Category: Expats (Page 1 of 3)

Ebro Valley crop circles cultivation- Camarles style.

Crop circles mysteries have baffled us over the history of time. We have marvelled in their beauty, their mysteries, legends of ominous satanic work at large, questionable hoaxers, climatic changes, studied by the intellectual professors, Crop circle (s) are preserved in stunning photographs until the end of time or even aliens landing (fringe theorists) and working their ‘butts off’ through the night while farmers slept.

Liz Crichton (started her project around 2017) gave thanks in 2018 saying: ”And still our wonderful crop circles keep producing! #abundance#gratitude”. Now wait a minute, Ayrshire tatties grown by a Scottish lassie relocated to the countryside in Camarles, Terres del Ebre? I’m awfully impressed as the climatic conditions could not be at more opposite extremes. I for one will hint for a specimen from next harvest to try one ‘lonely’ plant to propagate. After all, I was not nicknamed by my brother as Spud, when I was no more than knee-high to a grasshopper, for nothing!

So how does Liz still do it in 2020? Here is what was relayed to me as I lamented about my rock hard Spanish soil ideal for olive plantation, but vegetables-really?

“Crop circles – without a doubt!”

Take all your composting materials, cuttings, weeds, food compost waste twigs etc., and gradually layer the inside any size circle that is manageable for you to reach a circumference of 4 metres and a depth of 25cm. The tougher twigs /cuttings go on the bottom. Create a thick layer and stamp it down under your boot(advisable to wear on the el campo), then fill up the rest with mixed layers (any old way works). Finally, tramp it down again and water it.

Crop circle preparation

Once it has created a kind of dense vegetation mat you can immediately pour over a whole 70-litre bag of compost on top and plant in either seeds or plugs of anything that grows upwards i.e. lettuce, chard, spinach and so on.

crop circle young lettuce

In the 2nd year (or winter) top the circles up with another bag of your compost material and you can grow deep plants, like potatoes, carrots beetroot or even parsnips, as by then your initial compost material will be turning into soil in your crop circle. It is important to line the edges of your wire with the drying grass or weeds to save the new compost or precious water flowing away.

Crop circle 1st year growth

After the 2nd year, you can remove the encircled wire meshing and spread the compost and dig into your ground. It will now be soil down to a depth of 6″ (15.24cm) because of the worm activity and water( you can hand water if irrigation is not doable) that has nourished below your circles!

End of crop circle year 2: Ayrshire potatoes

“This year I’ve used a light sprinkling of 15/15/15 feed to once a week with great results!”

Multi Crop circles

“Mind you, I talk to them as well!” quipped Liz Crichton, “and I always ask before I pick and use www.moonandgarden.com“. The Moon & Garden is guided by the moon’s influence. Avery nifty application (French, English, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch) as your coordinator to optimize your daily ‘best to do’ organic gardening by using biodynamics to use earth’s energy of the sun and moon enhanced with your personalized recording of Calendar, Gallery and action Alarms.

“May I pick you now, por favor?”

However, this is not a new-fangled idea amongst the traditional farmers in this valley. When we first moved to our Finca (2005), Partida de San Bernabe’, our neighbours aka. vecinos, came across to see what small vegetable plants for sewing I had just proudly bought. (I say proudly as my run of Spanish verbiage was almost non-existant!) He muttered away through his toothless grin in Catalan -no normal, no no- HIs wife explained in Spanish that I must only plant according to the moon cycle as his grandfathers had always done –Siempre– I considered myself rightly told off!

(c)Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay

Camarles welcome all -lovely stalls-lovely people-lovely friendly little town

20401055_1432307533527308_807822529_nAt Camarles this Saturday 29th July, 2017 from 9am-1pm is an antique/craft sale where we will be selling a variety of homemade, delicious edibles and art items.

Be sure to get there early if you want a bottle of “No Mas Moscas” (fly repellent) as the word spreads of its effectiveness, it is selling very fast!

We are running an end of the month try it special (only a few more days left on offer) on our homemade, ecological goat cheese buy 1 get 1 free. It can be used as a delicious alternative to soft cheese, cream cheese or sour cream in any recipe, topping for pizza or baked potato or eaten fresh with crackers or bread. It also freezes well so stock up now during this one time special!

All of our products are made with love. We’ve been told you can taste it and as we are there each week we take requests for colors on the art projects and flavor combinations in the homemade cheese. We use almost exclusively organic herbs from our own garden and wild ones from our land. We can make vegetarian cheese on request as our in stock stuff has a quarter of a gram of cuajo per cheese along with a bifidous culture and milk from our own goats plus our homegrown herbs and that’s it no chemicals, no salt (except dried Parmesan style) and nothing else. We grow oregano, basil, cinnamon basil, chives, sage, tarragon and harvest wild garlic, wild thyme and wild Rosemary.20370769_1432307506860644_578559664_n

Our guest contributor :Stephanie Crystaal20292523_1432307920193936_557254422_n

How a chance game of scrabble brought me to the Ebro Valley

By guest blogger Marie Pugh

You know how it is, its late, you can’t sleep so you’re wasting time cruising through the social media sites. Ah Facebook! Scrabble … yep that should waste a bit more time. Anyway I got hooked. Was playing every night with different people, suddenly a little box appeared, a chat box. What the hell I thought, why not, it’s not as if they can see me sat here bleary eyed and unkempt in my not so flattering PJs.

So that’s how I met the author Rosie Reay who happened to live in the Ebro Valley. Sat in the cold in Cardiff she painted a very attractive picture of her life on the Finca, I could almost smell the almond blossom and picture the soaring of the eagles. Come to visit she said. We’ve a great fiesta coming up she said. The whole town dresses up and parties, you’d love it.

Mmmmm…. I’ll have a think about it. Next thing you know the flights to Reus were booked and before I knew it Ryanair were bouncing the plane down the runway.

River Ebro 1Now the trip by car from Reus to Tortosa was interesting to say the least but it wasn’t until we got to our destination we realised just how interesting. Those ladies by the side of the road weren’t selling oranges!! It was late when we got to Hotel Corona, but the hotel was an absolute delight, and I couldn’t wait to explore our surroundings over the next few days and even better I was going to meet Rosie Reay in person. What does one wear to meet a published author??

 

The Caravan

Farmstay

By our guest blogger Sue (aka slightleynuts)

Now we are living in our house it was a question of what to do with the caravan? A few people suggested offering it for rent. People might enjoy the experience off grid, or on  small farm living abroad.

Learning to live using solar power and no piped mains water is a challenge! I remember (in England) how I took for granted switching on a light or turning on a tap or just the simple pleasure of hopping in and out of the shower without thinking about the water consumption or the power it tool to work the pump!!

“It seemed a good idea, we have been working towards getting the caravan ready.”

1IMG_20140824_155219This area made a big difference, it doubled our living area.

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We spent many evenings stargazing and listening to music, or entertaining friends.

 

 

 

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It seems so much bigger now there are not 4 dogs lolling all over the place.

 

 

 

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I remember trying to make honeycomb and the whole caravan filling up with bees!

 

 

 

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Its been a real trip down memory lane for us and now is finally ready for renting. A holiday with a bit of something different. You can learn about “Living off grid” or trying to become self sustainable.

 

 

 

The caravan has 3 bedrooms which sleep 2 people in each. The living room also has a hide away double bed, so it can sleep between 6/8 people. “It has its own BBQ”

So if you or anybody you know would be interested in coming to stay please contact me. We are set net to Els Ports Parc Natural in Catalunya Spain. There are many cycling and walking routes locally, a variety of beaches, natural pools all within a 30/40 minute drive and the local town of Tortosa is set on the River Ebro. Famous for its fishing. especially cat fishing.

Im more than happy to show you around our little farm and intoduce you to some of the characters!! Maybe try your hand at goat herding!! Or just come and say Hi to Pickle 🙂

If you are interested then come have a look at the goat escape

For more of our guest blogger Sue please visit http://slightleynuts.blogspot.com.es/

Bingo: Building That Bridge Back Home

Re-loaction

Which road will you take?

 

One of the biggest and most contentious scenarios anyone will have about living abroad, it’s the difficulty in dealing with a living situation that might not be as comfortable as what they’ve grown accustomed to. It’s not just a change of location; it’s also a change in culture, of contacts, and for all intents and purposes, of an entire way of life. No matter where people might move and no matter what the reason, finding the best way to adjust should be the first goal of anyone living abroad.

Here are some things to take into consideration for people planning, or thinking about, living abroad;

Make Use of Modern Technology
It probably goes without saying that with more and more people moving away from their country of origin in order for business reasons, it becomes even more important to keep contact with friends and family back home. Yet it’s surprising how many people still feel estranged despite how much modern technology has changed our lives. iPhone users can use Facetime to get in touch with relatives no matter where they are, while Skype is a great option for those without a smartphone.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so many other websites and apps have been bridging people effectively ever since they’ve been launched. While it might not be as good as actually interacting with friends in person, it’s all a matter of taking the initiative and making use of the tools that people have at their disposal to make expat life more comfortable.

Turn The Old Into Something New
Because people can only take so much of their old homes and lives with them abroad, it’s important to find new ways to enjoy old things. Even for something that’s rooted in so much history as community bingo, simply finding a room to go to online with old friends over the weekend can work wonders, especially with chat functionality enabled on some providers.

“I get the privilege of meeting so many different people from so many backgrounds and I see so many lives changed with huge wins!” Ellie, a Chat Moderator for Betfair Bingo, stated. A strong community, no matter where people end up, is what can make or break an experience entirely.

Move Outside the Expat Bubble
It becomes easy to gravitate towards something that’s pleasant and familiar, but when Englishmen are afraid of talking to anyone that isn’t an Englishman, or when an American expat family will only eat at McDonalds or other US-themed restaurants, it only makes it more difficult to adjust in the long run.

The modern day nomad will always have the problem of being neither here nor there, but the solution isn’t to create an insular life. Celebrate what makes the new location unique and special, get to know the people, and build a home wherever life might take you.

 

Fair Exchange Xerta

Fair Exchange Xerta – Catalonia and afar

Xerta or Cherta they are one and the same place, however this service is not limited to the friendly village along the canal and the River Ebro, it is open to Spain. After all we have Fedex, Correos (buyer collects or pay postage.)

This is an open group set up on our best e-friend and confidante  a.k.a. Facebook. Here is another innovative lady in southern Catalonia, moving and shaking, inspiring us all to post our items for exchanging.

In the festive spirit, there is more – it is free of charge and with Maggie’s blessing, in serving the community.

What you have to exchange need not be mega big or exceptional, but it may be just what someone else is looking for. The old adage of  bartering and swapping prevails.

“Fair enough,” I hear you say, “but what if I have what they need, yet do not want the exchange they are offering?”

“It is very easy and straight-forward. Talk to them. Persuade, debate, exchange, recycle, haggle, swap, sell or give freely.” After all, we are in the season of giving and goodwill.

There is another angle to this Fair Exchange Xerta group; you need something but they have nothing to exchange. Fair enough – put forward your request politely and be honest in what your budget limit is subject to your approval of goods.

Now this is a very interesting angle; you wish to promote an event or have a business(one ‘man’ or corporate) and want to promote your products or services. This is a novel outlet to get your business out there in less than the 30 second elevator pitch. The charging is done on a sliding scale to suit the client –  be it weekly, monthly, tri-monthly, or sixth-monthly, annually or a one off.

Please contact Fair Exchange Xerta on Facebook or email artofmakingmiracles@gmail.com

 

December 1st, Jesús-Tortosa please help Cáritas in the true spirit of Christmas

Today we have woken up to snow on the mountains of Mont Caro with a prevailing artic wind chill. We are warm in our homes. We have food on the table and food in the cupboards. We shivver as the temperatures drop and grumble a little bit about it. Yet we can slip on another jumper or a sweatshirt.  During the night we are warm in our beds, snug between blankets or duvets.

Spare a thought for those who are not …

We are all plagued and affected by the Crisis, but some more so than others. Please if we could all take but one item or contribute something to this cause, it would mean so much to those who really have nothing. No money to buy the basic essentials.  Their meagre euros are spent on food only and even that doesn’t go far enough. Many families and people living alone can hardly scrape enough together for one meal, let alone soaps and shampoos or cleaning materials. The weather has changed and warm clothing and blankets are also needed.

Spare a thought for those who are hungry…

Jesús 09:30 – 13:30 on Saturday 1st December 2012

Points for collection :

Casal de d’Associaci de Veïns Jesús Catalonia (in collabortion with Cáritas Parroquial de Jesús

La Pèrgola

Enfront del Mercat

Now gather your thoughts and do something positive about it this Saturday! Please support them and help better integration into the multi-cultural communities we live in.

“It is better to give than receive,” still rings in my ears all these years on from first having it drummed into my ears at the end of each school year as we collected for the orphanages of Africa.

Recollida d’aliments “El gran recapte”. Es poden portar tot tipus d’ailiments i productes bàsics de neteja.

Costa Woman online – something for every woman living in Spain.

In order to spread the word the Welcome on this site says it all: “Costa Women is a social community and business networking group for women living in Spain to share friendship, support and provide knowledge about living in this vibrant country.”

There are so many different groups already in operation from Writers to Green fingers and so on. On the other hand why not join up and form a group that is prevalent to you. You will definitely receive support and will make many new friends and colleagues.

This is  a wonderful  platform for networking your own interests and business, then going onto to hook up with them on Twitter, (@rosiereay), Facebook and LinkedIn.

You also receive a monthly newsletter and you can advertise and promote local events fiestas and write abut anything, not sordid nor derogatory prose.  I’ve homed in on other members blogs and have found empathy and friendship with ladies in other parts of  Spain. It is so interesting to see how other people live their lives and become part of their environment. It amazes me daily as I continually marvel at finding out something new or learning about  somewhere else.

Yet, you don’t  leave behind your old friends as once you are a member you can invite them to join. It is brilliant!

 Rosie Reay  from Catalonia, Costa Daurada  would love to see more people from our comargue on there. It is not just for the charming and delightful ladies of  the southern costas. You may even find friends on there you know already.

 

Tortosa – supermarkets compete on opening times

Tortosa is becoming inundated with supermarkets. On one hand it is inspirational that these food giants are still expanding during the crisis period. On the other hand, how are they going to encourage more shoppers through their doors when there is such high unemployment? At the end of the day there is only so much money in anyone’s pocket to spend on food.

So it was with interest I notice the different supermarkets are staggering their opening and closing times to widen the catchment area. This is good news for Expats who like to shop early, later or even on a Sunday.

Carrefour down by McDonalds opening hours are:
Monday to Saturday – de lunes a sabada
09:00h – 22:00h
and the best news is they are open on Sundays and holidays – Domingoes y festivos de apertura:
09:00h – 15:00
Carrefour Market
Carretera de Tortosa, 43500 Tortosa
977 51 03 30 ‎

HiperSimply (aka Sabeco) you get an extra half hour : Monday to Saturday
09:00 -21:30

Mercadona in front of Aldi down the road from McDonalds opens at:
09:15hrs – 21.15

C-42 Tarragona / Valencia, BARRANC llet – Tortosa

Here is a very handy link not just for the other “10” food halls but other opening hours of shops in Tortosa or choose your town – choices and more choices

Tortosa 20 minutes off the coastline

Choices of 10 food halls

 

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