The first post of the new year and new decade. Happy new year to everyone taking the time to read about our life. 
Wishing everyone health and happiness always. 
Our new years eve was a quiet affair. We sat and wrote out a plan of the big jobs we wish to complete in 2020. We were surprised that there are now less big jobs to get done. One main job is to render the house getting rid of the stipple effect. This will make painting the house much easier and less time consuming. Another big jobs is to get the citrus garden built. This has been in the planning for 5 years but we just haven't found the time. We need to terrace the slope at the front of the house and then move lots of soil. I am hoping these 2 jobs get finished before it gets too hot.

Mum has been up and down this week. We have had a couple of outbursts about going home, one where she stomped off. Luckily we are locking the gate, (otherwise she would have been gone) so she just sat in the garden with the dogs keeping an eye on her. We just leave her to calm down. She forgets why she was mad and comes back like nothing ever happened. As a person with a some what "normal" brain, this is quite hard to deal with. Emotions kick in but you have to try to contain them and show nothing, otherwise it can restart what has been forgotten. Mum mirrors my emotions and I have become very aware that how I feel, feeds into how she acts during the day. The trouble is not one of us is happy 100% of the time, some times we are cross, sad, indifferent or just a bit fed up. This is where our outdoor life helps, activity can change mood quickly and negative emotions disappear. 

We have been trying to sort the garden out on the land, ready for spring. This will be our 3rd year using this land. Every winter we add organic matter to it, in the form of manure, from our animals or friends goats, our compost or straw. The very dry weather here does not help decomposition, so the straw takes a long time to break down but in the mean time it aerates the soil and holds what little moisture there is available. If spread on the top it can also act as a weed suppressant too.

This week has seen the start of onion planting. We bought 2 bunches of them about 200 as we thought, but the first bunch had 180, so possibly a few more than 200. We want to plant about 600 this year. Some we are going to pull small to make pickled onions with. There is nothing like home made picked onions and even better when you have grown them yourself.

Our old compost bin had seen better days by the end of last year. It has been on our list of jobs to do for about 3 months, we just never got around to it. Kev decided this was the week. He removed all the compost into the storage bin. This is closer to the garden and so easier access. He then rebuilt the bin using palettes. It is much sturdier than the last one.

Since we are now in the coldest 2 months here, the fires are being lit everyday whether it be just in the late afternoon or all day. This means we need to collect kindling to get the fires going. The farmers leave their prunnings laying in piles in the fields. About twice a week, we go an collect what we need from them. We normally collect about 4 crates at a time of different sizes. This will last us about 3 days. 

The dehydrator has been working overtime again. I have been drying olive leaves. I make olive leaf powder to use in cooking. It is a mild antibiotic, has anti inflammatory properties and can reduce blood pressure too. I pretty much add this to all of my cooking even putting it in salad dressings. I started to research this when my dad was poorly and my blood pressure was through the roof. Everyone in my dads side of the family has blood pressure and I was beginning to think I was going that way too. Now my blood pressure is fine even with the stress of having mum here and being a full time carer.