Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unexpected Vegetables

 The unexpected tomato

Sometimes things grow when and where you don't expect them, because you haven't planted them and they just pop up by themselves.  Here we are in mid January and I have tomatoes and green peppers sprouting in a large old pot where I was growing basil and thyme.

My compost bowl

I keep a compost bowl in my kitchen beside the sink, where I put the daily scraps of peelings and cuttings from fruit and vegetables, used coffee and tea bags,  all of which goes out every evening to the old composter which has seen better days.  It now needs to be emptied and fitted together properly so there are no open edges.  

But my gardener, being a practical man, has tied a heavy string around the whole thing in an attempt to keep it together until the next time we empty it.  In the meantime the birds are having a feast on the insects or worms which are populating the lower levels, and are scratching out the fine new soil from the cracks.

The old composter

So after I've dumped the day's collection of goodies into the composter, I put the bowl under a tap,  fill it with water, and dump the water into one of my large flower pots on the way back to the kitchen.

Sometimes there are seeds and small bits clinging onto the bowl and I guess in this case there were both pepper and tomato seeds.  They sprouted and have produced fruit that never would have appeared had I planted the seeds deliberately.

The pepper plant

This is the second pepper to appear.  The first one is long gone into one of my salads.
And by the look of it, there are more tomatoes on the way.

And still more:

I shall have to try this throughout the spring and summer.  After all if I can grown tomatoes and peppers outdoors in January without even trying, perhaps I can do mangos and avocados as well later in the year!

The winter has been mild and beautiful so far.  We do need rain though.  I hope we have a wet February and March so the ground has a good soaking and the water reservoirs are filled again.

Bye for now, thanks for your visit and ¡hasta la vista!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Walking Around

It's still high tourist season and the streets of Puerto de la Cruz are full of people from more northern latitudes here for the warmth and sunshine.  Seen last Sunday while out for a stroll:

 Some cafes cater more to German visitors.

Still there is a mixture of European nationalities holidaying here in winter.

The news kiosks are especially busy on weekends.

Several cafes line the seawall overlooking the north coast making it a favourite route.

Misty low hanging clouds obscuring Mount Teide.

I've been told by several people now that the mouse I trapped and released into the wild was in fact a baby rat.  I guess I haven't seen enough of either to tell the difference, however I think he must be the luckiest rat in the area to have been taken away for an early morning ride in my car and let loose, rather than having been killed.

Setting the humane trap again with bait has so far not produced any family members of this little creature so hopefully he was a loner!

Bye for now, ¡hasta la vista!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Feels Like Spring

Blackbird at the feeder.

Yes they're coming around again and so I've filled the feeder trays for them and hope that I don't attract any unwanted rodents!  It seems that the little fellow I trapped and released yesterday is, by the consensus of opinion, not a mouse but rather a young rat !!!!

Anyway I have set the trap again in case he has any friends or relatives wandering around the garden, looking for a good place to nest.

And although she caught a mouse yesterday, Minnie would rather sit around the garden, posing and looking beautiful.

And it really is time now to prune the roses but they always seem to bloom so well just before pruning.  I can leave them for a couple of weeks more though.  After a pruning at this time of the year my house is full of bouquets of roses and it's wonderful.

The petunias are still flowering too.  What a warm winter we've had!

And we have TWO.....exactly two grapefruit on our tree this season.  After pruning the tree very hard last spring in an attempt to get rid of the current insect plague on the reverse of the leaves, which has been devastating the citrus crops in Canaries, we now have a tree thick with very dark green leaves and no fruit........except for these two!  

And this has been a tree that has year after year born so much fruit that we we've had to give most away.  I hope it comes back.  If not, then I would like to plant a pink grapefruit tree, as that variety is usually very juicy.

I'm off for a Sunday walk today and will be taking more photos.  We still have the end of a bout of CALIMA, which has lasted for days.  That's the weather condition where warm winds from Africa bring suspended sandy dust over to the Canary Islands, causing drier air and warmer than normal temperatures.  

Bye for now, and ¡hasta la vista!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mouse in The Oven

We've had a mouse living in the warming oven at the bottom of my big oven for some time!

I haven't turned on the main oven for about a year to do any large scale baking or roasting as I have a smaller countertop oven that does the job just as well. We found bits of the insulation of the big oven laying on the floor of the warming oven (which is underneath at floor level) ) as well as dry cat food pellets behind the sofa in the living room!

Behind the stove we also found a small potato and an eggshell both of which displayed chew marks.

Minnie, the cat, who loves to jump at anything that moves, especially lizards, hadn't shown the slightest interest in hunting down the little creature, but we did see her sniffing at floor level in unexpected places, so we knew we had an uninvited guest in the house.

We bought a humane trap in the hardware shop, one of those little cages with a spring trap door and after being sure that there wasn't a single crumb of food to be found on the floor or countertops of my kitchen, I laid the trap with bits of dry catfood in a piece of mesh. Waited two nights with no luck. So I added a piece of fresh ham....another two nights with no luck. Then I bought some English cheddar and put a small chunk on the bait hook. Waited one night and then.....VOILA...this morning at 7 am I found our little intruder frightened and inside the cage.

So as soon as it was light I covered the cage with a towel, put him in the trunk of the car and drove him down to where the waste ground begins, where walkers begin the trek to Bollulo Beach, and where the wind gliders jump off the cliff over north Puerto de la Cruz.

I chose a thick bush under which some birds were scampering along the ground, bent down and lifted the trap door.

Little creature hesitated a moment until he realized the door was open.
He then ran under the bush and disappeared.

The moral of the story is .....nothing tastes as good as a mature English cheddar cheese!!!!

But also.....when you trap and release a mouse (or rat) be sure and take him a good distance away.
Two kilometers has been recommended as a safe distance, to avoid them returning to visit you again!

After checking out Google images, I take him to be a HOUSE MOUSE also known as MUS MUSCULUS.

And be careful not to leave dishes of dry food pellets around the house for your dog or cat.
But if you do, and begin to find mounds of dry food in strange places, then you know you are feeding an uninvited pet.

And if you have one of these....or similar.....they are called in Spanish:



(He looks quite cute doesn't he!)

Bye for now.......¡ hasta la vista!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm Back

Hello again.  Here we are already in January of the new year 2012!

After a long absence I'm back on my blog.

I had a major computer crash last fall and at the same time I have been occupied caring for a family member who has been ill over the past year, so I was unable to spend the time I would have liked here on Tenerife Journal.

However the new computer has been installed and I have a new camera to try out so I'm ready and looking forward to being back here again.

The blackbirds and doves are busy in the garden hunting for stray pieces of dry cat food, and the other day I heard a black cap warbler singing.  (Audio link from the web.) We've had no winter on the island, with sunshine, warm temperatures and little rain. The peach blossoms are out in my back yard and the brugmansia is in full bloom.

Canon EOS 600D  EF 50mm lens f/5

This is still the time when poinsettias are blooming in our back yard, along roadsides and in many private gardens. As the weather has been mild with no wind or rainstorms, they are still looking pretty good.  We usually prune them down at the end of February when both flowers and leaves are looking bedraggled.

And while walking down in the town during the Christmas holidays, there were many living statues to be seen in the streets.  This one had a perpetual water flow from his urn into the dish below. He must have a hose and pump cleverly hidden somewhere! 
What patience to be able to stand still for such a long time!

I'll be back very soon with more pictures from the last weeks as well as some from future walks around the town.  

Wishing everyone an early Springtime full of showers and flowers!

Thanks for your visit and ¡hasta la vista!


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