Life in a Dol house
2018  -  Week 26

The kids are shriking

It's official, we are half way through the year, this is the 26th blog of 2018, only another 26 to go.... to 2019! 

This week's blog is the first where there is only one version. 

I started the blog as an email and over the past four years it has grown. Then as some readers told me they couldn't view the email, or couldn't view the embedded photographs, I started using the Shorthand programme online. 

More recently I have also added the blog to Pinterest so each week the number of readers increases. 

Because of changes to GMail, where the orientation of photographs was changed, I have now abandoned the email version and will concentrate on using just the on-line edition.  The resolution of the images has been increased now as well.

As always, readers feedback is welcomed.

This will be a shorter edition this week too. 

Work around my home has slowed as the heat has increased. 

True, I've planted lettuce as a catch crop in the herb border, surrounded and protected from the garden snails by salt, but that apart, the week has been about keeping everything moist and alive. 

I have harvested the first of my apples.

These are the experimental Cordon trees that I planted two years ago. This is the first year that I have allowed the blossom to form into fruit. They are now at about the maximum height I want them to be and next month I'll do some summer pruning to consolidate the shape of the trees. It is rather nice though, when you taste the first fruit. In this case the variety is a Božičnica. 

There are eight varieties of apple in the orchard, and in a few weeks the first of the pear varieties will be ready as well.

The late cold spell we suffered killed most of the blossom on my plums trees. In past years I have picked plums and literally filled buckets. 

This year, I have managed less that a couple of dozen individual plums - not even enough for a pie.

I've been helping a friend with his harvest this week for a couple of days. 

He has fields of Curry Plant, Helichrysum italicum, and also Lavender.

It is the Helichrysum that is being harvested at the moment. There is an intense aroma of curry, given off by the leaves, as the flowers are cut.

But the plant is grown for the very high quality oil it produces in the flower heads, that is used in the perfume industry. 

While I've been in the fields, I've seen some spectacular insect life, like this large female Katydid.

There were a number of other Katydid species that I spotted too, as well as the usual crop of butterflies, moths and other insects.

It has been very noisy around home all week because of a lot of loud kids, clamouring to be fed. 

The Shrikes have fledged. A few weeks ago my neighbour Steve found a Red Backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, nesting in a nearby Pomegranate tree. 

Photo courtesy of Steve J.  

The young have fledged and at any time three of them can be heard shrieking for food. They well deserve their name. 

The youngsters perch anywhere convenient, on my wooden Arbour, in the outer branches of trees in the orchards, on the weather frames over the citrus trees and on the overhead power supply cables. 

The parents dart back and forth with beaks full of insect prey, which the youngsters gobble down. As soon as the parents fly off, the calls start again. 

They are another of our summer visitors, who will leave in the autumn to over winter in West Africa. Meanwhile from before dawn to dusk, these kids are demanding to be fed.

 I have also been doing some metal fabrication this week too. 

Metal really isn't my material.  I'm much more comfortable working with wood and I also have a much better range of tools for wood to call on.

I need to make a frame for an electrical isolator switch, so the first step was a technical drawing on a CAD programme. 

With a template printed, I then cut some mild steel sheeting to the right size. 

After smoothing the sharp edges with emery cloth, I marked the location of the holes with a centre punch before drilling the fixing holes and the main hole for the switch spindle. 

It was at that point that I discovered that my large diameter high speed steel drill bits are blunt. 

So as the week has come to an end, I have been reading up on line about how to sharpen steel drill bits. 

The only problem is that my bench grinder is in a box somewhere, and I am not sure where. 

It has been a little too hot to use a round file to enlarge the hole from 10mm (my largest sharp drill bit size) to 14mm, so either next week I'll by a new bit - the easy option - or I'll go on a hunt for my bench grinder. 

I just wish that I had my new workshop built, so all my tools would be in the right place when I need them!