Our friend Manuel popped in for a visit last night, around 8:30.
When I say “popped in”, I mean I was on my way to close the greenhouse door for the night, and there he was! He was hot and tired, and after a chat and a glass of cold water. He had been spraying in the vineyard all day – an anti-fungal spray of some sort, which was also all over him (healthy, I’m sure).
He sat in our big rocking chair on the terrace and we had a little chat. He tsked over the fact that our English neighbour had not had the tractor guy turn his soil over. This is normal practice in the campo here, because if the weeds aren’t turned over, they dry out and become a huge fire hazard in the summer. It would only have cost 100 euros, says Manuel, so why didn’t he do it? It’s bad for us all when it’s not done.
We also discussed the crops so far. We talked about the cherry harvest – either quite small cherries, because they ripened too fast, or none at all. No apricots this year. No apples. Few oranges and lemons. All because the strong winds and rain blew the blossom off. I was shocked by this – I always think that we on the mountain have the worst of the harvest hits, but it sounds like this year everyone and everything has been struck down.
Critically, he also said his potato crop was a ruin. In some rows, only a few have come up. This is huge for his family, because he grows potatoes for them all, including extended family. Luckily, it’s not like the old days, he says, because back then the family would have starved without potatoes.
We’re all hoping the rest of the summer veg will produce well – but as Manuel says “vamos a ver” (we’ll see).