My lavender starts are on the way! It won’t be long before my mini field of lavender is planted. Just one less thing. Readers here will remember when we planted our lavender test plots in summer of 2021. It’s a good thing, too. I learned a lot. Especially about soil composition and conditions. Last summer was an epic drought in Galicia. This winter had record breaking rain. Observing how the lavender survived – or didn’t, in some cases – proved invaluable for my approach to a larger investment. And with the unlimited sage advice of my local spirit animal. Maricarmen, I am sure to be successful.
Yesterday Jeff put up the small fence to cordon off my vegetable patch from the entrance to Fergus’ dog run and my She-shed. My lettuces will be safe. He added a small wooden gate for easy access. I love it!! There will be a small painted sign on that gate very soon proclaiming my vegetable domain. Then, Jeff started cutting out large holes for windows in my shed. This meant I needed to get the windows we bought painted. They come with built in wooden shutters and will be black. It will match our house with white stucco.
I laid out tables in front of the barn, and in my rubber boots and painting overalls, I started painting one of the three windows. Right on schedule, Maricarmen came through the gate. Ready to inspect the troops and their handiwork. She advised me on painting techniques, inspected the new garden fence, then proceeded out to where the furrows await the lavender crop’s arrival. She marched to and fro, hands on hips, pointing and suggesting. Then she nodded her approval. It seems Maricarmen is a fan of my lavender harvesting plans. And my sensible approach to MVP (minimal viable product) farming.
‘If this goes well you can plant more next year.’ She told me.
Holy Moly! I have done something right. Can I get a Hallelujah?!!
Maricarmen is becoming more comfortable with us. She comes in our house and plays with the dog. Brings me even more veggies, and is less and less edited with her advice. All of which I am perfectly comfortable.
We have yet another shed attached to the barn. Like all the others, it is packed to the gills with stuff. It’s only recently that I have begun going through some of it. An archeological lasagna of the previous owners and what is surely their grandparents legacy. So odd to me that they left it all here. Someone was a bombero (fireman) a long time ago. The fire helmet has to be from the middle of the last century or even before. There are ancient cobblers tools and wooden lasts (forms to wrap the leather around in the shape of a foot) And iron holders for nailing on the leather soles. Cool old brass wall sconces that were clearly once for candles but were converted into electric lights sometime in the early 20th century. They have hanging crystals to reflect the light. Every time I lift another thing, something below it catches my eye. Yesterday, I took Maricarmen in there. And I got her signature response. ‘Uff!’
‘What are you going to do with all this?’ She asked me in Spanish.
I just shrugged. I have to go through it. Some of it is so cool. And old. I want to pick through it slowly. Maybe use some of it as inspiration for something artistic. I’m not sure yet. I already rescued the cobbler stuff. I may use the funky wall sconces in my She-shed – if Jeff rewires them to prevent a fire hazard. But as to the rest of it, I don’t know yet. There were also big grinding machines. The scoundrel (the philanderer) who was the ex-husband of the woman who owned the house previously, was an iron worker. I have a ton of his stuff in the house. Some of it I wish I didn’t have. He liked spray painting everything metallic blue! Ugh and heavy sigh. But our black wood hopper was something he made that we found in a shed. And there are a few other things, as well. Useful things. But old grinding machines aren’t something Jeff and I are interested in. Maricarmen perked up when she saw them.
‘You don’t want these?’ She asked me. I suddenly learned the word for filing or grinding things in Spanish.
‘No’ I told her. ‘Do you want them?’
She grunted. Then, she made a phone call. I have learned by experience that when Maricarmen makes a phone call, whomever is on the other end of the line drops whatever they are doing and comes immediately. She’s like Batman. Giving birth? Doesn’t matter. Sitting for your law exam? In the middle of performing brain surgery when Maricarmen’s number flashes on your mobile? Sorry! I gotta go! MariCarmen is calling!
Soon, there were trucks and men at our gate. Opening it themselves. Not usually done here. I had my painting music up loud and was doing my usual dancing, while slathering things with paint. I didn’t notice them, at first. It was a moment before Jeff’s ‘Kelli!! There is someone here to see you!!’ broke through. Ironically, anyone who breaches our perimeter is always here to see me! Including a crowd of unknown dudes in trucks. I have no doubt Jeff would lay down his life to protect me if the hoards with pitchforks ever came through the gates. But he’d send me out first to find out what they wanted. I turned off the music as Jeff patted himself on the back.
‘Aren’t you glad I saved you from the embarrassment of them watching you dancing and singing while painting that window?’
What?! I wasn’t quite sure how I should take that. My savior.
The first man was Maricarmen’s brother. And I know this because he told me. The others I didn’t know. Some had women with them of various ages. They brazenly drove all the way through, past my window table in front of the barn. Then, we walked the shed. They nodded, then swarmed like a hive of bees and began hauling big things out the door. Soon, there was a Klampet-style tying of precariously stacked items in a haphazard way into trucks and into vans. Finally, they left after shaking my hand and waving goodbye. MariCarmen came back later with a wheel barrow and a sack of broccoli. She gave me the broccoli, petted Fergus, then hauled more stuff home from the shed. She’s less enamored with old cobbler tools and antique wall sconces, but cares more about the big iron working tools. Before she left she stopped at the front door with her wheelbarrow.
‘I understand Chus is coming on Thursday.’
I almost laughed. Of course she knows when our new housekeeper is starting. And who she is. Likely, she had something to do with Chus’ arrival on my doorstep. Then, MariCarmen waved goodbye. ‘Hasta Mañana!’
I have finally cracked it. I know why people here always walk with a stick. They have Hoe Back! Everyone grows their own vegetables. That’s a lot of hoeing. Or wheelbarrow-ing. The other day driving into Melide I saw a man and his wife walking on the side of the road with their own matching ancient wheelbarrows. They were nothing short of 80 years old. Him in his flat cap. She in her apron. Walking uphill into town. Amazing.
Today we have a lot to do. I have my newly protected garden to plant. Jeff just came down the stairs in his Carhartt overalls.
‘Let’s go, my little hoer.’
Yup, We both heard it the minute he said it. The day will be filled with ibuprofen and hoeing. My absorption into the Galician Borg is now complete. MariCarmen will be so proud.
3 thoughts on “His Little Hoer”
😂 And you may find a museum in your area that would accept some items of the local history! I’ve been able to pass a lot of items on to our local one, albeit small-town California.
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Alas, I think if I brought this stuff to the Museum of Melide they would scoff at me. Here, 100 yr old things are nothing to them in the span of millennia that this place sports. Our local castle was begun in 600. The oldest cross in Galicia sits in the centre of town. More than a thousand years old. They will look at this stuff and tell me their grandfather still makes his own shoes🤣🤣. Perhaps that’s why the sellers left it all. Their real history isn’t like us Americans. A shallow puddle compared to an ocean.
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That is one tough perspective to wrap my head around. But yes, my 100 year old stuff is old for a young state but like yesterday in Galicia!! Pretty funny 😂
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