Mala Fortuna / Misfortune

[English below] En Senda Silvestre debemos de estar en plena temporada de cosecha. Pero este año hemos sufrido 5 noches de heladas en la primera semana de diciembre, exactamente cuando las mandarinas estaban llegando a su punto máximo de dulzor jugoso. Y a la parte del valle, justamente donde estamos, que se encuentra en la sombra de una montaña que se orienta hacia el sur, se le han congelado los cítricos. Nosotros hemos perdido más o menos la mitad, pero como yo no me aclaro exactamente como se puede vender esa mitad, porque los que vienen a comprar no hacen una selección, efectivamente está todo perdido.
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No os cuento las veces ya que he llorido esas mandarinas, aunque no sé si más ellas o el agua que sacamos de la tierra para nada. El año pasado (sin heladas), por haber hecho una poda muy fuerte para recuperar los arboles que ya se podían salvar, no había practicamente nada que cosechar. Así es que han sido dos años de regar sin vender al final nada más que 200 kilos de los posiblemente 2000 que teníamos. Como experimento, dos veces llené el remolque de la bici con 60 kilos para llevar a la peladora. Luego llevamos 1000 kilos, por transporte contratado y nos pagaron 12 céntimos el kilo.

Por supuesto, los aguacates nuevos y el limero que habíamos plantado en primavera se murieron también. El corazón lo tengo roto.

Although we should be in full harvest mode right now, on the north-facing side of our valley, particularly those farms in the shadow of the mountain on the south side, the citrus crop has been ruined by nearly a week of below-freezing temperatures in December. My thermometer doesn´t measure the period of time the temperature was below freezing, but one night it showed -5C (23F).

I had managed to sell less than 200 kilos before the freeze to private parties. The other option are the crews that come to harvest commercial-quality citrus, but they don´t select between frozen and undamaged fruit (indeed, we find ourselves find it difficult to do so, though we are certainly learning). So the one-third or so that is still good is effectively lost.

When this happens, the locals end up toting it all to the juice factory, so I tried that, hauling 60 kilos (about 130 pounds) on two trial runs with the bicycle cart, to sell at 12 cents per kilo. In the end we decided to get busy, picked 1000 kilos and hired a truck to take it the 8 km all in one fell swoop. There is probably over half a kilo remaining, that will end up on the ground and become compost. In the meantime, I don’t know how many times I’ve cried over those mandarins, the hours I spent pampering them and the water that we sucked out of the earth for nothing, to the tune of 750 EUR this year and 450 the previous.

The five baby avocado trees died too, of course, as well as the lime. It breaks my heart.

What´s for Dinner? / Actualment Mengem…

[English below.] Com som del nord, ens fa falta experiència amb verdures d´hivern. Ara hem produït solament per al auto-consumo. Hui he fet un salteado amb bròcoli, carlotes, col i nabicol, ens va be després del fred i vent que fa fora. Prompte tindrem pésols però l´espinac va lent.

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Given that we hail from northern climes, other than a couple of years of urban gardening in Madrid, we lack experience with winter crops, and last year produced little more than spindly spinach much later than I wanted, in March, which looks like it will be the case again this year. This year we´ve done better by adding brassica, peas and carrots to the mix. The broccolis are producing reasonably well and peas will be coming soon. Though the carrots are small, that will certainly improve as our soil improves (by the month). Weirdly, lettuce from two varieties we planted in the summer garden has self-seeded and is doing better than a couple of four-seasons varieties we planted in October. It gives just a slight taste of the food forest to come in the future, in this subtropical region where most seeds seem to overwinter just fine.