The kingdom of rain

The kingdom of rain

In the middle of this month the heavens opened and the Minho region of Portugal got a soaking, particularly Ponte de Lima which received almost 8cm of rain. The rest of the country: nada! We were in the path of the appropriately named Storm Betty, and heard the phrase Reino da Chuva for the first time. We were of course delighted, the area remains green and lush and I don’t have to fret too much about watering the plants at Casa Lima. The workers finished most of the barn areas leaving them water-proofed before taking their annual holiday, thank goodness.

The storm did have one effect: a huge branch from our gigantic fig tree was brought down. However, so big is the tree that it’s difficult to see any real damage. There are a number of trees that really need a good pruning and the fig tree is one. It’s a massive monster of distorted branches which are weighed down with enormous figs. There is a sense of danger when picking them as you have to watch out for a variety of bees and wasps and, unfortunately, Asian hornets. These are the extra sweet green figs, figo pingo de mel, which means you also have to double check that there isn’t a fig wasp inside the fruit before picking it. Any risk is worth it, they are absolutely delicious and certainly taste of honey.

Preparing some for making jam has reminded me to say that, despite leaving Casa Azul, we are still inundated with fruit and vegetables. This year I have already made marmalade and damson jam, picking the fruit whenever we went down south, but also red and yellow plum jam, peach chutney plus lemon curd and preserving lemons. The latter produce are all from our landlord’s mother. She comes round regularly with buckets, literally, of tomatoes, onions, green beans, cucumbers… as well as eggs. The freezer is full of bags of passata.

Richard has been busy. Some of you will remember the basement of the house was full of old wine barrels. He is now making those suitable for their new use. Three of them have had their hoops re-fixed, not an easy task, and then two have been sanded and varnished. There was an old plank from the house which he has also treated and now we have some kind of table for the barbecue area. There are still a few more to be seen to, and whatever we will do with the big one remains a mystery.

He has also been busy in the kitchen, I am pleased to say. Chef Cain can rustle up a number of gastronomic seafood delights now which we enjoy in the evening sunshine (spot Betty).

There have been plenty of other jobs keeping us active and we’ve gone to a number of events at Ponte de Lima including the cider festival (Richard of course has made more beer this month). It’s been particularly nice to welcome my niece, her husband and marvellous to meet the newest member of the family.

2 thoughts on “The kingdom of rain

Leave a Reply