From Mediterranean farm life

Honey&Co Food Talks

Mother’s Garden on the famous Honey&Co food talks.
Free podcast available from today. (Not on an Apple device? Click here.)

We are so very proud and privileged to be working with these amazing people – Itamar, Sarit and their team – and to be invited to talk about the superfood that is premium extra virgin olive oil.

We would, of course, love to supply you with premium fresh extra virgin olive oil. Just go to our online shop or get in touch.
If you have never tasted Mother’s Garden now is the time. Listen first, though, to hear what Itamar and we have to say……….

The farm podcast

Join me, Martin Kirby, as I walk the farm, telling of the nature, the tasks the goodness that is Mother’s Garden
Here is the link to Episode 10. https://mothersgarden.podbean.com/e/episode-10-april-3-2019/
Song of the swallows, burnt feasts and exceptional friends.
Why the podcasts?
Mother’s Garden is premium extra virgin olive and far far more.
Should you wish to taste this life we can supply you with our multi-award winning olive juice, and you can come and stay in our farm cottage too.

Go to our online shop – we can supply the UK, Europe and many other countries.

Check out our farm cottage. There are still weeks available this year.

We are here to answer any of your questions and we love to hear from you.

NEW – The 2019 Mother’s Garden Podcasts

HAPPY NEW YEAR one and all, from us here on the farm at Mother’s Garden, a breeze away from the Mediterranean, home of your premium extra virgin olive oil.
Here is something new for 2019 – a podcast of Mother’s Garden farm life, a weekly wander across the land and through a host of topics, not least nature and food. It will be very much a local view, intended to give a flavour of this life, this land, but it will also include opinion of global matters, essentially ecology and our collective home, Earth.
I think of these podcasts as having the title Where I Stand, as I – we – seek to ground ourselves amid the obsessions of our collective daily lives and the relentless torrent of news, most of it negative. An antidote, if you will, certainly a chance to step away for a moment – about ten minutes once a week – to perhaps get a sense of Mother’s Garden and all it means to us and everyone who has ever been here.
So, peace to all. And with hope for health and sustaining fulfilments in 2019 here is the first of the podcasts.
If you wish to listen on an iphone/itunes, click here.
If you have another phone or want to listen via a computer, click here.
Please consider following, and also sharing this.

Oh – two further rather important things.
IF YOU HAVE YET TO ORDER NEW HARVEST OLIVE OIL we have stock and it can be with you in a couple of days. Just email us or go to our online shop.
AND FEEDBACK – all your thoughts regarding the new olive oil and, indeed, the podcasts are most welcome. We really value you and your opinions.
Keep well. Maybe consider a visit to Mother’s Garden this year.
Martin
mothersgarden.org

Ravens claw-to-claw with a goshawk

A fish rises at first light

A fish rises to kiss the mirror of first light. Night temperatures have dipped and the valley is a patchwork of Autumnal embers. The reservoir whispers steam and, overnight, the frenzy of dragonflies has evaporated.
The days, though, still have warmth enough to stir fragile life. How brief the moment for some creatures. The metallic, dung-loving, magnificent green bottle fly that I fished alive from the pool, for example, has but a couple of weeks from egg to death.
And the pollinators still have fare. Our hammock-supporting nispero tree is coming into flower while the countless stalks of St John’s wort, that medicinal herb or noxious and invasive weed (depending on your leaning), still flames at the water’s edge and along banks and verges. It is so named because someone noted it coming into flower on June 24th, the birthday of John the Baptist; “wort” being an old English word for plant.
I potter. Our ravens sound an angry alarm and we look up to see them haranguing a goshawk. Two men come up the drive in search of Spanish Civil War echoes. Mother’s Garden sits on part of the site of the International Brigades’ training camp before the fateful, final battle against Franco’s Fascists in 1938. It turns out one of the men has just retired from the UN, so I change the subject from the old wars to cravings for new peace.
I vent. The world is crying out for the UN to show unity of peaceful purpose far and beyond nationalistic interests. It desperately needs certainty of funding rather than voluntary donations/bargaining tools from individual governments and donors . It has to change from the endless panics of emergency appeals that give no certainty for victims and the aid workers as to how long crucial help can be given, and to recognise that the likes of Syria, Iraq and Yemen, worsening by the day, need a long-term humanitarian commitment and funding plan. And it has to lead.
With 15,000 nuclear warheads pointed in all directions (labelled deterrents to the owners but weapons of mass destruction when wielded by others) and an annual arms trade turnover of more than £50billion we desperately need to talk. Far more pressure has to be put on all our leaders to never act unilaterally but to work tirelessly within the UN for peaceful binding solutions, for this world council to be the catalyst for compassion, consideration and action to help those in need, which is, ultimately, the most courageous, lasting and effective way to break the cycle of hatred and revenge.
It must be seen to be doing this or, if like now, be held accountable.
Further, every human being should have access to the UN, whether to be heard, to offer support or receive relief, and its significance and purpose should be transparent and properly covered by the world media.

The former UN officer sighs and agrees, palpably grateful to be in retirement.
I wave them off and realise I still have in my hand the pomegranate I scrumped from our neighbours’ loaded tree while feeding their chickens for them when they were away. Guilty as charged.
A burst from the mass choir of charming gold finches in the pine tops leads me back toward the water where a brimstone butterfly curtsies like a swallow to drink on the wing. Nearby a hairy white ermine moth caterpillar looking like a dirty bottle brush is moving apace towards the carcase of a squidged fig. A white is not one of the prolific ermine web spinners (orchard, spindle and bird-cherry) that can turn hedgerows white, but a spinner all the same, providing protection from predators.
I am learning to live in the present, taking one day at a time, eyes forward. But now, for good reason, I must slip into the past tense, look over my shoulder.
I was barred from spinning through the vineyards during harvest this year (by doctors and the boss, on account of my ongoing recovery), so instead of secateurs I wielded my camera and recorded Maggie and friends at labour. A good year, it seems. The timeless appreciation of fruiting.
How I wish I kept a camera in the car all the time.
Last week Maggie and I sat in Joe’s classroom at the high school, trying to make sense of the usual cacophony of Catalan at an evening parents’ meeting. It was the same old cheek-blowing challenge and we tootled home into the night comparing mental notes. When working as a team we can usually piece some the sense together.
Then there they were, rooting in a lane-side ditch on the fringe of the soft yellow glow of the town lights, ten feet from the door of the sleeping police station. After 15 years here it was Maggie’s first face-to-face encounter.
The five young, tan-coated boars didn’t flee. They barely noticed us. We pulled up right beside them and wound down the window. The adults must have been in the shadows of the hazel grove beyond the plain trees, but we couldn’t see or hear them.
Four of the infants continued to plough up the dead leaves, but the smallest boar stopped hunting for worms and nuts and fixed us with an inquisitive, trusting stare, oblivious to the madness and danger of our species, the self-appointed lords of all.
Keep well

Morning dew on carinyena grapes waiting to be picked Ornamental moggie Outdoor feasting after a hard day's work Peppers from the undergrowth The beauty of a fly_edited-1 The pomegranate season Time for a cup of tea Virginia leaf on the pin cushion White ermine moth caterpillar

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Words to the wise

The book stack beside my bed spirals, falls, builds again. Farmhouse art includes delicious, random piles and vast mesmeric mosaics of spines on shelves, millions of words waiting to be revisited. I devour two or three novels a week, one of the joys of convalescence, a delicious sedative to counter the itch of idiotic guilt that I should be doing more.
Alone in Berlin, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Suite Francaise, Red Sky at Sunrise …..
Untitled-2But I am, doing more that is, little by little. Selfishly I take on the uplifting, meditative dawn and dusk task of watering the pots around the house and the two clover-clogged veg patches. We have the usual glut of courgettes and an assortment of other produce, plus potatoes to lift and pears and plums at the point of ripening. The jam cauldron must be dusted.
Relentless sun has sapped much of the green. July, with its predilection for parchment (ground as lifeless as the base line of centre court), is not without its jewels. Somehow unwatered wild sweet peas radiate from the base of olive trees, rust red shield beetles scurry, bee-eaters bask and fruits blush.
Senses numb during the afternoon bake. Cicadas drum out the heat to the accompaniment of the dry-throat whisper of a breeze in the pines. Truth be known, though, afternoon temperatures have settled in the tolerable low to mid thirties – that’s ninety-plus but still lower than normal. Thankfully humidity has never been heavy here. But there are other seasonal trials.
Almost daily we sternly scan the blue. The regular, mournful drone of the fire-crew flying boats, unnerving as a mosquito passing your ear, draws us out from the closed, cool farmhouse. We try to judge the planes’ direction, checking the angle of the wind and sniffing for the dire scent of smoke. It is a guessing game. The time it takes for the lumbering aircraft to return gives us a rough idea of the distance from us to any emergency. So far this year there has been no great alarm close by, touch tinder-dry wood.
I am woken most days by a golden oriole leading the first light chorus from the bare, dead crown of the oldest fig tree, before a cacophony of spotless starlings swoops in. They proceed to deafen one another amid the broad leaves. Pickpocket sparrows and finches dodge between them – it is as chaotic as a stock market trading floor, a feeding frenzy. Most of the figs on the high boughs, too high for us anyway, have been torn open, their hearts ripped out, and their spent skins litter the earth.
Our terriers, Tilly and Ted, lay flaked on the red dust beneath this canopy of chaos, too hot to be bothered, unless a cat or a fat toad dares enter their soporific eye-level radar. They have finally figured out the difference between the squeak of the perforated irrigation pipes and rodents. When the pump in the reservoir is plugged in fountains rise at random to water circles of lushness in iron land, and if I forget to turn it off an incongruous brook snakes down the dusty track. And still the spring runs at 1000 litres an hour.
I wrote last time of an emperor ruling the mirror of our vast reservoir. His tenure is over, and from nowhere an armada of delicate, fearless mustard dragonfly has sailed in to spice this water world. They are keeled skimmers, I think, darting hither and thither like a swarm of energised little children on the loose, then taking it in turns to settle on the tips of fennel for a short breather.
Armies of ants toil endlessly, carving highways through broken ground littered with felled forests of dead grass. For days a war between two of these dynasties has been grimly engaged at the entrance to the chicken run, the prize being the food debris scattered therein.

And so our little, bio-diverse world turns clockwise, positively, naturally, at an almost manageable rate, counter to the grim, nauseating flip-flop and mad spin of negative news, dominated by the alarmingly primitive obsessions of some within a single species.
So back to the books I go, and to the extraordinary lives of exceptional authors – Hans Fallada, Robert Tressell, Irène Némirovsky, and Laurie Lee being my current deep pools for thought.
We may never learn, but the lessons are there, everywhere, in black and white.

Keep well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SHAKING THE TREE e-book now on sale

strip for websiteWriter Martin Kirby’s SHAKING THE TREE – a Mother’s Garden e-book about living the dream – is published online today.

You can now read the sequel to best-selling NO GOING BACK on Kindle in a new updated edition, available worldwide.
See here for the Amazon UK page,
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01009A9IS
but it is also available on all Amazon sites from America to Australia.

Thank you so much to everyone who has pre-ordered. We sincerely hope the word will spread fast and that a great many more people will enjoy reading about life on the wild side down on our farm in Catalonia, as seen on the two No Going Back television documentaries.

And today, to give you another flavour of this life, we are uploading some photographs from our Mother’s Garden archive.
Please get in touch if you want to learn more about the book, about wonderful olive oil, or if you want to visit the farm.
https://mothersgarden.org/get-in-touch.

Help this book to be a best-seller! Please share and spread the word.
With love and thanks from us all at The Garden. x

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Mother’s Garden e-book launch

The long-awaited second account of living the Mediterranean dream at Mother’s Garden

Martin’s book SHAKING THE TREE will be available worldwide on Kindle in the coming days.
Just click here to pre-order. It will be published as an e-book on July 15th.

This sequel to the best-selling NO GOING BACK, brings the Mother’s Garden story up to date – another honest and funny serving of Mediterranean home truths from the family home in The Priorat mountains of southern Catalonia.

More than 50,000 copies of NO GOING BACK, available in four languages, have been sold, and millions of people around the globe followed the family’s living the dream story on two No Going Back television documentaries.

We humbly suggest that those of you with a Kindle might like to read it, and we ask everyone to pass the word and the link so this news reaches as many people as possible.

Many dream of a different way of life, and here is a truthful, emotional and comical account of one family who did it. Shaking The Tree, first published as a modest paperback in the UK in 2010, has now been updated and is set to go out into the world, telling the family’s story from 2003 to 2015.

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