Saturday, 26 February 2011

Winter Wonderland in Abruzzo & News Update

A very well wrapped up Janet in her favourite winter jumper!!

These are the wintry scenes that greeted me this morning. The weather forecast predicting buckets of snow proved to be correct! My concern is for the 20 young olive trees that were planted recently. Will they survive this patch of cold weather? Will the part of the house which has no roof yet, be ok?

The Dream
When we bought our abode a few years ago, there was a huge amount of work to do on it. Having sold our house in Oxford to buy this house outright, we were able to do up the kitchen and the upstairs sleeping quarters, slowly but surely. There is still lots of hard work left to do, but Rome wasn't built in a day!! Now, with an irregular source of income coming in from time to time (lol), each step is taking that little bit longer.... My optimistic aim and dream is for us to live off the land in the future and thus be completely self-sufficient.

Living off the Land - The Reality
Well, with each year that passes, we are getting a bit more off the land and via our livestock, namely from these eggceptionally lively chickens here. With fresh eggs being dutifully laid every day, we can make fresh pasta, pancakes, omelettes, fried eggs, scrambled eggs and so on. Unfortunately, the chicks haven't been laying as many eggs as usual during this cold spell, but egg production should pick up again very soon.

Last summer, we had enough tomatoes, peppers, runner beans, French beans, melons, cucumbers, lettuce, apples, peaches, olive oil, eggs, almonds, figs, a few cherries, pears, and various fresh herbs to keep us from the wolf's door. I need to learn so much, though, about farming the land and to be honest, it's still a hit and miss affair!! I can't say I've got green fingers, just lots of enthusiasm!

Soil, Humus and Manuring
I have just finished reading a fascinating horticultural book by Shewell Cooper called "Shewell Cooper's Guide to Soil, Humus & Manuring", published in 1952. I learned an incredible amount about the value of worms in the soil as a guide to the soil fertility, and found out more about the joys of composting. I enjoy making my own compost to put back into the land. I wrote a review of "How to Cook Compost" a while back, which you might like to read, if you are interested in this topic.

I also love dipping into "Food from your Garden". Published in 1977, this book is a fantastic compilation of everything you need to know about growing your own food. I bought it from Oxfam last year for a few pounds, and it was a real bargain! It contains a lot of fantastic and timeless tips which are highly relevant even in 2011!

News Update! New Seeta Course
I have signed up for another Professional Development mini course on the SEETA site. The tutor is Marisa Constantinides, a highly experienced teacher trainer, with her own teacher training centre in Athens.

The course title is "The Reading Challenge: Motivation and Creativity in Reading Lessons". It starts on 27th February for 7 days, so please do sign up, and learn with me and lots of other keen teachers!! I hope I can be a good student and keep up with the course content. A lot of people I know have already signed up, and it promises to be a very exciting and enriching few days of learning.

Why do I Blog?
I have just submitted a guest post on the subject of blogging to the British Council Teaching English site. It is an honour to be included as a blogging guest in the blogging marathon. You can read the post here.

Countdown Challenge
I have been featured in Bits 'n 'Bobs/Show and Tell blog recently. The "Countdown 28 Challenge", which ends on Monday 28th February, is of a very innovative nature. Will my suggestion of "is" as the final word on the 28th day of the countdown challenge be the one that is indeed chosen by the author? The tension is mounting...

Electronic Village Online - Digital Storytelling
This fantastic 5-week course on Digital Storytelling finished a few weeks ago, and I am planning to write a feedback post shortly with my impressions and some of the work I was inspired to create during the weekly sessions. Watch this space!!

An Idiomatic Story - A Series in Motion
I have been busy drafting more episodes for my digital series of An Idiomatic Story and have been experimenting with Bitstrips and Dvolver. This evolving series is very exciting, and I am having fun using different digital media and Web 2.0 tools. The story of Frederick and Isabella is developing in an interesting way. Anyway, I'm doing my best, and the latest installment is due out tomorrow. Can you ermm...feel the excitement bubbling away???

Post Scriptum
I was very surprised just now and delighted to see that Part 4 Go Animate installment has had 18 views since I created it a few days ago. Maybe I am doing something right? I hope so!!


popps said...

What's happening, the sun is out hre, along with the daffs!

Janet Bianchini said...

Lucky you!! The snow has thawed out now and all is clear again. We are due rain for the next week or so, but no drops yet.

Wow! You have daffs already?? That's quite early! Must be nice though, to see them so soon

popps said...

It is VERY nice.
The locals of course are all saying don't get carried away but i think - what the hell!

Janet Bianchini said...

Absolutely!! Enjoy them when you can!

Hopefully mine (when they eventually make an appearance)won't get dutifully munched and / or gleefully decimated by the chicks...