Rain. After an early summer, the last weeks of May gave us heavenly waters. Last fall barely brought the usual rains so this is very welcome. Prices of olive oil have risen in the last weeks in anticipation of the dry spring this year, when the olives already started forming after the blooming of the olive trees. Luckily, when it doesn’t rain we have enough water resources to keep our trees and plants happy and thriving. Nothing, however, beats a good downpour where everything gets soaked and branches and leaves are washed clean from all the dust and dirt. The soil also gets a good cleansing and the accumulated buildup of salts is dissolved and washed away. The air is cleansed as well and all the pollen and other fine particles are taken out by the water. Living in a place like this makes you appreciate the blessing of sweet water falling from the skies; when you reflect on it, the rain evokes awe and wonder.
The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots
The horticulture season changes once again, and other fruits and vegetables are now ready to be harvested and planted. Our passiflora are beginning to show their passionate fruits and the artichokes that have not been eaten are starting to bloom. Our jacaranda trees are flowering giving a nice touch of purple in our garden. The mulberry trees unexpectedly bore fruit already and we had the pleasure to share the experience of eating white and black berries straight from the tree. We planted pumpkins, spinach and corn and we keep on experimenting with other fruits and vegetables. It takes some time for us to get used to the local weather patterns and to become accustomed to the rhythm of this land; to get to know the type of plants that like it here and to find out which ones need some extra care, protection or nutrition. The revival of the soil itself is a profession in its own right, which challenges us to watch and listen carefully and learn to live in harmony with our surroundings.
The bananas in our first banana circle stopped growing in the winter and started showing signs of growth again about a month ago. Since a week or so they seem to be ripening; changing colour from a deep dark green to a lighter leaning towards yellow green. Normally these fruits need around 4 months to ripen, but these have been on the trees now for over 6 months and a few days ago we decided to cut one of the bunches of one tree of which the top bananas started to yellow. We need some more patience to get the final ripening done but can’t wait to try our home grown bananas. A new flower was spotted last week so perhaps this flower will produce ripe bananas in October.
Throughout the garden we see a change in unexpected and non-intended plants that grow here as well. When we arrived we mainly saw some tough plants with little leaves and strong taproots. In the last few years we have been sowing local grasses and flowers and this year, they start to show up in places where we did not expect them. They apparently have started to like their new habitat. Also insects are discovering our delicious garden. We see a larger variety of insects and a few more wasps building their summer homes in our garden.
Building and improving
The two new larger guest rooms are almost finished. The adjacent terrace between the rooms and looking out over the garden is leveled and is currently being tiled, giving a whole new look in this area. The well used kitchen flourishes with its impulses from a variety of cooks from different backgrounds and who inspire each other to try out new and healthy recipes. The home bakery has discovered some new bread recipes, partly inspired by the needs of guests, like a gluten free production of a fluffy bread made solely out of rice, water and yeast and a bread (more like a cake) from tahin, eggs and chickpea flower. Another bread made from all kinds of seeds, oats and nuts was also tried, born from a need for a healthy cracker like snack, and has made it to one of the house favourites. Kombucha is brewing in a corner and there are plans for homemade sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh as well.
Do you already feel an inkling to taste and enjoy this beautiful place? You are welcome to come and join us for a while; to inspire and to be inspired.