Thursday, 31 July 2008

Way Green!

If it wasn´t hotter than July here, we both could be mistaken for Nanook of the North, our bodies all dotted with flakes of white. ´Cept this isn´t snow, it´s flakes of last year´s whitewash. Or this year´s. With a few dots of green, maybe.

Out on the patio we are sprucing-up the place, whitewashing the walls that have forever been whitewashed, because regular paint won´t stick to them, and whitewash is very cheap and easy, albeit sloppy. What a change it makes! Suddenly the sun shines brighter, and all the nasty stains vanish away.

Too bad it only lasts about 8 months. We gotta re-do it every year. This is why some of our walls are so thick: About 100 years ago they started with walls already two feet thick with adobe bricks, and then layered on another coat of plaster and/or whitewash every year or so. It´s cool, though. Sometimes you can see the earth-pigment colors the former owners chose, way back when.

And then came the Modern People. On some parts of the patio they stripped off the whitewash an put up better, stronger, faster Latex paint. Which means whitewash won´t work there, and any further paint´s got to be Modern, too. That is why, in the past two days, we turned our little latrine bathroom green. On the outside, I mean. Using modern paint. Last year´s whitewash coat bubbled up and flaked off within weeks.

We wanted a light olive green, grayish even, to harmonize with the ochre house. But they don´t custom-mix paint at the hardware store in Sahagun. They hand you a bucket-o-white and a couple bottles of pigment and tell you to Do It Yourself.
O-kaay... Paddy and I are, after all, Art School veterans. We know our way ´round a color wheel. It took a long time, and much consultation, and a succession of green stripes painted on the wall before we agreed we´d achieved the right harmony of hue and tone.

Now the job is done and the paint is up and dried. And what we have is... well. Jolly, vibrant, beach-umbrella, apple-martini green! Yow. When the afternoon sun hits it, parts of the patio are bathed in the reflected greenish light. Inside the old kitchen it feels like you´re under water.

I´m pretty ambivalent about it, but it really DOES look better, out there in the patio. I don´t dislike it enough to go and do it over again. And once we get the trees and potted plants back in place, I am sure it won´t bother me. Much.

As for green, the neighbors´ gardens are producing now, and Moratinos is feasting on aubergines/eggplants, zuchhinis/courgettes, (how come squash-type veg have so many different names??) and the budding, unopened heads of sunflowers... you sauté these in olive oil. We have tiny, soft yellow plums, and tiny green pears, and Fuji apples. And I will spend the rest of the morning, after this, putting about 3 kilos of green beans into freezer bags, for Winter consumption. And maybe making gazpacho too. Abundanza!

I also discovered a treasure trove of beautiful photos left behind when Patrick´s son Matt visited here, whilst I was wandering through the Heart of America. He is one talented picture-taker, that Matt. This place never looked so good. So you will see some of his work popping up here and there. I don´t know how to put cutline credits onto photos, so just assume, if you will, that the really good ones are taken by him, and you will probably be right. Here are a few:

Now back to the kitchen with me. I am still not feeling like myself. I´ll be so glad when all the hay is in and the dust dies down!


Anonymous said...

I really like the green--a happy art accident--or as SIster Mary Carla, SC would say, "Providence!"! I think, also, that feeling like you are underwater in the kitchen would be neat. The green is a testament to hazarding yet forward ; )

PL said...

One day back in October '06 much further south of you, somewhere between Monesterio and Fuente de Cantos I think, I was walking through fields of these little gourds that looked like Dulcinea watermelons (about the same size), but when opened and ate (lots laying broken on the roadside from the farmer's tractor) they looked and tasted like Honeydew. (How's that for a run-on sentence?). What are those little guys called? said...

pl: they were either sandias or pieles de zapos -- "toadskins." My money´s on the toad.
I don´t know what they taste like, as I am deathly allergic to melons and don´t dare eat them. They sure smell good though.

PL said...

That's the funny thing, they smelled like cucumbers.