We've almost finished cutting, splitting and stacking wood for the winter wood pile - the main pile is completed, but the pile of smaller sticks is still only about half done.
We had a lovely day out for our anniversary - a trip to the very quiet Certaldo (a beautiful town about 65km south of us) and a picnic in a quiet square there. We loved it like that, but I'm not sure the restaurant owners would agree. Tourism does seem to be slowly trickling back into our area, so hopefully the local businesses are doing slightly better now and will have enough trade to keep their heads above water.
We dismantled what had become known (between the two of us) as the "orangery" a rather grand name for the structure Stuart had originally put up to protect the citrus plants and other pot plants over winter and which had morphed into a green house for our seedlings and become rather more permanent than was originally intended. However, the citruses were starting to outgrow the structure so we decided it was time to re-locate it. The orange and the lime have been moved to the lawn, against the garden wall, and the orangery (which now no longer has any oranges in it) has been re-constructed at the back of the house.
|Where once there was an "orangery", now there is space and a view!|
|And a new fence to stop people going headfirst onto the guest lawn!|
|The lime and the orange have been relocated.|
|The orangery has been relocated.|
The summer has been hot, but so far (mercifully) not AS hot as it has been in previous years (we have yet to exceed 34C). Nevertheless, the heat is a struggle at times, and in a bid to keep as much heat out of the house as possible Stuart has constructed an outdoor kitchen.
We also invested in some umbrellas - they make the world of difference and actually allow us to use our garden furniture. Without the umbrellas it's too uncomfortably hot to sit outside until about 8pm and prior to buying them we had been resorting to hiding from the sun in the car park!
|This sort of umbrella is all well and good..|
|But these are SO much better!!!|
Following the rat saga, we are slowly making progress with the long-awaited tidying up of the end of the house. This area has been an eyesore since we first moved in, and is the last remaining job that dates back from when we moved here. We have managed (I say "we" but my part in the process has been the unskilled part of filling in, while Stuart has done the skilled part of the rendering process) to get the first third of the wall rendered and a small section of the ground levelled off and gravelled. There's still a long way to go, but it has already made a huge difference and we can see what difference it will make when it's all finally done.
We have experimented with spraying our olive trees with kaolin - a basic clay mixed with water (which then dries on the tree) - to protect them from the olive fly. Apparently the coating of clay is enough to deter the fly... but whether or not it will make a difference is yet to be seen.
|You can see the colour of the tree has changed where it has been sprayed.|