quinta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2009

early birds

I was into the garden early to get some watering done before the heat really made it impossible, but clearly not early enough to have seen my first Caju in perfect condition. I found this first home grown Caju on the grass below the tree but the birds had got there first, still it will go with some apples into the liquidizer for some suco later on today.

quarta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2009

My friends-if you where here

I have mentioned this bar before but had no photos, now that Vitor, the owner, has been kind enough to supply me with photos and info I would like to recommend it, you could always stay with me and we could go together.

Thinking of Xmas, those of us who work with wood, and by that I really mean those of us that have been at the planting, the growing, the cutting, the dimensioning, the drying and then the forming of furniture and the restoration of antiques were wood has been used, know the historic value of it.
For all it has supplied a filter for the atmosphere, a fuel, a support, a house, a boat, tools for agriculture, ideas for gravity and for me a long productive career making furniture. The longitivity of trees is a symbol of security and family, shown to have more than 5,000 years life span for one variety alone, believed that possibly three or four more varieties live similar age if not in an area deforestation, these trees were planted well before Christ and possibly at the time of the Pyramids,thus spanning the whole of known history and still recording in their rings the climate history.

domingo, 6 de dezembro de 2009

Pere Noel

Unique and delightful Christmas traditions are followed in France. The centre of attraction in all homes is the Nativity scene or crèche that is decorated with cute little clay figures called 'Santons' or 'Little Saints'. These colourful little saints are a special and age old feature of Christmas in France and are prepared all round the year by skilled craftsmen in the south of France. Popular Santons include shepherds, Magi, Holy Family besides local characters and dignitaries.

In France, Christmas Tree is not so popular but it is symbolic presence can be felt in the Christmas Cake. The traditional French Christmas Cake is prepared in the shape of Yule log and is called the buche de Nol, meaning "Christmas Log". This cake is a special feature of the Le rveillon - a grand feast of the season celebrated after midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

On the eve of Christmas, French children leave their shoes or wooden clogs called sabots by the fireplace so that their favorite Christ Child or Pere Noel could fill it with gifts. Children believe that Pere Noel travels with his stern disciplinarian companion Pre Fouettard, who tells Pere Noel about the behavior of each child in the past year. In some parts of France Pere Noel brings gifts for children on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas. In other places it is le petit Jesus who brings the gifts. Adults usually wait until New Year's Day to exchange gifts.

Latin Xmas.
Throughout South America Christmas is celebrated in a deeply religious way. The main focus of the season throughout the continent is the presepio ("the manger"). Often a whole room is devoted to the presepio display, complete with landscape and tiny figures made to scale. Though the central feature is the manger at Bethlehem, elaborate scenes will include hills full of shepherds gazing upon the heavenly host, the Wise Men crossing the desert on their camels, water mills, grottos, electric trains, and even sailing boats on the sea.

Father Christmas is called Papai Noel. Many Christmas customs are similar to USA or UK. For those who have enough money, a special Christmas meal will be chicken, turkey, ham, rice, salad, pork, fresh and dried fruits, often with beer. Poorer people will just have chicken and rice.

As in most Latin American nations, Chile's Christmas celebrations centre on the church and the family. The nation's Catholics observe the novena, nine days of prayer and fasting before Christmas.

The chimneys on the homes are quite small in this warm climate, therefore Viejo Pascuero, the Santa Clause can climbs through the window with his gifts. Christmas Eve dinner is eaten very late, most often after Midnight Mass or Misa del Gallo, and consists of turkey and an array of salads, seafood, and olives, accompanied by the local wine, for which Chile is well known. Deserts always include Pan de Pascua, a sweet Christmas bread, along with fruit, cake and cookies.

People go to the church with family, then come back to a family gathering. At midnight after eating they toast, then the adults' dance while younger people go out to see the fireworks. After this they go to sleep, but before opening the presents under the Christmas tree. That day is very special for because they are Christian and celebrate Jesus' birth on the 24th of December.

For the dinner it is pork, turkey, and a great variety of other foods. Then the table is covered with sweet things, cider, beer, and juice for consuming while waiting for the time of the toast. After the toast all the family chat, others play.

In Venezuela on December 16th families bring out their pesebres (cribs) which are specially designed depiction of the nativity scene. It is a custom to attend at one of nine carol services is observed by most Venezuelans. Firecrackers explode and bells ring to call worshippers from bed in the pre-dawn hours. Families attend a mass on this night and then return home to a huge and fancy dinner.
On January 6th when the children awaken they will discover that the straw that they had left beside their bed the night before has gone and in its place are gifts the children know that the Magi and their camels have been and when they go to look in the mirror if they have a black smudge on their cheek they know that Balthasar, King of the Ethiopians has kissed them whilst they slept.


In the garden today

I have been making sure that the garden is well watered, the sun as been very strong for the last few weeks and I know that as soon as the house is occupied I will no longer be in the garden, it will be left to Antonio, my occasional gardener, to water the plants on a nearly daily basis. The cashew tree that I planted as a seed, is finally fruiting, a little late in the season but at least I can see see lots of fruit developing, and I will ask Antonio to pick some fruit for me to taste.

Here are some photos of the garden this morning, I have lost some plants during the time I was away in Europe but the rest are recovering well and it should be nice and green for the visitors, they will even have some limão to pick but no bananas this time, another problem with going away during a time of growth, the plants need a lot of water to get the foliage that the fruit needs, and I find that it is also best to water over the plants as the bananas, and indeed the coconut tree, are a bit like ferns in the way that they collect water, funnelling it into the centre of the leaves. I have mentioned to Antonio that the banana needs at least 10 leaves per plant to give good fruit and this is done by good watering and cutting out a lot of the root sprouts that the banana naturally sends up.