March went by in the blink of an eye. We have seen many different types of weather this month and we could not escape submitting to the elements. March started with fair and sunny days, followed by some rain. Nothing special so far. Then, halfway into the month, we were overcome by ‘la Calima’ (a Spanish word meaning something like ‘the haze’) which is a phenomenon that is seemingly caused by dust from the Sahara which is blown up high in the atmosphere turning the sky into an apocalyptic orange. Three days of bright orange skies made us a bit disoriented and dizzy. This was followed by rain that brought all this dust down to earth, and this turned all buildings reddish brown and leaving a layer of fine dust everywhere. On the walls, the cars, the plants, it was everywhere, even into the houses. And after cleaning a big part of it, a few days later the muddy rain returned… The end of March was characterised by normal rain. Lots of rain for days at an end. A local from Nijar living here for over 20 years mentioned he had never experienced such a long period of rain and cloudy skies. The sun and moon were nowhere to be seen. Not a common sight for this area. Luckily the last few days ‘normal’ weather has returned. Some sun, some clouds and a fair amount of wind.
It was also a month of family visits. Leon, YoonHwa and Leila were here for a week, Rowin (Edwins son) was here during the rainy days (while the sun was shining in the Netherlands) and Melvins parents also visited Nijar for a week. Next to that, we were delighted to welcome a new guest that found us through one of the websites. Currently Marcel is here and we expect Iman and Roelof to come by this weekend. April is almost fully booked and for May and June the rooms are quickly filling already.
The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots
With all this water falling from the sky the land is saturated which in turn results in green fields everywhere. Green from weeds that is to say and it requires a lot of work to clean the paths, clear the vegetable gardens and make sure the new trees and bushes have space to grow and are not overgrown. Luckily with the land soaked with water, pulling the weeds is somewhat easier than it normally is. Besides the nuisance, some weeds give beautiful flowers attracting bees and other insects to our garden, which make the birds quite happy. We can hear many different birds chatter throughout the day, providing us with pleasant background sounds while we try to live in Attunement. The green manure we sowed does not seem to win from the local weeds, so more effort is needed to make these seeds come to life. As we all still have to get used to the local seasons and we can still learn a lot about plants, their life and their care, we take it as a challenge to find the optimal way for this part of life to flourish here as well.
The greenhouse needed more ventilation after placing the sliding windows, and now also a part of the roof can open to enable us to control the temperature a bit better. We started growing seedlings there and so far we are quite successful. Watermelon, okra’s, corn, spinach, pumpkins, kale, Korean cabbage, beetroots, several types of beans, horseradish and cassava are all sprouting and growing. The potato fields are doing well and we harvested a lot of broad beans already. We are currently preparing more fields for the production of food crops.
Building and improving
The small water basin in the back of the garden needed a new release valve so we can attach a hose to the exit of the basin to water the vegetable gardens around there. The local expert came by and advised us to repair the inner walls so the valve would not get blocked by debris. We did some research on how to do this renovation ourselves, some neighbours came by for advice but in the end our Romanian builders were given the task to do this for us in such a way that we can ensure a proper functioning for the next decades. These builders are always doing a great job and the small basin is now higher, with a new reinforced floor and beautiful white plastered walls.
The small room at the end of the shower block is recently upgraded, by replacing the door of the room so that the last shower of the shower block is now inside this room. Yes, we have our first room with a private shower now, which at the moment still can be reserved for no additional costs. When we have more rooms, we might make a differentiation in room prices according to size and amenities. Talking about more rooms, the space behind the current kitchen (in front of which the new terrace is built) is being prepared for the extension and renovation of the kitchen, with an extra storage room and a washing room. Two more rooms are also planned there, which might also get a private shower, so when all the formalities around permits and finances are settled these works will enlarge our room capacity as well as our capacity to cook for larger groups. We are waiting in anticipation for its final commissioning, likely before summer.