More days have gone by, the summer is still here although autumn can be felt in the air. And in shorter days and colder nights. Ah, the inevitability of change.
Those tiny (and rather tart) yellow plums (called ciburini locally) happened in such abundance that two huge branches broke as we failed to support them on time (although, of course, we have been warned by the neighbour 🙂 There was still a tonne left and I’ve made two batches of jam and plan to make more this week. One batch I did in a traditional way – stirring for hours until it set – is very yummy and plummy and turned very dark in colour. The other I made with pectin and cooked for only few minutes – tastes like apricot jam and is the same colour – really lovely if you like your jams more on a tart side. We have lots of plum trees here so it will be jam galore in the next few weeks. I have recipes for baked jam, one made without sugar with a bit of salt, etc, etc…. If you are lucky enough to see me in Zagreb, you will likely get a jar!
I would pronounce the garden a medium success – there has been such a drought (no rain from early June till last week) and although we did our best to water regularly – it feels it could have been better. Still, thanks to Instagram and my editing efforts, pictures might convince you otherwise 🙂
We focused our watering efforts on tomatoes and it shows – very happy with them – red tomato sauce, yellow tomato sauce – already in the freezer for lazy winter days. Installing drip irrigation system will be the first on the agenda in April 2014.
This is just a nice picture of our lunch on one single day this summer where I felt like turning on the oven in the middle of the day when it is 40 degrees outside was a good idea.
One cannot not mention glorious Leonard Cohen concert in Pula Arena amphitheatre in early August. That it was my sixth Leonard Cohen gig in the last four years is probably revealing too much.
Most importantly, since late May, we welcomed guests here. And that has been (surprisingly?) great experience. I wake up early (really early for my usual self), make the cake (glad there is that yellow one there, all look a bit too brown en masse here), serve the breakfast, people seem to enjoy. Waking up early was a blessing as I have finally experienced summer mornings. I always wanted to do that but never really managed as sleeping I love. So, all quiet, not hot, birds coming for a drink at the pool – pretty lovely. And, baking cakes is easy. I even clean the pool while cake is in the oven.
(I cannot believe I am writing these words and that they are the truth. “I clean my pool while cake is in the oven.” Still, here I am and that is what I do.)
I am very grateful that airbnb exists. Probably 80% of our guests came through them. We do advertise at few other places and I know some new similar sites are appearing – still, think we would have been full if we only were with them – so yay for them and for our first season that was above our expectations. Both with the bookings (books say that we should be happy if we had 50% and we had quite a bit more in July and August) and with the people who stayed. Really great experience (we have met over 70 rather cool people from all over Europe (and a couple of North Americans that have settled in Europe) in the last three months and could come up with a whole new set of (positive!) cultural stereotypes only if we wanted 😉 and it is not even over yet…
The rain finally came last week so nature sprang up again. Which means mowing and sowing. Just this morning, I was about the clear the lettuce patch and sow some new one (seeds given to me by our lovely neighbour who takes care of me and makes sure I do all the things in the garden when they are supposed to be done). I also did leave some of our lettuce to go to seed and as I started picking them, I noticed that seedlings are coming up underneath the old growth. So self-seeding happened and no need for me to do anything just yet. It will need watering and thinning but for now – very cool.
All in all – “The Good Life” continues. I even have my white shelves with my all white crockery and – please notice – the hint of (blond) wood. Haha. You see what I mean when I say I cannot believe the words I am writing?
I am sure Pruga would not be such success (at least with the kids) if it wasn’t for Miki and Miu Miu and assorted random dogs from the village – they are absolute stars of the whole experience. It couldn’t have been better if we planned it. Which, of course, is often the case.
Stiil – there can only really be one star – no?
Regardless of the fact that yesterday we had that dreaded experience of her bringing the lizard in to “play with”. Hmmmm. What will she do in the 5th floor apartment in the middle of the city?