of care is absolutely first class. Thank you!


Foggy bottoms

It’s been over 20ºC on several days this week. In Stari Grad, the weather station there has recorded 25ºC, so we are rapidly moving from early to middle spring weather.

The very warm days has meant some radiation fog in the mornings. As soon as the sun appears over the hills to the east the fog quickly burns off.

Radiation fog
Radiation fog

I came across this fantastic time lapse video of fog this week in Abu Dhabi. This is a city I know well from my 8¾ years of living there. It does show what can be done by someone with an eye for a good photo.

My Myrobalan plum is in full blossom this week. Not only does it look fantastic, but it also has a lovely “plummy” scent.

Dol Hanami festival
Dol Hanami festival

My show of blossom rivals the Japanese Hanami.

I’ve taken some photographs of one particular branch, as the buds swell and then burst open.

Myrobalan plum swelling buds
Myrobalan plum swelling buds
Plum blossom buds
Plum blossom buds
Myrobalan plum first blossom
Myrobalan plum first blossom
Myrobalan plum full blossom
Myrobalan plum full blossom

If I had thought a little more about it, I should have set up the timelapse camera. But then there is always next year!

One of my indicator species for my Springwatch calendar is a clump of daffodils under the Šipac tree on the edge of the drupe orchard. This week they have their first flowers.

Daffodils in bloom
Daffodils in bloom

These are not the first daffodils in the garden to flower, but they are the ones I record flowering dates for each spring.

They have come into flower on exactly the same date as last year.


Graded grains make finer flowers

Aside from the interuptions, my week has been about digging out the path around the workshop.

I had to ask my friend Cvjetko about how deep I should go. We settled on 40cm below DPC.

When to stop
When to stop digging

With an eye on the weather forecast, on Tuesday set up the rotary riddle. But I have to say it has been hard work digging out the soil for the path’s foundations.

Rotary riddle
Rotary riddle

Although this was the fold yard, there is just so much stone in the soil.

Vast amounts of stone
Vast amounts of stone are in the soil

After every two or three shovel fulls’, I have to use a pickaxe to break up a bit more of the soil, before hefting it into the machine.

The resulting soil is beautiful and much too good to waste, when most of my soils are thin and impoverished.

However I think that by volume, close to 50% of what I dig out is stone. Like the old saying goes, “Graded grains make finer flowers!”

The stones come in all sizes from large to small pebbles. The biggest pieces of stone I remove by hand. The medium to small stones are removed by the riddle, leaving me with a large pile.

Large stones removed by hand
Large stones are removed by hand

It has taken me all week to dig out around a single cubic metre though, so the going has been very hard, but at least I can now see progress.

Slow progress
Slow progress


Designing with stone

Thinking ahead to the next week’s work, I have been moving some of the stones which were left where they came out of the ground, when I dismantled the very old buildings.

I drew a sketch of how I want the path down into the top orchard to look.

Stone steps drawing
Stone steps visualisation drawing
This is now
This is now

There is one very large, flat stone, more than a metre ling and 25cm thick that I am going to use as a step from the path to the route down into the orchard.

600kg of granite
600kg of granite

A number of these stones are in the way of where the path round the workshop will go, so I have been moving them in preparation.

Heavy stones
Heavy stones

With some of them weighing in excess of 500 kilogrammes, I need to move them carefully and slowly. It does call for lots of spinach.


Tonight is full moon – the end of another month here in Dol. This is the photograph I have just taken as the moon rises over the hills to the east. NCG

February full moon
February full moon

4 Responses

  1. Brian Homans
    | Reply

    Norman, The little clip of the flour graders reminded me of the time I was driving a police Vauxhall Viva HB along a bumpy rural road, when the fire extinguisher became dislodged from its clip under the driver’s seat and discharged itself. I had to drive straight home looking just like a Homepride flour grader and change my uniform!

    I am not especially a ‘cat person’ but I hate the thought of any animal being hurt, so I hope your kitten makes a full recovery.

  2. Marcy
    | Reply

    Beautiful picture of the moon. Incredible. So sorry to hear about your baby kitten and the car. Thank goodness nothing was broken. Thank you for the wonderful story as well. I learn something new every week from you. Have a great week.

  3. Andy Robinson
    | Reply

    I know you are a cat person, Norman, but the last thing you need is another litter of kittens!…. Well done on the speying ….

  4. Elizabeth Blackledge
    | Reply

    Poor Pongo … I would have given him some Arrives for the shock and bruising as well. Hope he is returning to normal now. He will probably be very cautious around cars in future. Our dog, Freya, managed to be clipped by a car, when she was fairly young and a bit of a cocky-boots – forever after, if she heard a car, she didn’t have to be told to get on the side. I think, prior to that, she thought we are being overly cautious making her get on the side if a car came!
    We have some beautiful sunny days here send are drying out nicely.
    Happy path building. Take care.

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