Lockdown in Spain – days 41 to 80

Day 41 of lock down

A very windy start, meaning I had to spend time filling hay nets so that the hay didn’t blow away. Luckily this afternoon it was lovely and calm and the horses were able to have the hay loose again. Scarlett and Bracken always look so cute eating together. 😊. The plums are getting bigger, all the rain has done some good, unfortunately the forecast is showing yet more rain for the next week, it’s very frustrating. Our little Thomas train is missing having children in the garden 😔 and so are we. Minna has taken Finn to her cottage for a visit after seeing my photos of him having a shower with me yesterday, it’s nice for him to have a change of scene. The weeds are taking over on the car park, we keep on top of them when we have guests but it is amazing how quickly they grow. When we moved in the whole car park was covered in mud and grass, as you can see on the old photo. We had some good news today, Spain has a lot fewer deaths from the virus and for the first time has more people recovering than new cases 😀

Day 42 of lock down

I found this lovely old photo of the farmhouse courtyard as it was, just after we knocked the old chicken house down. Talking of chickens, I found this tiny egg today, very strange as we usually only get small eggs when it is the first egg a young hen lays, but our youngest hen has been laying for months. The geraniums in the courtyard are looking gorgeous and our cream rose has come into flower. I also found a photo of Buffy when she first arrived as a tiny kitten after following me home while out riding 18 years ago! She seems to be feeling her age now and literally wants to sit on my lap whenever I sit down, whether I’m eating, typing or relaxing. It has been yet another grey and damp day, most of the horses were in their shelters this evening though old Irene was stood in her usual place waiting for her bowl of food (she is the only horse that gets extra food on top of her hay). Today is San Marcos, usually celebrated by picnicking and camping in the countryside around us, especially at the Cien caños water source. Sadly it couldn’t be celebrated this weekend but at least the weather wouldn’t have been nice. I am really happy that we have reached 2000 likes on our cortijo los lobos, ethical Horsemanship Facebook page, thanks again to everyone for sharing. We are also amazed at the response to our Crowdfunder, with lots of kind people either donating, pledging money for future holidays or sponsoring horses – we and the horses thank you!

Day 43 of lock down

I can hardly bring myself to say that it was another grey and drizzly day 😔. Today children were allowed out for a walk with one parent, it was also announced yesterday that if all goes well this week with the children we may be allowed out for a walk ourselves from next Saturday. It was therefore quite worrying to see photos of people out in groups, not social distancing and not sticking to the one adult rule. I hope it doesn’t spoil it for us. Peanut and Milly made me laugh as they were guarding the fridge from about 12, wanting their evening feed. It gets earlier every day, I think they must be comfort eating too, either that or Clive has told them to guard the fridge to stop me eating 😂. I think the dull light is confusing them. We let Bonnie and Twiggy have a run on the track but they weren’t as bursting with energy as we thought they’d be 😊. Clive managed to clean the rock pool in between showers, it was lovely to see the Broom in flower in the secret garden and also the wild garlic. He has been in his man cave most of the day making knives. He decided to try using one tea bag twice, to save money and also because he is only allowed to shop at the village supermarket and they don’t sell tea he likes. He won’t be trying it again (he likes good, strong builders tea)🤣 We are amazed that we have raised 720 pounds already for our fundraiser, and 300 euros from our donate button on our website – that will at least provide hay for the horses for around 12 weeks, thank you so much 🥰

Day 44 of lock down

I’m not going to mention the weather, lol. We had some more lovely holiday pledges and donations overnight, truly humbling and something to look forward to . We also have 2018 Facebook page likes 😀. The horses had some fun on the track and I did some spontaneous agility at liberty with Scarlett after she watched me set up a new course. Our cherries are growing and the mint is rampant, prompting me to make a pea and mint risotto for dinner. Clive has been busy on his knives, they just need acid treatment and handles. The part arrived for the tumble dryer and Clive got it working so that is a relief. Finn had some time out with me again, he does love to explore the house, he’s so cute 😍

Day 45 of lock down

Decided to try letting Scarlett out on the grass with Irene and it worked very well, Irene seemed pleased to have the company, bless her and they moved around, grazing, side by side. We trimmed Lola’s feet and she had a turn at the agility course. We managed to put up a curtain in the course, using pool parasol stands 😊. I gave Bonnie and Twiggy a groom. Twiggy still has tufts of winter coat to come out. Bonnie loved having her udder cleaned, look at her funny face 😂. Sadly, after putting the new capacitor in the tumble dryer, it worked for 10 minutes before the heating element packed up. Oh well, looks like it is dead! Clive’s battery grinder also died today, not a good day 😔. On a brighter note, we did have some warm spells when the sun came out and looking at temperatures of 28 degrees for the weekend – just when we are allowed out for a walk we’ll be moaning we’re too hot 😂. I realised today that I need to make an R. I. P sign for Capri to put on our memorial wall. We’ve decided that it would be fun to have sleepovers in the different apartments, once the weather is nice – a bit of a holiday at home and we can check if anything is missing or needs doing 😀. Our fundraiser has gone quiet now, it is difficult as I don’t want to keep sharing it. Minna put buttons on the website today so that people can choose to sponsor a pony or pledge a deposit on a future holiday. Buffy made me laugh, sitting on my kindle, why do cats always have to sit on things, however small 😊

Day 46 of lock down

                                    

A scorcher at last, I even had an hour by the pool! It was a beautiful hazy start, Scarlett and Irene went out on the grass and we let most of the others have a turn later.(Leo and his gang will have their turn tomorrow). Minna and I had good fun trying some of the horses out on the new agility course, they were really good and even got used to the curtain. We also trimmed Irene’s feet ( and she was so cute doing the agility course at liberty). Clive finished his Damascus steel knives, the pattern on the blade is beautiful. We put Finn outside to talk to the birds and enjoyed watching the blue tits flying in and out of the nesting box. We did a bit of gardening too and noticed some more gorgeous wild gladioli, so pretty, you see fields full of them at this time of year. (hopefully we’ll be able to walk and see the wildflowers on Saturday). Had a lovely surprise in the post of a jigsaw of our farmhouse, sent by our daughter Lily and also another holiday deposit pledge on our fundraising page, so all in all it’s been a lovely day 😊

Day 47 of lock down

More agility fun for the horses and dogs! Sierra got flirty with Leo – so cute 😍. Peanut and Milly had cuddles with me ( Milly watches Peanut get on my lap, then doesn’t understand that she is too big 😊. Milly and Tinker also had cuddles, they really love each other. We made a start on the jigsaw, another challenging one but not as bad as the last one! It’s going to be fun doing the sky! We had more hay delivered tonight, it should last us now until the new cut at the end of the month. Luckily we have had more holiday deposit pledges and donations in today so that will go towards the bill, we are so grateful, we really can’t thank everyone enough. It has just been confirmed that we can finally go out for a walk from Saturday but only between 6 and 10 am (when we do the horses) or 8 and 11 pm (so around 2.5 hours of that is in the dark!). Oh well, better than nothing but the pettiness of the rules is starting to get a bit much now. We have respected the rules and obeyed them but it is becoming very hard. You still can’t have more than 1 person in a car (though as you are not allowed more than 1km from home apart from the nearest supermarket, it really doesn’t matter) and you can only shop at your nearest supermarket which for us is the small one in the village, where we can only get very basic things and at a higher price and lesser quality 😔. We may be allowed to ride, still not sure, but if so, it is only 1 horse at a time, which is not much use at all as ours don’t like to hack out alone and neither do we to be honest. I suppose we could do ridden agility in the arena though, that would give the horses a shock 😀

Day 48 of lock down

Such a perfect day, it felt good to be alive. Clive cleaned the pool (and I enjoyed a bit of pool time though didn’t swim as without heating, the water is only 20 degrees – won’t be long now though! ). While we were on the pool patio we were lucky to see our resident pair of short toed eagles flying low over us, so beautiful. The garden is even more of a jungle and we have been gradually weeding it , though I decided to leave these beautiful little blue flowers. We opened up all the apartments to air them and I was enchanted as usual, sitting on the deck of the secret garden apartment, the views are breathtaking and it is so peaceful down there. I also touched up the cream paint in the Farmhouse breakfast room. The horses spent a lot of time in the shade today and so did Minty, I hope the man who comes to shear him every May will be allowed to work. I made a new curtain for the El Establo bbq and while looking for material found a lovely piece given to me by a local friend, so ran up a quick table cloth for the big wooden table (thanks Pat). I also turned an old pair of 3/4 length trousers into shorts as I never liked them as they were but hate to waste things.

Day 49 of lock down

7 whole weeks! Today we were allowed out for a walk and our walk was gorgeous! So many poppies in the fields and the weather has been idyllic today. Unfortunately Milly and Peanut spoilt it a bit by rolling in something disgusting. They had to have a shower when they got back which they weren’t too happy about, look at their sad little faces, lol. Minna jumped straight in the pool when we got back, it was so hot. We are only allowed out in specific time slots but we are lucky that ours is between 6 and 10 am or 8 to 11pm so at least it is the cool part of the day. Minna decided that as the weather is now so lovely she wanted to move back into her van, so that she felt more part of nature, so we moved it to the bottom of the horses field. The horses are finding it very interesting, having her there. I went down for a drink and to watch the mountain turn pink with the sunset, I am feeling very tempted to take a tent down there, it is so beautiful .Quite a productive day really and our Crowdfunder has reached 1275 pounds – such a big help, thank you so much ❤️

Day 50 of lock down

Instagram shared this lovely photo of this day 3 years ago, riding on the mountain, hopefully it won’t be too much longer before we can do that again. Minna and I had another lovely walk this morning, the dogs had great fun swimming in the stream. The hollyhocks have started to flower in the garden and the roses are giving us new blooms every day. It has been very hot again so we have had a bit of a lazy day and did some more of the jigsaw this afternoon, I don’t know how we’ll do the sky, it looks impossible. We ate dinner outside on the big wooden table but had to move to the pool patio half way through as we were upsetting the blue tits in the tree above the table. I made a tasty bulgar wheat salad with mint from the garden and vegan stuffed aubergine. We have had one donation and one holiday deposit pledge today, so though the fundraiser has slowed down, it hasn’t stopped completely 😊 

Day 51 of lockdown

A windy start so the horses were sheltering behind the stables. I think my poor agility curtain is going to take some sorting out! I managed to get a photo of some of the baby sparrows nesting in the stables, so cute 😊. We had a lovely morning walk with the dogs and came back to find Buffy sitting on the jigsaw, think she’s trying to tell us something 😀. When I went to feed the lunchtime hay I found Bracken about to help herself, naughty pony, she’ll never learn. I must have forgotten to put the clip on the bolt, we have to Bracken proof everything! Minna took some amazing photos of the apartments, here’s a sneak preview of one of them. One of our agarve cactus has sent up a big spear which will turn into a beautiful flower but then sadly it will die. Luckily they also send up lots of babies so there is always a replacement . It was such a beautiful evening so we went on a different mountain walk into the pines and met up with a huge herd of goats, so lovely to see them after so long 😍

Day 52 of lock down

A misty start turned into a beautiful day. We took the dogs for a morning walk up the hill, looking down on the remaining fog in the distance. Clive trimmed Blackie’s feet and also tried to strim the weeds but unfortunately the strimmer broke. With no guests we had been letting the weeds grow for the insects but our verge is growing too high now. The cute little cricket Clive found proved the point though! The chickens followed Clive to the front of the house, he is such a chicken whisperer 😀. I had a bit of pool time this afternoon as it was too hot to do anything else and the cats decided to join me, laying in the shade of the sunbed. The pool is now 25 degrees without the heater so I had a cooling swim too, bliss 😊. Minna’s rescue dog Kaino was very shy when she first arrived but she now wanders into our kitchen when she feels like it, bless her. We took the dogs for a lovely evening walk, little fatty Peanut will hopefully slim down a bit now! It’s great to see other people out walking too, social distancing of course. I love coming back as the sun is going down and seeing the horses eating their hay, perfect day 😊

Day 53 of lock down

 

We took Scarlett, Sierra and Irene down to the river to graze before it got too hot and Minna took some more lovely photos. There is loads of vetch growing there and the horses love it, it is Sierra’s particular favourite and she always seeks it out. It brought back memories of mountain picnics with the horses, happy days. I was amazed to see that we now have 2200 likes on our Facebook page, it only seems like a few days ago that I was trying to reach 2000 😀. A big thanks to all the new likers 😊. It was announced today that we have another 2 weeks of lock down but that was to be expected. It all seems a lot easier now that we are allowed out for walks, we enjoyed another lovely walk this evening and saw a cute donkey tethered by the river (I love donkeys 😍

Day 54 of lock down

A very unproductive day, I was finding it hard to focus on anything, this situation was really getting me down today but it’s only to be expected, I’m sure most people are feeling the same. No excuses as I had a lovely family video chat and a couple of very kind donations but sometimes you just have to wallow in your own self pity , lol. It’s just hitting me that it could be many months before we’ll see family and friends from the uk and Germany. I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow 😀. With not a lot to show for the day, I’m posting some more of Minna’s lovely house photos and some I took of flowers in the garden including a cute little wild antirrhinum . Unfortunately for Clive the olive flowers are out which means hay-fever for him so he can’t enjoy country walks, great timing when we are finally allowed out. It’s funny as every year at this time you see people walking around with masks on due to the pollen but we won’t know who has allergies this year! . I don’t have the energy for a walk this evening but here is a photo of all 4 dogs from a couple of nights ago, it’s great to see ours and Minna’s dogs getting on so well. Clive is hoping to get some photos of the moon tonight as it’s the biggest moon of 2020. It was very strange, looking at the sky this evening to see a vapour trail, a very rare sight these days 

Day 55 of lock down

 A much better day, the weather was perfect and it was lovely to take some more of the horses down to the river to graze. We heard nightingales and it was an idyllic setting, though it got hot very quickly so we only had time to take 5 of the horses. I did cut some of the hedgerow wild oats and weeds for the rest of the horses though and Scarlett and Irene spent the day out on the grass verge. Clive got a lovely close up of a dragonfly and also the full moon this morning. He also captured one of the baby blue tits, quite big now 😍. I cooked a lovely sweet potato base quiche for dinner while Milly and Tinker entertained me on the kitchen floor, their relationship is so special 😊

Day 56 of lock down

 It was the boys turn for some grazing time. It was a cloudy morning which gave us more time to do things with the horses instead of rushing to beat the heat. We did some agility with the boys first, then Bonnie and Twiggy wanted to have a turn. Minna couldn’t resist the temptation to try some ridden agility, the first time for our horses but Bonnie and Twiggy were fantastic. Looking forward to trying the others. Flamenca had been watching and wanted a go, she was great un ridden but told us she wasn’t ready to be ridden today, hopefully another day 😊. Had a nice video chat with family which cheered me up as it was announced that Malaga isn’t moving up to phase 1 on Monday which means our hopes of being able to shop at a better supermarket in the next town and go out in the car together to maybe go for a walk somewhere different are dashed. Maybe next week, we just have to be patient. We consoled ourselves with some tasty oaty cookies. We also enjoyed some gorgeous locally grown asparagus given to us by neighbours. Clive did some strimming at the front of the house and the chickens kept him company, they have kept us on our toes today as they kept wandering onto the road, its lucky there isn’t much traffic at the moment. We have storms and rain forecast from tomorrow so Minna decided to move her van out of the horses field before it gets too muddy

Day 57 of lock down

 Well the rain has returned and is forecast for the whole week, just when we were getting used to the sun 😊. We have had a very lazy day, eating (definitely starting a healthy eating regime tomorrow!) and watching Tv. Our old cat Buffy who is 18 has enjoyed lots of cuddles, the minute I sit down she is on my lap, bless her. It appears that though Malaga region hasn’t moved into phase 1 we are now allowed to go out in the car as a family or household living together. Quite where we would go , since we’re not allowed to go anywhere is another thing , lol. Maybe it will make sense at some point 😂. Not that we’re in a hurry to go anywhere to be honest. Anyway, the garden enjoyed the rain and it saved having to water. As there is nothing much to show for today, here are some of the flowers and plants in the garden – The roses are in bloom, every day a different colour but this dark pink one is gorgeous. I am waiting for the Acanthus to be in full flower but it is nearly there. The bay tree is huge, must remember to use some leaves when I’m cooking. The pots are all looking pretty and the hollyhocks are so tall and starting to flower. The French lavender is also flowering and my favourite, the pomegranate, such an unusual orange colour 😍

Day 58 of lock down

 

 Starting week 9, how on earth has it been that long! A day of sun and cloud but no rain luckily. The horses all had turns on the exercise track but they were so chilled there wasn’t a lot of exercising going on 😀. I noticed that Flamenca has a whole mane and forelock this year, no sign of sweet itch so far. She is pretty muddy though, who’d have grey horses! Walking up from the horses I noticed we have baby carobs growing, funny as we are still picking last year’s from the same tree. I also noticed how pretty the driftwood sculptures are, we were so lucky to find our lovely driftwood pieces on the banks of a nearby lake a few years ago, though they were almost impossibly heavy to get in the trailer, being whole olive tree trunks but we managed it with sheer determination. As the weather is looking iffy this week we have decided to start painting the interior of El Granero. It is amazing how dirty the walls look when you remove the furniture. There is also a lot of soot on the ceiling from the old wood burner, which is really difficult to wash off, let alone paint over. Hopefully now that we’ve changed to a pellet burner it won’t be as bad in future. We went for a walk this evening with the dogs and had a lovely view looking down to the house, the cloudy sky made it look more dramatic. I love this photo Clive took of a seed head, who needs cameras when phones take such great shots 😊

Day 59 of lock down

A very wet start, came back up from the horses soaked to the skin, definitely need new waterproofs. I made some really tasty soup with the rest of the asparagus, perfect for the cooler weather. At least we made the most of being inside by getting on with the painting. The sun came out in the afternoon so I let the horses into the sand for a nice roll and run around. (with clay soil, I try to keep the horses off of the mud as much as possible when we have heavy rain as it sets like concrete on them) It’s a shame as their paddocks were almost dry last night 😔. Cheeky Bracken was eating the boys hay through the fence 😊. By the evening we had patches of blue sky and puffy white clouds but lots of forbidding black clouds too. It really doesn’t look good this week but at least the sun will be back by next Monday. Every cloud has a silver lining I suppose, we would have been running courses this week so at least we don’t have to worry about rain spoiling things, though we really are missing all our lovely guests. We have had a couple more donations and holiday deposits on our fundraiser, it has slowed down a lot but it is lovely to have even a small holiday deposit pledge as something to look forward to hopefully one day soon

Day 60 of lock down

  

Despite the forecast for storms we had a sunny day, though the sun and cloud mix tonight looks ominous but beautiful, showing the hollyhocks in contrast against the house and dark sky and the pool patio looks really pretty in the evening light . The horses enjoyed time in the sand again and we got on with more painting inside. I am looking forward to being able to paint outside and to the day when we can get the cushions out and make every where look pretty – not really worth it just for us. I noticed that the succulents are flowering and one of my favourite wild flowers here, the beautiful blue chicory flower is in bloom. I disturbed a gecko while moving a pot, poor thing, though I’m sure he’ll soon go back, it’s funny how they tend to have favourite spots to live and you can hear the bigger ones making funny croaky noises, they are so cute 😊. This week would normally be the patio fiesta in Cordoba, when all the locals open up their courtyards to the public to see their displays of wall pots, it’s quite incredible, such a shame that this fiesta and countless others will be cancelled this year. I had another holiday deposit pledge today too, thank you Verity, hope we can start making plans for actual dates soon

Day 61 of lock down

I tried contacting the town hall to verify whether or not we are allowed to ride but all they said was ‘as per phase zero rules’. If the rules were clear, I wouldn’t have had to ask, lol. Oh well, safer to wait and see rather than risk a 600 euro fine, but missing the lovely spring rides. On a brighter note, I heard bee eaters again today, I do love their sound and if you’re lucky enough to see them close up, they are beautiful (photo from Internet, isn’t it amazing). There has been a cold north wind today so we got on with more painting, it looks so lovely and white, always a satisfying job. I had a cup of tea on the El Establo balcony to enjoy the view and noticed that we already have tiny grapes growing. We also have tiny red roses on our miniature rose, the plant is huge and there are going to be 100’s more flowers. The geraniums are also looking lovely, they are at their best until early July when the heat starts to get to them and the flowers die off a bit. It’s such a shame that there is no one here to appreciate it all. We had a lovely evening walk with the dogs by the river but I hesitate before going at the moment as I always seem to pick up ticks, it is the worst time of year for them. Irene, Bonnie and Twiggy looked lovely in the late evening sun but it looks like we might get more rain!

Day 62 of lock down

Some good news – we are moving in to phase 1 of Lock down on Monday. Not huge changes really but we can travel within our province which means we can go to a supermarket of choice. You are also allowed to drive to outside terraces of bars and restaurants but we won’t be doing that! I would rather travel to go for a lovely walk up a mountain, away from people but strangely we are not allowed to do that. I think we are allowed to ride now though so the horses are in for a shock and do might we be 😀. It has been another day of sun and rain , the horses looked very soggy this afternoon after an unexpected heavy shower. Scarlett couldn’t wait to come in from the grass but Irene refused to move, sheltering under a tree until I walked out to get her, silly old thing. It was a good day to be inside painting again and the garden is really enjoying the rain, the yellow rose doesn’t stop flowering and the honeysuckle is huge,( can’t wait for it to flower) as are the cactus, I really hope they won’t need re-potting as that is a dangerous job! I made a gluten free oat loaf and a very tasty vegan crispy beef with noodles, will definitely make that again! We have been living off of what is in the freezer and cupboards for weeks now so it will be exciting to make a shopping list for Monday and re stock on the things we haven’t been able to get during the lock down. Mind you, I have been on a healthy eating drive this week, no alcohol either as I have run out of wine, and have also been exercising every day and feel so much better for it so my shopping list will be a careful one, though I know Clive will buy lots of goodies for himself

Day 63 of lock down

Another day of sun and showers, it was declared today that Malaga has had the least sun in March and April since records began! Our lock down really has been as miserable as it could be so far. Never mind, it looks like it will be sun , sun, sun from Monday and before we know it we’ll be moaning that we’re too hot 😀. The sky does look dramatic with the cloud though and everything is so green and beautiful, just hoping it will all dry out in time for our hay to be cut and delivered at the end of the month. The horses have enjoyed rolling in the mud, the dogs weren’t happy at not being allowed down to enjoy it too 😀. I worry about Minty since his goat friend Fudge died but the chickens seem to spend a lot of time with him and we are still finding eggs in his house. Buffy ventured outside today and surprised me by jumping up on a high wall, not bad for an 18 year old, hopefully there’s plenty of life in her yet. We continued with the painting today and I made a list of all the jobs that need doing, plenty to keep us busy! I was doing some yoga in the living room and noticed our collection of old keys on the wall, most of which we found when we moved in, 20 years ago. We still have some of the old doors but they are mainly decorative now. We also have some Ibex horns above the fireplace. Ibex are protected here but our sons found a dead one on the top of the mountain and brought the head home with them. I will never forget the smell of the head being boiled in my kitchen! Since the lockdown the Ibex have been getting brave and coming down the mountain into the villages. We often see them when we’re out riding, so will be able to keep a look out from Monday, they are just like deer really, very pretty but camouflaged against the grey rocks so quite hard to spot 😊 

Day 64 of lock down

The first photo describes the day perfectly – half sun, half storm clouds. We got excited for a big storm this afternoon but it came to nothing. We have nearly finished painting the El Granero cottage, it is certainly the most challenging to paint, with such a high ceiling but it looks beautiful when it is done. The garden continues to produce new surprises, the prickly pear cactus has baby leaves growing. Hopefully it will stay healthy as the cactus in Spain are all being killed by the cochineal beatle and it is such a sad sight, they look like they are covered in white mould and if you touch the white stuff it makes your fingers bright red (the cochineal dye). They gradually droop and eventually die. The apple trees are loaded and our young walnut tree is getting bigger, can’t wait until we can pick our own walnuts. About 7 years ago we bought a tiny seedling of one of my favourite pine trees, the Spanish fur, or Abies pinsapo. It is an expensive tree to buy so we could only afford the little sapling, hardly bigger than my hand. It is now a proper little tree, it has been worth the wait. The Acanthus flowers continue to open further but they are taking their time! 😊 

Day 65 of lock down

The sun shone, it was a different world, we all felt good to be alive, including Peanut who lay in his usual sunbathing pose and Milly and best friend Tinker enjoyed the sun together. We actually have 2 whole weeks of sun forecast 😀.Clive and Minna went off on an adventure to Mercadona 😀. They felt like they were let out of prison. Disgusted to find that the wholegrain flour we usually buy is now in a plastic bag. I’m hoping it is just for hygiene reasons, with the virus 😔. We moved Irene’s fence close to the road so that she can eat all the weeds and oats and to give Clive less strimming. Scarlett decided that she would rather come in and went straight to her stable. (we have started putting her inside sometimes during the day to get her away from the flies). She has started rubbing under her tail again, back to how she was before she had her ovaries removed. She makes herself sore and it attracts flies which then irritate her. I put cream on to stop the itching but I am running out of ideas, she is such a precious princess, bless her. We had a lot of flies today with the heat and damp from the rain, we don’t usually have too much of a problem so hopefully it will get better for her. I finished the painting in the cottage and Clive tiled the shelves in the shower room. Minna and I took the dogs for a walk this evening, up to goats and home along the river. The light was beautiful and there are still poppies in the fields. There were also lots of paragliders jumping off the mountain and enjoying the warm thermals. A really lovely walk, coming home to the horses waiting for more hay and the sound of the sparrows roosting 😊

Day 66 of lock down

We were out early to do a beautiful mountain walk within our allotted exercise time which currently finishes at 10 am. This actually suits us perfectly as it is very hot now after that. We saw a lot of wildlife, the bird song was incredible and we saw large herds of Ibex, the wild mountain goat , interesting fungus and wildflowers including a beautiful rambling rose. We also saw a salamander in a pond and lots of frogs. We didn’t take the dogs due to the wildlife so Peanut and Milly are following me around and staring at me this evening, asking for a walk, bless them. Finn is happy that he can spend the days outside now, chatting to the birds. It really has been another lovely day, topped off with another holiday pledge and also a tentative enquiry – good to know that people are starting to think about booking holidays in the near future 😊

Day 67 of lock down

….and it’s mainly about horses 😊. We started with an early morning ride on Bonnie and Twiggy. These 2 haven’t been ridden since February but they were perfect, despite the hedgerows being head high with grass. By 10 am it was too hot to do anything else with the horses so I got on with more painting and made Minna some karelian pies that she was missing from Finland. Clive also did some preserved lemons as we had lots of lemons to use up. This evening we took Scarlett and Irene for a walk with the dogs, stopping to graze as we went and enjoying the scenery and stunning golden light. Looking forward to taking more horses out tomorrow

Day 68 of lock down

 

We took Picasso and Twiggy for an early morning ride. I am aiming to make Picasso my lead horse to give Scarlett a break sometimes, especially as she is 21 now and has a bit of arthritis. Picasso hasn’t been ridden since last September but he was perfect. I did get off him for a while in the pines after a steep hill as he was tired but he soon got his energy back again. The grass has been cut in the neighbouring olive groves and along the river so we have lovely tracks to ride on. I spent the rest of the day staining windows and doors in El Granero, nearly finished the make over inside, then it will be time to paint outside, there’s always a long list of jobs needing doing but at least we have plenty of time! I did sneak in an hour by the pool and after a very healthy and fragrant Nasi goreng for dinner, Minna and I took Scarlett and Fern and the dogs for a walk, I just love the golden evening light. Clive did some gardening and hedge trimming and found a wild orchid in the verge and also noticed that our figs are nearly ripe. The pots are looking beautiful but with the sudden onset of serious heat (30 in the shade today) we begin the chore of watering – at least the rain saved us that job! 

 

Day 69 of lock down

A busy day starting with a nice walk for Scarlett and Irene with grazing stops and a splash in the stream. When we got back we trimmed Bonnie’s feet and I worked with Flamenca, getting her happy to have a saddle on. We then had a hay delivery, a round bale for us to try, if we get on with it we will have it all like that, wrapped in plastic . It should make life easier for us as we are getting older – no more stacking bales and battling with the plastic tarpaulin in the winter. We don’t have a tractor though so we need to be sure that we can make the round bales work as they are too heavy for us to move and also work out how much to feed each day as we can measure it in bales at the moment. We had just finished the horses and were picking some apricots (so delicious, warm and fresh from the tree) when the shearer man came to do Minty. He feels much better now without that hot fleece. Clive and Minna then went to do some pottery in the next village as Minna was really keen to give it a try. I stayed behind and dog sat and did some gardening. This evening Minna rode Bonnie in the lead which meant that I got to ride Leo, a rare treat, I literally can’t remember the last time I rode him. The light was beautiful and there was a light breeze so it was an idyllic ride 😊

Day 70 of lock down

It has been very hot today. We went for a ride on Picasso and Twiggy this morning, then did a short session with Flamenca and the saddle again, she stands quite happily at the mounting block now. We then went to our friends down the road for a cup of tea and social distanced chat, it was lovely after so many weeks of lock down. Clive is suffering with hay-fever, the olive pollen is at it’s worse at the moment. I had a taste of it this afternoon too, with burning eyes, so I know a bit of what he goes through now, it makes you feel quite rough. Luckily I don’t usually suffer. The miniature rose bush is loaded with flowers now, it’s so pretty and the chives are in flower. We heard today that Spain plans to open borders to foreign travel from July so we are keeping everything crossed that we might be able to see our guests and family soon. As things stand at the moment though we still have no income and will soon have new hay to pay for as well as all the usual bills. Our fundraiser got off to a great start but has now gone very quiet so if anyone wants to pledge a holiday deposit or even make a small donation to help the horses, or just share our fundraiser, it would be really appreciated 

Day 71 of lock down

We had an early morning ride on Scarlett and Sierra. I walked Scarlett in hand for the first half an hour to warm her up after 10 weeks of not being ridden. We stopped to let them graze while I got on her and then the fun began, it was just like riding the old Scarlett, she was so prancy. Hopefully she’ll soon be back to her lovely calm self. It didn’t help that we did the river route so that it was softer on her legs, unfortunately it is also one of our least ridden routes so maybe not the best plan, I’ll stick to a familiar route for her next time! When we got back I painted the bedroom furniture in El Granero, then our neighbour Pedro came round to say that he had been weeding his field and had lots of sheaves of wild grass for the horses, so we set off with the trailer to collect it – not great for poor Clive’s hay-fever but the horses appreciated their treat. I am starting to wonder how we found time to look after guests, there’s never a spare minute! It’s a shame that by the time we have guests again the garden flowers will be past their best – the hollyhocks are amazing and the pomegranate tree is now covered in blossom. The English lavender is almost in flower too, it is always such a beautiful display, both sides of the track going down to the horses and smell is wonderful 😊

Day 72 of lock down

Two lots of good news today, Malaga has had no new cases of the virus and the government has announced that from the 1st July foreign tourists can enter Spain without needing to quarantine! Still not sure if we’ll see visitors from the UK though, unless they relax their quarantine restrictions too (and assuming Spain will let them in). Our Agave cactus spear now has flower buds, it is so huge! The grapes are also getting bigger and Clive’s bonsai olive tree is in flower. Our palm in the outer courtyard has also got really big, it’s competing with the ash tree for space. We have to be really vigilant and spray the palm regularly as there is an evil palm weevil that lays grubs in the trunk which kill the palm. We would be devastated to lose it. I have been busy painting furniture and windows again today and we went to collect more grass for the horses. I saw a lizard too, it’s rare to get a chance to take a photo as they usually move so quickly. Clive’s hay-fever was bad again today, he is feeling grateful that he can just relax in the evening and doesn’t have to help me prepare meals for guests or cook a paella himself. He usually keeps note of how many paellas he cooks throughout the year, but this year he’s at zero so far! 

Day 73 of lock down

It was very windy so I finished off the cream wood painting inside. Minna managed to fit in a ride on Flamenca when the wind dropped a bit, she was perfect. She had enjoyed a spontaneous saddle fitting, desensitising and bonding session last night, even though it was windy and there was strange cloud coming over the mountain, hopefully we can keep going from strength to strength with her now. The horses have finally got their summer coats, Sierra is looking lovely and shiny. We caught Tinker looking through the window bars, maybe she was looking out for little Archie who has been missing for about a week now. 😔. She disappeared about 2 weeks ago for a couple of days so we weren’t too worried to begin with but we are now. Minna saw a 1m long grass snake slithering across the car park and into a pile of logs, right by her van! Clive got a lovely photo of a swallowtail butterfly in the garden and also our first water lily flower of the year. 

Day 74 of lock down

It’s been a productive day. We started with a lovely walk in the olives with Flamenca and Sierra. The last time we took Flamenca out in January, she got very scared of traffic on the road alongside the olive groves. Today we took her down to the stream to graze and then walked her home parallel to the road, but a few rows of trees in so that she could hear tractors but wasn’t too close. She was totally calm , even when Minna’s dogs ran behind Sierra and spooked her. When we got back Minna decided to try riding Flamenca and again she was perfect, she even went over the tarpaulin. I finished painting the new windows that we bought in January to replace the last of the old farmhouse windows from when we moved in 20 years ago! Now that the builders merchants are open again we can finally fit them. It has been another great day for nature, we found a rhinoceros beetle, a wolf spider and a stick insect! Clive also saw another grass snake crossing the road, it is that time of year. Still no sign of Archie, we’re really worried now 😔. We collected more grass in the trailer again, the horses are loving it, it’s entertaining watching the different ways they tackle eating it, as it is whole clumps pulled with the root, they are very clever at putting one foot on the muddy root bit to secure it while they eat the grass. While I was sorting out the cushions ready for the summer I found these lovely Highland cow cushions that we bought in the UK in February, hard to imagine that only a few months ago we were blissfully unaware of what lay ahead!

Day 75 of lock down

A really good day. We started off with Minna riding Flamenca out and she was perfect, really calm . Minna then grazed her by the road to help her conquer her fear of traffic. I also rode Scarlett out again, to see how she behaved after her lively previous ride. I was so pleased that she was back to her lovely self and her stiffness has gone now that she spends all day roaming the grass area with Irene and I haven’t had to shut her in away from the flies since she has stopped rubbing under her tail . Another happy event was Archie’s return after being missing for over a week. She was very hungry and has slept all day, such a relief, I wonder where she’s been? . Our smallest lavender plants are now in flower and the older plants aren’t far behind. We collected more grass for the horses and found some orchids and beautiful thistles. I even treated myself to a bit of pool time, despite not having the heater running this year it is already 27 degrees 😊. Peanut made Clive laugh again, watching the door for me to come back in when I’m doing my yoga in the morning, silly boy 😊. We are gradually working through the list of jobs, ready for the hopeful return of guests in July. Nothing is certain, with the uk starting their quarantine rule – we won’t know until the last minute if our guests already booked in for the summer can come, but we can’t take new bookings from other countries without the quarantine, for risk of double booking so we are in a very difficult position with no idea when we will have an income again. Our fundraiser also seems to have come to a standstill now – if anyone could share the link on our Facebook page or website that would be appreciated 

Day 76 of lock down

 

 We did some early morning schooling with Flamenca and Picasso and Clive cut up some firewood before it got too hot. Clive and Minna then went off to pottery (Clive’s model of the farmhouse is looking great 😊). On the way they stopped at the builders merchant to let Minna’s dog Chaos say hello to her Mum who lives there .They hadn’t seen each other for 7 years since Minna adopted Chaos from there, as a small puppy. They seemed really interested in each other 😊. Meanwhile I had to deal with a hay delivery, literally holding back some of the hollyhocks so that the tractor could squeeze past without flattening them. We’re going to see if we can sort out a new entrance from the road into the sand arena as the trees and plants are encroaching too much on the road down to the horses and its really upsetting to have the plants squashed and tree branches broken. After all the discussions regarding whether we wanted round bales this year, (we said yes, as we are getting too old to keep lifting the smaller bales) we have a trailer load of normal oblong ones. Not sure yet if they will all be like that or if we’ll get some round ones too. Irene is enjoying them anyway 😊. Oh well, maybe next year. We finished the day with another trip to collect grass, the horses are loving it! 

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Day 77 of lock down

Minna and Clive stacked hay in the stable while I poo picked and fed the horses. Bracken of course managed to get in with the new hay, much to Flamenca’s disgust. We then took Flamenca and Sierra for a lovely ride along the river. Flamenca was perfect and it was a nice chance for me to ride Sierra for a change as she doesn’t lead so I rarely get to ride her. I have to say it was a pleasure 😊. It was a beautiful ride, with the fields still full of poppies. I finally finished cleaning and putting everything back in El Granero, it’s looking really fresh and welcoming for our guests, whenever they come. Clive finished cutting up the firewood on the carpark, it’s looking nice and tidy now. He also found our daughter’s lava lamp and decided to turn it on to check it was still working – Archie seemed mesmerised by it 😀. More grass collecting tonight, the grass was the other side of a huge ditch so Clive had fun throwing it over the ditch at me and Minna, I thought he was going to throw himself in the ditch at one point 😀

Day 78 of lock down

 

A thunderstorm caused us a few problems, having to cover the hay and watch the horses get muddy! Very worried about this year’s hay, due to be delivered any day now – is it wet in the fields , has it been baled yet, who knows, just have to keep our fingers crossed. The garden enjoyed the shower, shame Clive had already watered earlier in the day. The miniature rose is bursting with flowers now and the honeysuckle and oliander have just started flowering. I realised that where we had stupidly dumped the trailer loads of grass with muddy roots on the gravel, we now had a lot of mud mixed in the gravel so I was frantically sieving it before the rain came and set it like clay. We won’t make that mistake again, my back is really paying the price now. It was our granddaughter’s 11th birthday today so we had a lovely video chat. We have another beautiful flower on the waterlily, it looks a bit like a fried egg 🙂. The cooler weather got me back in the kitchen, cooking the sweet potato based quiche again, it’s really lovely and healthy too. Clive made some more flapjack too, naughty ! He also sanded down the breakfast room table top and oiled it. Oh, and we had another holiday deposit pledge on our fundraiser – that cheered me up 😀

Day 79 of lock down

Spain has had zero deaths in the past 24 hours! 😀. Great news and feeling more optimistic for the summer though a sad coincidence that guests who were booked in for the end of July emailed to cancel today 😔. We are very thankful that most of our guests booked in for the summer are repeats and they are also staying optimistic. Our fundraiser has gone very quiet now so we can only hope that we will start to get some money in by the Autumn. Yesterday’s storm was a distant memory this morning though it was very windy so I didn’t feel inspired to do much apart from a bit of painting. We can’t start painting outside yet as we have more rain possible on Thursday. This spring has certainly been a testing one! I managed to order some new fly masks for the horses and they arrived today, along with some herbs for Scarlett which will hopefully help with her hormonal problems. We collected more grass this evening and I found some Love in the mist growing at the side of the ditch, so delicate! Clive’s favourite bergundy colour hollyhock is also in flower. While we were in the field we saw a vapour trail – so rare these days but hopefully it won’t be too much longer before we start to see more

Day 80 of lock down

 

I am smiling to myself as, when I did a blog on the website of the first 40 days of lock down, I joked to Clive that I would soon be doing the next 40 and he laughed, thinking it wouldn’t last that long. Now it feels like it will last forever. I had my first slice of watermelon of the year today, it was gorgeous but I did have to share with Peanut and Milly, how could I resist those faces? I actually ventured out to the village today for the first time since lock down began. Minna’s dog Kaino has a haematoma under her throat so we had to take her to the vet. She now has antibiotics and anti inflammatory medicine but hopefully will be fine. It was possible caused by Milly as they play fight all the time and often gently hold each other by the throat. It was the first time I’d worn a mask – can’t say I enjoyed it! It is the 2nd day with no deaths for Spain, so nice to hear good news for a change. The horses seem happy in their new fly hoods, it will be interesting to see how many are on the ground in the morning though 😊. I did some painting in the El Jaral apartment, it is a constant battle keeping everything nice with so many old beams that always seem to crack and need painting. The yellow rose is still a riot of colour and the big lavender plants are now in flower, they smell wonderful . The pink oleander is also in flower now as well as the white .We also have lots of new growth on our kafir lime plants ( so gorgeous in thai curries) and the kumquat fruits are ripe. Clive had a sudden fancy for a pie so made himself a steak and ale one, it looked and smelt lovely, though it is a shame for Clive that with his hay-fever so bad, he couldn’t really taste it. The olive flowers are almost over now so hopefully he will feel better soon